While perusing the pages of this, our latest list of America’s 100 Largest Yachts, you’re likely to notice something of a trend. At presstime, a lot of the boats on the following pages were on the market—both newer builds and old. Now what’s that all about? you might wonder. But don’t fret. It doesn’t mean that there’s been a panic in the superyacht sphere and that owners are suddenly ditching their vessels left and right. On the contrary, it shows that the megayacht market—especially the secondary one—is alive and well. Don’t believe it? Consider this: In April and May of this year, a whopping 36 mega-yachts were reported sold. They weren’t all American-owned, but the fact that they moved in this economy shows that people are still selling their yachts with surprising ease. And, as always, many owners are subsequently moving up to bigger ones.
Still feeling pessimistic? Here’s a story: Lone Ranger, the 255-foot converted icebreaking tug that has long appeared in the top ten of this list, isn’t on it this year. She wasn’t sold, nor did anything bad happen to her. Instead, her owners donated her to a US-based charitable foundation so she can do oceanographic exploration (which means she’s no longer privately owned and thus, doesn’t meet our criteria for inclusion). An owner giving away a vessel that’s been valued at approximately $50 million? If that doesn’t make you feel good about megayachts—and megayachters—nothing will.
1 Rising Sun — 452'8"Once dubbed Fortune’s, “Next Richest Man In the World,” software giant Larry Ellison has a serious need for speed. He’s an avid aerobat and a champion sailor. Good thing his massive Rising Sun reportedly has a sprightly cruising speed of 26 knots thanks to 48,000 hp.
Y: 2004; B: Lrssen, Germany; N: builder; H: steel; E: 4/12,000-hp MTUs
2 Octopus — 414'0"When you think Octopus, think two, not eight.
Why? Well, with accommodations for 26 guests and 57 crew, she has a staff-to-guest ratio of better than two-to-one. Plus she carries two helicopters and two submarines. (Okay, she does have eight engines.)
Paul Allen’s Octopus has so many fans, they’ve started a Web site. Motoryachtoctopus.com has photos, gossip, and more. It’s also compatible with your iPhone and iPod Touch—a bit ironic given that Allen made his fortune at Microsoft.
Y: 2003; B: Lrssen, Germany; N: Espen ino Naval Architects; H: steel; E: 8/2,400-hp NO Mercedes Benzes
3 LE Grand Bleu — 370'0"The Dragonfly water system reportedly installed on Le Grand Bleu in 2008 turns black water into clean H2O in a series of holding tanks that grind wastewater, treat it with waste-eating bacteria, then treat it again with ozone. The result? Drinkable, reusable water, and lots of it.
Y: 2000; B: Vulkan, Germany; N: Kusch Yachtagentur; H: steel; E: 2/4,570-hp Deutz-MWMs
4 Limitless — 315'8"Times are tough but Limited Brands CEO Leslie Wexner isn’t feeling the pinch. According to the New York Daily News, Limitless’ owner made $700,000 more in 2008 than in 2007, good news considering the upkeep that this behemoth requires. She was recently in Germany, undergoing a systems update and structural improvements at the Nobiskrug shipyard.
Y: 1997; B: Lrssen, Germany; N: builder; H: steel; E: 3/7,268-hp Caterpillars
5 Attessa — 302'4"While anchored off of Sausalito, California, for the summer, Attessa certainly attracted her share of fans. Regional publications mourned her departure for Vancouver, Canada, in August, and she even inspired a work of fiction in an area literary magazine.
Y: 1997; B: Hayashikane, Japan; N: Diana Yacht Design; H: steel; E: 2/6,598-hp Wartsilas
6 Tatoosh — 301'8"Named after a Makah Indian chief, Paul Allen’s 300-footer spent much of the fall in Antibes, France. She reportedly features a movie theater, a six-foot-deep pool, an infirmary, and two 40-foot Hinckleys.
Y: 2000; B: H.D.W. Nobiskrug, Germany; N: Studio Acht/Kusch Yachtagentur; H: steel; E: 2/3,360-hp Deutz-MWMs
7 C2 — 257'3"Though almost everything about this blue-hulled beauty’s been kept a secret, several sources have confirmed to us that her uber-private owners are indeed Americans. If she looks familiar, it might be because she’s sister to Eminence (No. 46 on the PMY 100), though hers is a less-curvy profile.
Y: 2008; B: Abeking & Rasmussen, Germany; N: builder; H: steel; E: 2/2,000-hp Caterpillars
8 Madsummer — 257'2"Toys abound on our August cover boat, much to the delight of the guests who pay a reported $1 million per week to charter her. She holds three 25- to 30-foot tenders, two of which are custom, and one of which has been described as “gondola-esque.”
Y: 2008; B: Lrssen, Germany; N: Espen ino Naval Architects; H: steel; E: Unknown
9 Talitha — 247'4"There have been many iterations of Talitha, which is currently owned by the Getty family. Since she launched in 1929, she’s been known as Reveler, Chalena, Carola, Talitha G, and more. In 1942 she was mobilized and commissioned as the USS Beaumont. She operated out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, carrying—among other things—six anti-aircraft guns and a crew of 110.
Y: 1929/1994; B: Krupps Kiel, Germany; N: Cox & Stevens; H: steel; E: 2/1,400-hp Caterpillars
10 Laurel — 240'0"Though she’s long been one of the largest yachts built in the United States, Laurel will soon be dwarfed by Cake-walk, a 280-footer being built at the Derecktor yard in Bridgeport, Connec-ticut (“America Overcoming,” pg. 72).
Y: 2006; B: Delta Marine, USA; N: Delta Design Group; H: steel; E: 2/2,500-hp Caterpillars
11 Utopia — 234'9"Her owner recently put Utopia on the market for a reported $70 million, though at presstime, she hadn’t yet sold. When she does, her new owner will surely enjoy her master suite, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and a private gym.
Y: 2004; B: Feadship/De Vries Scheepsbouw, Holland; N: De Voogt International; H: steel; E: 2/2,000-hp Caterpillars
12 Skat — 233'0"Skat’s tough look is mirrored in her decidedly masculine interior, which was conceived of by Milanese designer Marco Zanini. He included unique functional touches like “Do Not Disturb” lights outside each guest cabin.
Y: 2002; B: Lrssen, Germany; N: builder/Espen ino Naval Architects; H: steel; E: 2/2,680-hp MTUs
13 Reverie — 229'7"One of the largest Benetti’s ever features a whopping seven decks and—fortunately for guests—an elevator that services six of them. Even her engine room is multi-level, with her two 2,000-hp Cats and marine gears housed in the lower level, while her gensets, desalination plants, and more are in the mezzanine.
Y: 2000; B: Benetti, Italy; N: builder; H: steel; E: 2/2,000-hp Caterpillars
14 Martha Ann — 229'6"Talk about a party spot! Martha Anne’s upper aft deck has what’s been dubbed a “swim spa”—a Jacuzzi and lap pool with an adjacent U-shape wet bar that has 11 seats, four of which are submerged. Plus, overhead louvers mean that sun-shy guests can opt to let loose in the shade.
Y: 2008; B: Lrssen, Germany; N: builder/Espen ino Naval Architects; H: steel; E: 2/1,850-hp Caterpillars
15 Attessa — 225'0"A more apt name for Dennis Washington’s yacht might have been Phoenix as this former 203-footer (the ex-Lady Avila) caught fire in the Red Sea in 2001. Washington bought her and had her entire interior removed, extended her main and bridge decks, and added a new sundeck before re-launching her in 2005.
Y: 1998/2005; B: Feadship/Royal Van Lent, Holland; N: De Voogt International; H: steel; E: 2/2,200-hp Caterpillars
16 Lady Anne — 224'7"This yacht was built for a husband and wife who’d worked in fashion and architecture, respectively, and had a strict sense what they wanted. The duo reportedly mandated that the onboard furniture be built without any 45-degree angles in the joinery, and that the master bath feature ultra-rare pure-white, trip-grade Thassos marble.
Y: 2006; B: Amels, Holland; N: Walter Franchini Design; H: steel; E: 2/2,374-hp Caterpillars
17 Kismet — 223'1"Though her lower decks feature formal art deco and Persian design elements, Kismet gets more casual as you ascend. Coined the “beach house,” her upper-deck lounge features wooden-bark flooring, Hindu statues, and a table topped with resin-coated banana leaves.
Y: 2007; B: Lrssen, Germany; N: builder/Espen ino Naval Architects; H: steel;E: 2/1,850-hp Caterpillars
18 Archimedes — 222'3"This boat features several glass etchings, many of them by the artist Chris Sommer. If you’ve got an eye for art, head to YouTube and search for Sommer’s name: You’ll find a video of him etching one of Archimedes’ pieces on-site.
Y: 2008; B: Feadship/Royal Van Lent, Holland; N: De Voogt International; H: steel; E: 2/2,000-hp Caterpillars
19 White Cloud — 220'10"Among the favorite locales of megayacht owners are destinations like France and the Bahamas. It’s less common, however, for superyachts to cruise around Virginia, which is exactly what White Cloud did this summer, staying in the area for several weeks. Residents of Hampton Roads were whipped into a frenzy, snapping photos and posting them online. Even the local paper got in the game, speculating that the boat’s owner is media mogul Barry Diller.
Y: 1983; B: Feadship/Royal Van Lent Shipyard, Holland; N: Jon Bannenberg/De Voogt Naval Architects; H: steel; E: 2/3,000-hp MTUs
20 Allure Shadow — 220'0"Tom and Kimberly Gonzales, the founders of Shadow Marine, dubbed this boat a “sport-utility vessel.” The duo’s company took a decommissioned oil-services boat and refitted her so that she’s able to lug all manner of toys, including the heaviest private helicopters.
Y: 1982/2007; B: Bender Shipbuilding, USA/Shadow Marine, USA; N: builder/Shadow Marine; H: steel; E: 2/1,225-hp MTUs
21 Turmoil — 209'0"Designed to be a world explorer, Turmoil—which is owned by the family of Gary Comer, the late founder of Lands’ End—is Royal Denship’s largest expedition yacht. She’s also science-ready, thanks to a wet lab that supports visiting scientists from places like Columbia University and Penn State. They’re able to collect water samples and conduct analyses, then head aft to the lecture room to discuss their results.
Y: 2006; B: Royal Denship, Denmark; N: Ole Steen Knudsen; H: steel; E: 2/2,250-hp Caterpillars
22 Apogee — 205'0"With her Bose surround-sound equipment, a high-tech karaoke system, and a Wurlitzer jukebox, Apogee resonates with musically inclined charter guests. Those looking to get wet can enjoy her four Kawasaki water bikes and two clear-bottomed kayaks.
Y: 2003; B: Codecasa, Italy; N: builder; H: steel; E: 2/2,260-hp Caterpillars
23 Fortunato — 204'5"Guests who stay in one of this yacht’s six lower-deck staterooms are fortunate indeed—they enjoy, among other things, queen and king Tempur-Pedic mattresses and a guest elevator that takes them up to the sundeck. Better yet, no matter what their nationality, odds are they’ll be able to chat with the boat’s captain, Niels Ackermans. He’s fluent in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, and German.
Y: 2000; B: Feadship, Royal Van Lent Shipyard, Holland; N: De Voogt Naval Architects; H: steel; E: 2/2,000-hp Caterpillars
24 Mylin IV — 200'0"Micky Arison, the head of Carnival Cruise Lines, inherited this yacht from his father, Ted. In a slightly unusual move, the Cayman Islands-registered vessel has been spotted flying the British undefaced red ensign, instead of the more common Cayman Islands red version.
Y: 1992; B: Feadship, Royal Van Lent Shipyard, Holland; N: De Voogt Naval Architects; H: steel; E: 2/3,300-hp Caterpillars
25 April Fool — 199'10"This yacht’s timeless exterior features classic elements like a long bow, dodgers, and sloping wheelhouse windows. Feadship strove to minimize the visual impact of her elevator, which runs up to the sundeck. To blend it into Fool’s profile, the builder added an electrical awning and a canopy, aft.
Y: 2006; B: Feadship/Royal Royal Van Lent Shipyard, Holland; N: De Voogt Naval Architects; H: steel; E: 2/2,000-hp Caterpillars
This article originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.