Jeff Bezos has built an online retail behemoth, spent time as the richest sentient being alive and even financed the development of a rocket that he himself was the first to ride to space.
All that may be cool, but it still raises the obvious question: How big is his yacht?
The answer, it appears, is that it’s too big to make it from the Dutch shipyard where it was built to the sea, without its handlers having to dismantle a bridge along the way.
The historic bridge in Rotterdam can be raised to allow boats to pass under it, but not a boat with a mast as tall as the one on the superyacht Oceanco built for Bezos. The sailing vessel, code-named Y721, is 417 feet (127 meters) long, according to Boat International, and has three huge masts that can’t be accommodated by the bridge, even when the bridge is raised to its full height of over 130 feet (40 meters).
The bridge is called Koningshavenbrug, but it goes by the nickname “De Hef” (“heffen” is Dutch for “lift”). It was originally built in 1927 and survived a World War II bombardment in 1940, but it won’t survive the passing of the Amazon founder’s yacht in one piece.
In fairness, the dismantling would be temporary, and De Hef has been taken apart before. It was disassembled in 2017 for renovations, and the municipal government promised that the landmark, which is also a protected national monument, wouldn’t be taken apart again.
But this promise could be broken if a plan to temporarily remove the middle section of the bridge moves forward.
Rotterdam officials told Dutch broadcaster Rijnmond that breaking that promise was the “only alternative” and that the behemoth yacht is an important project for the local economy. The report said costs for the deconstruction would be paid for by Oceanco, which might pass them on to Bezos.
Following initial media reports, Rotterdam officials said Thursday that a decision on the plan hadn’t yet been made, according to The New York Times.
Representatives for Oceanco said they couldn’t comment on the project, citing “privacy and strict confidentiality reasons.”
The controversy did allow local politician Stephan Leewis to sum up his perspective with a sick burn and pun in one: “We have to tear down our beautiful national monument? That is really going a bridge too far.”