Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Will this thing even float? The craziest boats on the oceans

By Anouk Lorie for CNN
  • From luxurious eco-boats to sail-planes and super yachts designers pushed the envelope
  • 2009 has been the year of ground-breaking innovations and futuristic outlooks
  • MainSail takes a look back at the most surprising vessels of the year
  • Sailing
  • Sports

London, England (CNN) -- From catamarans made out of plastic bottles hoping to cross the Pacific Ocean to the recession-busting extravagance of billion-dollar superyachts, 2009 has been the year of crazy boats.

When it comes to design, famed architect Sir Norman Foster's spectacular "Ocean Emerald" stands out. The 41-meter superyacht is so precious it is not the property of any one owner, but split into 64 shares.

Design house, Hermes also got in on the act with a designer for a superyacht that looks like a floating island, complete with on-board "beach."

Perhaps the most mind-blowing design of the year was the superyacht that looks like an enormous shark or a killer whale. Seventy-six meter long "Oculus," projected to cost $95 million remains at the design stage currently.

2009 has also been a very green year, with many yachts proving their eco-credentials with novel, and at times, surprising innovations, like the luxury vessel designed to work like a wind farm.

Even more unusual was heir and maverick adventurer David Mayer de Rothschild's plan to cross the Pacific Ocean on a boat made of reclaimed plastic bottles.

In France, a group of friends turned a gas-guzzling tug boat into an eco-vessel, adding sails and solar panels to the "Manguier." They plan to use the boat to traverse the perilous, ice-filled Arctic sea passage that links the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific.

Eco-design hasn't been restricted green voyages. The team behind "Planet Solar," is currently building the world's largest and fastest fully solar-powered boat in preparation for a round-the-world challenge. It is projected to cross the Atlantic in only two weeks.

The ultimate prize for extreme boats this year must go to "Eclipse," the 160-meter (525-feet) monster yacht built by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. In a time of world-wide economic hardship, Abramovich is said to have splashed out $1.2 billion on his latest toy. "Eclipse's" militaristic appearance has also spurred news that the super-rich are arming their boats with military-grade defense systems.