Billionaire's yacht bound for Fiordland

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013
Octopus Superyacht
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

HEADING NORTH: Octopus Superyacht arriving in Timaru this month.

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A superyacht owned by Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen is heading to Fiordland, rather than Bluff.

The Octopus - a 127-metre-long yacht believed to have a swimming pool, basketball court, cinema, recording studio and two submarines - was rumoured to be heading for Bluff early yesterday.

However, South Port general manager Russell Slaughter said the yacht's agent had not confirmed if it would visit Bluff.

Marine administrator Murray Kelman said he understood the Octopus was heading towards Fiordland. It was not known if Mr Allen was on board.

Southland harbourmaster Kevin O'Sullivan confirmed he had been in contact with the captain, and the yacht was expected in Fiordland in the next few days.

Auckland-based superyacht agent 37 South Ltd would not comment on the direction of the Octopus, which stopped in Timaru on February 2.

Hundreds of people flocked to the Port of Timaru to see the superyacht before its departure on Monday. There was no public access to the yacht.

The Octopus made the news in different regions last year. The superyacht crew rescued a sailor off California when his boat was damaged in November. The Octopus was also used by the Royal Navy in July to try to retrieve the bell from World War II battlecruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk between Greenland and Iceland. The mission was unsuccessful.

Mr Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975, and left his position on the company board of directors in 2000.

In 2012, Forbes reported Mr Allen's estimated wealth was US$14.2 billion (NZ$17.5b), making him the 48th richest person in the world.

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