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One of the largest and most spectacular examples of a full-fledged yachting and exploration vessel, 126-meter Octopus is equipped with highly sophisticated technology. Espen Øino International designed the striking exterior with a blue and white hull and superstructure, featuring two helipads and a hangar aft. The superyacht is capable of exploration and scientific research voyages requiring months at sea. One of her key features is an integrated dock for both the principal 20-meter guest tender and two submarines for exploring marine life, one of which is remotely controlled for reaching greater depths. Octopus also houses a professional music studio and a grandiose cinema, created by interior designer Jonathan Quinn Barnett.

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2006 / 2021

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Octopus: On Board the Original Explorer Superyacht

Fresh from an extensive refit, Octopus is ready to become one of the world's most spectacular charters.

By Ellie Brade

Octopus yacht

Built in 2003 for Microsoft co-founder, the late Paul Allen, and sold to her current owner in 2021, the 414-ft Octopus is one of the world’s largest private yachts . At the time of her launch, she was the biggest explorer superyacht ever built. Little detail was known about her until she was first put up for sale in 2019. With Octopus now available for charter following a two-year round-the-world adventure, we take a closer look at one of the original explorer yachts.

[See more: The Best Luxury Yacht Builders in the World]


Effortlessly pairing adventure with high luxury, Octopus is the ultimate explorer yacht. She remains as impressive and timelessly stylish as the day she was launched 19 years ago. The work of a powerhouse design and build team, she was built in Germany by Lürssen , with naval architecture by Espen Oeino and an interior by Jonathan Quinn Barnett. “She is arguably the most iconic and versatile megayacht in the world,” says her lead charter broker Gayle Patterson of Camper & Nicholsons . “There is nowhere on the four corners of the Earth that she cannot go.”

Octopus’s core purpose was to cruise extensively and see the world. A fast-growing number of explorer-style yachts have followed in her wake, but it would be hard to find many that were designed and equipped so well for this purpose, or many that have ticked off so many destinations. With a range of 12,500 nm, Octopus can go just about anywhere and she has certainly made the most of that ability.

[See also: How to Charter a Superyacht]

octopus yacht layout

Octopus’s core purpose was to cruise extensively and see the world / ©Camper & Nicholsons

octopus yacht layout

Helicopters can be stored on the helipad or a giant internal hanger / ©Camper & Nicholsons

She was the first of the big explorer yachts and was also significant as one of the first major solo projects for her naval architect Oeino, who is today considered one of the masters of superyacht design. According to Oeino, one of the bigger challenges was meeting the owner’s brief that that none of the many tenders, water equipment or helicopters be visible when the yacht was underway.

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Oeino’s resulting design was a timelessly elegant, yet hardy exterior with a distinctive blue hull and white superstructure. Equipped with an Ice Class 1A hull, Octopus can navigate through sea ice with ease. Other key design elements include two helipads, which are positioned on the bow and stern, and a huge hangar for storing the helicopters.

Creating a yacht that still felt personal despite her gargantuan size was an important goal for interior designer Barnett of JQB Ltd. “It was a challenging task to make 9932GT over eight decks feel intimate and comfortable, safe and secure over every possible sea state for guest combinations from two to 24,” says Barnett.

“We developed an overall theme of timelessness with warmth and security for family fun and security when exploring vast open oceans and unseen coastal landscapes; I used soothing and calming colors with open graining and limestone course, satins, and matte finishes for natural textures.”

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octopus yacht layout

Despite her enormous size, Octopus retains an intimate and personal feel inside / ©Camper & Nicholsons

octopus yacht layout

The entertainment deck includes a 15-person cinema / ©Camper & Nicholsons

When creating the interior, the JQB team were able to take full advantage of Lürssen’s exceptional capabilities to create a very personal and visually stunning design. “The worst mistake, as far as I was thinking, would have been for us not to ask enough of Lürssen,” says Barnett. “It was clear to me that their skills and technology could produce details and quality beyond even our ability to imagine it.”

A core part of the interior design brief was to incorporate the owner’s many passions and hobbies, which meant utilising and co-ordinating a large team of specialists in their field. “We called upon the expertise of recording artists, studio and art museum lighting techs, aviation and submarine operations techs, librarians, art curators, telecommunications experts and so many more,” says Barnett. “Success looked like playing first violin with the greatest orchestra assembled by a living Einstein for Jimmy Hendricks and Captain Nemo.”

Life on board

The resulting yacht is extraordinary. Spanning eight decks, with her length of 414ft and beam of 68ft, there is certainly no shortage of space or features on board. Able to host 12 guests across 13 cabins, with numerous different cabin configurations available, her 42 crew ensure no guest need ever lift a finger.

Those 13 cabins include an owner’s master suite with its own elevator, two VIP cabins on the observation deck, seven doubles and three twins. Each cabin is its own private sanctuary, but it is the shared guest spaces that really shine.

Popular interior spaces include the entertainment deck with its large 15-person cinema, library, observation lounge, gym and wellness hub. Guest-accessible observation lounges are positioned at each extremity. “Deck Eight provides a window to the horizon and stars, while the underwater glass-bottomed observation lounge on Deck Zero gives wondrous glimpses into the watery depths,” says Barnett.

[See also: These are the Yacht Interior Designers to Know]

Octopus yacht bedroom

Octopus is able to host 12 guests across 13 cabins / ©Camper & Nicholsons

Octopus lounge

The underwater glass-bottomed observation lounge gives wondrous glimpses into the depths / ©Camper & Nicholsons

Octopus beach club

The beach club on Octopus / ©Camper & Nicholsons

A huge swimming pool is located on the bridge deck. “The spectacular pool area leading into the newly furnished beach bar is a well-used on board, as is the 7m pool, which has a retractable floor that can be raised to create a central dance floor,” says Patterson. “This deck area also boasts a large Jacuzzi, a pizza oven, BBQ grill and Tandoori oven.”

Throughout the yacht, numerous spaces for sunbathing and relaxing are found inside and out, with equally plentiful options for every dining style whether formal, relaxed or al fresco.

While her design features are impressive, so too is a vast list of toys and tenders which are testament to the fact that when it comes to exploration and enjoying the ocean, Octopus means business. These include no less than seven tenders, a full dive center with a hyperbaric chamber, an SUV for exploring onshore, electric foils and an ROV (remote operated underwater vehicle).

Where is Octopus heading?

As one of the world’s most traveled yachts, Octopus has undertaken a lengthy list of expeditions, and frequently acts as a base for scientific exploration expeditions. Highlights include the recovery of the bell from the wreck of the historic HMS Hood and discovering the wreck of the WW2 battleship IJN Musashi off the Philippines.

The new owner is reportedly keen to continue this legacy of marine protection and discovery. It is therefore fitting that over the next two years, Octopus will be doing what she does best – traveling the globe once again. Fresh from a refit, she is in peak condition and ready to go.

Octopus yacht

Fresh from a refit, Octopus is in peak condition and ready to go / ©Camper & Nicholsons

“Notable destinations in the plan are Costa Rica and Cocos Island in spring 2022, French Polynesia and Thailand in summer 2022 and Antarctica this coming winter,” says Patterson. “The world is her oyster.”

Octopus is available for charter through leading yacht company Camper & Nicholsons from $ 2,200,000 per week. Contact camperandnicholsons.com

[See more: What are Explorer Yachts?]

Ellie Brade

Latest in luxury, the explorer.

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Exploring the Depths of Luxury: Discovering the Lürssen 126m Octopus Superyacht

Exploring the Depths of Luxury: Discovering the Lürssen 126m Octopus Superyacht

Lurssen MY Octopus: Inspiring Adventure, Encouraging Joy

Since her 2003 launch, Lürssen’s luxury explorer yacht Octopus has quietly completed a nearly continuous calendar of itineraries while maintaining a very private profile. That is a long time for any superstar to run silent. A recent change in status has made her a hot talking point, entertaining a high level of interest as she enters the charter market for the first time.

Emerging from a 20-year cocoon of privacy, the 126-meter Octopus is now splashing her fabulous interiors across screen and page, setting a high bar for comparison with any other yacht of her size, new or old, as well as in her category as an explorer vessel. She is capable, luxurious, spacious, and fitted to supply extraordinary needs for the adventurer, researcher, scientist, and leisure traveler alike.

Lurssen Octopus sailing in the midst of stunning natural scenery.

The Marvel of the Octopus Design

Designed and built years ahead of the current trend in explorer style vessels, there were just a handful of yachts that exceeded Octopus in length. None so successfully dovetailed sumptuous interiors with serious research and exploration features. Owing to the imagination and foresight of the design team along with the yacht’s original owner, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Octopus still presents a classic yacht profile defined by style and beauty that is equaled only by her extraordinary capabilities.

How does one design a highly technical yacht that retains top status among new launches for two decades? With Octopus, age is just a number -- another statistic to add to her impressive list of accomplishments.

Paul Allen’s vision for this predecessor embraced the ability to explore remote regions where support is limited and challenges abound. Allen wanted an ice class yacht boasting endurance, range, and speed, capable of housing two helicopters, very large tenders, a submarine, and lots of equipment that would facilitate highly technical exploration of underwater life, shipwrecks, and sea floor features.

Allen’s vision was sent to Lürssen, who then forwarded it to the desk of Espen Øino, a young, designer at the time who put his skill and optimism to work in creating a yacht with brilliantly designed, unique new features. Espen cites his youth as an advantage in approaching the ambitious project.

“It takes a lot to convince me that things cannot be done,” Espen stated, advising that dividing a big problem into several smaller ones and resolving them one by one often unveils a solution. Espen found the complex requirements in the design of the stern dock on Octopus to be the most challenging and the most rewarding feature of the yacht. He described the result as “An elegant solution to a complex problem.“

The internal dry dock that began to emerge in the design would need to accommodate protected storage for a very large, powerful tender, a submarine, and several smaller tenders and watercraft. The weight of these machines alone would cause the yacht to list if launched from either side.

Espen said they decided on the central internal dry dock by playing with the rules of stability, as the longitudinal trim would prove less disruptive than that of the transverse plane for launching big machines.

Storing the vessels on the centerline and in bulkheads on the B5 line adjacent to the central marina optimized the rules, solving the puzzle with a novel, internal , floodable dry dock marina approach.

That decision still required intensive engineering work to insure structural integrity amid all of the openings required to store such a large number of big, heavy machines inside the hull, in addition to the helipads, hangars, and pools. In the end, Espen found it to be his favorite spot on the yacht. The massive, 2-story space, filled with incredible equipment and a travel lift, is an impressive visual.

“It was quite challenging structurally to keep it all together, to make it stiff enough so that everything stood upright properly, with big, moving parts, and many openings in the outboard shell sides,” Espen remarked.

Luxe Interiors Expected of a Superyacht

The posh, clean lined Interiors designed by Jonathan Quinn Barnett underwent a 2019 refit by Monk Design, executed by the Lürssen-acquired Blohm + Voss yard, ensuring everything was refreshed, stylish, comfy, and ready to go. Originally built at Lürssen shipyards, the interior details of this ultra-private yacht are at last on display through Camper & Nicholsons, a company with 240 years of marine industry knowledge.

The List is Long: Features and Amenities

A steel, full displacement ice class 1A hull gives Octopus free range throughout the earth’s waters, top to bottom, warm to cold. A protected interior two-level marina with concealed 36 meter floodable tender garage hosts a 16 meter tender and a 12 meter submersible, accompanied by a fleet of six additional tenders.

Two helicopter pads, a 13-meter heated freshwater swimming pool, a forward-facing observation lounge, gym and fitness area, cinema, library, two elevators, fully equipped technical and free dive center, hyperbaric chamber, and an extensive toy list just begin to scratch the surface of Octopus’s amenities. And, just for fun, a retractable glass floor covers the pool to create a stunning, flush deck dance and entertainment space.

To Sleep: Perchance, to Dream

It’s hard to put in an exhilarating day of heliskiing atop an Antarctic glacier or a deep sea dive to a remote shipwreck without a pleasant night’s sleep. Turning last night’s dreams into today’s adventures, Octopus accommodates 12 guests spread over four of the yacht’s eight decks. The deck seven full-beam king master suite, outfitted with a king bed, dual baths, a private observation lounge, a private exterior deck, and a private elevator helps to de-stress for an excellent day of adventure to come.

Deck four houses two VIP king suites, four queen suites, one double suite, and one twin cabin, along with a separate cabin with a single bed, sofa, and en suite. Deck Three offers two twin cabins and two queen cabins, with sofa/daybeds.

Crew needs sleep, too, especially when they are so carefully selected to serve on board for their individual expertise and performance. Dive specialists, submarine specialists, accomplished chefs, and experienced staff are all at the ready. Deck two has one single berth cabin, thirteen double berth shares, and three triple berth shares, all refitted with new baths in 2019. Deck three houses the chief engineer’s cabin, four single head of department cabins with beds and pullman bunks, one double berth share and four triple berth shares. Deck six finds the captain’s cabin and the chief officer’s cabin appropriately located near the wheelhouse.

Knowledge is Power: An Early Adaptor

Designed with a hybrid propulsion diesel electric system, Octopus has extensive range to travel to remote locations that most yachts can only imagine. Twin ABB Industry AG-E electric motors combined with eight MTU 16V 4000 M50 diesel engines power Octopus to a mind-blowing 12,500 nautical miles at 12 knots, able to spend months at sea. Maximum speed is 19 knots.

Where Would You Go?

Octopus is clearly capable of heading out to even the most secluded of destinations, safely, comfortably, and stylishly. She has slipped in and out of bays around the world, skipped across every ocean, and provided researchers and scientists with a fully equipped floating laboratory. Knowing that, where would you go with Octopus as your transport?

Jacqui Lockhart, European Head of Charter Management for Camper & Nicholsons, responded she would gather a group of well-traveled friends and head to “All corners of the earth but back to Antarctica where Octopus will return in December 2024.” Available for charter through Camper & Nicholsons at €2,200,000 per week, Jacqui added that during the summer of 2023, Octopus will be based in the Mediterranean.

Espen was also enthusiastic about where he would point Octopus, listing an itinerary embracing “all places you can’t reach unless you bring your own bed.” He would embark on an epic ski adventure to Antarctica, the west coast of South America, the south island of New Zealand, Japan, Norway, Greenland, and the Kamchatka Peninsula. So, should you find yourself lucky enough to book time on board Octopus, and have an extra cabin, don’t forget to invite Espen.

Lurssen Octopus L-1

Photos: Camper & Nicholsons / Dave Le Roux | Words: K.L. Turner

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Inside Octopus: Origin story of the 126m superyacht finally revealed

octopus yacht layout

The barest of details have been revealed about the mysterious  Octopus  over the past 19 years. But with a new owner and on the charter market for the first time, the 126-metre  Lürssen  superyacht is finally ready to reveal her secrets past and present…

One of the best things about flying into the South of France is the view. The brilliant blue coastline is peppered with hundreds of yachts. On this flight, however, just one of the boats below us demands our attention: the 126-metre explorer  Octopus .

octopus yacht layout

The following day, in the port of Marseille where her new owner’s team is wrapping up a refit before  Octopus  departs for the Galápagos, I finally see her up close. Her navy-blue hull and skyscraper decks are incredibly impressive, while on the inside she is welcoming and warm. Although she has been refitted, her history is palpable. There’s much to learn about  Octopus , and everyone involved in her story is finally ready to talk, after decades of silence.

Why was  Octopus  such a secret? In 1998, strict non-disclosure agreements were issued all around to protect the privacy of her original owner, the late American entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft. “It was the first time I was faced with an NDA,” says  Espen Øino , who has gone on to sign hundreds over the years. “NDAs are strict and long lasting and don’t necessarily pass when the client does,” notes  Jonathan Quinn Barnett , who created  Octopus ’s original interior. “I had deep respect and admiration for Mr Allen, so to be able to say even a few words about  Octopus  now is marvellous.”

octopus yacht layout

For builder Lürssen, the story started with a bit of detective work. The German shipyard’s sales director, Michael Breman, heard about a mysterious box that was loaded onto Allen’s 60.6-metre Feadship  Méduse , which supposedly contained a scale model of a new vessel.

“I figured out that something was going on and we ought to be involved,” he says. “So I contacted Paul Allen’s broker, [ Fraser’s ] Stuart Larsen, to ask some questions.”

Some time after, during a trip to the South of France, Breman received the go-ahead to submit a bid and arranged for a fax containing the brief to be sent to Øino’s office in Monaco. “Put that into context, this is 1998!” Øino says with a laugh. “Michael was in our office as the fax came in and going through it, we just couldn’t believe the brief, we thought it was totally crazy.”

octopus yacht layout

The brief called for an industrial-style yacht with the appearance and capability of the Finnish multipurpose icebreaker  Fennica , built in 1993. Luckily, Øino knew the vessel. “I had a photo of  Fennica  from a few years earlier when I visited her while cruising with another client in the fjords,” says the designer. What he went on to sketch in pencil and model for the presentation was a sturdy explorer with two interchangeable options for the bow and the wheelhouse. “What is remarkable is that the original sketches and ideas are so close to what it actually became,” Breman says.

Another key part of the brief was for all toys and tenders, including a helicopter, a submarine and a floatplane, to be carried in a concealed way. So Øino drew a methodical general arrangement that included a two-level 36-metre-long floodable garage opening at the stern. “Launching so many toys over the side of the boat wasn’t the optimum idea and would affect the stability; a lot of heeling would occur,” the designer says.

octopus yacht layout

Instead, working with the rules that oversee subdivisions inside a ship’s hull – and deal with damage stability calculations – he created one very long and tall compartment on the yacht’s centreline with a floodable dock flanked by rows of smaller garages to store the entire toy inventory of what became known as Project Octopus.

“At Lürssen, we give everything a project name, and my daughter came up with  Octopus ,” says Breman. “Along with Paul’s love for diving, plus the fact that his previous yacht was  Méduse  [“jellyfish” in French], we thought  Octopus  was a perfect project name. Little did we know then that  Octopus  would be her name once completed and delivered.” Øino says. “She was our 15th project enquiry in 1998, and so in my office, she was known as 9815.”

octopus yacht layout

The proposal Lürssen created with Øino was successful, but the German shipyard soon had to resolve its first quandary – it didn’t have a shed available. “We ended up having to build her with a partner in Kiel,” Breman says. It also had to solve the matter of the explorer’s floodable garage, which had to be approved by class. “After researching multiple alternatives, the first idea that Espen drew was the one that worked the best,” he adds. “Our in-house model department then built a scale model of the garage to demonstrate how it could work. We even tested it by driving a tender in and out.”

Octopus’ s interior, meanwhile, came from a young American designer who had recently relocated from London where he’d worked with  Jon Bannenberg , to Seattle. The owner’s team chose Barnett from a small pool of interior designers to embellish the complex GA of the largest and most advanced explorer yacht ever built at the time.

octopus yacht layout

“Paul Allen’s team told me the safest route would be to follow the creative direction of the owner’s two previous  Feadship  designs,” the designer says. “I did the opposite!” And the result was what Barnett describes as a “floating laboratory”, a timeless design perfectly suited to a creative genius. Included in the layout were out-of-the-box features such as a fully equipped medical centre, a storm cabin made to keep those who needed it comfortable in bad weather and a professional recording studio. “Back then, no yacht was capable of non-stop circumnavigation, while cutting an album for U2,” he says. Mick Jagger, Usher and Joss Stone are also said to have spent time in the studio – a claim no other superyacht is ever likely to make.

octopus yacht layout

Barnett took a simple approach to the interior decor. While some walls are painted a neutral colour, others are covered in bee’s wing-figured eucalyptus, and it’s this vast amount of wood panelling that gives the hardy explorer the warm, comfortable feeling of a home. For Allen and Barnett, the walls were just another fun puzzle to solve. “The geometry of the panels is elegant mathematics, something Mr Allen really appreciated,” Barnett says. “The handmade veneer arrived on custom-made grids, which fitted within the yacht’s own uniquely built steel frame spacing.” The walls do not just provide insulation and conceal cableways, but originally held the ever-changing art gallery on each deck. What’s on the walls today are snapshots of  Octopus ’s adventures over the years: panoramas of Patagonian icebergs, portraits of local tribe members in Tahiti and landscapes of Asia’s ancient golden temples.

octopus yacht layout

An original feature that remains on the yacht to this day is an unusual timekeeping device. Braided stainless-steel shrouds from a sailing vessel are strung on either side of the grand staircase from lower to upper deck, and they function as a clock. “I combined the old tradition of having a central clock on board a ship with my client’s unique passions for modern sculpture, mathematics, art and music,” Barnett explains. “I subcontracted a 102-year-old German specialist clock company to make it, and – I’ll tell you a secret – I used digital audio software from Apple for the tunes. Sorry, Microsoft!” he says with a laugh. “I thought the clock might become a helpful visual cue to help guests find some critical orientation. Every 15 minutes, the strings could play anything from  The Bells of St Mary’s  to Jimi Hendrix!”

octopus yacht layout

Octopus  was also fitted with an huge amount of onboard electronics. “Of course, the co-founder of Microsoft required more than 54 tonnes of AV and IT equipment on board,” Øino says with a smile. While the bulk of the wiring went to the studio, each cabin was assigned 60 cables for computers, entertainment systems and more, including touchscreens – which in 1998, was an exciting innovation. “They were amazing,” says Øino, “so far ahead of their time.” The touchscreens are still used today by the crew, who also use iPads as infotainment control panels for elements such as lighting and music in guest areas.

When  Octopus  launched in 2003, it was clear she had broken new ground. With diesel-electric propulsion consisting of two ABB electric motors and eight MTU 16V 4000 M50 diesel engines, she was perfectly equipped to travel anywhere in the world. “ Octopus  was always on the go,” Øino says. “Diesel-electric wasn’t commonplace in the early millennium,” he observes, and “ Octopus  was the first yacht with dynamic positioning.”

octopus yacht layout

The project propelled Lürssen into the large-yacht segment and her designers had a huge career boost. “ Octopus  blew everyone away,” Breman says. “The idea and the design are something unprecedented.” What the first aerial photographs of the yacht could make out were her winged wheelhouse, long swimming pool, two helidecks and hangars and a basketball court. Whereas on the inside, areas such as the dive centre with hyperbaric chamber, 12 cabins and private owner’s deck with its own lift, terrace and spa pool were out of sight.

After a decade of extensive travelling,  Octopus ’s engines had to be overhauled. However, her interior had worn well. “There was nothing that required a major redesign or change,” Barnett says. “All the original architecture, spaces, surfaces and design details still performed exceptionally well. Seeing it made me immensely proud.”

octopus yacht layout

Although she was well-maintained and in full working order, in 2019 she was sent for a refit at the Lürssen-owned  Blohm+Voss  shipyard to prepare her for the market several months after Allen passed in 2018. She had spent two decades playing host to many parties, concerts, discoveries and expeditions, and the legacy needed to continue.

In 2021, a new owner came along with plans to make her available for select charters. Transforming  Octopus  into the remarkable charter yacht that he envisioned required a few more changes. The owner’s team enlisted Adriana Monk of  Monk Design  to retouch several spaces. Top of the list was replacing the recording studio.

octopus yacht layout

“Unless you’re really into music, a studio is a niche thing to have,” says Alan Pike, one of two rotational captains. Now in the studio’s prime position – aft on the bridge deck – is a modern bar/ lounge. On either side of the new bar, new guitars hang from the original wall mounts and the grand piano has stayed put. In keeping with the beach bar look Monk created, new bleached oak flooring matches the original weathered teak deck outside.

“The vocal booth is now a DJ booth,” says the captain. “We’ve kept the soundproofing, so this place is perfect for a party, or any kind of dining.” With a new sound system and outdoor lighting, “we can really go for it”. Outdoors, there’s a glass- bottom pool that, at the touch of a button, can be made into an on-water dance floor. There’s also a wood-fired pizza oven, a service bar with a beer tap and three barbecue cooking stations.

On the entertainment deck, the former formal dining room became a wine bar. On the ceiling are scenes from Allen’s 2015 shipwreck dive to the Second World War battleship  Musashi  in the Philippines. “I was granted exclusive access to the ROV footage of the  Musashi  expedition to select shipwreck stills for the backlit ceiling,” Monk says.

octopus yacht layout

Nearby, the guest observation lounge was, and still is, a firm favourite. “To dine here while cruising is a joy that’s hard to describe,” says Barnett. “I like to think of this area’s design as a mid-century sunken living room.” The feeling is created by two large sofas that snake around the room looking out over the bow. The seats look low, but the view is perfect. The rest of the deck is fun and social, as there’s also a 12-seat 4D cinema, the owner’s chef ’s galley, a table-tennis table, gym, smoothie bar, hair and massage salons and a grand library, complete with an ethanol fireplace.

Soft beige and cream carpets with wave patterns have replaced patterned blue and green rugs, and in addition to the new custom-designed pieces, free-standing items of furniture selected by Monk have helped give the interior a feel that suits  Octopus ’s new charter lifestyle. But it’s nothing dramatic. “We have kept as much as possible true to the original,” the captain says. “I strove to respect the spirit of  Octopus  while capturing the new owner’s lifestyle and vision,” Monk adds. “It was an intense and challenging project.”

octopus yacht layout

The yacht’s charter schedule was entrusted to  Camper & Nicholsons .  Octopus ’s range of 12,500 nautical miles and true explorer credentials offer a huge scope for charter, and as the ripples prove on the hull’s strong plating, she is more than capable of going the distance. “She can do anything!” says charter marketing manager Gayle Patterson, who has already booked the superyacht on two excursions to Antarctica. The demand has been equal to the yacht’s renown. “We’ve grown our yacht management team to give her the care she deserves,” she adds.

Since  Octopus  was delivered, many more superyachts have adopted technologically forward designs and groundbreaking engineering and have undertaken impressive expeditions. But none have achieved what  Octopus  has. As she continues to move around the world, more people will get the opportunity to step on board. And when they do, perhaps they will feel the undeniable magic that seems to linger. One thing is for sure: wherever  Octopus  carries her guests, it is a journey they will remember for the rest of their lives.

octopus yacht layout

The Toy Chest

Built to explore,  Octopus  has an incredible fleet that revolves around the cavernous 36-metre internal wet dock where the two main tenders are stored and launched through a giant transom door. Today the main tender is an 18-metre Delta 54, built in carbon with an impressive range of 450nm at 30 knots; the original was  Man-of-War , an 18-metre custom Vikal, later replaced by a 13-metre Hinckley. Sharing that space was a yellow 10-person custom submarine, named  Pagoo . A new Triton 3300/6 will take that spot when it is delivered in early 2023. Most of the other tenders have dedicated garages on either side of the wet dock. They are a 9.3-metre custom Vikal limousine and two 8.7-metre custom Zodiacs, one for diving, the other for guests. Two 5.8-metre Zodiac Milpro MK-V are also available for watersports, as is an array of WaveRunners, jet skis, kayaks, surfboards, wakeboards, kitesurfers, windsurfers and electric foil Fliteboards, plus plenty of diving equipment, The icing on the cake is a remotely controlled submarine (ROV) able to dive to 2,700 metres. To conclude this impressive list,  Octopus  has two helipads and a helicopter hangar for two. Moving forward, helicopters will be chartered as needed.

octopus yacht layout

The Voyages

Octopus  is one of the most active superyachts ever built. Multiple circumnavigations, the  Northwest Passage , the High Arctic,  Antarctica , Papua New Guinea and Challenger Deep were all on the menu. One of Paul Allen’s passions was naval history. A few missions that offered the opportunity for great discoveries were well publicised, like the discovery of the Japanese warship  Musashi  in the Sibuyan Sea in March 2015 after eight years of intense work. The largest battleship ever built (aside from her sistership) sank in October 1944, but the exact location was unknown.  OctoROV  took the first photos of this lost wreck in a depth of 1,000 metres. Later that year, in August, after two attempts, another expedition recovered the bell of HMS  Hood , sunk by the Germans off Greenland in 1941.

octopus yacht layout

And it looks like the story will continue.  Octopus , according to BOAT Pro data, has already cruised 9,047 nautical miles since leaving Marseille after her refit in December. In less than three months, she had already crossed the Atlantic and visited Panama including Coiba, Costa Rica and Cocos Island and the Galápagos. This winter, Camper & Nicholsons has announced that she will be heading south to test her ice-class capabilities in the frozen landscapes of Antarctica once again.

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Octopus Yacht Uncovered: An Insider’s Look at the Luxury Yacht

Ian Fortey

Launched back in the year 2003, the Octopus yacht was built by famous shipyard Lurssen out of Germany. Lurssen has been behind numerous other superyachts such as Kismet and Dilbar and many more. The exterior design was handled by Espen Øino Naval Architects while the interior was handled by American designer Jonathan Quinn Barnett.

Who Owns the Octopus Yacht?

octopus yacht layout

The Octopus yacht was owned by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. In addition to being a private pleasure yacht for Allen, the Octopus has served a variety of purposes over the years thanks to him loaning it out. It has served as an exploration vessel, been used for scientific research and has even seen use as a rescue vessel.

Allen died in 2018 and at that time the yacht underwent a refit at Blohm + Voss. In 2019 it was put on sale for a price of €295 million. The price was dropped by about 60 million and in 2021 it was picked up by an anonymous buyer. However, the anonymity didn’t last long and it was later revealed that Swedish billionaire Roger Samuelsson.

How Big is the Octopus Motor Yacht?

octopus yacht layout

The Octopus more than qualifies as a superyacht coming in at an incredible 126.2 meters or 414 feet. While the largest yachts in the world are over 500 feet, the Octopus is clearly massive and could rightly be labeled a megayacht and one of the world’s largest yachts as well.

Aside from the incredible length of the vessel, it features a beam just shy of 69 feet across. The gross tonnage is 9,932.

How Much Did the Yacht Octopus Cost?

octopus yacht layout

Paul Allen purchased the Octopus back in 2003. At that time the vessel cost him $200 million. Adjusted for inflation, that would work out to about $327 million by today, clearly making this one of the more expensive yachts in the world. That said, it still doesn’t meet the bar for one of the most expensive yachts ever by quite a bit.

Can You Charter the Octopus Yacht?

The Octopus is available for charter through the yacht firm Camper and Nicholsons but it’s definitely not available for most budgets. We’ve covered other yachts before that are owned by billionaires and are available for charter at some steep prices that often range around $1.2 million per week. The Octopus goes to the next level. 

You can charter the Octopus for about $2.2 million per week and that doesn’t include expenses. So you’ll be paying for things like food and fuel separately. Suffice it to say that this is not a charter for everyone but the option is there. 

Is the Octopus Yacht for Sale?

octopus yacht layout

After its initial purchase in 2003 the Octopus was not available for sale until 2019 after owner Paul Allen passed away. There are currently some websites that claim the Octopus is for sale now and you can make an offer but the reliability of those sites is unknown and they do list the previous sale price from 2019 so they may not be current.

How Fast is the Octopus Yacht and What Engines Does it Use?

octopus yacht layout

The Octopus has a cruising speed listed at 12.5 knots and a top speed listed at 19 knots. This is provided thanks to 8 MTU diesel engines that can generate a total of 19,200 hp. The yacht has an impressive range of up to 12,500 nautical miles at cruising speed thanks to her 1,034,000 liter fuel tanks 

What’s the Octopus Yacht Interior Like?

octopus yacht layout

The Octopus covers eight decks and has room on board for a total of 26 guests and 63 crew. The guests can find accommodations in a full-beam master suite, two VIP suites, seven double rooms and three twins, one with an additional single bed.

The master suite is on a dedicated owner’s deck and features a king size bed, his and hers en suite bathrooms and a private observation deck that includes an al fresco dining area. There’s also a private bar and Jacuzzi There is also an owner exclusive private elevator for use. 

For years the details of the interior were a closely guarded secret while Paul Allen was still the owner. In fact, designer Espen Oeino said that this was the first yacht that ever required him to sign an NDA to keep its design secret. Since then he’s signed many more, but the Octopus was where it started. However, since Allen’s passing and the sale of the yacht, the transition to a vessel available for charter has allowed us to learn a lot more about the Octopus and its amenities and entertainment facilities.

Features and Amenities

octopus yacht layout

The Octopus is an ice-class exploration yacht so it can go where many other luxury yachts cannot. It has two helipads as well as garages to house two helicopters. In addition, guests can find the following on board.

  • There’s a large swimming pool to the aft of the yacht on the main deck. It features numerous loungers and its own cocktail bar. There’s also a retractable glass floor that covers the pool when not in use.
  • A dance floor for parties
  • A movie theater
  • A well equipped gym for working out
  • A relaxation spa that includes a sauna
  • A large indoor/outdoor beach club area
  • A large deck Jacuzzi
  • A glass bottomed observation lounge
  • A well-stocked library for those evenings when you want to curl up with a good book

octopus yacht layout

For those who want to have some more intense fun out on the water, the Octopus has a number of toys that can be used.

  • 59’5” Delta Powerboats 54′ Tender
  • 30’8” Vikal Custom Limo Tender with a pair of 260 HP engines
  • A 10-person submarine named Pagoo which we’ll talk more about shortly
  • A dive center with a hyperbaric chamber and scuba gear
  • A large swim platform
  • A diving platform
  • 4 separate 2 seat Yamaha FX140 Waverunners
  • 2 separate 2 Person Hobie Pursuit Kayaks
  • An Epic V5 Kayak
  • 3 Windsurfers for a range of skill levels
  • A stand up Yamaha jet ski
  • 3 surfboards
  • Kite surfers 
  • Water skis and a variety of towable toys 
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Fishing gear

Octopus Rescue Work

octopus yacht layout

The Octopus also features a not entirely typical on board submarine and also a very rare ROV or remote operated vehicle which is essentially a remote control sub. These had been used a number of times on rescue operations when Paul Allen owned the vessel.

The sub and ROV were used to help find a pilot and two officers who vanished off the coast of Palau, and even aided the Royal Navy in finding the bell from the HMS Hood which sank off of Denmark in WWII.

The Octopus has also aided in scientific research, most notably when researchers were studying coelacanth, a species of prehistoric fish thought to have been extinct for millions of years. 

What is the Octopus Yacht Deck Plan?

octopus yacht layout

You can see the full deck plans here. The Octopus was designed to feature some things you would never expect to find on a yacht. For instance, it had a fully equipped recording studio where the band U2 did some recording. The studio also hosted Usher, Mick Jagger and Joss Stone. However, the studio has since been replaced with a bar and lounge area.

In addition to the studio the yacht was designed with a storm cabin to help minimize the effects of bad weather and a full medical center in case of emergencies. Many of these features no longer exist since the retrofit after Paul Allen’s death.

One extremely unique feature is the central clock. Braided stainless-steel shrouds from a sailing vessel were strung on either side of the grand staircase from lower to upper deck. The designer enlisted the aid of a 102-year-old German clock making company to help bring the idea to life. It also uses digital audio software so that on a regular basis the strings can play snippets from literally any song to indicate the passage of time.

The Bottom Line

The Octopus yacht was once owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen until his death in 2018. Afterwards, some of the yacht was redesigned and it was sold for close to $300 million to Swedish billionaire Roger Samuelsson. 

The Octopus is a massive exploration yacht measuring 414 feet making it large but nowhere near as big as something like the massive Azzam . It has been used for scientific research and rescue missions in the past and is now available for charter though at a steep price.

While it has many of the expected amenities of luxury yachts it also features some more exotic fare like the minisub with room for 8 passengers and two crew, as well as a stunning array of toys and other features.

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Motor Yacht

Octopus is a 126.20m (414.04ft) motor yacht, custom built in 2003 and last refitted in 2008.

One of the largest and most spectacular examples of a full-fledged yachting and exploration vessel, 126-meter Octopus is equipped with highly sophisticated technology.

Espen Øino International designed the striking exterior with a blue and white hull and superstructure, featuring two helipads and a hangar aft.

The superyacht is capable of exploration and scientific research voyages requiring months at sea. One of her key features is an integrated dock for both the principal 20-meter guest tender and two submarines for exploring marine life, one of which is remotely controlled for reaching greater depths.

Octopus also houses a professional music studio and a grandiose cinema, created by interior designer Jonathan Quinn Barnett.

With a permanent berth in the International Yacht Club Marina in Antibes, this giant is owned by Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen. With a full-time crew of 60 including former Navy Seals, maintenance and salaries on the ship cost a rumoured $200 million. Octopus is well-known for hosting famous faces onboard its well-equipped decks, serviced only by world leaders in their fields.

  • Yacht Builder Lurssen Yachts View profile
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  • Interior Designer Jonathan Quinn Barnett No profile available

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octopus yacht layout

Former tender to Lürssen's 126m Octopus gets new life after refit

Very few boats have enjoyed the kind of following this former tender to Octopus has. Raphaël Montigneaux gets an early look at her recent refit...

As the world’s superyacht fleet ages, so refit activity increases – a trend that has also started to impact the boats that serve the mothership. Tenders, especially custom ones, are now being refitted in record numbers – and MARSS is a prime example. Previously known as Man-of-War and the main tender for 126 metre Octopus , this 18.8 metre Vikal , often photographed in the dry dock of its former mothership, is quasi-legendary. As a result, I was all ears when Cyril Le Sourd, co-founder of SPARK Marine Projects, told me that he was in the process of refitting her for one of his clients.

Le Sourd and his business partner Charles Dence recently opened shop in Monaco. “SPARK Marine Projects is a design office that carries out specialised projects in the superyacht sector, and more particularly for the design and development of custom tenders and chase boats and related products,” Dence says. MARSS , just delivered to her owner, is one of its biggest refit projects to date. Built by Vikal in the early 2000s, it is a one-off design by superyacht designer Sam Sorgiovanni , and the construction quality of this Australian yard offered the perfect basis for a refit.

SPARK Marine Projects saw it as an ideal candidate, neither too big nor too small, to fulfil the wishes of a client who wanted to have a multifunctional craft. “The objective for the owners was to find a boat that allows them to carry out several missions at once,” explains Le Sourd. “It had to be able to serve as a superyacht chase boat, security boat and also as a test and client demonstration platform for new onboard sensors and software.”

That’s because the client is Johannes Pinl, CEO and founder of MARSS, a Monaco-based software and technology company active in the defence and security sectors. MARSS has a division that provides long-range drone detection, tender tracking, surface monitoring and diver detection systems.

“The pedigree and superyacht thinking that went into the engineering and build of MARSS in her previous life as a tender for a much larger mothership appealed to us,” says Pinl. “Furthermore, we were looking for a practical and capable platform with which to demonstrate our long-range vessel security systems to clients.”

One of the refit’s biggest tasks was to remodel the outdoor spaces. The aft deck was scraped clean and Le Sourd designed a new 20-square-metre modular seating area. “The aft deck has been completely redesigned by integrating a new teak deck and by removing the aft bulwark and replacing it with two removable lockers,” he says. Made of carbon fibre, these lockers provide the base for a new bench that separates the bathing platform and the cockpit. Its reversible backrest allows guests to enjoy it from both sides. The refit also added a deck shower, bathing ladder, mooring points and a gangway to the aft sections.

In the cockpit, a second bench seat has replaced a bulky storage unit, which enclosed the access to the engine room. To remove this visual and physical barrier, the designers had the idea to lower the entire deck, which had the added benefit of giving the interior living room a direct sea view. A discreet hatch now provides access to the engine space. To complete the aft deck, two new custom tables were installed. It’s now a truly multifunctional space, which can be set up for dining, lounging or sunbathing.

The foredeck has also been fitted out with a sunpad. MARSS ’s full-beam design does not allow for easy access down side decks from front to back and vice versa. To address this, the refit team decided to enlarge the deck hatch over the owner’s cabin. With a sturdy ladder that unfolds immediately below, this modification has created a second emergency exit to meet current requirements and allow secure access for guests who wish to take advantage of the new sunbed without doing a balancing act.

Already punchy, the boat’s performance has been further optimised, with tweaks at the transom. “We removed an ineffective hull extension and replaced it with three Humphree interceptors,” Le Sourd says. “And in order to increase course stability and thus reduce the lateral movement of the waterjets, we have also added two vertical fins under the hull.” As a result, the boat now offers a better planing response, improved handling and a 10 to 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, he notes.

All the electronics on board have been upgraded, including the electrical panels and battery management systems. Additionally,  a more efficient and compact Fusion system has replaced the original audiovisual system.

MARSS engineers have taken advantage of these upgrades to fit the boat with their latest security technology, transforming it into a floating showroom. The equipment on board includes cameras, radar, drone detection and a deployable sonar.

Comfort inside wasn’t forgotten in the extensive changes. From upholstery to carpets, the interior has been transformed, with the icing on the cake an adjustable coffee table in the saloon that turns into a giant touchscreen to take full advantage of and manage the NiDAR perimeter security system offered by MARSS.

This quasi-legendary, one-time tender to Octopus is now one of the most sophisticated boats on the water and a blueprint for the growing numbers of tenders getting life-extending refits.

First published in the November 2022 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

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OCTOPUSSY Yacht Layout & GA Plans

43.59m  /  143'   heesen   1988 / 2017.

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    Shots have now been unveiled onboard the 126.2-metre Lürssen superyacht Octopus, interiors of which have been revealed for the first time since her launch in 2003.The yacht, which once belonged to the late American business magnate Paul Allen, is about to embark on her first charter to Antarctica with Camper and Nicholsons, following her sale last year.

  14. Octopus Yacht Uncovered: An Insider's Look at the Luxury Yacht

    The Octopus more than qualifies as a superyacht coming in at an incredible 126.2 meters or 414 feet. While the largest yachts in the world are over 500 feet, the Octopus is clearly massive and could rightly be labeled a megayacht and one of the world's largest yachts as well.. Aside from the incredible length of the vessel, it features a beam just shy of 69 feet across.

  15. 126.2m Octopus Superyacht

    Octopus is a 126.20m (414.04ft) motor yacht, custom built in 2003 and last refitted in 2008. One of the largest and most spectacular examples of a full-fledged yachting and exploration vessel, 126-meter Octopus is equipped with highly sophisticated technology. Espen Øino International designed the striking exterior with a blue and white hull ...

  16. New images on board the 126m world explorer Octopus

    Now, with these latest images shared by central sales agents Fraser and Burgess, the world's largest explorer yacht and her eight decks can be studied a little more closely. Photo: Thierry Ameller Photography Exterior designer Espen Øino helped create a functional layout doused in luxury for up to 26 guests who are accommodated for across 13 ...

  17. OCTOPUS Yacht Photos

    SIMILAR LUXURY CHARTER YACHTS. Interior & exterior photos of OCTOPUS, the 126m Lurssen Yachts mega yacht, designed by Espen Oeino with an interior by Jonathan Quinn Barnett.

  18. Pictures Inside the Octopus Superyacht Don't Do it Justice

    The Octopus yacht was built by Lurssen, with Espen Oeino handling the exterior design and Jonathan Quinn Barnett completing the design for the interior. Capable of a cruising speed of 17 knots, the Octopus has a top speed of 20 knots. She can sleep 26 guests and a crew of 57.

  19. Octopus Yacht

    Octopus is a motor yacht with an overall length of m. The yacht's builder is Lürssen Yachts from Germany, who launched Octopus in 2003. The superyacht has a beam of m, a draught of m and a volume of . GT.. Octopus features exterior design by Espen Øino International and interior design by Jonathan Quinn Barnett Ltd. Up to 26 guests can be accommodated on board the superyacht, Octopus, and ...

  20. In pictures: 126m Octopus explores Antarctica

    Camper & Nicholsons has shared the first images of 126.2 metre Octopus exploring the icy waters of the White Continent as part of a cross-planet charter expedition. According to BOATPro, the superyacht arrived in Antarctica in late December and has since visited as far as James Ross island in the southeast and Anvers island in the west.. The yacht, which is widely considered the first 'true ...

  21. OCTOPUS Yacht Charter Brochure

    from $634,000 p/week ♦︎. Download the full charter brochure for luxury Motor Yacht "OCTOPUS" to explore her beautiful interiors, guest accommodation and full range of amenities as well as outdoor living spaces. This comprehensive overview provides the best way to get a feel for the charter experience on offer and gives detailed and accurate ...

  22. Former tender to Lürssen's Octopus gets new life after refit

    Very few boats have enjoyed the kind of following this former tender to Octopus has. Raphaël Montigneaux gets an early look at her recent refit with Cyril Le Sourd from SPARK Marine Projects ... According to the experts: the principles of yacht design. Lady Lara: On board the 91m Lürssen modern-day icon. Feature focus: 6 stand-out details on ...

  23. OCTOPUSSY Yacht Layout & GA Plans

    SIMILAR LUXURY CHARTER YACHTS. Interactive, detailed layout / general arrangement of OCTOPUSSY, the 44m Heesen super yacht with naval architecture by Mulder Design with an interior by Art Line & Joachim Kinder Yacht Design.