Spain. Barbados. Curaçao. Bonaire. Boy, Octopus sure gets
around—and she visited these countries within just the first month
of this year. While she caused a stir in each location and got people
buzzing about her sheer size and what her interior must look like, it
wasn’t until she arrived in New Orleans in May that tongues really
began wagging. Part of it was the excitement over actually seeing her
owner, Paul Allen, onboard; the Microsoft cofounder is famously shy when
it comes to being in the spotlight. But the main reason everyone was talking
was because Octopus hosted a huge bash for a cable-television convention
(Allen owns cable giant Charter Communications and has a holding in the
Oxygen Media channel). Despite the fact that the party was intended to
help executives network, it seems all anyone wanted to discuss was the
yacht, from her myriad “toys” (including a 59-foot landing craft
and a personal submarine) to how much it cost to top off the fuel tanks
(one visitor was reportedly told $250,000). Call it “executive envy”;
in fact, the Financial Times quoted Dick Parsons, head of Time
Warner, as saying, “Until I got here yesterday, I thought I was clear
on what I wanted, and then I changed my mind. We’re going for a boat.”
Germany; N: Espen Øino Naval Architects; H: Steel; E: MTUs (hp
the enclosed wing stations forward in the photo of Octopus—unusual
for a yacht but a wise design nevertheless.
Savarona 408'0" · 1931
was the first yacht ever built by Blohm & Voss. Her size and luxury
were unparalleled all those decades ago, and they garner no less admiration
today. A crew of 55 sees to it that every part of her, from her bowsprit
to her immense Turkish bath (which contains 260 tons of marble), is maintained
for charter guests. Seventeen spacious suites (each is more than 400 square
feet) accommodate 34 passengers, and, of course, there are several alfresco
areas where guests can dine and soak up sun. But for lively pursuits,
guests can head to the onboard theater, where 2,500 films and video games
are archived. The Atatürk suite seen here, named for the former leader
of Turkey, will mightily impress any history buffs among the charter party.
The yacht saw brief service for him in 1938, and the suite contains many
of his personal items. You can see them for yourself for a charter rate
beginning at $280,000 per week.
B: Blohm &
Voss, Germany; N: Cox & Stevens; H: Steel; E: 2/3,500-hp Caterpillars
Alexander 400'2" · 1976 / 1986
family of Greece has decided to keep Alexander in charter service for
select people; you may recall that a year ago the family patriarch, Yiannis,
died. Over the nearly 20 years that he owned her, he loved to welcome
aboard dignitaries and others among the world’s elite: Britain’s
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were frequent guests. It’s
good to know that Alexander will keep up this tradition from her
base in Athens. “Alexander the Great,” as she’s sometimes
called, features a swimming pool (yes, pool—in addition to a large
Jacuzzi), a nightclub, a cinema, and a music room, as well as accommodations
for 60 guests, although she’s capable of hosting dockside parties
for 150 people. So what’s her rate, you’re wondering? Note the
use of “select” in the first sentence above—this may be
a case of “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it,” though
some published reports say she costs $100,000 per day.
Flender-Werke, Germany; N: Builder; H: Steel; E: 2/8,050-hp MANs
Atlantis II 379'7" · 1981
year for the past two decades, we’ve been begging and pleading the
Niarchos family of Greece (descendants of Aristotle Onassis’ rival
Stavros) to put this yacht to good use. While she does occasionally leave
her berth in Monaco, more often than not she’s a fixture in the harbor.
In fact, her immobility led one of our Web site Megayacht forum visitors
to remark, “Atlantis II has become a landmark in the Port
Hercule more or less in the same way as the Royal Palace in Monaco.”
If you’re lucky enough to hear her engines fire up, however, get
your camera ready, because you won’t believe your eyes when she leaves
the harbor—backwards. The interior of the harbor doesn’t permit
enough space for her to turn, so she has to back out.
Shipyards, Greece; N: Maierform GmbH; H: Steel; E: 2/4,800-hp S.E.M.T.
Pelorus 377'3" · 2003
The same Saudi who owns Coral Island (see no. 35) sold this yacht
within his first year of ownership to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich,
owner of the Chelsea Football Club in the U.K. She’s the second yacht
Abramovich acquired last year; he also bought Le Grand Bleu (see
no. 6). Pelorus has oversize windows, well-defined curves, and a vanilla-hued
paint job. She spent time in Malta in May, attracting plenty of attention.
The Times of Malta reported that a steady stream of taxis and rental cars
whisked the 40 crew members around on everything from errands to nights
out on the town. The paper also reported that the yacht virtually cleaned
out one of the local shops to fill her fish order.
Germany; N: Tim Heywood; H: Steel; E: 2/3,600-hp Wartsillas
Le Grand Bleu 370'0" · 2000
Here’s the second of three yachts on our list that are owned by Russian
billionaire Roman Abramovich. When the 37-year-old acquired Le Grand
Bleu last year, one of the first things he did was to take her to
HDW in Kiel, Germany, for a refit. While last summer rumor had it that
she’d gained eight feet due to the creation of a swim platform, one
eyewitness report we’ve received says she gained a lot more than
that—about 16 feet, reflecting the length above. After departing
the yard, Le Grand Bleu headed for the Mediterranean and caused
quite a stir wherever she went—and not always for good reasons. She
was in Monaco in May, serving as a base for Abramovich during Chelsea
Football Club’s (unsuccessful) attempts to beat Monaco’s team
in the championships, but in the weeks prior to that, singer Shirley Bassey
complained to The Daily Express that the “big and ugly and new-fangled”
behemoth blocked her view of the harbor from her hilltop home.
Germany; N: Kusch Yachtagentur; H: Steel; E: 2/4,570-hp Deutz-MWMs
Lady Moura 344'0" · 1990
While we reported last year that Nasser al-Rashid, the Saudi multimillionaire
who’s a big contributor to President George W. Bush’s campaign,
had Lady Moura tote a Cigarette in the 40-foot range, we’ve
since found out that this is incorrect. She actually totes a total of
four tenders, two stowed in each of her aft side bays. And she acquired
a new helicopter last year that we hear cost around $25 million.
As for interior features, she has what very well might be the world’s
longest dining table: 59 feet. Imagine the stories that table could tell
about some of the guests who have sat around her, such as Jean Claude
Van Damme and Elton John.
B: Blohm &
Voss, Germany; N: Luigi Sturchio/Diana Yacht Design; H: Steel; E: 2/6,868-hp
Christina O 325'3" · 1943/2001
With all of the
yachts that will be plying the Aegean this summer for the Olympics, none
will attract as much attention as Christina O. Sure, much of it
will be due to her history under the ownership of the late Aristotle Onassis.
But we’re betting more than a handful of news organizations will
report on the entourage onboard accompanying South African President Thabo
Mbeki. John Paul Papanicolaou, the yacht’s owner, told Bloomberg
News that a South African businessman who’s close to Mbeki signed
a charter contract so that he and the President could entertain investors
interested in doing business with their nation. Papanicolaou also told
Bloomberg News that 40 other organizations had tried to charter Christina
O for the Olympic Games. Too bad for them, as they’ll miss seeing
the extraordinary lapis lazuli fireplace (shown below) in the room that
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton enjoyed so much under Onassis’
ownership. But then again, those companies will be saving a lot of cash.
Price tag for the two-week rental: $1.54 million.
Vickers, Canada/Howaldtswerke (original conversion)/Viktor Lenac, Croatia
(refit); N: Prof. Pinnau (original conversion)/Costas Carabelas (refit);
H: Steel; E: 2/2,775-hp MANs
spent more than $4 million to convert this former Canadian convoy escort
in the 1950’s.
Carinthia VII 321'5" · 2002
stunner visited Malta last fall before heading to a most unusual destination
for a megayacht: Bombay, India. Heidi Horten, a German retail heiress,
commissioned her from Lürssen for personal use. The yacht was nominated
for a Superyacht Society Design Award last year, but at Horten’s
request for privacy, she was withdrawn from consideration. It’s a
shame, for we (and other yacht-watchers) are curious as to what her uppermost-enclosed
deck area contains, given the near-absence of ports.
Germany; N: Builder/Tim Heywood Design; H: Steel; E: 4/9,925-hp MTUs
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