STEVE JOBS SUPERYACHT VENUS: Barely Escapes From Simpson Bay Lagoon

Venus aerial

And now for something completely different. Steve Jobs’ 256-foot superyacht Venus, built by Feadship and completed in 2012, a year after his death, has been out and about this season and was most recently drone-videoed as it squeezed through the Simpson Bay drawbridge in St. Maarten. According to the Insider’s St. Maarten Island Guide, the yacht had been in SXM for two weeks and on Saturday headed out on a private charter.

In superyacht lingo, I guess Venus is what you’d call a “Simpson-Max” vessel, as in there is no possible way it could be any bigger and still fit through this bridge:

Got hand it to the skipper: he (or she?) has got some cojones for sure.

But what I really want to talk about is the boat’s appearance. Steve Jobs was justifiably renowned for his sense of taste and style when it came to electronic devices, but somehow, IMHO, it doesn’t seem to translate too well to boats.

Jobs worked with designer Philippe Starck in developing the boat and the goal was to create a minimalist superyacht, which, pardon me for saying so, is a gross oxymoron in and of itself. The boat, as you can see here, looks quite good in a forward quarter shot:

Venus fwd quarter

But the aft quarter is more problematic:

Venus aft quarter

Particularly when you close up the garage doors.

Venus transom

To me from these angles it looks like an ugly slab-sided gun emplacement. The “fortress pillbox” aesthetic is particularly noticeable when you consider the bridge, where the ship is controlled by a battery of seven iMac monitors.

Venus bridge

According to an interesting article in the French version of Vanity Fair, in which Starck both brags about his connection to Jobs and complains about Jobs’ anal personality and ego (takes one to know one is all I can say), Jobs was particularly interested in the interior design. Unfortunately, there are no photos available yet of the boat’s living spaces, except you can see a bit of one interesting-looking space way up forward in the bow in this shot:

Venus bow

I’m guessing there is no collision bulkhead. There’s really no point in having one of those if you’re going to live forward of it. Note also the Jacuzzi and lounge area up on the foredeck, which is likely a big PITA for line-handlers when docking. And the anchor deploys from much further aft than usual, so I’m wondering how much she sails around when lying to a hook. Though I suppose the answer to that problem is to just set both of them.

Bonus video: This is Venus noodling around the harbor at Horta on Faial in the Azores. You can see how awkward she looks at certain angles:

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7 Responses
  1. John Zeratsky

    Great find. That moment at 1:33 (with delicate application of the starboard bow thruster) is a nail-biter!

    I have to say: I’m more interested in the beautiful US-flagged ketch that follows Venus through the bridge.

  2. Mark

    I was working a for a bit at Rybovich a couple of years ago when the boat was almost new. We were not allowed on the boat with our phones to prevent us from taking pictures of the interior. To say the captain was anal would be an understatement and there was so much secrecy surrounding the boat they really did not weant anyone on it all. All I will say is that this is one funky boat and the interior is akin to a big Beneteau sailboat in style.

  3. Don Joyce

    Definitely different from the norm. Nonetheless, I assume the designer was given functional criteria that helped shape what we see.

  4. Paul Gelder

    Great video? But maybe Steve Jobs should have asked Jonathan Ive to design his superyacht? Venus’s slab-sided stern is more a homage to Kim Kardashian’s than the revered statues of the Goddess of beauty!

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