March 15th 2013. By Sandy Lindsey.

Paul Allen: The Ultimate Yachtsman?

If you had the financial resources of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, would you own a four hundred foot super-mega-yacht? Of course!

If we could choose reincarnation, who wouldn’t want to come back as Paul Allen? Besides owning the thirteenth largest yacht in the world (along with two other superyachts), he’s jammed with Mick Jagger.

paul allen megayacht

It's only natural that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen would have a monster megayacht. Highlights include dual heli-pads, a sound studio, and a pair of submarines.

“I’ve played with Mick, Bono, Peter Gabriel and a number of other notables,” Allen mentioned in a 60 Minutes interview. “It’s amazing, just an amazing experience for an amateur musician.”

Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart and Damian Marley chose his 414′ Octopus as the only location secure enough on the planet to lay down tracks for their incarnation as the group Superheavy. In fact, Allen has state-of-the-art recording studios on each of his yachts. And that takes more than just installing high-tech equipment aboard.

“It turns out it’s very difficult to soundproof a studio aboard a yacht, because of the engine vibrations,” Allen explains. “So, there’s a specially-designed floor in the recording studio to damp out sound, the low-frequency vibrations. The U2 guys have played back there, on one of their albums, and many others, including Dave Stewart. Everybody’s liked it. But I like the joke that it’s hard to write an angry song on a boat when you’re cruising along.”

This “accidental billionaire” also has his own personal “band” of professional musicians on call for cruises.
“We’ve taken Octopus to Antarctica, done the Northwest Passage, and I have the band with me usually,” he says. “During the day we explore and at night we jam.”

paul allen yacht

The back-up boat: a 303-footer with five decks, one of which is reserved for family use. If you were Paul Allen, we bet you'd have a second-string yacht like this, too.

When construction was completed in 2003, his 414′ Octopus was the largest private yacht in the world, boasting a 63′ tender, just one of the seven tenders aboard, along with two helicopters and two submarines—one a remote-control research model to explore the ocean floor, and the other the infamous Yellow Submarine.

“The back section of the boat flips up and the submarine comes out,” Allen explains. “It’s very James Bond.”

megayacht meduse

Although the Meduse is the smallest in Paul Allen's fleet, it's anything but small.

Recently, philanthropist Allen promised Octopus to the British Navy to help find a lost WWII British battle cruiser. He will also fund the expedition. But don’t worry, this won’t leave him stuck on dry land. He also enjoys the five-deck 303′ Tatoosh, of which the top level is for family use alone with a full-width 49′-beam master bedroom, office, gym and observation lounge. Plus, at a mere (tongue seriously in editorial cheek here) 199′ there is Meduse, the smallest super-yacht in Paul Allen’s personal navy.

Check out boats and quotes from some other celebrities: Why Johnny Depp, Alan Jackson, and Billy Joel Own Boats



Sandy Lindsey
Sandy Lindsey is the author of Quick & Easy Boat Maintenance (International Marine/McGraw Hill), now in its second edition. She is also the author of The Women's Guide To Powerboating. A USCG licensed Captain, her FOWA and OWAA award winning articles have appeared in national, regional and international boating publications for the past two decades.