Size matters for Larry Ellison

Size matters for Larry Ellison

Oracle may be smaller than Microsoft, but Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison can at least boast that his yacht is bigger than Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's yacht.

Oracle may be smaller than Microsoft, but Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison can at least boast that his yacht is bigger than Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's yacht. Measuring 138 meters (452 feet, 8 inches) in length, Ellison's megayacht, Rising Sun, was launched in June last year and is the largest private yacht in the world, reportedly costing more than US$270 million to build and fit out.

Very little information has been made publicly available about Rising Sun. Most of what is available comes from scattered press reports and Web sites created by megayacht enthusiasts who track the construction and movements of the world's biggest and most opulent yachts.

What is known is that Rising Sun was built by Lürssen Yachts in Bremen, Germany, and started life shrouded in secrecy as a project called LE120 -- a reference to Ellison and what is widely believed to be the original length of the ship.

At some point during construction, Ellison's yacht became 18 meters longer; exactly why is not known. Some observers speculated that the length of the vessel was increased during construction to ensure it would be bigger than the 126-meter Octopus, another yacht being built by Lürssen for Allen. Others said the lower number may have been used to mask the true length of the vessel.

Whatever the real story may be, Ellison isn't known as someone who shrinks in the face of competition.

As with many things in life, size isn't all that matters when it comes to megayachts. What you do with them counts, too.

At present, Rising Sun is in Valencia, Spain, for the Louis Vuitton Act 4, one in a series of regattas held to determine the team that will challenge defender Alinghi for the America's Cup in 2007. One of those teams is BMW Oracle Racing, which was founded by Ellison in 2000.

Rising Sun will certainly be a comfortable place for Ellison to stay and entertain when he's in Valencia. The yacht's interior more closely resembles a palace than a ship, with 82 rooms on five storeys, according to The Independent newspaper.

Rising Sun's main staterooms reportedly offer 5-meter ceilings, private balconies, jacuzzi-equipped bathrooms, and panoramic ocean views. Other shipboard amenities include a walnut-panelled bar, private movie theater, gym, basketball court, an indoor swimming pool, and a twin-hulled landing craft to carry the ship's four-wheel drive Jeep ashore.

Allen's Octopus has its share of toys as well, including a helicopter hanger, a recording studio and a personal submarine that is reportedly launched from an underwater hatch.

Rising Sun won't be the world's largest private yacht for much longer. In April, a 160-meter yacht currently called Project Platinum was launched in Dubai and is heading for completion.

With the clock running down on Rising Sun's reign as the world's largest private yacht, Ellison is rumored to have put the ship up for sale. Whether or not he decides to build something bigger than Project Platinum remains to be seen. -- IDG News Service

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