SOMESVILLE, Sept. 1, 2020 – The northern end of Somes Sound near the village turns into a mooring field every summer for the uber rich and their brontesaurian yachts, owing to its deep water, Maine’s spectacular coastline and perfect weather.
But even I, having become a little jaded by the presence of so many mega yachts, could not take my scope off of this one as it approached in steady but very slow speed of under 5 knots. I first spotted it just south of Seal Harbor as it lumbered toward Sutton Island. It looked longer than a football field.
Indeed, it was longer than a football field. As it passed my bow, I quickly googled the name on the transom, “Rising Sun.” Wikipedia pegged the length at 453 feet, or almost exactly a football field and a half. That’s about twice what John Elway at his prime could throw a football.
RISING SUN ENTERING SOMES SOUND FROM THE SOUTH
VIDEO OF RISING SUN CROSSING MY BOW https://www.facebook.com/lincoln.millstein/videos/10221428347832174
The yacht was built for Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle and multiple winner of the America’s Cup. In 2010 Hollywood mogul David Geffen bought it for $590 million.
Here is a detailed description of the yacht, one of the largest in the world, by the publication Club Yacht:
“The Rising Sun offers a living area of over 8,000 square metres over five levels and 3,300 square meters of deck space lavishly layered in teak. Jacuzzzi bathrooms and countertops fashioned out of onyx gives the yacht a particularly sumptuous atmosphere. Up to 16 guests can comfortably cruise on the Rising Sun, their every need taken care of by as many as 43 crew members, who can also be easily accommodated onboard the yacht. The Rising Sun has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure with hawseholes plated in chromium. A cruising speed of up to 26 knots can easily be achieved and a maximum speed of up to 28 knots makes longer journeys easier. To further ensure the absolute comfort and enjoyment of every guest onboard, the luxury yacht is also equipped with a full gymnasium, a wide-ranging wine cellar and a sauna and a spa. The basketball court on the main deck doubles up as a helicopter pad when required and the private cinema features an enormous plasma screen offering limitless entertainment to royalty and celebrities alike.”
Rising Sun is a favorite among gossip columnists as a floating playground for the famous and wealthy.
W Magazine once listed some of the previous guests: Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Springsteen, Gayle King, Julia Roberts, Maria Shriver, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams, Martin Short, Diane Sawyer, Diane von Furstenberg, Karlie Kloss, Alexis Rose, Jen Meyer, Josh Kushner, and Sir Paul McCartney.
I could not detect any guests through my binocs. I could only make out some of the crew on board.
But the yacht has a back story. Geffen, who has a net worth of $7.7 billion, faced swift backlash in March after he shared a photo on Instagram that showed him “self-isolating” on the Rising Sun in the Grenadines.
Here is The Guardian’s take, with florid English references.
“Geffen is not the only one doing this. He is a billionaire, so his version of glamorous social distancing is billionaire-sized, but a quick, faintly nauseating glance through Instagram will show that he is far from alone in attempting to create Instagrammable isolation. Social media cliches already include photogenic children skipping on an empty beach in front of their parents’ Cornish second home, or going for bucolic walks near their parents’ second home in Dorset …”
I hadn’t known it was a “thing” for the wealthy to flaunt their self-deprecating sacrifice for the rest of humanity.
But apparently the Rising Sun became a symbol of this narcissistic impulse. Ugh, how do we rid of it?
There are not many harbors north of Portland where a yacht this big can dock. The biggest marina on MDI, Dysarts, can take a boat up to 250 feet but only if it is less than 14 feet deep. Somes Sound, which is 175 feet deep in some parts, is ideal for ocean-going crafts to anchor.
Rising Sun also caused a stir because at night the boat lights up the entire northern part of the sound. Blaring music as well, it’s like a floating casino.
The juxtapositon of mega yachts in the land of “Quiet Money” is itself ironic. Pity the Rockefeller klan and the like who work so hard not to flaunt their wealth. They must endure the clueless sensibility of the nouveau riche with their garish toys parading in front of their cottage windows. This class of genteel denizens who loathe driving anything more expensive than a Volvo can only grin and bear it while a tone-deaf David Geffen displays his wealth with a Trumpian vulgarity.