YACHT A SIGHT ; THE BIG GUNS ARE ARRIVING..NOT JUST THE ATHLETES, BUT THE SUPER RICH [People, The (England)]
(People, The (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WITH two helipads, a swimming pool, nightclub, a basketball court, a cinema and two submarines, she could easily win a gold medal for extravagance.
Welcome to Octopus, the 413ftlong super-yacht which has just sailed in to London for the Olympics.
The beauty, which costs a staggering pounds 13 million a year just to run, is owned by American Paul Allen who co-founded the computer software giant Microsoft with billionaire Bill Gates.
Allen is among dozens of the ultrarich bringing their giant boats up the Thames - transforming Canary Wharf into an East End version of the glitzy French Riviera.
An excited public relations expert involved in arranging parties on the super-yachts and other exclusive venues for Hollywood A- listers, tycoons and politicians said: "It's going to be just like Cannes, even if it's not as hot."
Octopus, the 12th largest yacht in the world with 41 suites and 60 fulltime crew, is renowned for starstudded parties.
It boasts enough gadgets to keep a Bond villain in business and due to Allen's love of rock music, comes with its own recording studio.
Played The reclusive billionaire, 59, whose boat arrived at Canary Wharf's West India Quay on Friday, is a keen guitarist and keyboard player.
He employs his own band so when he wants to jam he's already got people to play with.
He bought the white Fender Stratocaster guitar Jimi Hendrix played in 1969 at the Woodstock festival, reportedly paying over pounds 1 million at a private auction.
Allen bought Octopus for pounds 130 million in 2003. Big names who have played on board include R&B superstar Usher, the Eurythmics Dave Stewart, U2 and late country legend Johnny Cash.
Hundreds of people watched its arrival on Friday, with Olympic flag flying high, as it negotiated its way past the O2 dome.
The crew spent all night preparing for Allen to join the boat, with rockers AC/DC blasting out from the onboard sound system.
Weighing 9,000 tonnes, the ship is the world's largest expedition yacht and Allen recently returned from taking her to the Antarctic.
It is also a regular on the French Rivera, at Venice and in the Caribbean.
It has a 10-man submarine capable of two-week-long trips under the sea, as well as a smaller remote controloperated sub.
To launch the larger submarine the boat's entire end opens up to allow the sub to leave. The aft of the ship also has a fully serviced spa, a bar area and access down to the sea to swim or to play with the yacht's jetskis.
Octopus berthed near Ilona, another super-yacht owned by the Australian shopping centre mogul Frank Lowy, 81, staying in London for the Games.
Also arriving soon will be Allen's business partner, Microsoft co- founder Bill, 56, in his super-yacht Gogypus. Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, 45, hopes to enjoy the Games from his pounds 520million yacht Eclipse - which is the largest in the world.
Another expected in the next few days is The Maltese Falcon owned by Greek millionairess Elena Ambrosiadou, 42.
Wealthy In all, 20 of the world's biggest yachts will be moored up by the time the Olympics kicks off.
They will host a string of opulent parties for the wealthy and famous. The 57-suite "party boat" MS Caledonian Sky is expected to host a bash the night before the opening ceremony.
Actors and film directors are said to have booked the top deck at a cost of pounds 75,000.
Super-rich A-listers will use the Olympics to network at lavish VIP parties not just at "Cannes Wharf" but elsewhere in the capital.
Hollywood stars, royals and business tycoons are taking over the capital's most exclusive venues. Some bigwigs have hired out huge museums and created artifical ski-slopes.
Brad Pitt, 48, and Angelina Jolie, 37, will be among other stars including Sir Christopher Lee, 90, Michael Douglas, 67, and Catherine Zeta Jones, 42, and Lewis Hamilton, 27, at a party at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Wednesday night organised by the charity Sports For Peace.
Posh Watchmaker Omega has gone into orbit with plans for a full Moon party starring lunar explorers Buzz Aldrin, 82, Tom Stafford, 81, and Gene Cernan, 78.
Hollywood star Nicola Kidman, 45, and model Daisy Lowe, 23, are also expected to attend the posh do.
Special "Space food" including glow-in-the-dark cocktails and dehydrated fruit bars will be served to guests at a Soho townhouse renovated specially for the occasion.
And US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, 65, will even use the Games to host a fundraiser for wealthy Americans living in Britain.
PR executive Camilla Storey gushed: "You would wait forever to get a meeting with these people but Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Bill Gates will be right here.
"That's the beauty of it. You've got the entire financial industry and everybody from the worlds of business, sport and entertainment all coming together. That is a unique opportunity.
"Do these people want to be lost in the hubbub, immersed in the tourist crowds, or do they want to be watching it from the top of a luxury yacht "There's no contest."
(c) 2012 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
[ Back to the Next Generation Communications Community's Homepage ]