People walk at Bug Light Park in South Portland Tuesday with the Rising Sun, a five-story, 82-room gigayacht owned by billionaire David Geffen, docked in the background in Portland. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Some people view it as a symbol of wealth-hoarding. Others see it as a tourist attraction. Some believe it’s merely a sign of a changing Old Port. To entertainment mogul David Geffen, the 82-room, $400 million gigayacht floating in the Portland harbor is merely a part-time home.

A boat that is worth $381 million more than the most expensive home for sale on Maine Listings docked in Portland on Monday night. Though it’s not a boat, it’s not a yacht, it’s not a superyacht and it’s not even a megayacht. It’s a gigayacht and it’s the 20th largest in the world, according to the Robb Report, a chronicler of all things luxurious.

The yacht, named Rising Sun, is one of Geffen’s vacation homes. Geffen is the music and film producer behind The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and DreamWorks – the animation studio that produced, among many hits, “Shrek,” Shrek 2,” “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After.” Fifty-nine years after he launched his entertainment career, Geffen has landed himself at No. 229 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $9.14 billion.

Geffen is also pals with many celebrities, and he’s brought many of them aboard Rising Sun, including Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey and Julia Roberts.

Geffen’s accomplishment’s and social circle notwithstanding, all anyone could talk about in the Old Port on Tuesday afternoon was the gigayacht, itself.

“It’s friggin’ big,” said Owen Dionne, a deckhand at Portland Discovery Land Sea and Tours.


At five stories high and 453 feet long, it’s certainly an eye-catcher. In the maritime vernacular, a yacht is generally at least 30 feet long, a superyacht is 80-100 feet long, a megayacht is 200 feet and a gigayacht stretches beyond 300 feet.

Rising Sun has a gym, a wine cellar, a spa, a movie theater and can accommodate up to 16 guests and 45 crew members, according to It was built in 2004 by Lürssen Yachts, a German shipyard, for Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison. Geffen bought it from Ellison in 2010.

This is the kind of information that Portland Discovery deckhands research to share with passengers.

The Rising Sun, a five-story, 82-room super yacht owned by billionaire David Geffen docked in Portland on Tuesday. The yacht has a gym, a wine cellar, a spa, a movie theater and can accommodate up to 16 guests and 45 crew members. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

“They all want to know who owns them,” Dionne said. “We research how many crew they have, how much they cost to run and to own. But mostly they’re just interested in the owners, though usually they’re not really famous people, they’re just rich people.”

Yachts are a dime a dozen to Dionne and Jack Coggeshall, manager at Portland Discovery. Coggeshall has seen Rising Sun many times over the course of his 11 years at Portland Discovery. But they still agree that it’s the biggest yacht they’ve seen in Portland’s waters and it’s quite a view to take in.

“It’s just unbelievable to see a private yacht that big,” Coggeshall said.


One tidbit Dionne and Coggeshall might not have come across is the Rising Sun’s environmental impact. The diesel engines powering the gigayacht belch an estimated 16,320 tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent gases into the atmosphere annually, almost 800 times what the average American generates in a year, according to a New York Times report citing the journal Sustainability.


The gigayacht also caught tourists’ eyes at the Eastern Promenade – though not necessarily for the same reasons.

Dave and Dianne Rhodes were sitting on a bench on Tuesday afternoon taking in the distant Rising Sun. Dave Rhodes wasn’t looking at it in admiration, though.

“The obscene amount of pure spending gobs of money on nothing … the money could be used in such a better way,” he said.

The Rhodes sailed up from Rochester, New York, on their sailboat, the Lagerhead. They spent $39,000 on their boat – not necessarily cheap, but dwarfed by the value of the Rising Sun. But even if they had all the money in the world, they’d keep the Lagerhead.


“We’re more interested in our sailboat,” Dianne Rhodes said.

Lobsterman Rob Rutter pauses on Portland’s Widgery Wharf after working on his boat Devocean. Rutter is ambivalent about the gigayacht bobbing in the harbor, saying it won’t affect his lobster prices one way or another.  Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Doug Sargent, a New Jersey resident, is similarly unimpressed by Rising Sun.

“It’s not interesting, it’s too blah,” Sargent said. “Buy that boat? It’s so far beyond comprehension that that’s not even one of my thoughts.”

However, Sargent said there are some upsides to a visitor like Geffen. Perhaps Geffen and his guests are spreading the wealth in the Old Port.

“I hope he’s helping the local economy,” he said.

Sargent, 79, lived in Portland until he was 13 years old and has watched the Old Port transform over the course of his life. It’s people like Geffen who have given the Old Port the money to change for the better, he said.


Whether the arrival of the Rising Sun has positive or negative impacts on the city, lobsterman Rob Rutter is ambivalent. He’s making the same amount of money for his catch even when people like Geffen visit Portland.

“I didn’t even think that yacht being in town was going to make a story other than ‘it was here,’ ” Rutter said.

It’s not entirely clear where Rising Sun is floating while it awaits its next journey. According to Portland city spokesperson Jessica Grondin, it’s not at any of the city’s docks or moorings. Dionne, the Portland Discovery Land Sea and Tours deckhand, said it’s likely at Fore Points Marina, “a safe, deep harbor, specifically designed to host megayachts” that opened in 2019. Office Manager Lauren Whitney would neither confirm nor deny whether Rising Sun was on its docks. Its current coordinates, according to Marine Traffic, are in an area where there are no other marinas but Fore Points.

If so, Geffen would pay at least $3,624 a day for the dockage rate, according to the company’s website.

What say Geffen? Does he like coming to Portland? How long will he be here? How much is he spending on the ship? Is he spending any money in the Old Port? Where does he stand on the ongoing Hollywood writers and actors strike?

Who knows – a reporter tried but could not get in touch with him.

“This is not possible, he doesn’t take any calls,” said an unnamed receptionist at the David Geffen Foundation. “Thank you for trying.”

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