Ship up for online auction

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SEPT. 4 — An Illinois businessman is selling a 123-foot former commercial ferry on eBay and hopes the selling price breaks the online auction site’s record for the most expensive single sale.

The starting bid during the 10-day auction for the 365-passenger yacht, called Cloud X, is $5 million. The largest sale price ever recorded on the site was $4.9 million in 2001 for a business jet. The owner hopes the selling price grows to about $16 million.

Until May Cloud X had operated for six months as a passenger ferry traveling from West Palm Beach, Fla., to Freeport, Bahamas, according to information on the yacht’s Web site. The owner named rising fuel costs and disruption of peoples’ travel plans because of last season’s hurricanes as reasons Cloud X is no longer in service.

“I’m very proud of the boat,” the owner says in a news report. “I don’t know if there wasn’t a market for it or we didn’t market it properly. I know I was losing money at an alarming rate, and we just had to shut everything down.”

Resembling a catamaran, Cloud X is a SWATH design (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull), the site says. The yacht tops out at 27 knots, has a 60-foot beam and has a 4,700-square-foot main deck. The upper deck measures nearly 3,400 square feet. It cruises most efficiently at about 16 knots while burning 15.14 gallons of fuel per nautical mile.

Cloud X is berthed in Fort Pierce, Fla., but can be shipped worldwide, according to information on the auction site. Bidding for Cloud X ends Thursday Sept. 7.

? Jason Fell