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Tiger Woods sues his megayacht builder

The golf superstar says Christensen Yachts illegally used his name to promote the company

The golf superstar says Christensen Yachts illegally used his name to promote the company

Tiger Woods says there’s nothing private about his new megayacht, Privacy. The golf superstar is suing the boat’s builder, Vancouver, Wash.-based Christensen Yachts, for using his fame to promote the company.

“As its name implies, ‘Privacy’ was intended to be a private respite for Woods and his family to relax and escape the rigors of Woods’ celebrity,” according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The suit also names as plaintiff Cayman Island-based Privacy Ltd., a corporation affiliated with Woods that owns the yacht. The suit was filed Oct. 29, a day after Woods’ newlywed wife, Elin Nordegren Woods, saw the 155-foot trideck motoryacht being promoted by Christensen at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, according to court documents. The suit also claims that “unauthorized use of Woods’ name and photographs of Privacy has occurred in numerous nationally circulated publications, including Power & Motoryacht magazine.”

The suit seeks a permanent injunction banning the builder from using Woods’ name and up to $50 million, based on the value of an endorsement by Woods. The golfer, a Florida resident, has several multimillion-dollar endorsement contracts with such companies as Nike, Titleist and American Express.

Shortly after the legal action was taken, Christensen agreed to a preliminary injunction stopping it from disclosing information about the megayacht and from using Woods’ name and likeness for any purpose, according to court papers.

The custom yacht was featured in the November issue of Power & Motoryacht in a list of America’s 100 largest yachts. A separate article in the same issue describes the yacht and its interior appointments. Although it doesn’t include the vessel’s name, it identifies Woods as the owner. Other publications, including Yachting and Sports Illustrated, also carried articles about Privacy.

A contract allows Christensen to use photographs of Privacy for promotion, according to court papers, but the name of the yacht and the identity of the owner were to remain undisclosed.

The $23 million fiberglass composite vessel has five staterooms, numerous amenities, and quarters for nine crewmembers. Powered by twin 1,800-hp MTU 12V 4000s, the megayacht has a cruising range of 4,000 nautical miles and a top speed of 19 knots.

The Christensen yard initially built the yacht, hull No. 86, on speculation. The three-year construction project was a few months from completion when the yacht was sold Feb. 6, 2004. The interior was finished at the buyer’s request, and Privacy was launched in May.

Privacy has been in the spotlight since the golfer and Nordegren, a Swedish model and nanny, married Oct. 5. The couple wed at a luxury resort in Barbados, then set sail for a Caribbean honeymoon. Photographers took pictures of the newlyweds dinghying to and from Privacy. The yacht also made news when it was detained briefly in Puerto Rico for not giving 96 hours advance notice of arrival, a violation of maritime security laws for large vessels. n