Paul Allen’s multimillion-dollar toy - what now?
The late Microsoft co-founder’s megayacht bobs in limbo in the Port of Cape Town
Two helicopter pads, two submarines, 19,200 horsepower – but where to next for the former plaything of one of the world’s richest men?
That’s the question on everyone’s lips at the Port of Cape Town, temporary home of the 126m Octopus owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who died last Monday.
The superyacht remains firmly berthed to jetty 2 inside the Victoria Basin at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, where it has been since its arrival earlier this month, reportedly with Allen on board. The billionaire businessman died in his hometown of Seattle in the US after battling cancer for many years.
Usually a symbol of unattainable pleasure, the eye-popping Octopus, which also has its own basketball court and cinema, is a stark reminder that material assets do not follow us to the grave.
Allen was a serial superyacht owner and supporter of marine archaeology, and his vessels became synonymous with underwater exploration and science, including researching Africa’s famous coelacanth. Octopus was also instrumental in discovering the wreck of the Japanese battleship Musashi off the coast of the Philippines.
Allen’s fleet of vessels included Tatoosh, a relatively modest 92m multiple-decked Kusch Yacht which reportedly cost around $100m (R1.4bn). Octopus cost around twice that.
V&A Marina manager Joshio Fisher confirmed there had been concern over the future of the vessel, given its enormous size. He said the local vessel agent had indicated Octopus would depart Cape Town within the next few days.
Theo Verreynne, Octopus’s local agent, said he was still awaiting word from the vessel’s captain regarding the departure plan.
A security guard stationed in front of the vessel said it had been due to leave on Monday, the day of Allen’s death.
Despite the pall of gloom over the vessel, it is likely to have visitors to the V&A Waterfront, which hosted the Cape Town International Boat Show at the weekend, in awe.