Roman Abramovich’s £1.2m a week yacht

Fancy something different for your holiday this summer? Cruise the Med in Russian billionnaire Roman Abramovich's super-yacht the Eclipse - it will only cost you £1.2m a week.

It seems I'm not the only one to find the cost of running a yacht increasingly prohibitive (see Blowing it', passim). In recent years, even oligarchs have started to rent out their mega-yachts to help with the vast running costs. The latest to join the group is Roman Abramovich. He is offering the chance to relax on his 533ft Eclipse for a mere £1.2m a week.

I made the mistake of buying a boat some years ago. Over the years I have enjoyed brief trips on it. Mainly, though, I've ploughed in a lot of money vainly attempting to keep the vessel seaworthy. But my costs pale into insignificance compared with the money involved in keeping Eclipse out of the dry dock. The world's largest private yacht cost Abramovich £300m to build. It's so big that when it turned up unannounced in Venice last month, locals and tourists complained that it was ruining the city's best views. It chews up an estimated £50m a year just in running costs just filling up with fuel will set you back £400,000.

Naturally, I seized the opportunity to show my wife how reasonable my own expenses have been in comparison. But she was quick to point out how much more Abramovich gets for his money. The Eclipse comes with a professional crew of 70 to tend to your every whim. Mine comprises me plus the odd reluctant family member. But then if my boat boasted a hair salon, gym, two swimming pools and a private submarine, the rest of my family might be more eager to jump onboard. The Eclipse also has its own missile defence system, armour plating and a paparazzi shield' that fires a laser beam at cameras to spoil photographs.

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It seems even a man of Abramovich's means has realised that paying £50m a year for a boat he barely sets foot on since he took delivery of it in December he's spent less than a day on board is daft. Especially when he has two other mega-yachts at his disposal. So he's aiming to recoup some of the costs with his rental offer although at £1.2m a week I don't think he's going to be overbooked. And he's not the only mega-yacht owner to go down this path either. You can also spend your holidays on Johnny Depp's, P Diddy's or Eric Clapton's floating palaces.

One man who is happy to heroically shoulder his running costs alone is Steven Spielberg. He has been sailing around the Mediterranean in his £220m luxury yacht, Seven Seas, with goddaughter Gwyneth Paltrow. His running costs were unexpectedly bumped up last week after he was confronted by Italian coastguards for driving the speedboat that comes with his yacht too close to the shoreline. His fine €172 would have been small change for a man of Spielberg's means. Given the size of Italy's debts, I'm surprised they didn't ask him for more.

Meanwhile, I'm looking at yet another repair bill for my own humble vessel. Perhaps I should sell it and save up my money to rent Abramovich's boat. It sometimes feels as though that would be the cheaper option.

Tabloid money Don't send Greece money send them Germans

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The German government keeps sending the Greeks money to stave off bankruptcy. "But surely it would be better if they sent Germans instead," says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun. They are "people who understand the concept of a hard day's work and the importance of actually paying some tax once in a while".

The economy is in a black hole and "public-sector jobs are dropping faster than Katie Price's knickers". But guess the latest taxpayer-funded public initiative, says Fiona McIntosh in the Sunday Mirror. Soon families across the country will be visited by a team of jobsworths telling them off for using their cars. Armed with timetables and cycle-route maps they will deliver a "doorstep rant" about sustainable travel benefits. "I only hope they've taken out personal accident insurance, because I know what the response will be." Could the £156m cost of the initiative not have been spent improving public transport?

Britney Spears is being sued by her former bodyguard over her "disgusting hygiene habits", says Jennifer Selway in the Daily Express. Fernando Flores claims she would break wind "unselfconsciously and unapologetically" in his presence. "I have no sympathy." If a bodyguard "can't handle a little bottie burp, what chance is there of him taking a bullet for you"?