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Miami River Hosts Mega Yachts

At least once every four to five years, yachts must find a boatyard with sufficient lifting capacity and quality workmanship to tweak the running gear, repaint the hull, and add the latest in electronics and navigation equipment. As reported in the Caribbean Magazine in their October-December 2011 edition, this may also include adding a few meters in length to such a vessel to accommodate some new interior design concepts.

Golden Odyssey, a 264 foot/80.50 meter vessel was built at the Blohm & Voss yard in Hamburg, Germany and delivered in 1990. In 1995, Golden Odyssey had a refit at the Campbell shipyard. There her hull was lengthened from 76m to 80.5m after a modification of her stern. She also got a fully repaint. From time to time she underwent several small refits at different (undisclosed) yards.

Golden Odyssey is the flagship of the Golden Fleet and is sailing seas all over the world with her support yacht Golden Shadow (219 ft/66.75m) and the sport fishermen Golden Osprey (96 ft/27.45m). Beside many tenders and oceanographic equipment, from May 1999 onwards, a Cessna 208 Caravan Sea Plane for two pilots and eight guests was added to the Golden Fleet and is stowed aboard the Golden Shadow. The owner, His Royal Highness Price Khaled bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, has considerable interest in oceanography and often makes scientific research voyages with his fleet. The Crown Price is the founder and chief sponsor of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. Hence, the Golden Odyssey has a coral reef aquarium distributed over two decks and a window in the bow for Dolphin-watching.

Since February of 2011, the vessels of the Golden Fleet have made their mark on the entrance to the Miami River at their berth at the Epic Marina. The Golden Fleet are reportedly the largest and most unique single yacht ensemble in the world.

In addition, yacht builder David Marlow has purchased the world-famous Merrill Stevens boatyard on the Miami River. Malcolm Forbes' Highlander and Jacques Cousteau's Calypso reportedly call for service at the boatyard, now called the Marlow Merrill Stevens yard. There are plans to reportedly upgrade the yard's existing 500-ton Syncrolift to 750 tons, with a 100-ton Travelift being replaced by a 220-ton lift. With the extra lifting capacity, Marlow will be able to haul 115 foot vessels on the south side of the yard and 170-180 foot vessels on the north side of the yard. 

Thus, reports of Miami's demise as a shipyard destination appear to be mistaken. While it is true that the Miami River is dotted with huge high rise buildings on either side of this waterway, it remains the "logistics nexus of the Caribbean", as aptly named by the Miami River Marine Group.

If you are interested in received a complete copy of the Caribbean Maritime article or are interested in contact me, please feel free to do so at miamipandi@comcast.net.

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    Yacht Crew

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