Today’s Wall Street Journal (Oct. 19, 2007) has an interesting article about networks that keeps tabs on some of the largest yachts in the world despite their owners interest in preserving privacy. Stalkers of the High Seas was written by Robert Frank. (subscription required)
Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, is famously private, especially when it comes to his 414-foot yacht, Octopus. His crew members have to sign confidentiality agreements, he has rarely if ever permitted the media to photograph the boat, and he prefers to sail in the world’s most remote waters.
Yet anyone visiting the Web site yachtspotter.com can find a wealth of information about Octopus. They learn that it spent the summer in Micronesia before motoring to Australia, South Africa and Barbados. Two weeks ago, the site says, Octopus was anchored off Bermuda. Yachtspotter.com also has candid photographs of the ship. One shows it, with a helicopter on deck, sailing alongside Mr. Allen’s other megayacht, Tatoosh, off the coast of France. Another depicts the craft leaving the Antibes Yacht Club in France at sunset.
The article cites a number of web sites including shipspotters.com, yachtforums.com and superyachttimes.com. Cruising these sites can be hours of fun (and frustration) thinking about how the toys of the super rich. According to ShowBoats International magazine, more than 370 yachts 120 feet or longer are under contract or construction, up from 188 in 2003. There are now 23 yachts on order longer than 250 feet. According to Showboats, yachts in the 200 to 250 foot range can cost upward of $1 million a meter to build. The current big spender on this super luxury item are Russians, followed by Saudis, Europeans and Americans.
One can only dream!
You HAVE to check this out this amazing PDF about Paul Allen’s megayacht Octopus!