Sailing Yacht A, the world’s largest private sailing yacht, has been seized in Gibraltar following a claimed breach of contract

Controversially designed wind assisted Sailing Yacht A is courting controversy once again, this time of the legal kind following a dispute over payments.

Having reached Gibraltar after being despatched from builder Nobiskrug on the fifth of February, the yacht is apparently under the control of admiralty marshals just two weeks later. The yacht was arrested following Nobiskrug filing a claim for breach of contract.

Designed by Philippe Starck and sporting the tallest and and most highly loaded freestanding composite structures in the world towering 100 metres above the waterline – higher than London’s Big Ben – Sailing Yacht A is claimed by the builders to be “the most advanced sail-assisted superyacht ever built”.

Now the yard is making a different claim, that a total of €15.3 million, reportedly due on January 27, is still owed. The shipyard claims that the last stage payment of €9.8 million remains unpaid. And in the same court ruling, Nobiskrug included two additional sums that it claims the owner owes.

Those sums stem from subcontractor invoices as well as contested change orders. The Gibraltar Chronicle reports that the totals “are already the subject of a dispute” between the parties.

A spokesman for Sailing Yacht A told the Chronicle that “outstanding issues” were not uncommon in a bespoke project of this nature and scale. But he added that the €9.8m claimed for payment was part of ongoing discussions between the owner and the shipyard.

“We find this act of arrest of Sailing Yacht A in Gibraltar an astounding act for a shipbuilder of Nobiskrug’s standing,” the spokesman said. “We assumed the matter was progressing to a resolution as Nobiskrug were happy to release the yacht on February 5th to the owner’s project team for further works to be carried out in Spain. The money was paid by the owner the following day into an Escrow account pending a resolution of the discussions.”

“All monies now being claimed are in arbitration and there will be a tribunal hearing on Tuesday next week. The matter is in the hands of our lawyers”.

Nobiskrug did not respond to requests for comment.

Words Nick Burnham