Gigayacht on the block at eBay - Soundings Online

Gigayacht on the block at eBay

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The $168 million 405-footer might be the most expensive item ever auctioned on the site

The $168 million 405-footer might be the most expensive item ever auctioned on the site

From Q-tips to gigayachts, eBay has something for just about everyone. At least that’s what Craig Timm was thinking when he put a 405-foot yacht on the online auction site for a cool $168 million.

And why not? Timm, president of 4Yacht Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., yacht brokerage firm, says he has seen private jets, luxury yachts, even a$1 million Ferrari Enzo sports car on the auction block at eBay.com.

“If somebody can afford a $1 million car, then they are in the realm of what we are trying to sell,” says Timm.

Though eBay won’t say, Timm believes his entry, a Frank Mulder-designed gigayacht (or super-sized megayacht), may be the most expensive item ever auctioned on the site. The site’s auction software can only handle bids up to $99,999,999, so Timm asked for a half-price bid of $85 million — or best offer — with the understanding that the actual price was twice the bid.

The yacht, which has yet to be built, went up for auction Nov. 2 to 10 during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, then again from Nov. 11 to 30. Timm says he had taken bids in the $30 million and $40 million range but nothing close to what a steel-hulled triple decker with helicopter and pool, 18 guest cabins, and 3,000-square-foot master stateroom with luxury office should fetch. “People were looking for the deal,” he says.

Timm says the design has some unique features. For example, she’ll draw just 5 feet, which means she can motor into most ports. Her range is 16,000 nautical miles, and speed is16 knots cruising, 20 knots wide open, with her twin 9,780-hp Caterpillar diesels. Fuel capacity is 210,000 gallons. Stowed below at the bow, the helicopter is lifted to its pad on deck on an elevator. A hydraulically controlled mesh enclosure extends from the stern into the sea to create a saltwater pool protected from sea critters. Ten of the guest cabins are VIP suites that encompass two levels, with panoramic windows. Depending on when he finds a buyer, Timm expects the yacht to be completed sometime in 2007, probably at a yard in Croatia.

Timm didn’t necessarily expect to sell the megamillion-dollar yacht on eBay, though he has auctioned much smaller ones fetching $200,000 or $300,000 at the eBay Motors site, where he can auction a yacht for a fixed fee, usually several hundred dollars. Timm says an eBay auction gives the yacht exposure and creates “buzz.” The gigayacht was averaging 3,000 views a day, and the auction suffered one glitch. A bidder who wanted to bid substantially below the asking price pushed the wrong button and indicated he was willing to pay the full price, ending the auction. “He didn’t have the $170 million,” Timm says. When he restarted the auction, he required all bidders to contact him first to qualify to make a bid.

Timm also is advertising the yacht on his own Web site, 4yacht.com, other Internet sites and in high-end magazines. “EBay is one of the top 10 Web sites,” he says. “People who are looking for a boat are looking on eBay, too, believe it or not. Everybody’s looking for something there. … This is just another tool for us. We’re here to sell boats.”