J.P Morgan is often credited with saying: “If you have to ask the price you can’t afford it”, when he was asked by a fellow millionaire how much a nice yacht would cost. Certainly, when you are buying the kind of yachts J.P. Morgan really enjoyed you need big bucks. Ironically, Donald Trump, whose yacht Trump Princess we wrote about in the August 28, 2018 issue of L.I. Boating World Magazine, made it pretty clear that he did not like boats. In fact, he said he disliked water sport in general. And the fact that he sold the Trump Princess at a loss. With that in mind it came as a major supersize that in June of 1989, Trump announced that he was going to build a new yacht and call it Trump Princess II.
Trump told Newsday in June of 1989 that he would be building a new yacht “something in excess of 400 feet long, closer to 500 feet”. He went on to say that he was soliciting bids from several yacht builders for the project. Then in May of 1990 Trump told Newsday the he had bought Amels Ship building in the Netherlands as an entire company. Amels was the company he had used to refit the Nablia when he bought it and renamed it Trump Princess. It’s reputation as a premier ship builder goes back 100 years. At the time Trump bought the company it was owned by a group of four British investors. His plan was to have his yard build the Trump Princess II. Amels is now a part of Damen Shipyards group and is the largest luxury yachts building yard in the Netherlands. Trump did not hold onto Amels very long, he sold it just two monthsto to American businessman Peter Kutell, Rumor has it that Trump got into some financial difficulties and had to sell the yard and cancel construction of Trump Princess II. The following year, 1991, he sold the Trump Princess to Prince Al-Waleed for $19 million who renamed the yacht to ‘Kingdom 5KR’.
The design of the Trump Princess II was awarded to Oliver Yacht designs. Of course, the yacht was never built, and Oliver has been mum about the proposed Trump Princess II for decades, that is until recently when it released the story and the drawings. It seems that in 1993 at the Florida Boat Show, Donald Trump discovered the Oliver Yacht Design, a Spanish studio. Trump is said to have asked Oliver to design, “not only the largest yacht in the world, but at the same time, the most beautiful”.
Trump hired Oliver Designs headed by Jaime Oliver and his 25-year-old son Inigo. Their design fee was $170,000.00. Jamie and Inigo Oliver, assisted by their design team, came up with and incredible design. The 120-foot yacht featured state of the art everything There were to be four decks replete with a swimming pool, Jacuzzis and a heliport. The design as far as it went more than exceeded the Trump mandate to be the best. The areas where the Donald and his guests would be entertained much larger that similar yacht of the time. One would guess that in keeping with Trump’s taste, lots and lots of gold.
Then a boat designers worse nightmare happened. Donald Trump canceled just a few months into the design phase.
The Times (British) quoted Inigo Oliver, now the firm’s sales manager, as saying that “It was a great opportunity and a big challenge for us at the time. He knew what he wanted and paid for the complete design contract. But due to economic problems he was going through on his business it had to be abandoned.” At the time, Trump Princess II would have been the superest of super yachts. Times have change and now the specification for the Trump Princess II has been eclipsed by such yachts as the 590-foot, $600 million owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi. Azzam (Arab. “resolute”) is a private yacht built by Lürssen Yachts. Azzam was launched on 5 April 2013. She is 590 ft long with a beam of 68’4” and an unusually shallow draft of 14’1”. Right now she is the largest yacht in the world.
In 1991, Trump hit his own financial woes as his Taj Mahal casino floundered and he sold the first “Trump Princess” to Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al-Waleed. The New York Times reported the Trump Princess yacht was among the assets taken by his creditor banks as part of a wider restructuring of debts on his casinos in 1992. Trump was also forced to sell a 49% stake in the Plaza Hotel to his creditor banks, in a deal that slashed the value of the book value of his holding from $830 million to around $130 million.
The Washington Post reported on August 12, 1992 “One day in 1990, as Donald Trump tells it, he and model Marla Maples were strolling along New York’s Fifth Avenue when they passed a beggar.
“You see that man? Right now he’s worth $900 million more than me. ... Right now, I’m worth minus $900 million,’ Trump told Maples.
After a decade of profligate borrowing, Trump lacked the cash to make his loan payments. Although he owned hotels, skyscrapers, casinos and an airline, his debts exceeded the value of his properties by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Trump’s lenders could have forced him into personal bankruptcy and stripped him of almost everything. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the bankers and investors to whom Trump owed money made a series of deals that left him wealthy. They let him keep some properties and took control of others, and they reduced Trump’s personal debt by about $750 million, more than four-fifths of the total.”
So goes the heady world of super yachts and the super-rich men and women who own them. One thing is certain, when it comes to yachts, Donald Trump thinks big, bold and beautiful. The Trump Princess II would have been, had it been built, one of the most beautiful and truly incredible yachts of our time.