With eight shipyards across northern Germany, Lürssen is a firmly established institution in a region renowned for shipbuilding of the highest quality. They build, repair, and modernize yachts, naval vessels, cruise ships and other vessels for discerning owners the world over.
Lürssen shipyards have built not only the longest yacht in the world, the AZZAM at 180.5 meters but also the largest measured by water displacement, the Dilbar. Considered to be the most expensive luxury yacht, with an estimated price of US$ 600 million, Dilbar also has the largest swimming pool at 180 cubic metres and its 30,000kw diesel-electric power plant is thought to be the most powerful ever fitted to a private yacht, giving her a cruising speed of 22.5 knots. These aren’t mere Superyachts; they’re Gigayachts.
Four generations of Lürssen’s have steered the company’s growth since its inception in 1875, starting with Friedrich Lürssen. After training as a boatbuilder, Friedrich wanted to join the boatyard of his father, Lüder Lürssen. Lüder however advised his son to start a yard of his own, saying a single company would be insufficient to support two families. On June 27, 1875, 24-year-old Friedrich did as his father suggested and set up his boatbuilding yard. His first vessel demonstrated his trademarks: originality and high quality. Friedrich’s shipyard thrived.
Lürssen initially only built racing rowboats for local oarsmen, but orders started coming in from all over Germany. Word spread that Lürssen boats were not only beautifully designed but were also outstanding in their precision workmanship. And, their lightweight construction meant they placed well in regattas.
In 1886 Lürssen built the world’s first motorboat. The 6-meter REMS was commissioned by the inventor and engine manufacturer Gottlieb Daimler, of Mercedes Benz fame. Gottlieb needed a boat to put his new engine through its paces. Always open to new ideas, Friedrich became very excited about the project and designed and built the boat without delay.
Friedrich’s only son Otto joined the firm as a partner in 1907. As a shipbuilding engineer, he combined tried and trusted craftsmanship with new technical expertise, improving on past methods. This approach, handed down over the decades, remains to this day the essence of Lürssen’s unique quality and innovative spirit.
In 1925 the company reached two significant milestones: Lürssen built its 10,000th vessel, a 14-meter wooden motor yacht while at the same time celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary.
Sadly, just seven years later, fifty-two-year-old Otto Lürssen abruptly died. A bitter loss for the shipyard and the entire industry. His wife, Frieda, the strong-willed daughter of a captain of a large cruise ship, fills the gap and takes over the Lürssen yard.
The third generation of Lürssen’s took the helm in 1962. Frieda, who had led the company with great perseverance and technical expertise, handed over responsibility for the firm to her sons Gert and Fritz-Otto.
In 1971, legendary yacht designer Jon Bannenberg collaborated with Lurssen, the first of many collaborations, delivering the 71 meter Carinthia Vl to Austrian retail moguls Helmut and Heidi Horten. To this day, the Carinthia Vl remains contemporary in styling and is a precursor to today’s Lürssen luxury yachts. The yacht is also seen as a pivotal project in Lürssen’s history, as before Carinthia VI, the shipyard was best known for naval vessels and warships. Indeed, the company’s illustrious history bled into the Superyacht’s style, giving her the distinctive battleship-style look still recognisable today.
Gert’s son, Friedrich Lürssen, joined the company in 1977. He worked his way through all departments of the shipyard and soon assumed a senior position.
Nine years later, Fritz-Otto’s son, Peter Lürssen, joined the company in 1987. Peter’s background included studying shipbuilding and industrial engineering in Germany and business administration in the United States.
Peter and Friedrich become the 4th generation of Lürssen’s to run the company.
In 1988, ninety percent of the company’s business involved Navy contracts. Peter and Friedrich decided to devote half of their production capacity to building large yachts and set up a new yacht building division dedicated to this market.
In 1997, again working with yacht designer Jon Bannenberg, Lürssen built and handed over the 97-meter mega yacht LIMITLESS to her owner, Les Wexner, an American businessman. Wexner is chairman emeritus of L Brands corporation, best known for its brand Victoria’s Secret. LIMITLESS had the distinction of being the largest American owned Lürssen yacht at the time.
While acquiring three additional shipyards between 2004 and 2013, Lürssen continued to build larger and larger yachts.
Their client list is a literal who’s who of royalty & the rich. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen was a client, having commissioned the 126-meter Octopus. This Lürssen stands out as the world’s largest explorer yacht. Octopus is used for true scientific expeditions, such as when Paul Allen and his crew discovered a long-lost WWII shipwreck in 2015.
The 138-meter Rising Sun (8th largest Lürssen) was commissioned by Billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison who later sold it to entertainment mogul David Geffen.
Al Said is 155 meters in length and ranks 3rd by size in Lürssen’s stable. It can accommodate 65 guests with a crew of 140. Owned by the Sultan of Oman, the ship launched in 2008.
With annual running costs estimated between 50 and 80 million USD’s, the 157-meter Dilbar comes in at #2 on the Lürssen length list. Accommodating 36 guests with a crew of 84, the Dilbar is owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. Usmanov is one of Russia’s richest men and is the majority shareholder of MetalloInvest and he owns Mail.ru. Russia’s number one Internet company.
Lürssen’s most significant commission to date is the massive 180.5-meter AZZAM. Owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Sheikh is the Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates. He is also one of the world’s wealthiest royals. Powered by two gas turbines and two diesel engines, AZZAM can reach a jaw-dropping top speed of 30 knots.
Lürssen’s most recent completed Superyacht left its German shipyard in March of 2019. The 136 metre Flying Fox completed her sea trials off the coast of Germany and is now plying the oceans as the 9th largest Lürssen yacht and one of the top 20 largest superyachts in the world.
With a beam of 20.5 metres, Flying Fox boasts a massive volume. Espen Øino designed the stylish exterior with cutaway bulwarks on the bridge deck and upper deck that allow plenty of natural light to flood in through the floor-to-ceiling windows. A unique feature is the enormous swimming pool, which is set transversely on the main deck aft. Flying Fox also has large sea terraces and swim platforms, which enable easy water access for watersport activities. Of particular note is the yacht’s helicopter capabilities: she has a pair of superyacht helipads, one on the sun deck, and a second situated on the bridge deck, with D-Values of 18 metres and 14 metres, they are able to host the largest helicopters on the market.
“The Flying Fox fulfills the requests of a very experienced owner in an exceptional way,” says the shipyard’s managing partner Peter Lürssen. “The owner’s input within all aspects of the yacht’s design was clear, strong, and exacting. Building her was a significant challenge, and we are very proud of this achievement. She represents another remarkable milestone in our history.”
It’s been 145 years since Lüder Lürssen counseled his son Friedrich to strike out on his own, and many of the worlds rich and powerful are glad that he followed his father’s advice.