Secret buyer nabs Microsoft grandee’s superyacht for £200m – The Guardian

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For £1m a week you can rent 126-metre ship built for Paul Allen, with two helicopters, two subs and a recording studio

A vast “explorer class” superyacht built for Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has been sold for almost £200m, and is now available to rent for anyone with about a £1m to drop for a week.

Octopus was the world’s largest yacht when she was built for Allen in 2003 and the 126-metre vessel marked a turning point in superyacht design, capable of being used for deep sea exploration as well as living a life of luxury on the high seas.

On the market since Allen’s death in 2018, the superyacht was originally listed for sale at €295m (£250m) before being reduced to €235m. It is believed to have sold for slightly under the asking price. The Allen family office declined to comment.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died aged 65 in 2018. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The identity of the Scandinavian buyer is unknown, but it is to be made available for charter via Mayfair-based yacht broker Camper & Nicholsons. The broker, which declined to comment, has not yet set a weekly rental price. However, other very large superyachts can cost as much as £1m a week to rent.

Octopus, the yacht of Microsoft Corp. co-founder billionaire Paul Allen, moored off Venice’s Grand Canal in 2005. Photograph: Chris Helgren/Reuters

In 2019, Kylie Jenner, the Keeping up with the Kardashians reality TV star and cosmetics empire billionaire, spent €1.1m chartering the 91.5m (300ft) yacht Tranquility.

The eight-deck Octopus has 13 guest suites, including a private owner’s deck. There is also a cinema, a gym, a spa, a basketball court, a pool (which converts into a dancefloor) and a pizza oven. It features not one but two helicopters, two submarines and space for seven tenders and a large SUV. The yacht has quarters for up to 63 crew.

Allen, a keen adventurer, asked superyacht designer Espen Øino to create a yacht capable of carrying out expeditions. “It was a very ambitious brief, because none of the tenders, tools, RVs, subs, helicopters could be outside – they should all be concealed,” Øino has said.

The Octopus pops up in June 2020. Photograph: Lorenzo Carnero/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

The ship was used by the Titanic director, James Cameron, for a dive to the bottom of the 10,925 metres to the Mariana trench, the deepest point in the world.

Allen also used the ship to help to recover the bell from the British battleship HMS Hood, which was sunk by the Bismarck in the North Atlantic.

“When I first stood on the bridge, I felt as though I was on a spaceship,” Allen wrote in his autobiography Idea Man. He said having a pool, basketball court, cinema, and recording studio on the boat meant “all my passions come together in one movable feast”.

Paul Allen’s yacht Octopus moored at Canary Wharf during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Photograph: Alamy

“It turns out if you go 1,000 ft down in the ocean, it’s really dark, and the animals are really strange,” Allen said in 2011. “But if you put on some Pink Floyd, it’s fantastic.”

The onboard recording studio has been used by Mick Jagger, Bono, Usher and Joss Stone. Øino has said equipping the recording studio to Allen’s demands had been a particular challenge.

“Mr Allen’s interest in music was enormous and the acoustic quality was nothing less than a shore-based one,” Øino said. “There were 54 tonnes of AV/IT equipment aboard. A very complex boat in many ways. I think he loved it.”












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