Summer season brings billionaires’ yachts to MDI

It is high summer, the time of year when the occurrence of at least four ‘b’ groups reach peak annual density at Mount Desert Island: (lobster) buoys, boats, bus riders (i.e., tourists) and billionaires.

Two of those groups overlap to create a subcategory — billionaires boats. Three such vessels could be seen Monday anchored at various locations around the island.

The most familiar to MDI residents is Rebecca, the 139-foot sailing yacht owned by Northeast Harbor summer resident Charles Butt, a San Antonio supermarket magnate whose net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $10.7 billion. More than a month after competing in the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta in Bermuda, Rebecca recently has been anchored its regular seasonal spot at the mouth of Somes Sound.

Rebecca sails past Seal Harbor on MDI in August 2015.

This past weekend, a larger vessel appeared not far away at the mouth of Northeast Harbor — the 180-foot power yacht Silver Shalis. On Monday morning the vessel, which has a striking powder-blue hull, cruised to the east side of MDI, where it tied up to the pier in front of Ocean Properties’ Bar Harbor Regency hotel.

The 180-foot Silver Shalis tied up to a dock at the Bar Harbor Regency hotel on Monday, July 24, 2017.

Also on Monday, anchored in Frenchman Bay amid the Porcupine Islands east of downtown Bar Harbor, was the 200-foot power yacht Huntress (formerly named Solemates).

The 200-foot Huntress sits anchored in Frenchman Bay on Monday, July 24, 2017.

Charter and fan websites that feature such mega-yachts generally don’t list the names of their owners, so determining who these boats belong to often is not that straightforward.

But based on media reports in the past few years, it seems that Silver Shalis is owned by billionaire developer Larry Silverstein, best known for redeveloping the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11 attacks. Silverstein previously owned another 130-foot yacht, also named Silver Shalis, before upgrading in 2010.

According to the blog Superyachtfan, under its prior name Huntress had been owned by Paul Fireman, the former CEO of Reebok. But it was sold prior to January 2016, according to yachtcharterfleet.com, and despite spending a while searching online, I have not been able to determine who the new owner(s) might be.

Other private mega-yachts that have appeared off MDI in recent years include Northern Star, Lady Gayle Marie, Meteor, Asolare (known as Scheherazade when first built by Hodgdon Yachts of East Boothbay), Mark Cuban’s 288-foot Fountainhead, and David Geffen’s enormous 454-foot Rising Sun.

The comings and goings of these and other vessels along Maine’s coast and elsewhere can be found online at MarineTraffic.com.

Bill Trotter

About Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors. He writes about fisheries, marine-related topics, eastern coastal Maine communities and more for the BDN. He lives in Ellsworth. Follow him on Twitter at @billtrotter.