“They’re too big, and there are too many of them,” the late Paul Allen once said about his fleet of yachts. Now, the biggest is for sale — with a price tag to match.
Octopus, the 414-foot mega yacht which ranks as one of the world’s largest, has been listed for $325 million. Allen, who died last October at age 65, took delivery of the vessel in 2003 and over the years the Microsoft co-founder was known to use it for everything from A-list parties to marine research expeditions.
Anyone hoping to hop aboard as new owner will most certainly be very rich — a story in the Seattle P-I said the price tag is four times what the billionaire Allen paid for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers in 1988. According to the listing with Burgess Yachts, Octopus has accommodation for up to 26 guests in 13 cabins, and 63 crew across 30 cabins. But that’s not all. Octopus also boasts …
- Eight decks including a dedicated owner’s deck with private elevator.
- Full deck for entertainment — including cinema, gym, spa, observation lounge and basketball court on the deck below.
- Glass-bottomed underwater observation lounge.
- Bridge deck pool and pizza oven.
- Storage for seven tenders, two helicopters, two submersibles and a large SUV.
- Two helipads.
- Dive center and hyperbaric chamber.
Vulcan Inc. told GeekWire that it does not comment on the assets of Allen’s estate, now controlled by his sister. But in a 2011 interview with GeekWire’s Todd Bishop at Town Hall in Seattle, Allen talked about his yachts and the submarine aboard Octopus.
“What these guys do, these captains, they’ll say, ‘Paul, we know you want to build a bigger boat. And here’s a model. It’s about this big, and the submarine goes in the back here, and it’s going to be pretty good size,'” Allen said. “And then they start building it, and you go to Germany, and you see it and you go, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s really big. No, no, it’s enormous.'”
The onboard submarine Pagoo accommodates eight guests and two crew and can dive for up to eight hours. It took Allen’s love of ocean exploration to new depths, according to Robert Kraft, director of Subsea Operations at Allen’s Vulcan Inc.
“It turns out if you go 1,000 feet 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.”
Burgess calls Octopus “the pinnacle explorer yacht for those seeking a proven platform to view some of the globe’s most remote and inaccessible locations.” And Allen and those he worked with certainly made the most of that platform.
Allen’s research team used Octopus in 2015 to help recover the bell from the British battleship HMS Hood in the North Atlantic. The team also found the wreckage of Musashi, one of the world’s largest battleships, off the coast of the Philippines in 2015. Allen was also onboard Octopus back in 2012 when film director James Cameron made his successful dive to the bottom of the 7-mile-deep Mariana Trench.
The yacht’s exploratory role faded away after Allen purchased the R/V Petrel in 2016 and had it retrofitted as an underwater research and exploration vessel. Nowadays, it’s the Petrel that’s known for finding historic shipwrecks — including the USS Indianapolis, a World War II cruiser that was sunk in 1945 and surveyed in 2017.
The Octopus was also known as a primo party boat that made regular stops at the Cannes Film Festival in France. In 2016, Allen’s bash had a “Midsummer Night’s Dream” theme, and the guests reportedly included Mick Jagger, Chloe Sevigny and Mischa Barton. Allen himself got out his guitar to play a Led Zeppelin tune for the guests.
A refit of the Octopus was completed this year, according to Burgess. Whoever jumps at the opportunity to own it won’t be mooring it along the Seattle waterfront. Burgess stresses on its website that it’s “not available for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters.”