“Ugly duckling” ex-crab boat converted into “ultimate fun factory” by billionaire equity investor for sale for 47% less than in 2017; it comes with gadgets galore amongst them a two-seat amphibious flying boat
Stanford educated private equity investor Richard Kayne manages over £25.3 billion ($31 billion, €28.7 billion or درهم113.8 billion) through his firm Kayne Anderson Capital Advisers. He also “doesn’t like to sit still,” has over 300 employees and is not only pretty “alternative” in the way he invests; he’s also pretty unusual in the style of yacht he favours.
Father of three Kayne took up sailing in order to “get [his] daughters involved in a family experience” around 2002 and then commissioned a 164-foot yacht named JeMaSa – a merger of the names of Jenni, Maggie and Saree, his aforementioned children. His love of “toys” – such as Eurocopter helicopters, sea planes, submarines, tenders, flyboards, jet-skis and inflatable water slides – subsequently resulted in a further purchase, a 170-foot steel hulled crab fishing boat that he intended simply to use as a “supply boat” to house his ever-growing collection of “kit.”
Previously known as Fierce Contender (built in Lockport, Louisiana in 1978) and used in the Discovery Channel television series Deadliest Catch, the boat was converted into a “shadow yacht” in Seattle over the winter of 2007. Of the work, in November 2019, Kayne told Boat International:
“Designing the garage was a challenge. In addition to the helicopter we had a hovercraft, one of the world’s noisiest boats, a hand-built mahogany speedboat, a work boat, WaveRunners, Sea-Doos, sailboats, ski and wakesurfing boats and, eventually, an amphibious airplane.”
Renamed SuRi – a combination of his name and that of his wife, Suzanne – the Kayne family then took their fleet to Denarau, Fiji and though together the financier termed them his “hundred-metre articulated yacht,” he later came to realise that “neither yacht was adequate for all the people and all the toys.”
His response came in 2011 and of it, he announced: “I did another silly thing – I decided to sell JeMeSa and jumbo-size SuRi.” The boat was taken to Alameda, California, cut in half and expanded to provide further accommodation and “what is arguably the largest toy garage-cum-aircraft hangar afloat outside the US Navy.” The resulting “amenity-rich explorer yacht” is now 208-foot long and can accommodate 18 guests in 7 cabins with 19 crew.
Capable of a range of 7,400 nautical miles at a maximum speed of 13 knots, SuRi became what its owner termed “the ultimate fun factory” where: “Whatever it is that you want to do – put jet boots on your feet and go flying up in the air, go kitesurfing, take a cruise in a Riva type of boat, or go wakeboarding, wake surfing, waterskiing, fishing or diving, you just go and do it.”
Now, however, Kayne’s enthusiasm has moved on to developing an “American-style golf club” on New Zealand’s North Island. He first put SuRi – which astonishingly has over 3,300 followers on its Instagram account – up for charter through firms such as Cookson Adventures and then tried to sell the yacht for £35.8 million ($43.9 million, €40.7 million or درهم161.2 million) in 2017. That price plainly was not achievable and now, Burgess Yachts are offering the craft for the much-reduced sum of £18.8 million ($23 million, €21.7 million or درهم84.5 million).