Luxury superyacht Force Blue — once owned by American tycoon Roy Speer and later by Italian millionaire Flavio Briatore — ended up in the hands of former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who flipped it for an impressive profit.
From Jeff Bezos to Vladimir Putin, everyone who’s anyone has a fancy superyacht. Now, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone hasn’t just joined that privileged club, but he’s shown everyone else how to make a quick buck in the process.
As reported by Auto Evolution, Force Blue entered the world more than two decades ago in 2002. It spent its initial seven years under Roy Speer’s ownership. However, the journey took an exciting turn when Flavio Briatore acquired the Royal Denship yacht. Like many superyacht owners, Briatore gave it a makeover, infusing it with Italian style.
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A Decade of Waiting
Unfortunately for Briatore, his time with Force Blue was short-lived: In 2010, Italian authorities seized the yacht due to allegations of unpaid taxes while it was docked in the famous La Spezia on the Italian Riviera. While legal battles between Briatore and the authorities raged on, Force Blue waited in limbo.
Force Blue languished without a rightful owner for an entire decade as legal disputes rolled on. Then, in 2021, the yacht suddenly went up for auction. The winning bidder? Bernie Ecclestone, former Chief Exec of Formula One and a close friend of Briatore.
Ecclestone secured the yacht for an absolute steal: With a starting bid of just €7 million (~$12 million AUD), this was less than half of its estimated value and a fraction of what Briatore had reportedly paid for it back in 2009, which was just under $87 million USD (~$115 million AUD).
Ecclestone’s Makeover Magic
Ecclestone wasted no time after acquiring Force Blue: He embarked on a comprehensive refit that transformed the old expedition yacht into a modern, high-end vessel.
The refit boasts a beach club, a state-of-the-art spa — considered one of the largest spa facilities on the water — a private cinema and, perhaps most impressively, a DJ booth with a massive disco-lighting rig that’s capable of accommodating up to 60 seated guests or over 300 for quay events.
Weighing in at over 1,300 tons, Force Blue provides lavish accommodation for 12 guests and a sizable crew of 19. The lower deck featured five guest cabins, while the upper deck was dedicated to the full-beam master suite.
It’s safe to say that with its brand-new full-height windows offering stunning sea views, Force Blue has become a superyacht that inspires envy amongst the rich elites who seem to purchase these vessels like it’s going out of fashion. No doubt it now requires the kind of extensive, cutting-edge security that we’ve come to see across the sector too.
Most impressively, however, is its massively increased worth after the refit, especially when you take into account the bargain bucket price that Eccelstone snapped it up for.
While experts are being cagey about an updated sale price, seemingly not wanting to let a number slip before Eccelstone decides he’s ready to sell and — given his undeniable business nouse — figures out his own magic number, suffice to say he should be able to more than triple his €7 million investment…
While most superyacht owners are hardly strapped for cash, it’s still quite the flex to make such an impressive return on such a massive and seemingly superfluous investment… it seems that Bernie’s still got it.