Russian Billionaires Save Yacht Builders From Recession Collapse

While you’re worried about paying for gas for your car, Middle Eastern and Russian oil barons are busy fueling up their yachts…

AP: Fuel prices are soaring and credit markets tightening, but the super-rich are still lining up to pay tens of millions of dollars for mega yachts.

The well-heeled buyers of the floating mansions are increasingly coming from emerging economies — in the Middle East, Russia and South America. The source of their wealth runs the gamut — technology, venture capitalism, new industries. And, yes, oil.

“There are a lot of people with new wealth looking for relaxation and enjoyment,” said John Dane III, president of privately owned Trinity Yachts, the largest U.S. builder.

These days, the biggest problem at Trinity’s shipbuilding yards is having enough workers to handle the 24 custom contracts the company currently is working for the luxury vessels.

In fact, while many yacht companies still derive most of their business from the U.S., overseas boat buyers have boosted sales.

YCO Deuxil PLC, has nine yachts under construction — more than double from last year. Sales for the first five months exceeded the entire amount for 2007, the London-based company said.

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