If you were a millionaire who could have any kind of superyacht designed and built from scratch, what would that be? For U.S. financier Robert Mercer, it was a massive ship inspired by fairytales and meant to delight the kids in his family. In a sea of so-called “party yachts” and rugged explorers, the Sea Owl emerged as a unique children’s paradise, where playful decor merges with extravagant luxury.
The Sea Owl is now a decade old, but still one of the most iconic superyachts ever built. Even if you knew nothing about its mind-blowing interiors, you’d immediately notice it. Luxury pleasure craft that aren’t white, grey, or dark blue are rare, and green ones are the unicorn of the yachting world. With its jade green hull and oyster-white superstructure, the Sea Owl is instantly set apart from all other vessels.
Once onboard, get ready to become immersed into an otherworldly atmosphere. This is the work of one of the most iconic designers of all time, Andrew Winch. His London-based studio is known for bringing to life some of the most stunning superyachts and private jets in the world. Winch has designed seven Feadship superyachts, and the Sea Owl is by far one of his greatest works.
For the world-renown Dutch builder, this is the most personalized yacht it has ever made. Filled with intricate details and unexpected visual delights, this floating masterpiece could someday become a successful museum – perhaps it will, in a distant future. Until then, it continues to enchant adults looking to relax and enjoy a high-class vacation, and especially kids of all ages.
Feadship described this yacht’s owner as “very family-oriented,” and it seems that Mercer wanted something that would make his children and grandchildren happy. He already owned a similar pleasure craft, now known as Shadowl, which is a smaller, 141-foot (43 meters) Burger yacht. He came up with the idea of a fairytale-inspired yacht back in 2008, but it took several years to find a shipyard.
Finally, in 2013, the Feadship-built, 203-foot (62 meters) Sea Owl emerged. Its amenities sounded like those of typical luxury yachts – seven staterooms, a glamorous dining area, a spa pool, an outdoor cinema, and so on. But Andrew Winch’s genius turned off all of that into something completely unique.
For instance, the children’s rooms aren’t just smaller, simpler cabins. On the contrary, they are some of the most delightful rooms one could see. Each has its unique theme, and each theme has a literary source, such as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, or pirate stories.
In addition to the kids’ cabins, and a nanny cabin, there’s also a classroom onboard, with fold-out balconies and a hidden Murphy bed. The large master suite, on the main deck, includes a generous library and a spacious office, where the desk is a custom replica of a French model from the 18th century, by Serge Mirochnikoff. Even the ceiling is a work of art, displaying a fresco that reproduces an 1800’s map of the world.
All interior spaces are heavily adorned, boasting a style that’s equally whimsical and opulent. The main salon features hand-knotted carpets from Nepal, a dazzling Venetian glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly, and a rosewood Steinway baby grand piano. The staff cabin displays frescos of fossil seashells. Even the elevator that connects all the decks is custom painted.
One of the most remarkable details is a hand-carved ornament, made from Brazilian mahogany wood, representing the Tree of Life. It embraces the central staircase all the way to the top, and the motif is continued both on the wall panels and the floor.
Although classic and majestic, the Sea Owl is a family-friendly yacht at its core. Folks on board can barbecue, lay in the sun, or watch a game on one of the pop-up TVs. They can hit the gym, get a nice massage, and spend an afternoon at the outdoor cinema.
The Sea Owl even comes with matching toys, including two custom Hodgdon tenders (a 28-footer/8.6 meters and a 27-footer/8.4 meters) and a smaller RIB.
You might not expect this from such a friendly yacht, but the Sea Owl also boasts a state-of-the-art surveillance system. Fitted with 360-degree-view security cameras and fingerprint-recognition keypads, this superyacht is ready to ensure the safety and privacy of its guests, wherever they travel.
Performance-wise, this green vessel is equipped to handle trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific crossings, able to cover more than 6,000 nautical miles (11,100 km) at a cruising speed of 16 knots (18.4 mph/29.6 kph).
It’s no surprise that the Sea Owl won the title of “Best Displacement Motor Yacht” in its size category, at the 2014 World Superyacht Awards. Despite its age, it was kept in great shape by its owner (its unique green color was refreshed in 2018) and it’s ready to bring joy to all of those who are young at heart, for many more decades.
If anyone had been admiring it from afar during all this time, they now have the chance to grab it, as long as they can part with a whopping $90 million. The Sea Owl is one of the most expensive superyachts on the market, and just as unforgettable.