The market for high end yachts did not slow down in 2021. In fact, according to the Superyacht Times, a record 1,110 units were sold. Yachts are qualified as boats greater than 24 m (78 ft) in length.
Of those 1,110 vessels, 738 were used boats and 334 were new boats. For some perspective, 788 total yachts were sold in 2018, followed by 771 in 2019, and 821 in 2020. The United States proved to once again be the largest market, as has been the case consistently for the last several years.
As for who won the grand prize for Most Expensive Yacht Sold in 2021, the award has been bestowed upon a well-known vessel. The Octopus, a 414-foot superyacht originally commissioned for Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who passed away in 2018, went onto the market following his death and sold for a record-setting $266 million in August. Surprisingly, the ship was listed as high as $325 million in 2019 and underwent several price drops before finding a buyer. At the time it was launched in 2003, it was the world's largest yacht.
Not only did Octopus set the 2021 record, it's also one of the largest explorer yachts ever built. The ship was designed as a globally capable vessel able to withstand any conditions, which Allen put to good use during his time as owner. The Octopus helped the British Royal Navy recover the bell of the historic HMS Hood from a depth of 1.7 miles (2.8 km) in the Denmark Strait of the North Atlantic after it sunk during World War II.
The ship was built by respected German shipyard Lurssen, and some of its most famous details include a full music recording studio, a full size swimming pool, a gym, a library, and even a basketball court. The pool has a hydraulically-assisted rising bottom that converts it to a dancefloor. The rugged hull design was meant for Arctic exploration where ice is a concern, and power comes from massive diesel-electric engines and eight generators. The hybrid propulsion gives Octopus increased autonomy and greater range, allowing it to travel up to 12,500 nautical miles (23,150 km) before needing to refuel. It also has an impressive top speed of 19 knots (22 mph).
Below deck is a another world. It was designed to accommodate one of the most insane collection of secondary vessels ever seen. Two helicopters, a submarine, and seven tenders all use custom holding stations inside the hull's framework, and two helipads up top to support flights on/off the ship. There are also two life rafts, multiple jet skis, and an autonomous robotic boat (ROV) for deep sea exploration. There is also a glass bottomed observation deck, a fully-equipped diving station, and a hyperbaric chamber for post-dive recovery.
As for guest accommodations, there are 13 cabins capable of supporting 26 guests, as well as space for almost 50 crew. The master suite has its own private elevator and observation deck, and there are two VIP apartments, plus seven double staterooms, and three twin staterooms.
One of the most interesting aspects of the sale is that it will now be available for charter. Unsurprisingly the cost supersedes most other superyachts, but for $2.2 million per week you can undertake your own adventure to 20,000 leagues under the sea like a modern day Captain Nemo and the Nautilus.
You can get a full tour of Octopus in the video below: