Unlike other industries, yachting doesn’t seem to have been affected at all by the ongoing health crisis and various shortages. On the contrary, by the end of last year, sales were expected to exceed 1,100 units. SuperYacht Times’ in-house intelligence system, the SYT iQ, showed that over 1,000 new and used yachts were sold in 2021.
Out of these, the used ones were the most popular, with 738 sold, compared to 334 new ones. In terms of buyer density, the U.S. was, once again, confirmed as the main market in the yachting industry.
The most spectacular sale of the year was that of the iconic Octopus, one of the largest explorers ever built. It made its debut on the market in 2019, a year after its famous owner, Paul Allen, passed away. Even after significant price drops, the gigantic explorer still had a whopping asking price of almost $266 million, at the time of the sale, in August 2021, making it the most expensive yacht sold this past year.
Experts consider it one of the most spectacular vessels of all time. At the time of its launch, in 2003, there was no other boat comparable to the 414-footer (126 meters) that could literally go anywhere, anytime. It was impressive not only in size but also in terms of capabilities. Around that time, the trend of millionaires’ private luxury explorers was just beginning.
Octopus was born out of the Microsoft co-founder’s passion for diving in search of shipwrecks. Here was a man who could have created the ultimate floating palace for “selfish” indulgence, yet he chose to make his megayacht as useful as it was luxurious. How often do you hear of a private luxury yacht assisting the Royal Navy? Well, this is what Octopus did, on a trip to recover the bell of historic HMS Hood, at a 1.7-mile (2.8 km) depth. And this was just one of its noble recovery missions.
Another one of Allen’s greatest loves was music, so his custom-built explorer had to incorporate that also. A large cinema and a recording studio that reportedly welcomed some of the greatest pop stars of the ‘90s made it a truly unique yacht.
Compared to these unusual “treats,” the typical luxurious features, such as a giant swimming pool, a gym, a library, and even a basketball court, seem trivial. Granted, this is a pool with a rising bottom that turns into a dancefloor, but it still doesn’t top having a music studio on board.
Building Octopus was a phenomenal process in itself. It was a grandiose project for the German shipyard Lurssen, and the largest project so far for Espen Oeino, who would become one of the most famous designers in the yachting world. He recalled that one of the biggest challenges was to create a concealed space not just for the typical range of water toys that a yacht would have, but also for two helicopters and a large submarine.
Yes, this gigantic explorer features not one, but two helipads, and has enough room in its bespoke massive garage, for two helicopters, seven tenders, two life rafts, several jetskis, an autonomous robotic boat (ROV), and a large submarine. The Pagoo submarine, with enough room for eight passengers and two crew members, was custom-built for the Octopus and can dive for up to eight hours, while the ROV can also operate for hours at a time, with remote control, searching for shipwrecks.
In addition to its stunning fleet of water vehicles, the Octopus also entices its guests with numerous lounges, including an observation one, with a glass bottom. Another one of its unique amenities is the fully-equipped dive center, featuring a hyperbaric therapy chamber.
The classic, elegant interiors created by Jonathan Quinn Barnett are worthy of a king, with sophisticated touches, such as an antique bronze door from the 1930s. Up to 26 guests can be accommodated in 13 gorgeous cabins, with a huge crew of almost 50 people.
The late Paul Allen described his yacht as being more a Land Rover than a Bentley. Built for worldwide exploring, this rugged vessel boasts a resilient hull adapted for ice, and a diesel-electric propulsion system, with eight generators, making it a pioneer in terms of hybrid cruising, as well. The hybrid propulsion gives Octopus increased autonomy, allowing it to travel in the most remote areas, with a remarkable range of 12,500 nautical miles (23,150 km). When it’s not on a transatlantic journey, the giant explorer can also reach a speed of 19 knots (21.8 mph/35 kph).
This spectacular sale also marks the first time that Paul Allen’s bespoke explorer will become available for charter. But this exclusive offer comes at a mind-blowing cost – if the most luxurious charter yachts typically go for $500,000 per week, the one-and-only Octopus costs $2.2 million per week. But a week on board this yacht would undoubtedly be one of the most incredible experiences of a lifetime.
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