Billionaire's yacht cruising Hawaii
By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Robbie Dingeman
This Octopus measures 414 feet, sails around the world with a 60-person crew and boasts two helipads and a submarine.
The megayacht was turning heads in Honolulu Harbor this week after arriving Monday.
The ship, owned by Microsoft co-founder and billionaire entrepreneur Paul Allen, draws more than a second glance tied up among the fishing boats, tugs and working-class vessels.
Its sleek silhouette bears more of a resemblance to a cruise ship than a private yacht, with amenities that include a swimming pool, basketball court, spa, bar and screening room.
World rank in size? Depends on who you ask. Yachtspotter.com calls it eighth-largest; Power and Motor Yacht magazine last year said it was No. 3.
It has two helipads and carries seven boats — including a 63-foot tender called Man of War. It also carries a 10-person submarine with the capacity to sleep eight people for up to two weeks underwater and a remote-controlled vehicle for crawling the ocean floor.
Yachtspotter.com reports that the big vessel's latest year of travels included visits to Fort Lauderdale, Bermuda, Barbados, South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, China and Uruguay.
Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1976, remaining the company's chief technologist until he left Microsoft in 1983, and is the founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc.
His multibillion-dollar investment portfolio includes large stakes in DreamWorks Animation SKG, real estate holdings and more than 40 other technology, media and content companies.
In 2004, he funded SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded effort to successfully put a civilian in space.
Allen also owns the Seattle Seahawks football and Portland Trail Blazers basketball franchises. And he's the founder of the Experience Music Project, Seattle's interactive music museum, and the Science Fiction Museum.
It was not known why the yacht is here or whether the famous philanthropist is on board. "We don't comment on the private assets of Mr. Allen," said Michael Nank, a Seattle-based spokesman for Allen's Vulcan Inc.
State Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa said the visiting yacht was scheduled to leave last night for a trip to Kona and return to Honolulu tomorrow.
Honolulu Harbor ship scheduler Alan Murakami said he is moving the vessel around a bit to find the right pier for the big ship. He expects it to be more visible — at Pier 10 near Aloha Tower — next week before it leaves later this month, reportedly for the Marshall Islands.
"It's a really, really impressive vessel," said Murakami, who watched the crew launch a helicopter from the deck earlier this week.
"I've never seen a yacht that big."
Ishikawa said the ship pays standard dockage and portage fees.
"Obviously, a yacht of this size is not going to fit in our small-boat harbor," Ishikawa said. "Like any other ship user, he has to pay a fee."
Reach Robbie Dingeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.