By David Robinson

IllusionThe sale of the largest yacht yet built in China, by Pride Mega Yachts, and the launch of the first of a new series of specially designed luxury yachts by Azimut for the Chinese market have been announced. These announcements jointly reflect China’s growing importance in the large luxury yacht market.

The largest yacht yet built in China, by volume as opposed to length, is the 88.8m (292ft) Illusion. It was closed in a deal understood by SB sources to be with a European client, by Jan Jaap Minnema at Fraser Yachts in Monaco. Fraser Yachts has been the central agent for the sale of the Illusion.

Minnema commented: “I have been working closely with Pride Mega Yachts on this project for several years now. They have a thoroughly experienced team made up of experts from all over the world and they are committed to delivering the high standards that were are accustomed to with European building.”

Due for delivery in October 2015, Illusion has an interior volume of 3,603 gross tonnes and a 15.8m beam. Her spacious design has been further enhanced by the use of fine woods, rare natural stone and metals. The yacht was designed by Azure Naval Architects, with exterior styling by Rainsford Saunders Design (now RMD Marine) and the interior design developed by Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design.

A Pride spokesman said: “The success of such a significant sale is proof that the superyacht industry is buoyant and that sales of large yachts are flourishing once again. I believe the sale is another sign that the market as a whole is doing very well. The interest from potential buyers is on the rise, particularly for large megayachts, evident by the increased number of enquiries.

“We are delighted,” he continued, “that the buyer of Illusion is so experienced and passionate about yachting, allowing him to appreciate Illusion’s unique qualities even before her launch. I would also like to thank the people at Blue Water Yachting and Jan Jaap Minnema of Fraser Yachts for their help throughout the course of this transaction.”

Over the weekend, at an event in Xiamen, Azimut launched the first of its Dragon China series, a 20m (66ft) yacht that was specifically designed for the Chinese market. The Dragon China series is set to provide Azimut’s Asian, and in particular Chinese, clientele with the best boating experience. The builder has devised made-to-measure concepts and styles for this project.

The first Azimut models to appear will be the Azimut 66 Dragon China, the Azimut 70 Dragon China and the Azimut 80 Dragon China (interior design and concept by Azimut Style Department), and the Azimut 88 Dragon China (interior design and concept by Achille Salvagni Architetti). This single, coherent project follows the logic of the various models’ characteristics and has been designed to satisfy specific local requirements.