It seems boat traffic has slowed this summer on local lakes. Higher fuel costs clearly are pinching the busiest leisure time of the year.
However, a significant blow to the masses is not even a light tap to the rich. Astonishingly, it could not be a better time to be a builder of large yachts. A recent report indicates the number of mega-yachts is not only on the rise, but that shipbuilders around the world are having difficulty employing enough workers to meet the demand.
Camper & Nicholsons International, a yacht broker with offices in several international cities that monitors sales and charters of yachts greater than 80 feet, reported that there are approximately 3,800 vessels that size now in service with 1,200 more to be built by 2010.
Now that we're in dreamland, the largest known floating home purchased by a Seattle-area resident is the 416-foot Octopus owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The world's largest private yacht afloat when it was launched five years ago, it now reportedly has slipped down the nautical ladder to eighth, a result of the whims of comfortable watercraft enthusiasts from the Middle East.
The Octopus reportedly cost more than $200 million, has two helicopters, seven auxiliary boats and a 10-man submarine that has the capacity to sleep eight for up to two weeks underwater. The Octopus has a permanent crew of 60, including several former Navy Seals, and a vehicle for crawling on the ocean floor.
Because owners must spend a minimum of 10 percent of the purchase price annually to pay crew salaries and maintain the vessel, Allen, who also has owned other huge yachts in addition to the Octopus, would need a $20 million annual budget to keep his largest boat ship-shape. more