$395,000 a week on a Duchossois yacht
BY MARK BROWN October 3, 2012 11:46PM
Luxury yacht, Blue Moon, owned by Arlington Park Race Track owner Richard Duchossois.
Updated: November 5, 2012 11:47AM
As Chicago’s foremost connoisseur of the sport of kings, Arlington Park racetrack impresario Dick Duchossois has long lived a royal lifestyle befitting a man of his considerable means.
Now you, too, can enjoy the most visible trapping of his wealth by chartering a private cruise aboard his 198-foot power yacht, the Blue Moon.
All it will cost you is $395,000. Per week. Plus expenses.
Just don’t underestimate those expenses, which typically run an additional 45-50 percent of the charter price once you’ve tipped the crew, I’m told.
I mean I’d hate for you to shell out all that dough for the charter and then have to inform the captain that he and his men are out of luck on the gratuity while you’re still within sailing distance of the Bermuda triangle.
Arguably, I should have saved this story for a day when the racetrack owners were poor-mouthing in Springfield about how badly they need their own slot machines or a share of the state’s casino gambling revenues.
But I only just received a forwarded email with the enticing charter listing from Neptune Group Yachting and I imagine there are many of you still firming up your winter vacation plans now that the Chicago teachers strike is settled and the new school calendar is out.
You definitely wouldn’t want to book that weekend at the water park in the Dells before you’ve checked out the Blue Moon, which can sleep 12 in its seven cabins — in case you’re thinking you might need to split the cost with the in-laws.
As you would probably expect, I have never been invited onboard the Blue Moon, although “she” summers here in Chicago and has been a fixture on the lakefront since shortly after being launched in 2005.
But thanks to the Internet — and the fact that AMX, one of the many companies Duchossois owns, installed the boat’s high tech entertainment control system — there are plenty of videos and photos to be found online that will give you a virtual tour, including a nifty shot from a few years back of the now 91-year-old Mr. D in shorts with yellow socks.
The Blue Moon is the third and largest yacht by that name to be owned by the Duchossois family and was considered one of the 20 largest in the world when it went in the water.
While it has dropped back somewhat in the size rankings, it’s still considered to be one of the most luxuriously extravagant.
Heck, most of us would probably be satisfied with a ride on either of its two tenders — an original 1972 restored 28-foot Riva and a 25-foot Chris Craft.
My own favorite feature is a cylindrically shaped glass elevator that looks like something you’d find in a James Bond movie.
If you do sell your house (and children) for the chance to spend a week in this lap of luxury, I’d recommend avoiding that elevator because I’m pretty sure the floor could open up and drop you into the ocean. Either that or it fills with water, followed closely by piranha.
Or maybe that only happens when secret agents or smart-alecky reporters sneak on board wearing tuxedoes.
If you’re wanting to check out the Blue Moon in person before making your reservation, it won’t be quite as easy as driving down to Burnham Harbor.
According to the Blue Moon’s charter manager, the boat is currently somewhere on the eastern seaboard of the United States and will depart in mid-November for the Caribbean, where she typically spends her winters.
A disclaimer notes the yacht is “not for sale or charter to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters.”
What’s that about?
“It’s a tax thing — in a nutshell,” a broker explained.
I kinda figured. The Blue Moon flies under a Cayman Islands flag, which is probably another tax thing.
I couldn’t get a straight answer on whether we could dispense with this whole renting stuff and just buy the Blue Moon outright. Duchossois could not be reached for comment.
As to whether the Blue Moon is currently for sale, another charter rep explained, “Every yacht is for sale. It’s like real estate.”
Oh, I get it. For the right price.
According to a listing from a while back, the right price then was $71 million. Of course, it was being leased for $475,000 a week at the time, so the luxury yacht market isn’t what it was.
If it were me, I’d lowball them to see what they’ll take — and then book the Dells.