A strong gust of wind nearly set the world’s largest single-masted sailing yacht adrift in Portland Harbor over the weekend.

The sudden and powerful gust a little after 8:15 a.m. Saturday caught the 277-foot-long and 54-foot-wide super yacht broadside, Harbor Master Kevin Battle said of the vessel that has been docked at DiMillo’s Marina since Sept. 3. Combined with the incoming tide, that created so much force that the vessel ripped a floating dock away from several pilings, he said.

The float remained attached on one end, albeit perpendicular to its intended location, preventing the super yacht and several other vessels from being set adrift, Battle said.

“It’s very unusual,” Battle said, noting that DiMillio’s has hosted several large vessels throughout the years without incident. “You had a lot of forces all at once pushing in the same direction.”

DiMillo’s Marina manager Amanda St. Peter did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The only damage during the incident was to the pilings, some of which were bent and broken, Battle said. On Monday morning, a small crane was on site making repairs, and the M5 was docked at the end of Chandler’s Wharf.

Gas and electrical lines to the dock remained intact during the incident, so no fuel spilled into the harbor, Battle said. The gas lines have been shut down during the repairs.

The M5 has made multiple visits to Portland Harbor in recent weeks.

It was originally commissioned by Joseph Vittoria, the former chairman and CEO of Avis rental car company. It was completed at a British shipyard and launched in 2004 under the name Mirabella V, but was renamed in 2012 after the boat changed owners.

The original price was not reported at the time it was launched, but was later estimated to be $50 million by people in the maritime industry.

Vittoria reportedly sold the sloop in 2011 for $25 million, according to Fortune magazine and other sources. The buyer was Rod Lewis, a billionaire Texas oil-and-gas tycoon.

The vessel has a master bedroom suite on its main deck and six cabins that sleep up to 12 people. Running the boat requires a crew of more than a dozen, according to a 2010 Greenwich Time story.

The vessel also has a smaller yacht stored inside the hull that can be used to ferry passengers back and forth to shore from anchorage. It also has space for a small seaplane on the stern.

While larger sailing yachts with more masts have been constructed, M5 still ranks as the largest of the single-mast variety, according to BoatInternational.com, a clearinghouse for news and advertisements for yacht sales, rankings and charters and other expensive maritime hobbies.

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

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