— September 2004
By Diane M. Byrne
When IrishBliss asked why television stations in Lisbon, Portugal, were reporting about Roman Abramovich’s yachts Pelorus and Le Grand Bleu, MichaelaB replied that it was because the soccer team Abramovich owns, Chelsea Football Club, was competing in the Euro 2004 games and that “megayachts like that are a rare site in Portugal.” And when Margaret discovered a link to a New York Post article talking about a 200-footer Goygpus supposedly owned by Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Alan Warner figured that the yacht Gates really had been aboard was the 414-foot Octopus. And Schibbelfitz replied, “Well, [Bill Gates] doesn’t brag about his money, and there are—even if it is VERY HARD to understand—some people in this world that don’t go totally crazy about yachts like WE do!”
At this point I should probably mention that all these conversations occurred while IrishBliss remained in her home in Ireland, MichaelaB was in Portugal, Margaret and Alan Warner stayed in their respective homes in England, and Schibbelfitz relaxed in his home in Germany. And that none of them had ever met.
This is what’s been going on in the Megayachts forum at powerandmotoryacht.zeroforum.com since January. Yacht-watchers from across the United States, as well as from Sweden, Beligum, the Netherlands, England, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates, just to name a few countries, have been logging on to trade information, ask questions, and generally share their admiration of these yachts.
As you’d expect, the most popular discussions (called threads) involve the world’s largest yachts. For example, in mid-July the Pelorus thread already had 106 postings and had been viewed more than 13,000 times. The Octopus thread had similar activity: 75 postings and more than 17,000 views. And even though Rising Sun hasn’t been delivered yet, the 69 postings, as of this writing, have been viewed nearly 7,000 times.
While much of the discussions involve where the yachts have been seen and questions about some of their features, other discussions involve truly educational lessons. For example, forum member AndyLindy started a discussion about the newly effective ILO/IMO Code of Practice, which requires port authorities around the world to assess their security measures and take steps to protect the ports, particularly from terrorists. He and other members wondered if these new rules would mean that ports long popular with the general yacht-watching public would suddenly become fenced in or otherwise off-limits to them. The thread caught the attention of member Laurent, who runs the ports of Nice, Cannes, Villefranche, and Golfe-Juan along the French Riviera. He put the fears to rest, explaining that extreme measures would not be required. “No one wants to see their ports turning into a military base; that would ruin the very economy they are trying to protect,” he wrote.
AndyLindy also started a discussion on life-saving equipment. As I write this on July 14, it has been viewed 248 times—and Andy only posted it yesterday.
The ability to share information like this and learn a thing or two has made the Megayachts forum the most-visited online site devoted to the topic.
And speaking of the topic, starting in October we’ll be adding a regular section to this column called “Hot Topics,” to update you on what’s being discussed on the forum.
In the meantime, I invite you to register as a user, join the discussions, and even start some of your own.
This article originally appeared in the August 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.