Octopus (yacht)

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This article is about the motor yacht Octopus. For other uses, see Octopus.
Octopus in Antibes, July 21, 2009
Owner: Paul Allen
Port of registry:  Cayman Islands
Builder: Lürssen
Yard number: 13622
Completed: 2003
General characteristics
Class & type: LR
Type: Motor Yacht
Tonnage: 9932
Displacement: TBC tonnes
Length: 126.20 m (414.0 ft)
Beam: 21.00 m (68.90 ft)
Draft: 5.66 m (18.6 ft)
Installed power:
  • 8 diesel engines
  • total 19,200 hp (14,300 kW)
Propulsion: 2 propellers
  • max: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
  • cruise: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Capacity: 26 guests
Crew: 57

Octopus is a 414 foot (126 m) megayacht owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It is one of the world's largest and most recognizable yachts. Launched in 2003, Octopus is a private vessel that is regularly loaned out for exploration projects, scientific research initiatives and rescue missions.[1]


Octopus in Barbados, December 2, 2006
Octopus in Antibes Port Vauban, in 2009

Octopus sports two helicopter[2] pads on the top deck, a twin pad and hangars at the stern and a single pad on the bow; and a 63-foot (19 m) tender docked in the transom. There are a total of seven tenders aboard. The yacht also has a pool, located aft on one of its upper decks[citation needed], and two submarines (one of them operated by remote control for studying the bottom of the ocean).[citation needed] Side hatches at the water line form a dock for jet skis.

The exterior was designed by Espen Øino Naval Architects and built by the German shipbuilders Lürssen in Bremen and HDW[citation needed] in Kiel. The interior was by designer Jonathan Quinn Barnett of Seattle.


Some of Octopus main features are:

  • an owner-exclusive deck (includes walk-in closet, study, outside bar with whirlpool)
  • a glass bottom swimming pool
  • a cinema
  • a music recording studio
  • a hangar for two helicopters
  • a 10-person submarine


Octopus was built in 2003 and refitted in 2008. It is owned by Paul Allen, who also owns Tatoosh, another of the world's 100 largest yachts.

Allen has loaned Octopus, which is equipped with a submarine and ROV, for a variety of rescue and research operations. These include assisting in a hunt for an American pilot and two officers whose plane disappeared off Palau, and loaning his yacht to scientists to study the coelacanth, a "living fossil" that was once believed to be extinct.

In January 2011, while en route to Antarctica, one of its helicopters was forced to make an emergency landing in the waters off the coast of Argentina. While the helicopter was severely damaged, there was no loss of life, with only the co-pilot suffering minor injuries. Allen was not aboard at the time.[3][4]

In 2012, he loaned the ship to the Royal Navy in their attempt to retrieve the ship's bell from HMS Hood, which sank in 9,000 feet of water in the Denmark Strait during World War II, as a national memorial. HMS Hood was hit by a shell from the German battleship Bismarck; its magazines exploded and the ship sank in minutes with a loss of over 1,400 lives. The bell was located but not recovered, due to adverse weather conditions.

In March 2015, an Allen-led research team announced that it had found the Japanese battleship Musashi in the Sibuyan Sea off the coast of the Philippines. Armed with 46cm (18.1 inch) main guns and displacing 72,800 tonnes (74,000 tons) at full load, Musashi and its sister ship Yamato were the largest and most heavily-armed battleships in naval history.

On 7 August 2015 it was announced that the bell from HMS Hood had been successfully recovered by the ROV operating from the yacht Octopus. After conservation, the iconic bell is due to go on display in 2016 at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth, England.




Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Octopus (ship, 2003) at Wikimedia Commons