Monday, 23 July 2012 3:00 PM
A transformation has been happening before my very eyes as I sit at my window-facing desk in South Quay.
I have been observing the activity below for many months as construction workers get the quays and waterways ready for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – and some of the world’s wealthiest visitors...
Now sporting a carpet of grass and red, white and blue parasols, the once-drab quay scene looks more akin to a view you’d expect in Monaco or St. Tropez as the super-yachts, arriving daily, jostle for space to enjoy the best seat in the house – moments away from the Olympic Stadium.
Gleaming white, the super-yachts are the epitome of luxury with Jacuzzis, jet skis and helipads (in some cases several!). A-list visitors include co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen who has docked his colossal yacht Octopus – the size of a small shopping centre. Word on the grapevine is that the largest super-yacht in the world – Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse – is on its way today; in fact up to 100 yachts are expecting over the course of the Games.
Octopus (pictured below) is one of the highly anticipated yachts that has docked in the shadow of the 02 arena. The 127m Octopus has two helicopters, seven boats, a 10 man submarine and a remote controlled vehicle for crawling on the Ocean floor (you know...just for fun). Requiring a 60-strong team of staff, the yacht cost Paul Allen reportedly a whopping $200 million!
Iliona (pictured below) is the property of 81-year-old Australian shopping centre mogul Frank Lowy who is co-founder of the Westfield Group. The yacht can accommodate a maximum of up 16 guests, in six cabins and up to 28 crew. Like other super-yachts it has a helicopter pad, but this yacht boasts an innovative design in which the helicopter is stored in a retractable hangar below deck. Other amenities include a cinema, a massage room and a gymnasium.
If super-yachts float your boat (and you’re willing to pay a small fortune) then they can be rented, such as the über-glamorous Seanna (pictured below), which is also docked in Canary Wharf. From around £360,000 a week you can rent this super-yacht which is complete with a gymnasium, Jacuzzi, massage room (massage therapist available upon request), jet skis, fishing equipment and more.
Similarly, the luxurious 45-metre yacht Harle (pictured above) – which is moored nearby – can be rented for a cool £143,000 per week. Slightly more modest in size, it has a Jacuzzi, sundeck and watersports equipment.
Personally, I think I'll stick to ogling them on my lunch break...
By Sarah Gibbons
Follow us @travelbite