10 May 2023 by Cassandra Tanti - Monaco Life

At a whopping 126m, the legendary Octopus will be the biggest yacht by far at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix. But as Yacht Broker Henry Smith tells Monaco Life, securing a berth for this €2.2 million-a-week beauty is easier said than done.

Octopus is a formidable megayacht. She was designed by Espen Øino and built by Lurssen for the late American entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft. At the time she was launched in 2003, she was one of the world’s largest yachts, capable of being used for deep sea exploration as well as luxury living at sea, and marked a turning point in superyacht design.

Allen spent 15 years hosting the most extravagant parties onboard Octopus, as well as concerts, album recordings, expeditions, and rescue adventures. But there was always a shroud of secrecy surrounding the vessel. That’s until she was sold in 2019 for over €200 million following Allen’s death.

Octopus is now available for charter for the first time in her history with central charter company Camper and Nicholsons, and Henry Smith, Director of the Monaco Office at Cecil Wright, has secured her a charter client who is keen to enjoy the legendary Monaco Grand Prix in the most luxurious circumstances.

With 13 guest suits, a cinema, multiple bars, a spectacular pool area that transforms into a dance-floor, a glass-bottomed aquarium, a DJ booth, gym, spa, and two helipads, there is no doubt that guests will help continue the Octopus legacy in her new era.

Henry Smith tells us more.

Monaco Life: How long has Octopus been available for charter?

Henry Smith: Following the sale to her current owner in August 2021, Octopus was first announced as being for charter in November that year, although it was not until summer 2022 that she became actively available for charter use.

There’s always been so much mystery surrounding Octopus. How exciting is it to be part of her new charter era?

When she was launched in 2003, she immediately became one of the most iconic yachts in the world, but as a private vessel very little was known about her and she was shrouded in secrecy. At 126.2m and boasting an incredible eight decks, she took the mantle as the largest contemporary superyacht by both length and volume (9,932 gross tons). The previous holder of this title for almost a decade was the Monaco stalwart 104.85m Lady Moura, which at 6,539 gross tons meant that Octopus was 20% longer and almost 50% larger by volume.

Securing a charter on Octopus was a great achievement for me and the Cecil Wright team and certainly one of the most exciting charters we have arranged to date.

Octopus features a stunning pool from which a dance floor rises

What are the main challenges when trying to secure a berth for a yacht this size during the Monaco Grand Prix?

As you might expect there are very few berths you can fit a yacht of Octopus’ size in Monaco. Her beam (width) of 21m was a large factor in this – for reference she is double the beam of the 60m yacht which will be berthed next to her and she is 3.3 times the volume of Lionheart.

As such our team had to exercise our relationships and worked closely with both the port and our agents to ensure that we could secure the best berth for her. She is one of four yachts we have in the GP this year with the Cecil Wright team successfully securing Zone 1 berths for the other three.

Which berth will she have?

There was a concern that she would have to be on the outer wall on Quai Rainier III due to her size but we managed to secure the central berth on Quai Rainier 1er. She will be clearly visible from almost all of Monaco.

How many crew does it take to run this megayacht?

She runs with a permanent crew of 45 (plus several rotational positions) but should additional ice pilots, helicopter pilots, submarine pilots and exploration guides be required, this number increases. There is also space to accommodate several supernumerary staff should a charter client wish to bring with them.

The glass bottom lounge area on Octopus

A glass bottom pool that can turn into an on-water dance floor, a former recording studio – come DJ booth, a wood-fired pizza oven, a beer tap and three bbq cooking stations… sounds like the best party boat you could have, would you agree?

Octopus was known as one of the party boats during Paul Allen’s ownership – she was a regular at the Cannes film festival and hosted some of the most epic parties at the time. This has not changed and the yacht can accommodate up to 350 guests for quay side events – with a dedicated DJ booth, the swimming pool floor raises to become a dance floor and there is a huge array of disco lights with a whopping 22 speakers – the party goes on!

Is the Triton 3300/6 on board yet?

Not yet – but there will be an option available for charters to use a Triton 3300/6 submarine which accommodates the pilot plus five guests and can dive as deep as 1,000 metres. Octopus will be the only yacht to have a Triton of this size that is available for charter. In addition to this, there is a fully dedicated dive centre which, as well as regular recreational diving, can accommodate complex diving (Nitrox and rebreathers), has a decompression chamber and there is a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that can dive to 3,000 metres.

The Octopus boasts its own marina

Will guests be able to enjoy all the toys on board?

When the yacht is in port for the GP there are very strict controls about tender / toy usage so there will be limits. That said, the charter extends beyond the GP so there will be ample time for the guests to really make full use of the incredible arsenal of toys which, as well as seven tenders, includes Waverunners, Jet skis, Electric foil flight boards and F5S Seabobs.

Is it true that U2, Mick Jagger, Usher and Joss Stone are said to have spent time in the recording studio onboard?

These are but a few of the famous names to have allegedly been onboard but confidentiality dictates that I can neither confirm nor deny.

What is this boat capable of, in terms of ability and distance?

She is a true global cruiser and has a range of 12,500 nautical miles – this means she could effectively go from Monaco to St Barts, back to Monaco and then back to St Barts again on one tank of fuel. Her hull is Ice Class 1A which means she can operate in both the Arctic and Antarctic without any significant limitation – something she has done regularly, and she has just returned from a winter season in the Antarctic. If you fancy heli-skiing in remote areas, she is the ideal platform.

The balcony, featuring spa, is as close to the sea as possible on the Octopus

How much does it cost to charter Octopus during the GP and outside of this period?

To charter Octopus in the Mediterranean season this year, she is €2.2 million per week plus 30% Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA – this covers food and drink, fuel, additional specialist crew, mooring fees etc) + VAT (this varies from country to country).

In the winter she charters at $2.2 million US per week + 30% APA and there is no VAT outside of the EU.

Do you have anything else interesting that you could share with our readers?

Having had the privilege to stay onboard Octopus in Panama last July, I can confirm that the level of service onboard is of the absolute highest level. The team of chefs are second to none with two of them having worked in Michelin starred restaurants and the interior staff, ably lead by David, are incredibly attentive and arguably one of the best in the charter fleet. I cannot recommend chartering Octopus highly enough.

All photos courtesy Cecil Wright and the owner of Octopus

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