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Boat of the Week: Meet ‘Boardwalk,’ Houston Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta’s Showstopping 252-Foot Superyacht

This vessel has a long, instantly recognizable profile. but it's the myriad interior details—and the interplay of light and crystal—that define her., michael verdon, michael verdon's most recent stories.

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Boardwalk is billionaire Tilman Fertitta's latest superyacht from Feadship

At the end of February, Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta and his family held an annual Mardi Gras celebration, which they call the San Luis Salute. The event, which included local officials and celebrities, was headlined by the band Maroon 5. But the most visible VIP guest at the gala was Fertitta’s majestic new superyacht, Boardwalk.  

The 252-foot Feadship is indeed a showstopper. It was the largest vessel at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and hundreds of people walking the docks took selfies against Boardwalk ’s towering stern, with a H130 helicopter perched on the top deck. Fertitta and his family enjoyed the show from the comfort of the yacht—from the main-deck’s rear cockpit lounge to be precise.

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It’s Fertitta’s favorite spot on his new yacht, a sanctuary protected from the wind and sun, but still exposed to the ocean. It’s also a microcosm of Boardwalk ’s very intricate design. The stern has the requisite lounges, bar and large flat-screen television, but that’s where it differs from other yachts. The ceiling has delicate curves, there are many lights embedded into the area above the bar, and the trim on the columns supporting the stern’s overhang is highly stylized.

Boardwalk is billionaire Tilman Fertitta's latest superyacht from Feadship

The abundance of crystal and lighting define Boardwalk ‘s formal dining area.  Courtesy Fertitta Entertainment

“I don’t think any other owner pays as much attention to the details,” Fertitta told Robb Report during a visit to the yacht. “If you look at the bigger yachts, they really don’t vary much with standard features like ceilings and lighting.”

“Tilman came in with all the important details—all the details that really make the difference in this boat,” adds Amy Halffman, who worked closely with Fertitta on the design. “He’s an extreme detail man, down to the quarter of an inch.”

The Houston entrepreneur has made a highly successful career out of paying attention to the details. Named by Forbes as the “World’s Wealthiest Restaurateur,” the chairman of Fertitta Entertainment and chairman of Landry’s has an empire that also includes the Houston Rockets NBA team, multiple restaurants, Bentley and Rolls-Royce dealerships, and five-star hotels.

Boardwalk is billionaire Tilman Fertitta's latest superyacht from Feadship

The contrast of the black stairwell with the white floors is dramatic, nicely offset by the custom stainless-steel inlays along the railings.  Courtesy Fertitta Entertainment

Fertitta’s Post Oak Hotel in Houston, in fact, provided inspiration for Boardwalk . “We spent a lot of time meeting at the hotel,” says Halffman. “He had a lot of input into that design, which is classy and elegant, so we decided to reflect that style on the yacht.”

This Feadship is actually Halffman’s fifth yacht project with Fertitta, the other four Boardwalks being a succession of ever-larger Westports, the most recent being 165 feet in length. After owning it for 12 years, “it felt like time for a larger project,” says Fertitta. “One that was more complex and elaborate.”

While upsizing by almost 100 feet sounds like a simple hull stretch, the Feadship has 1,848 gross tonnes of interior volume, compared to 492 on the last Westport—in other words, the latest Boardwalk has nearly four times as much interior as the last one. That makes not only for a very complicated build—something which bespoke builder Feadship is used to—but also a new mindset for the interior design, which the design team needed to wrap their heads around.

Boardwalk is billionaire Tilman Fertitta's latest superyacht from Feadship

A more relaxed vibe in the owner’s office.  Courtesy Fertitta Entertainment

Halffman and design partner Frank Woll came up with the concept about four years ago, and then worked closely with the owner on the yacht’s many features. There are hundreds of features, seen and unseen, that distinguish the interior.

The most noticeable—arresting, in fact—is a whimsical, fantasy-like sculpture of a bronze female form with a dress of flowing crystals, diamonds and pearls. The work by Estella Fransbergen is strategically placed in the main entry. “She’s like a guardian angel,” says the sculptor, noting it took nearly two years to complete. “She was originally going to be placed by the staircase, but we moved her so she greets everyone.”

“I’d seen Estella’s work years ago and admired it,” says Halffman. “The torso of the woman’s body appealed to everyone and proved to be a launchpad for me. It played off all the other features.” They include an enormous crystal in the main foyer, pendant chandeliers in the formal dining area beside a case with crystal wear, and bespoke crystal light fixtures on the nearby stairway—which also has a beautiful stainless railing that resembles a feature from the last Boardwalk , but on a much grander scale.

Boardwalk is a new Feadship superyacht owned by billionaire Tilman Fertitta

The main salon, with detailed lighting overhead. Notice the backlighting on the rear bar.  Courtesy Fertitta Entertainment

The designers looked for striking but elegant stones—a white opal for the salon and an onice grigio for the sky lounge—mixed with Sapele, mahogany and other dark-stained woods that show contrast with the light-colored fabrics and tiling. The wine cellar even has a custom stainless-steel design that gives it a distinctive look. In all, 55 stones, marbles and tiles were used across the yacht.

Of course, all these stunning details were made possible by the ubiquitous placement of lighting, both direct and indirect, something that Fertitta understands with almost a scientific precision. His previous Westport had four times more lights than the yard had ever put on the 164-foot series. This Feadship paid even more attention to the lighting. Even the beach club, with its lounge and dedicated dive and watersports locker, has a stylish, deliberate look. The bar has a light fixture comprised of Swarovski crystals.

The yacht, though immense, is easy to navigate. Fertitta and longtime captain Tristan Judson paid attention to the functional aspects, creating an open foredeck where the two Hogdon-built tenders are stored, adding the ability to use the massive area for social occasions. The sundeck has a mosaic-tiled swimming pool, and above that is an observation deck with a mast. On that level, one gets a sense of how large Boardwalk really is, surrounded by smaller superyachts at the Fort Lauderdale show.

Boardwalk is billionaire Tilman Fertitta's latest superyacht from Feadship

The intricate details on the day head—typically a forgotten space—give a sense of the how the design team approached the interior.  Courtesy Fertitta Entertainment

Still, the owner and his designers managed to keep a sense of intimacy throughout, installing what they call a “country kitchen” as the owner’s galley, to allow more informal meals and socializing than the main dining room, while retaining the yacht’s professional galley for the staff on another deck. Fertitta, who often works on board, has an office dressed with light-colored fabrics, lounges and glass doors to access the exterior decks.

The Feadship may not be Fertitta’s last yacht. Rumor has it that he’s talking to European yards about an even larger Boardwalk . When asked about it, he says simply: “I love to build things.”

Some other angles.

Boardwalk is billionaire Tilman Fertitta's latest superyacht from Feadship

Courtesy Fertitta Entertainment

Boardwalk is billionaire Tilman Fertitta's latest superyacht from Feadship

Courtesy Boardwalk

Boardwalk is billionaire Tilman Fertitta's latest superyacht from Feadship

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Countdown to Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 2021: 77m Feadship superyacht Boardwalk

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This brand new 250fter from Feadship will undoubtedly be the star of the 2021 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.

Every boat show has its show-stopper that spins heads, drops jaws and is a selfie-crowd magnet. For this year’s Fort Lauderdale Boat Show , that’s going to be Feadship’s latest masterpiece, Boardwalk .

Stretching 252ft from its oh-so-long and pointy bow to its three-deck stern, the low-slung superyacht is from the drawing board of Feadship ‘s in-house De Voogt Naval Architects who opted for a steel hull and aluminium lid.

What’s refreshing about Boardwalk ‘s lines is that they eschew the latest fads for polarising inverted bows, or axe bows, or a million windows, or swirly bits incorporated into the superstructure. The yacht is just long, lean, sleek and low. Almost to the point of being understated. Almost.

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Cool design elements include huge bow-side doors for tender storage leaving the transom for a dedicated beach club. Add to that the oversize pool and spa, and the top-deck helipad.

The interior – which we haven’t seen yet – is by Seattle-based Amy Halffman of Halffman Design, who managed over 100 yacht-builds when she was head of interior design at Westport Yachts.

Actually Boardwalk became a bit of a YouTube sensation earlier this year when superyacht photographer Tom van Oossanen followed the yacht on its perilous journey being towed through the pinch-tight Dutch canals.

As for Boardwalk ‘s lucky owner, it’s Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta, who’s reckoned to own over 500 restaurants across the U.S. including the much-loved Bubba Gump Shrimp Company chain. Mr. Fertitta still has his 164-foot Westship he also calls Boardwalk .

Powering the new Boardwalk is a pair of honking MTU V16s that punch her to a top speed of 17.5 knots with 14-knot cruising. With massive 154,400-litre tanks, her range between fill-ups should be impressive.

Boardwalk specification

LOA: 252ft 7ins (77m) Beam: 40ft 4ins (12.3m) Engines: 2x MTU 16V4000 M63L Top speed: 17.5 knots Price: Undisclosed

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Cool Spaces: Step aboard Tilman Fertitta's luxury mega-yacht

At 164-feet long, 31-feet wide and almost 500 tons, this is no ordinary yacht. Welcome aboard "The Boardwalk", Houston businessman Tilman Fertitta's luxury ocean vessel and favorite toy.

The $40 million yacht has 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, grand salons, and a true chef's kitchen with steamers, warming drawers, and walk-in fridge and freezer.

The master suite features an owner's office, opulent bedroom with space to spare, and a gorgeous bathroom.

No expense was spared on the outdoor space either. "The Boardwalk" boasts multiple decks, lounges, scooters for land excursions, and even a helicopter pad.

Fertitta, his family and crew travel the world on the yacht. Some of his favorite stops are the Bahamas and the Mediterranean.

"It's one of those things I always wanted and I'll always have. It isn't cheap, I can tell you that," Fertitta said with a smile. "But every time I walk on it, I tell myself, 'God, I love this boat.'"

SEE ALSO: Jerry Jones becomes owner of new $250 million 'superyacht'

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Billionaire Tilman Fertitta aboard his superyacht Boardwalk in the Bahamas during a Forbes 400 interview. (Photo by Jamel Toppin for Forbes)

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta aboard his superyacht Boardwalk in the Bahamas during a Forbes 400 interview. (Photo by Jamel Toppin for Forbes)

Tilman Fertitta's 252-foot superyacht 'Boardwalk' with the H130 helicopter perched on top (Photo courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment)

The swirling grand staircase on Tilman Fertitta's superyacht 'Boardwalk' (Photo courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment)

The main salon on Tilman Fertitta's superyacht 'Boardwalk' (Photo courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment)

Tilman Fertitta's office on his superyacht 'Boardwalk' (Photo courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment)

The resplendent powder room on Tilman Fertitta's superyacht 'Boardwalk' (Photo courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment)

The dining room on the main deck of Tilman Fertitta's superyacht 'Boardwalk' (Photo courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment)

The sky lounge on Tilman Fertitta's superhyacht 'Boardwalk' (Photo courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment)

A primary suite aboard Tilman Fertitta's superyacht 'Boardwalk' (Photo courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment)

Sculpture by Estella Fransbergen in the dining room of Tilman Fertitta's superyacht 'Boardwalk' (Photo courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment)

Tilman Fertitta's 252-foot, $150 million superyacht Boardwalk courses through canals after departing Feadship's Aalsmeer shipyard in The Netherlands on its way to sea trials. (Photo courtesy of Feadship)

Tilman Fertitta's 164-foot yacht, Boardwalk, creates plenty of envy in ports around the world.

Tilman Fertitta's $150 million, 77-meter yacht 'Boardwalk' welcoming San Luis Salute Mardi Gras VIPs. (Photo by Dave Rossman)

Mardi Gras partying aboard Tilman Fertitta's yacht, 'The Boardwalk' at the San Luis Salute. (Photo by Dave Rossman)

Blayne Fertitta at the 2022 San Luis Salute to Galveston Mardi Gras, pictured here on The Boardwalk, her fatherTilman Fertitta's 77-meter superyacht. (Photo by Rhea Hemming)

Houston Billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s Superyacht Causes a Greek Stir — The Boardwalk Continues to Turn Heads

The houston rockets owner travels on an anything but ordinary boat and the stories behind it are becoming legendary.

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta aboard his superyacht 'Boardwalk' in the Bahamas during a Forbes 400 interview. (Photo by Jamel Toppin for Forbes)

W hile hiking through the woods lining Greece’s Corinth Canal, a local Greek television reporter took a video of billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s superyacht Boardwalk squeezing through the Corinth Canal. He documented a snippet of the four mile journey and posted it on the TV station’s website with the headline: “Who is its billionaire owner?”

It didn’t take long for the Greek news hounds to discover that entertainment and sports mogul Fertitta was the owner. The video posted on the website shows the 252 foot long, 40 foot wide yacht gliding through the canal, which at its most narrow point is 69 feet. The manmade canal is the watery path leads from the Aegean to the Ionian sea, which opens to the Mediterranean

Sailing on a superyacht from the Greek Isles to the enchanting coast of Italy is definitely the realm of the world’s richest.

Recent reporting in national publications are shedding more light on the superyacht ‘s mastery of luxe design. Among the numerous amenities in the Tilman yacht that sleeps 14 — including the VIP suite — are a 120 bottle wine cellar, a lavishly decorated beauty/massage room, a 19-foot-long swimming pool, a bronze sculpture of a female form by Estella Fransbergen with a dress of flowing crystals, diamonds and pearls, and the billionaire requisite — a helicopter pad.

“I don’t think any other owner pays as much attention to the details,” Fertitta told Robb Report during a visit to his yacht. “If you look at the bigger yachts, they really don’t vary much with standard features like ceilings and lighting.”

Robb Report first gushed over Fertitta’s superyacht in the luxury lifestyle magazine last year.

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In addition, the magazine quoted Seattle-based yacht interior designer Amy Halffmann. “Tilman came in with all the important details — all the details that really make the difference in this boat. He’s an extreme detail man, down to the quarter of an inch,” Halffmann told the magazine.

The luxe interiors of the Fertitta superyacht include 54 different types of stone, marble and tiles, including mother of pearl tiles, a light pendant by Charles Loomis , appliqués by Wired Custom Lighting and a glass sculpture from David Wright .

Extra-Master-Screen-Shot-2022-03-11-at-10.33.38-AM

“I was going for classic elegance – beautiful spaces that could stand the test of time, and I think we achieved that,” Halffman tells Boat International .

A limited number of Houstonians and Galveston residents are privy to the superyacht as each year Fertitta transports this — his second Boardwalk — to Galveston during Mardi Gras. He entertains VIP guests at a cocktail reception aboard the superyacht before the billionaire and friends join a police escort caravan to the Galveston Convention Center for Fertitta’s San Luis Salute to Mardi Gras.

Now, the rest of the world is getting in on the fascination.

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The billionaire-owned ‘Boardwalk’ superyacht is in Downtown Miami

Owned by restaurateur Tilman Fertitta

Tour more yachts featured on Curbed Miami

Measuring just over 163 feet long, ‘Boardwalk’ has taken her talents to Downtown Miami, with the superyacht owned by billionaire restaurateur Tilman Fertitta joining the 174-foot Mizu outside the Epic Hotel.

Fertitta, with an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion, according to Forbes , is the CEO of CEO of Landry’s Restaurants, which encompasses over 500 properties, like Chart House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Morton's, and Golden Nugget casinos.

The yacht’s value is estimated at $40 million, with six cabins and a max speed of up to 20 knots. Helicopter pad included, of course.

#everydayimhustling #boardwalkyacht A photo posted by Maks Dyeyev (@maksforeigner) on Jun 10, 2015 at 9:14pm PDT
The 163-foot Boardwalk #superyacht, owned by billionaire Tilman Fertitta, is docked by the #EpicHotel (photo via @yachtcharterfleet) A photo posted by Slice Miami (@slicemiami) on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:12am PDT

Watch a helicopter board Boardwalk below, with more photos of the vessel on Yacht Charter Fleet .

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yacht boardwalk owner

BOARDWALK is a 76.5 m Motor Yacht, built in Netherlands by Feadship and delivered in 2021.

She has a gross tonnage of 1848.0 GT and a 12.3 m beam.

She was designed by Studio De Voogt , who has designed 10 other superyachts in the BOAT Pro database.

The naval architecture was developed by Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects , who has architected 102 other superyachts in the BOAT Pro database, and the interior of the yacht was designed by Halffman Designs , who has 9 other superyacht interiors designed in the BOAT Pro database - she is built with a Teak deck, a Steel hull, and Aluminium superstructure.

BOARDWALK is in the top 5% by LOA in the world. She is one of 116 motor yachts in the 70-80m size range, and, compared to similarly sized motor yachts, her volume is 75.58 GT above the average.

BOARDWALK is currently sailing under the Cayman Islands flag, the 2nd most popular flag state for superyachts with a total of 1390 yachts registered. She is known to be an active superyacht and has most recently been spotted cruising near United States of America. For more information regarding BOARDWALK's movements, find out more about BOAT Pro AIS .

Specifications

  • Name: BOARDWALK
  • Yacht Type: Motor Yacht
  • Yacht Subtype: Displacement
  • Builder: Feadship
  • Naval Architect: Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects
  • Exterior Designer: Studio De Voogt
  • Interior Designer: Halffman Designs
  • Refits: 2022

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16 superyachts owned by Russian oligarchs

Western sanctions over moscow's invasion of ukraine led to many luxury vessels being detained in europe.

Two superyachts linked to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich were spotted on the Turkish coast on Tuesday, 'Eclipse' and 'My Solaris'. Mr Abramovich is among several wealthy Russians added to an EU blacklist as governments act to seize their yachts and other luxury assets. AP

Two superyachts linked to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich were spotted on the Turkish coast on Tuesday, 'Eclipse' and 'My Solaris'. Mr Abramovich is among several wealthy Russians added to an EU blacklist as governments act to seize their yachts and other luxury assets. AP

Jamie Goodwin author image

Live updates: follow the latest news on Russia-Ukraine

Several luxury yachts owned by wealthy Russians have been detained across Europe this month.

It comes after the West imposed sanctions on oligarchs over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine .

Some have taken evasive action – two such superyachts linked to billionaire Roman Abramovich were spotted approaching the Turkish coast on Tuesday. A group of Ukrainians tried to stop one of the yachts from docking in Turkey.

Chelsea FC owner Mr Abramovich is one of several oligarchs who were added to an EU blacklist last week as governments acted to seize yachts and other luxury assets owned by the billionaires.

Western sanctions resulted in many large vessels relocating from Europe in the past few weeks. Several have headed to places such as the Maldives, which have no extradition treaty with the US.

Where is the Abramovich-owned yacht heading?

Mr Abramovich's yacht Eclipse was seen heading towards Marmaris on Tuesday, according to data compiled by monitoring site Marine Traffic, which was seen by Reuters.

The previous day, his superyacht Solaris was moored in Bodrum, about 80 kilometres from Marmaris, data showed, after skirting waters of EU countries.

There was no suggestion Mr Abramovich was on board either of the yachts.

Ukrainians attempt to stop Abramovich's yacht docking in Turkey

Ukrainians attempt to stop Abramovich's yacht docking in Turkey

Which yachts have been detained?

On Monday, a superyacht linked to another Russian billionaire was detained by authorities after docking in Gibraltar.

The Axioma , believed to belong to Dmitrievich Pumpyansky, moored at Gibraltar on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Reuters TV footage showed.

Mr Pumpyansky, who is under UK and EU sanctions, owns Russia's largest steel pipe maker TMK. Data shows the 72-metre vessel is owned by a British Virgin Islands holding company called Pyrene investments, Reuters reported. An article published as part of the Panama Papers leaks names Mr Pumpyansky as a beneficiary of the holding.

On March 12, the world's biggest sailing yacht, called Sailing Yacht A and owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko , was seized by Italian police.

Several other luxury yachts have also been detained across Europe, including in Gibraltar, Mallorca in Spain's Balearic Islands and the French coast.

Here are 16 superyachts linked to wealthy Russians

1. Eclipse , a superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich , was this week spotted heading in the direction of Marmaris in Turkey.

2. Solaris , belonging to Mr Abramovich , moored in Bodrum at the start of the week.

3. The Axioma superyacht, belonging to Russian oligarch Dmitrievich Pumpyansky , who is on the EU's list of sanctioned Russians, was detained by authorities after docking in Gibraltar on Monday.

4. The Crescent , which was seized by the Spanish government in Tarragona, Spain, on March 17. The ship's owner is not publicly known, although it is believed to belong to Russian Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft Oil in Moscow.

5. Ragnar , owned by former KGB officer and Russian oligarch Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, who is not on the EU sanctions list.

6. Tango , owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who was sanctioned by the US on March 11.

7. Lady Anastasia , owned by Russian arms manufacturer Alexander Mijeev, is retained at Port Adriano, Mallorca, as a result of sanctions against Russia and Belarus issued by the European Union.

8. Valerie was seized by the Spanish government in Barcelona, Spain, on March 15. Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that the ship is linked to Rostec State Corporation’s chief executive Sergey Chemezov.

9. The $578 million Sailing Yacht A owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko was seized by Italian police in the port of Trieste on March 12.

10. The 156-metre Dilbar superyacht is owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

11. La Datcha belongs to Russian billionaire businessman Oleg Tinkov.

12. Lady M , owned by Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov, was seized by Italian police on March 5.

13. Amore Vero was seized in the Mediterranean resort of La Ciotat on March 3 by French authorities. The yacht is linked to Igor Sechin, a Putin ally who runs the Russian oil giant Rosneft.

14. Quantum Blue , owned by a company linked to Russian billionaire Sergei Galitsky, the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, was seized in southern France on March 3.

15. Superyacht Luna is owned by Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov.

16. Triple Seven is owned by Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov, according to media reports. The yacht was last up for sale in 2020 for €38 million ($41.85 million).

Iran's loss is a turning point for the Middle East

It sure looks like Mark Zuckerberg is taking a brand new superyacht out to celebrate his 40th birthday

  • It seems as if Mark Zuckerberg will celebrate his 40th birthday on the  megayacht, Launchpad .
  • The yachting world has speculated for months that the Meta CEO is the owner of the vessel.
  • Now, both the boat and Zuckerberg's private jet have landed in Panama.

Insider Today

All signs point to Mark Zuckerberg celebrating his 40th birthday on what many speculate is his brand-new superyacht Launchpad .

The boating world has been buzzing about Launchpad — a 118-meter yacht built by the Dutch shipyard Feadship — for months, with rumors swirling that her owner is none other than the Meta CEO. But in the yachting world, where privacy is paramount , no party would confirm her owner.

"It is Feadship's standard policy to never divulge any information about our yachts with reference to ownership, costs, or delivery, etc," Feadship, the ship's builder, wrote to Business Insider in March. "Whether it is an 18-meter Feadship from the 1960s or a 118-meter Feadship from the 21st century, we do not share private information."

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Representatives for Zuckerberg did not respond to requests for comment from BI.

Now there's even more evidence: The megayacht arrived in Panama on Monday, making her way there from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she's predominantly been moored since she made her maiden voyage across the Atlantic in March, according to public ship-tracking data. Wingman, the support superyacht that he is suspected to have purchased with Launchpad, made the journey with her.

Zuckerberg's plane also landed in Panama on Monday, per a private jet tracker, and if his Instagram is any indication, he was on board.

Putting two and two together — along with the many other clues linking Zuckerberg to the yacht — we can surmise that the Meta CEO is likely kicking off his new decade aboard his new toy.

Little is known about the luxury vessel, which was said to have been built for a sanctioned Russian businessman before it was handed over to the Dutch government, which served as a middleman for the purchase. Her final purchase price is unknown, but it's safe to say a yacht of that size from that shipyard would cost nine figures upfront and six figures a year to maintain.

The few photos of Launchpad available on the industry site SuperYacht Times show there appears to be a helipad and a swimming pool on her main deck.

A vessel of her size can typically sleep dozens of guests and crewmembers and likely has an expansive gym (where Zuckerberg could practice his jiu-jitsu), a spa, a movie room, and a garage to fit plenty of toys like his viral hydrofoil .

Zuckerberg's name was first connected to Launchpad in December when reports swirled that he visited Feadship's shipyard in the Netherlands. By March, yachting blogs like eSysman SuperYachts and Autoevolution suggested he officially snagged the boat at a $300 million price tag. Launchpad also bears the flag of the Marshall Islands, a US territory that is commonplace for American buyers to register their ships.

We will never know for sure whose name is on her title, so unless Zuckerberg confirms he's Launchpad's owner, we will have to wait for an invitation to Zuck's birthday party to confirm.

Watch: The scariest things OceanGate's CEO said about deep-sea diving

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Russian Disinformation Videos Smear Biden Ahead of U.S. Election

Many of the videos are trying to appeal to right-wing voters with fake messages about President Biden, experts say.

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A wide cityscape of buildings in Moscow.

By Julian E. Barnes and Steven Lee Myers

Julian Barnes, who covers U.S. intelligence agencies, and Steven Lee Myers, who covers misinformation, have been reporting on Russian efforts to influence the 2024 presidential election.

Last month, a video began circulating on social media purporting to tell the story of an internet troll farm in Kyiv targeting the American election.

Speaking in English with a Slavic accent, “Olesya” offers a first-person account of how she and her colleagues initially worked in support of President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Then, she says, after a visit by mysterious Americans who were “probably C.I.A.,” the group began sending messages to American audiences in support of President Biden.

“We were told our new target was the United States of America, especially the upcoming elections,” the woman in the video says. “Long story short, we were asked to do everything to prevent Donald Trump from winning the elections.”

The video is fake, part of an effort to cloud the political debate ahead of the U.S. elections.

U.S. officials say the video is consistent with Russian disinformation operations as internet warriors aligned with Russia appear to be honing their strategy. Some of the old tactics of 2016 or 2020 could be used again, with new refinements.

An analysis of the video done by U.S. intelligence agencies found that the voice of “Olesya” was synthetically generated, an intelligence official said Thursday, a potential sign of how Russian operatives are blending new techniques with old tactics.

While there has been much hand-wringing over the role that artificial intelligence could play this year in fooling voters, current and former officials said that videos were one of the most immediate threats.

Microsoft said the video featuring “Olesya” probably came from a group it calls Storm-1516, a collection of disinformation experts who now focus on creating videos they hope might go viral in America.

The group most likely includes veterans of the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-aligned troll farm that sought to influence the 2016 election. The agency was run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group who led a rebellion against the Kremlin and then was killed in a plane crash that American and allied officials believe was orchestrated by Russian intelligence agencies.

Microsoft said the group also included people associated with Valery Korovin, the figurehead of an obscure Moscow-based think tank called the Center for Geopolitical Expertise, a conservative organization affiliated with Aleksandr Dugin, an ultranationalist writer who faces U.S. sanctions for his role in recruiting fighters for the war.

Russian operatives are leaning into videos, many of them that falsely purport to be made by independent journalists or whistle-blowers. The videos, opposed to blog or social media posts, are more likely to spread beyond the conspiratorial fringes of America and become part of mainstream discourse.

On Wednesday afternoon, Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia was the most active threat to the coming election. Russia, she said, tries to erode trust in democratic institutions, exacerbate social divisions and undermine support for Ukraine.

“Russia relies on a vast multimedia influence apparatus, which consists of its intelligence services, cyberactors, state media proxies and social media trolls,” she said. “Moscow most likely views such operations as a means to tear down the United States.”

China has a sophisticated influence operation and is increasingly confident in its ability to affect election results, Ms. Haines said. But she added that the intelligence community assessed that China did not try to influence the 2020 presidential election, and that so far there was no information that China would be more active in this year’s contests.

Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said that adversaries had a greater incentive than ever to intervene in elections but that the public had too often treated such meddling “as trivial or quaint.”

Clint Watts, the general manager of Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center, said pushing out written disinformation with bots was largely a waste of time — in 2024 it is disinformation video that has the best chance of spreading with American audiences.

The C.I.A. video, Mr. Watts said, was a classic Russian tactic: accuse your adversary of the very thing you are doing. “When they say there’s a troll farm operated by Zelensky in Ukraine going after the U.S. election, what they’re saying is this is what we’re doing,” Mr. Watts said.

Walter Trosin, a spokesman for the C.I.A., said the agency was not involved in the activities described in the video.

“This claim is patently false and precisely the type of disinformation that the intelligence community has long warned about,” Mr. Trosin said. “C.I.A. is a foreign-focused organization that takes our obligation to remain uninvolved in American politics and elections very seriously.”

At the Senate hearing, Ms. Haines praised the C.I.A. for calling out the video publicly, saying it was an example of how the government will identify disinformation by Russia or other countries during the current election.

Multiple groups in Russia push out disinformation aimed at America . In addition to the videos, researchers and government officials say, Russia has created a handful of fake American local news sites and is using them to push out Kremlin propaganda , interspersed with stories about crime, politics and culture.

Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, who retired from the Army this year and is the former director of the National Security Agency, said the best defense to Russian disinformation remained the same: identifying it and publicizing the propaganda push. The United States, he said, needs to expand its information sharing both domestically and around the world so people can identify, and discount, disinformation spread by Moscow.

“The great antidote to all of this is being able to shine a light on it,” said General Nakasone, who last week was named as the founding director of Vanderbilt University’s new Institute for National Defense and Global Security. “If they are trying to influence or interfere in our elections, we should make it as hard as possible for them.”

Some mainstream Republicans have already warned fellow lawmakers to be wary of repeating claims that originated in Russian disinformation or propaganda.

“We see directly coming from Russia attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor,” Representative Michael R. Turner, an Ohio Republican who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s “State of the Union” on April 7.

Russia’s information warriors have pushed fake videos to spread lies about Ukraine , aimed at undermining its credibility or painting it as corrupt. Republican politicians opposed to sending more aid to Ukraine have repeated baseless allegations that Mr. Zelensky has tried through associates to buy a yacht, disinformation that first appeared on a video posted to YouTube and other social media sites.

Most of the videos produced by Storm-1516 fail to get traction. Others come close. A video pushed out on a Russian Telegram channel purported to show Ukrainian soldiers burning an effigy of Mr. Trump, blaming him for delays in aid shipments.

The video was highlighted on Alex Jones’s right-wing conspiracy site, InfoWars, and other English-language outlets. But it was quickly discounted — the purportedly Ukrainian soldiers had Russian accents and were masked.

“This campaign has been working to advance some of Russia’s key objectives, particularly that of portraying Ukraine as a corrupt, rogue state that cannot be trusted with Western aid,” Mr. Watts said.

Since last August, Microsoft has identified at least 30 videos produced by Storm-1516. The first ones were aimed at Ukraine. But others are trying to influence American politics by appealing to right-wing audiences with messages that Mr. Biden is benefiting from Ukrainian assistance.

Intelligence officials, lawmakers and security firms have warned about the use of artificial intelligence by China, Russia and other nation states intent on spreading disinformation. But so far, Russian groups like Storm-1516 have mostly avoided using A.I. tools, according to security firms.

“Many of the A.I. campaigns are easy to detect or unwind,” said Brian Murphy, the general manager of national security at Logically, which tracks disinformation. “A.I. is getting better, but it is still not at the stage this year wherein it is going to be used at the scale and with the quality some predict. Maybe in a year or so.”

Both government officials and outside experts, however, have said that A.I.-altered audio had proved more effective than altered videos. At the hearing on Wednesday, Ms. Haines highlighted a fake audio recording released in Slovakia two days before its parliamentary election. While quickly identified as fake, news and government agencies struggled to disclose the manipulation and the target of the fake recording lost a close election.

Outside experts have said that artificial intelligence has been used in some Russian propaganda videos to obscure accents. It is not clear exactly why a synthetic voice would have been used in the fake video of the C.I.A. troll farm.

But on Wednesday, Ms. Haines said artificial intelligence and other innovations “have enabled foreign influence actors to produce seemingly authentic and tailored messaging more efficiently at greater scale and with content adapted for different languages and cultures.”

For now, though, basic videos like the C.I.A. troll farm or yacht video that purport to have authentic narrators with access to exquisite information are the most prevalent threat.

In 2016, Russian-controlled propagandists could push out fake news articles or social media posts and, in some cases, have an impact. But now, those old techniques do not work.

“No one will pay attention to that nowadays,” Mr. Watts said. “You have to have a video form to really grab an American audience today, which 10 years ago was just not even technically that possible.”

Julian E. Barnes covers the U.S. intelligence agencies and international security matters for The Times. He has written about security issues for more than two decades. More about Julian E. Barnes

Steven Lee Myers covers misinformation and disinformation from San Francisco. Since joining The Times in 1989, he has reported from around the world, including Moscow, Baghdad, Beijing and Seoul. More about Steven Lee Myers

Our Coverage of the 2024 Election

Presidential Race: News and Analysis

President Biden railed against “extremist forces” and drew contrasts with Donald Trump in a commencement address  to hundreds of young Black men at Morehouse College.

Biden’s narrow win in Georgia in 2020 was seen as a sign of the state’s emergence as a battleground. But in 2024, he faces a changed landscape there .

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has been floated as a possible running mate for Donald Trump, refused to commit to accepting the results of the 2024 election .

Political Violence:  Public officials from Congress to City Hall are now regularly subjected to threats of violence. It’s changing how they do their jobs .

Trump’s Running Mate:  Trump’s V.P. search is still in its early stages, but he is said to be leaning toward more experienced options  who can help the ticket without seizing his precious spotlight.

Biden-Trump Debates:  How might the candidates try to win their two planned debates? Veteran Republican and Democratic strategists offered their advice .

Burning Cash:  It is a time-honored tradition in U.S. politics: wealthy people burning through their fortunes to ultimately lose an election. Here are some of the biggest money-pit campaigns .

IMAGES

  1. TILMAN FERTITTA • Owner of the Feadship Yacht Boardwalk

    yacht boardwalk owner

  2. Billionare Tilman Fertitta's luxury mega yacht Boardwalk arrives in Bermuda

    yacht boardwalk owner

  3. Tilman Fertitta's new Superyacht Boardwalk in Amsterdam

    yacht boardwalk owner

  4. BOARDWALK Yacht • Tilman Fertitta $27M Superyacht

    yacht boardwalk owner

  5. Superyachtfan: Superyacht Boardwalk, Tilman J Fertitta

    yacht boardwalk owner

  6. Inside BOARDWALK Yacht • Westport • 2010 • Value $27M • Owner Tilman

    yacht boardwalk owner

COMMENTS

  1. TILMAN FERTITTA • Net Worth $8 Billion • House

    He is the owner of the Westport yacht Boardwalk. In 2021 a brand new and larger Feadship yacht also named Boardwalk was delivered.. The 77-meters superyacht has a gross tonnage of 1,848GT.The motor yacht is designed by De Voogt and has an interior by Halffman Interiors.. Her range is more than 5,000nm. Her cruising speed is 17 knots, her max speed is 19 knots.

  2. Boardwalk: The 77m superyacht owned by Tilman Fertitta

    On board the 77m Boardwalk owned by Tilman Fertitta. A serial yacht owner and design perfectionist looked across the Atlantic when it came to building his latest upgrade. He shows Cecile Gauert how American design and European craftsmanship come together on board 77-metre Feadship Boardwalk. Picture this: a sunny day, a few fluffy clouds across ...

  3. Boat of the Week: Meet 'Boardwalk,' Houston Rockets Owner Tilman

    The 252-foot Feadship is indeed a showstopper. It was the largest vessel at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and hundreds of people walking the docks took selfies against Boardwalk ...

  4. See the Superyacht Jefferies' CEO Bought From His Billionaire Friend

    Jefferies CEO Rich Handler sold $65 million of stock — some of which he used to buy a superyacht. He purchased Boardwalk from billionaire friend and client Tilman Fertitta. Here's a look at the ...

  5. Tilman Fertitta Gets a New $150 Million Super Yacht

    In the world of superyachts, Boardwalk is a serious contender but falls short of the ridiculously huge mega yachts such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' Bravo Eugenia, which measures 356 ...

  6. First look: Tilman Fertitta shows off new $150M mega-yacht in Galveston

    The first glimpse of Fertitta's new yacht, Boardwalk, in Galveston on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. Annie Mulligan/Contributor The Fertitta family during the 2022 San Luis Salute in Galveston on Friday ...

  7. 77m Feadship superyacht Boardwalk to debut at 2021 Fort ...

    Boardwalk specification. LOA: 252ft 7ins (77m) Beam: 40ft 4ins (12.3m) Engines: 2x MTU 16V4000 M63L. Top speed: 17.5 knots. Price: Undisclosed. Boardwalk, the brand new 250fter from Feadship, will undoubtedly be the star of the 2021 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.

  8. Meet 'The Boardwalk': Tilman Fertitta's ultra-luxe yacht

    Meet 'The Boardwalk': Tilman Fertitta's ultra-luxe yacht - YouTube. Watch the video tour of the billionaire's stunning 164-foot vessel, featuring a helipad, a spa, and a cinema. See how the owner ...

  9. Cool Spaces: Step aboard Tilman Fertitta's luxury mega-yacht

    At 164-feet long, 31-feet wide and almost 500 tons, this is no ordinary yacht. Welcome aboard "The Boardwalk", Houston businessman Tilman Fertitta's luxury ocean vessel and favorite toy. The $40 ...

  10. Take a Peek Inside Tilman Fertitta's Superyacht

    Come aboard Tilman Fertitta's superyacht for a sneak peek at its sleek design and showstopping interior details. When it comes to the water, there's yachts and then there's American billionaire Tilman Fertitta's $150 million superyacht, Boardwalk. This 77-meter Feadship yacht proves that bigger is always better with seven staterooms, a ...

  11. Boardwalk Yacht

    In the world rankings for largest yachts, the superyacht, Boardwalk, is listed at number 227. She is the 28th-largest yacht built by Feadship. Boardwalk's owner is shown in SYT iQ and is exclusively available to subscribers. On SuperYacht Times, we have 68 photos of the yacht, Boardwalk, and she is featured in 10 yacht news articles.

  12. Tilman Fertitta's new $150 million superyacht spotted docked on ...

    A massive yacht belonging to billionaire Texas restaurateur and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is currently docked outside the Harbor House Hotel and 21st Street Pier. It's not often that ...

  13. Houston Billionaire Tilman Fertitta's Superyacht Causes a Greek Stir

    Tilman Fertitta's 164-foot yacht, Boardwalk, creates plenty of envy in ports around the world. ... The Houston Rockets Owner Travels On An Anything But Ordinary Boat and the Stories Behind It Are ...

  14. The billionaire-owned 'Boardwalk' superyacht is in Downtown Miami

    Tour more yachts featured on Curbed Miami. Measuring just over 163 feet long, 'Boardwalk' has taken her talents to Downtown Miami, with the superyacht owned by billionaire restaurateur Tilman ...

  15. BOARDWALK yacht (Feadship, 76.5m, 2021)

    BOARDWALK is a 76.5 m Motor Yacht, built in Netherlands by Feadship and delivered in 2021.. She has a gross tonnage of 1848.0 GT and a 12.3 m beam. She was designed by Studio De Voogt, who has designed 10 other superyachts in the BOAT Pro database.. The naval architecture was developed by Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects, who has architected 102 other superyachts in the BOAT Pro database ...

  16. 16 superyachts owned by Russian oligarchs

    15. Superyacht Luna is owned by Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov. 16. Triple Seven is owned by Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov, according to media reports. The yacht was last up for sale in 2020 for €38 million ($41.85 million). Updated: March 24, 2022, 1:03 AM. Russia Ukraine.

  17. It Looks Like Mark Zuckerberg Is Celebrating His 40th Birthday on a New

    It seems as if Mark Zuckerberg will celebrate his 40th birthday on the megayacht, Launchpad. The yachting world has speculated for months that the Meta CEO is the owner of the vessel. Now, both ...

  18. Russian Disinformation Videos Smear Biden Ahead of U.S. Election

    Many of the videos are trying to appeal to right-wing voters with fake messages about President Biden, experts say. By Julian E. Barnes and Steven Lee Myers Julian Barnes, who covers U.S ...

  19. The Top 40 of the World's Richest Yacht Owners • 2024

    42. Gianluigi Aponte. Gianluigi Aponte. Amo. 47m. All yacht owners are 'rich', but some are richer than others. For example, when a wealthy person is able to purchase a US$ 10 million yacht. His net worth is probably between US$ 50 million and US$ 100 million.

  20. RUSTEM TEREGULOV: A Tycoon's Journey From Banking to ...

    Rustem Teregulov Yacht. He is the owner of the yacht Grand Rusalina. The Grand Rusalina yacht was built by Trinity Yachts in 2009, exhibiting superior craftsmanship and design. The yacht is powered by Caterpillar engines, reaching a maximum speed of 15 knots with a cruising speed of 11 knots, and a notable range of over 6,000 nautical miles.

  21. AMARYLLIS Yacht • Andrey Borodin $120M Superyacht

    The Value of the SuperYacht Amaryllis. Reflecting the intricate design, luxury amenities, and superior performance, the Amaryllis yacht is valued at approximately $120 million. The annual running costs are estimated around $12 million. However, the price of a yacht can significantly vary based on numerous factors, including size, age, luxury ...