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The superyachts owned by tech moguls
This week news broke that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is reportedly the owner of a 127-metre sailing yacht currently in build at Oceanco, known as project Y721. It is not uncommon for leaders of the digital world to enter the realm of yachting. In fact, tech tycoons such as Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison and Paul Allen have been responsible for some of the biggest and most ground-breaking superyachts in the world.
American business magnate Larry Ellison is the co-founder of the billion-dollar computer tech corporation Oracle. In 2004, he commissioned the 138-metre Lürssen superyacht Rising Sun (pictured), which stands today as the 15th largest yacht in the world. It was also the last yacht that ever came from the drawing boards of legendary designed Jon Bannenberg, sporting a military-esque profile with a lean destroyer-type hull and extensive use of structural glass. Rising Sun boasts 8,000m² of living space including a wine cellar and basketball court, with a crew of 45. One of her tenders, a catamaran, even carries the yacht’s 4x4 vehicle ashore.
Ellison later sold the yacht to media mogul David Geffen and has since hosted a parade of Hollywood's glitterati on board including Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Bruce Springsteen and Oprah Winfrey – to name a few.
In 2011, Ellison appeared to downsize and took delivery of the 88-metre Feadship Musashi. Not unlike Rising Sun in its appearance, structural glass features heavily throughout with a central glass lift, surrounded by a stainless steel and glass staircase that passes through every deck.
The late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is responsible for two of the most iconic superyachts in the world. At 126-metres in length, Octopus is perhaps his most famous. Built by Lürssen in 2003, this ice-classed superyacht was designed for extended cruising to the most remote locations on earth with a range of 12,500 nautical miles. Home to a helicopter garage, drive-in tender garage, six tenders, and a submarine, she packs a serious punch within her 9,932GT – not to mention the cinema, swimming pool, recording studio, basketball court and spa. At the end of 2019, she joined the market for the very first time, having completed an eight-month refit at Blohm+Voss, and remains the benchmark for exploration yachting.
Tatoosh is another honourable mention and was built by German shipyard Nobiskrug in 2000, three years prior to the delivery of Octopus. At 92-metres, she's smaller than her successor, but to describe Tatoosh as "small" would be a severe understatement. Highlights include a six-foot-deep swimming pool, a pair of helipads, a crew of 30, and a custom 12-metre Hinckley powerboat that she carries on her top deck. Tatoosh is also listed for sale following a refit earlier this year.
The 78-metre Feadship Venus was built for the late Apple boss and founder Steve Jobs. Built under the codename Project Aqua, Venus was launched to international fanfare in 2012, heralded for its extensive use of glass and pared-back design courtesy of Philippe Starck. Innovative features include a false top deck that conceals the communication and television receivers from view and a passarelle that, when opened, looks like the charging port of an iPhone. Venus’s interior details have been closely guarded since its launch. Sadly, Jobs died a year before the yacht was delivered.
In a new book, Amazon Unbound, Jeff Bezos is named as the owner of a 127-metre sailing yacht currently in build at Oceanco. Codenamed Y721, the yacht is set to be the largest three-masted schooner in the world, knocking reigning champion Eos, owned by Bill Diller and Diane von Furstenburg, off the top spot. Dutch shipyard Oceanco currently holds the record for the largest DynaRig sailing yacht in the world, the 106.7-metre Black Pearl (pictured) and could serve as inspiration for this new record-breaking vessel.
Charles Simonyi led the team that built the first edition of the Microsoft Office software suite and is rumoured to be the owner of Lürssen’s iconic 71-metre SKAT. Launched in 2002, Skat is a magnet for yacht-spotters and is certainly hard to miss with her slate-grey, warship-style exterior courtesy of Espen Øino. There are six double cabins on board, an elevator servicing all four decks and a helicopter landing pad for an EC135 or Agusta 109. The interior is cool and uncluttered, home to an impressive collection of pop art by the likes of Victor Vasarely and Roy Lichtenstein. Meanwhile, sculptural windows aft on the bridge deck form a conservatory with casual guest-friendly spaces, including a lounge, library and office space. SKAT spends a lot of time cruising Northern Europe and Scandinavia but is also a proven global cruiser with a range of 4,600 nautical miles. Nearly two decades after her launch, SKAT was listed for sale for the first time.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin reportedly owns the high-speed SilverYachts superyacht named Dragonfly, after Google’s once-secret project to launch a censored search engine in China. Delivered in 2009, the 73.3-metre Dragonfly was hailed as the fastest, most fuel-efficient long-range cruising superyacht on the water with a transatlantic range at 22 knots and a fuel consumption of only 360 litres per hour at 18 knots, extending her range to 4,500 nautical miles. Dragonfly is said to have a dance floor and open-air movie theatre on board. The vessel was applauded for its contribution to the disaster relief effort in Vanuatu after Hurricane Pam devastated the island in 2015. The crew reportedly moved 62 metric tons of freshwater ashore, treated over 250 patients, facilitated three medical evacuations, and built shelters in multiple villages and cleared numerous helicopter landing zones for ongoing support.
Google’s billionaire co-founder Larry Page purchased the 60-metre explorer yacht conversion Senses from a New Zealand businessman Sir Douglas Myers back in 2011. The globe-trotting superyacht features interiors by Philippe Starck and can accommodate a total of 12 guests on board, with primary guests reaping the benefits of the master suite's gyro-stabilised bed. Senses also houses an exceptional toy box with three high-speed tenders, six wave runners, a jet board and a JetLev. According to the New Zealand Herald, Senses is currently undergoing a refit in Whangārei, New Zealand, after being sold to an unknown buyer in 2020.
The world’s largest three-masted schooner – also the third largest sailing yacht in the world – is owned by fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg and her husband Barry Diller, chairman and senior executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia Group. The 92.92-metre sailing yacht, named Eos, was built in Germany by Lürssen and delivered in 2006 with a trio of masts that stand 61-metres tall. The sailing yacht has hosted the couple's star-studded group of friends including Andy Cohen, Gayle King, Bradley Cooper, Harry Styles and Karlie Kloss. The interiors were designed by Francois Catroux, who Vanity Fair named as “the super-rich's favourite interior designer" in 2016.