RECLUSIVE TYCOONS VIEW €35M SHOW BOAT

WHAT TO do when there are simply no luxury yachts on the market you want to buy? Easy – start your own yacht business and build your own, as Richard Beattie did when he discovered an alarming lack of “contemporary 21st-century superyachts” for sale.

“I fully expected to just go and buy one I liked, but we found there weren’t enough out there,” said Beattie, the founder-chairman of Aquos Yachts and chief executive of retail promotions firm TCC, who stepped into the world of steel-hulled, long-distance luxury boats when he launched the 45-metre Big Fish in June 2010.

Fifteen months and many remote expeditions later – the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Antarctica – Big Fish is back on the market for €35m (£30.6m), as Beattie focuses on building his next two 50-metre superyachts, Starfish and Swordfish.

The audience for a €35m boat is “pretty limited”, said Beattie, but he and his yacht broker, the Aim-listed YCO Group, remain hopeful for a sale, after last night hosting a party on board Big Fish – currently moored at Tower Bridge – to show off the boat to potential clients.

Unfortunately, those solvent buyers are “extremely protective of their privacy”, said Gary Wright, managing partner of YCO Group, but think “bigger than Lord Alan Sugar” – along the lines of the Middle Eastern royals and Silicon Valley tech billionaires who write the foreword endorsements to YCO’s 200-page coffee-table brochures…

BUSINESS OR PLEASURE
ON THE subject of big fish in small ponds, Aviva, the 70-metre superyacht owned by financier Joe Lewis, is also currently moored at Tower Bridge, prompting speculation as to what brings the Bahamas-based billionaire to London.

Has the notoriously publicity-shy financier steamed up the Thames to steady the ship at Mitchells & Butlers, the pub chain he holds a 42 per cent shareholding in with JP McManus and John Magnier, following a string of board-level departures at the pub chain?

Has he left the Caribbean on Spurs business, after the football club he majority owns through ENIC International made no high-profile signings this summer?

Or is he simply in town for YCO’s party, as one of the firm’s mysterious yacht-owner guests? You decide.

THE RIVER CAFE
AN UPDATE on Susannah Gill, Betfair’s “Iron Lady”, who has completed her ultimate triathlon challenge by spending three hours and 20 minutes swimming 10km in the River Dart in Devon. “I’m loath to think how much of the river I drank, but the £5k I have raised for the Prostate Cancer Charity makes it worthwhile,” said Gill (left).

That, and being presented on completing the swim with a bowl of soup made by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who happened to be filming The One Show in the area.

REMEMBERING 9/11
SIX DAYS before the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Mayor of London Boris Johnson yesterday unveiled a commemorative public artwork called “After 9/11” in Battersea Park.

Johnson was joined by the sculpture’s artist Miya Ando; Thomas Von Essen, the New York fire commissioner on the day of the attacks; and Peter Rosengard, chairman of the 911 London Project, the schools education programme also announced yesterday.