As you approach the Giardini via water taxi, there’s a big hulking boat the size of an apartment building bestriding the Grand Canal. Its name is Stella Maris, and it is a superyacht.
Now, yachts this size are not uncommon in Venice this time of year, but this is a particularly striking one, and it dwarfs the other superyachts that come after it in line. And what’s more, it’s her first time at the Biennale opening, having sold in September 2015, months after the May opening of “All the World’s Futures.”
Naturally, chatter centered around who owns the thing. Courtesy Superyacht Times—”the leading superyacht website, updated daily with the most relevant and interesting superyacht news and information”—we know that it is 236 feet long, and has staggered internal decks, which allows for a helideck, a sun deck, a deck for the exclusive use of guests, and a separate owner’s deck.
The owner hasn’t been revealed, but some signs point to billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has at least five yachts in his fleet, including Eclipse, the second longest in the world. Abramovich-owned boats have been here before—in 2011, his 337 footer upset local shop owners and Biennale-goers alike. (Well, it didn’t upset the Biennale-goers who got an invitation on board from Abramovich’s art collector wife, Dasha Zhukova.) Another clue: Stella Maris is flying the Union Jack, and Abramovich is based in London.
This afternoon, I walked up to the Stella Maris to find three young deck hands watching over her, cleaning her windows.
“Hey guys,” I yelled from about thirty feet below. “Who owns this thing?”
“Good question!” one of them yelled back.