Yachts International - - Contents - Kenny Wooton Ed­i­tor-In-Chief

At risk of sound­ing self-im­por­tant, I’ve seen enough yachts over time that they’ve be­gun to blur in my mind. Some though, stand out. I re­mem­ber walk­ing down a dock in An­tigua’s Fal­mouth Har­bour in the first years of the mil­len­nium along­side a new boat called Ta­toosh. She had a 40ish-foot Hinck­ley fly­bridge power­boat loaded onto her star­board side deck and a rigged-and-ready rac­ing sail­boat of about the same length nes­tled on her port side. At the time, 301-foot (92-me­ter) yachts were show­stop­pers any­way, but see­ing one dis­played with ten­ders that large gave me pause.

To most rank-and-file yachting en­thu­si­asts, those two ves­sels alone would con­sti­tute an ideal fleet. But to the owner of Ta­toosh, the re­cently de­ceased Paul G. Allen, they were just ac­cou­trements to his own much larger sta­ble, which, at the time, in­cluded two other not-in­sub­stan­tial mo­to­ry­achts: the Fead­ships Me­duse and Cha­rade. And he was await­ing de­liv­ery from Lürssen of the 413-foot (126-me­ter) Oc­to­pus, which to­day re­mains one of the largest yachts in the world.

Allen, co-founder of Mi­crosoft and a bil­lion­aire many times over, was then, and re­mained un­til his death this past Oc­to­ber, a boat guy to the core, al­beit on a grander scale than most of us could imag­ine. He en­joyed the float­ing life as much as any of us, but there was some­thing else to his pas­sion for the sea. Like an in­creas­ing num­ber of yacht own­ers, Allen chose to use his fleet for the greater good, mak­ing his boats avail­able for ex­plo­ration and sci­en­tific re­search.

Ray Dalio, founder of the hedge fund Bridge­wa­ter As­so­ciates, has been at it for some years us­ing his con­verted 184-foot (56-me­ter) sup­port ves­sel Alu­cia for ocean re­search and con­ser­va­tion film­mak­ing. Dalio’s OceanX project this year is launch­ing Alu­cia 2, an­other, larger con­ver­sion de­signed to fur­ther hu­man un­der­stand­ing of the ocean en­vi­ron­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease, Dalio and his son, work­ing with James Cameron and other ex­perts, cre­ated OceanX as “a bold new ini­tia­tive to ex­plore the ocean and bring it back to the world through great me­dia. OceanX will unite next-gen tech­nol­ogy, fear­less science, com­pelling sto­ry­telling and im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ences to ed­u­cate, in­spire and con­nect the world with the ocean.”

Yet an­other owner, Nor­we­gian Kjell Inge Røkke, will launch in 2020 what is ex­pected to be the long­est yacht in the world, the 597-foot (182-me­ter) Espen Øino-de­signed REV, which is be­ing built to un­der­take am­bi­tious ocean re­search.

These com­mit­ted own­ers and a grow­ing num­ber of oth­ers, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the stal­wart In­ter­na­tional SeaKeep­ers So­ci­ety, of which Allen was a founder, and the Blue Ma­rine Yacht Club, not only gain plea­sure from their yachts, but also have used and will use them to con­serve and im­prove the qual­ity of the en­vi­ron­ment in which we all play.

The rest of us may not be able to give back on such a grand scale, but the ef­forts of own­ers such as these will shed ben­e­fit to us all. They may not need our money, but they surely de­serve our grat­i­tude and sup­port.

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