We’ve moved just over two nautical miles and are currently anchored in the nautical tourist town of Tivat. The town has watercraft from tiny dinghies penned behind stone walls, to some of the most expensive boats ever built in the world. Expensive can in some cases mean ‘ugly’, but of course, it’s subjective and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
We are being dwarfed by the biggest, sleekest, most glamourous yacht anchored in our backyard. Black Pearl is the world’s second-largest sailing yacht, and we last set eyes on her in Mallorca last year when her one and only owner was still alive.
Technically advanced, built in the Netherlands and launched in 2016, Black Pearl is just under 107 metres in length. She has a steel hull painted in the deepest glistening shade imaginable of metallic blue. The photos simply do not do this nautical jewel justice. She is an aluminium superstructure with three DynaRig carbon fibre masts with high-performance sails. The masts are so large that they look like lighting installations for a major sporting venue such as Eden Park or Twickenham.
It is one of the wonders of the morning to watch the masts rotate, each independently. The black sails absorb solar power which is stored to run the yacht’s electronics. She can braggingly achieve over 30 knots under sail and is reputedly beyond efficient, claiming to be capable of crossing the entire Atlantic ocean using scarcely a breath of fuel, around just 20 litres.
She is not for sale. She is not for charter. She is uber-famous. Like a glamourous movie star, enigmatic in her prime desiring lights and dazzle, yet hermit-like, secretive, and wanting to be alone too. Mysteriously, Black Pearl has never had any interior photos released or shared with the outside world. The interiors remain a closely guarded secret.
She is Cayman Island flagged and cost US$200 million to build. And she is now at the centre of an epic legal wrangle. Her owner was Russian oligarch billionaire Oleg Burlakov but he succumbed to Covid-19 last year. She is now moored here in Tivat and said to be owned by his family, but the legal wranglings over Burlakov’s will are film-worthy. The fight has seen all sorts of tawdry details emerge and it’s tough to sort real-life soap opera facts from fiction. At his time of death, he was apparently in mid-divorce with proceedings against his wife, in favour of his 27-year-old lover who now claims to have had his child, and there is talk of exhumation for DNA evidence. Since his passing, at least one other will, apparently handwritten, has surfaced. It’ll make a fascinating book someday and I wonder who will buy the movie rights.
For this music and film buff, the drama of the Black Pearl in Tivat smacks more of a swashbuckling Blackbeard or a “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise “The Curse of the Black Pearl”. Such cutthroat ugliness is sad and in time we’ll know who the hostages are and who is going to be forced to walk the plank. As they say, pirates aren’t really the type to leave a will!
This 60’s R&B track vinyl release was written and produced by Phil Spector, (Toni Wine and Irwin Levine. also have writing credit) It’s an earworm performed by Sonny Charles and the Checkmates. We are now an Amazon affiliate, which means you can purchase this song now if you love it.
Black pearl precious little girl
Let me put you up where you belong
Because I love you
Black pearl pretty little girl
You been in the background much too long
Together we’ll stand so straight and so tall
Created by love to love one and all
Hey heart to heart soul to soul
No other one could ever take your place
My world is built around
The very smile that’s on your face
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