What will be Fortuna’s Fate?

Spain’s king wants to hand over his yacht for austerity reasons, but donors want it back.

136 Izar Fortuna

The King of Spain is trying to give the 136-foot Izar Fortuna to the government, but a consortium of businesspeople say they want her instead.

Not long after the 136-foot Izar Fortuna launched in 2000, she was crowned fastest yacht in the world, besting 66 knots. This greatly pleased King Juan Carlos of Spain, who has always liked fast boats and who has had the pleasure of using Fortuna all these years thanks to the generosity of the businesspeople who paid to build her.

Nowadays, though, with Spain's unemployment rate at 27 percent, it doesn't look so good for the King to be using taxpayer money to refuel Fortuna at an estimated $30,000-plus per fill-up. He offered to give Spain's government the $27 million motoryacht as a show of solidarity with the people — only to be sidelined by a foundation representing the businesspeople, who say that if the King will no longer be using Fortuna, they want her back.

Fortuna is currently at anchor off Mallorca in the Balearic Isles, which is where the 30 or so businesspeople who paid to build her have ties to hotels, banks and the regional government. The idea, they say, has always been that the King would use Fortuna to help promote the tourism destination. The yacht should be returned to them, they argue, if the King is not going to bring attention to the Balearics by cruising aboard Fortuna.

The matter is currently before the administrators of Spain's national patrimony. It's worth noting that the King, who is 75 years old, used Fortuna only once in all of 2012. Perhaps the yacht is no longer as big of a thrill as she used to be, what with the 139-foot Millennium Super Yachts World is Not Enough having surpassed her to take the world's fastest title at 70 knots.