The world’s richest men have some pretty interesting retail habits. It’s reported that Jay Leno, for example, owns just under 300 vehicles; John Malone, the single largest landlord in America, possesses around 2.2m acres of terrain; Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, however, sticks to splurging on yachts. $300m-worth of mega yachts, to be precise. And, with a real time net worth of $20.8b in his pocket, do you really blame him?
We dive into the specifics of his vessel collection.
Cost: approximately $200m. It was custom-built by German shipbuilders Lürssen (the company that crafted the Azzam, the world’s largest private yacht), and after several years of construction it was launched in 2003.
Cost of operation: on average, yacht owners tend to pay around 10% of the original purchase price each year for maintenance and on-board operations. By that logic, Allen pays around $20m per annum in order to keep his vessel in pristine shape and he currently employs 60 permanent staffers, including engineers, chefs and captains.
Accommodates: 26 guests in 41 suites.
Specs: this behemoth is 414-foot and weighs over 9,000 tonnes. When it launched, it was the biggest private yacht in the world. Even the tender – the boat that takes guests from boat to shore – is 63-foot long.
Comes with: pool, two helipads (one at the front and back), basketball court, recording studio (which was used by Mick Jagger in 2011), cinema, jet-ski dock, glass-bottom pool and bar. There are also two submarines inside: one of them, Pagoo, can carry ten people and dive for eight hours; the other, the Octo Rov, can dive up to 8,843 feet, can be remotely controlled and has also been used for a documentary on the Discovery Science Channel.
This vessel isn’t just for leisure: in 2012, the Royal Navy borrowed it in order to find a bell from a British WWII-era battleship. That same year, it was also used to search for a missing American pilot and two officers whose plane disappeared off Palau. Octopus is also part of the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER), meaning it can be used to assist other ships in hazardous situations.
Cost: Approximately $100m. It was built by 112-year-old shipyard Nobiskrug in Rendsburg, Germany and was finished in June, 2000. The design and construction was by Kusch Yachts. A year after she was constructed, Tatoosh was purchased by Allen.
Accommodates: 20 guests in ten cabins.
Specs: this gargantuan sea beast is 303-foot, making it the 43rd-largest superyacht in the world. It can go 15 knots while cruising and has a range of 5,000 nautical miles.
Cost of operation: approximately $10m a year is spent on upkeep and for running a crew of 35 members.
Comes with: a cinema, two helipads, custom 46 power and sailboats, shaded swimming pool, a saloon with a French limestone fireplace, a dining area, a master suite and five decks.
This vessel has caused some controversy: at the beginning of 2016, it was reported that the Tatoosh destroyed around 80% of a protected coral reef in the Cayman Islands. It’s said that the accident was caused by the yacht’s chain when it anchored near The Knife dive site. Four months later, the Department of Environment and Allen’s Vulcan Inc. completed a restoration plan to help to save the injured coral.