Please use a modern browser to view this website. Some elements might not work as expected when using Internet Explorer.

Home X

Paul Allen: Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist and superyacht visionary passes away

By Rebecca Bradbury   16 October 2018

Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his high school friend Bill Gates, has died aged 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He will be remembered in the yachting industry for owning one of the world’s first go-anywhere expedition yachts: the 126m/300ft superyacht OCTOPUS.

Allen’s company Vulcan said in a statement that he died on Monday. Earlier this month Allen revealed the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, had returned.

Allen and Gates founded Microsoft in 1975. He served as the company’s executive vice-president of research and new product development until 1983, when he left for health reasons. He stayed as a major shareholder and member of the board.

His Microsoft co-founder said: “I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends… Personal computing would not have existed without him.”

Bill Gates and Paul Allen, superyacht owner and visionary

As well as playing a vital role in developing the PC, the technology pioneer also gave more than $2bn to a wide range of interests, including ocean health, homelessness and advancing scientific research.

He owned the Lurssen superyacht OCTOPUS which, at 126 metres, was the largest yacht in the world at the time of her launch in 2003. Alongside being equipped with every luxury imaginable, she also features state-of-the-art technology for music recording and research expeditions.

Indeed, he was the first superyacht owner to view his vessel as more than just a pleasure palace. He tapped into the opportunities the yacht could bring for ocean research and conservation and, for this, he can be considered as an early pioneer of the expedition yacht, which today is in vogue among new owners.

motor yacht OCTOPUS owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen

Highlights of the yacht, which is now the 14th largest in the world, include a swimming pool, a basketball court, and interior styling from award-winning Jonathan Quinn Barnett. While, for research and exploration, two helicopters are stored in the hangar on the main deck, and the tender garage houses a 10-person submarine.

As a research vessel, the motor yacht and her expert crew were involved in the 2015 discovery of the wreck of Japanese ship MUSASHI, one of the biggest warships of the Second World War.

OCTOPUS was also a member of the Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) and played an important part in a number of rescue missions.

Equipped with every luxury imaginable, OCTOPUS also features state-of-the-art technology for music recording and research expeditions

In July 2012, Allen loaned the yacht to the Royal Navy free of charge, so they could attempt to retrieve the bell from the wreck of battlecruiser HMS Hood which sunk during World War II in the Denmark Strait.

Four months later, she rescued a sailor who got into difficulties 645 miles south-west of San Diego. Read OCTOPUS recovers bell from HMS Hood and Paul Allen unearths WW2 Japanese battleship Musashi for more information on these two missions.

The billionaire also hosted a number of parties aboard OCTOPUS at the Cannes Film Festival. The lavish celebrations will be remembered for their themes, such as ‘Bollywood’ and ‘Shakespeare’, as well as their star-studded guest lists.

superyacht TATOOSH owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen

In May, at the 2018 festival, Gates hosted one of his legendary parties aboard his other yacht, the 92m/303ft superyacht TATOOSH. The theme was ‘An Evening in Casablanca’ and he even took to the stage with his band to entertain the A-list guests in attendance (see Instagram gallery below).  

Built by Nobiskrug in 2000, TATOOSH features elegant interior styling from Terence Disdale alongside a host of cutting-edge entertainment and leisure facilities designed to offer the ultimate in at-sea living.

Back in 2016, the superyacht made headlines when her anchor damaged a coral reef the size of an Olympic swimming pool in the Cayman Islands. But Allen led an emergency restoration plan to help speed the recovery of the injured coral, restoring over 1,592 hard and soft corals and sponges.     

M/Y OCTOPUS and M/Y TATOOSH are not available for charter. But for more information on chartering a large yacht, speak to your preferred charter broker.


Yachts in your shortlist