What's up with that?

The Empire ponders Juneau's puzzles, unravels its mysteries and contemplates its conundrums.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2002

Q: I would like to know what's up with the mystery boat out at the public float at Auke Bay. I believe the name of the boat is the Cyclops. It is a very large sailboat and appears, disappears then reappears at the float. I think it has a Bermuda or an Australian flag. I saw part of the Union Jack on the flag. It is such a huge sailboat and is very impressive. Do you know what's up with the mystery boat Cyclops coming and going and coming again?

A: The question about the coming and going of the boat is easy to answer. According to the crew members stationed with the boat, they leave periodically to take the owner out for a spin. But that short answer begs the question: "What is this mysterious, huge, foreign boat doing in Auke Bay and who actually owns it?"

In researching the answers, it was necessary to snoop out information from local sources and from others around the world. The story meanders from the boat at Auke Bay to Bermuda, Admiralty Island, Switzerland, Germany and into the foreign exchange financial markets throughout the world.

The boat: CYCLOS III dwarfs everything else at Auke Bay. This spit-shined, 141-foot, aluminum, world-class cruising ketch was designed by Ron Holland out of Ireland and built by the Royal Huisman Shipyard in the Netherlands. Referred to as a "super yacht," its 166-foot main mast is beefy, resembling an extremely tall oil drum. It has a beam of 29 feet, a draft of 16 feet and registered gross tonnage of 210.

For those of you who have had to play the "Auke Bay Shuffle," yes, CYCLOS III has to vacate its slip periodically just like everybody else - no special treatment given. When its 10 days are up, the crew usually anchors outside the harbor for a day and then ties up again at the dock, thus satisfying the moorage requirements.

CYCLOS III can be found for sale on the Internet with an asking price of $13.85 million. According to the CYCLOS Web site, the owner has had three generations of CYCLOS boats and is now planning CYCLOS IV. The flag of the United Kingdom (Bermuda) flies from III's stern.

Enough about the boat. Who is the owner?

The owner: Having seen this boat for the last few years, inquiring Juneauites claim to know bits and pieces of the answer: "The owner's name is George," "He is building a lodge on Admiralty," and "He owns a software company in Berlin." Supposition ranges from somewhere between an urban legend to the truth.

But if loose lips sink ships, the crew stationed here with the boat will never sink the boat nor be guilty of revealing the owner's name.

With a well-rehearsed air and a "Crocodile Dundee" accent, Capt. Charles Milton and the crew would only say they are here to maintain the boat and take the (unnamed) owner out for a cruise or to meet him for a few days at other locations. Tough duty, but somebody has to do it!

Being a foreign vessel, CYCLOS III must clear U.S. Customs each time it comes into U.S. waters. Information obtained from customs states it is technically owned by Cyclos Yachting Ltd. in Hamilton, Bermuda. Peter Albisser is listed as its director.

What about the lodge on Admiralty? According to Alaska land ownership records, "Hidden Bay Corp.," an Alaska corporation, has purchased land on Admiralty Island near Hood Bay. A further check of corporate records revealed that Peter Albisser is Hidden Bay's vice president and George B. Herrdum (the name we've been looking for) is the president.

Herrdum, a German citizen, is indeed into software, acccording to court documents. He is affiliated with Gesellschaft fur Trendanalysen (GFTA), which is a German limited partnership with its sole place of business in Switzerland. According to Visual Numerics, a developer of leading edge data analysis, "GFTA is a supplier of decision support information for leading players in the foreign exchange market. GFTA has built one of the largest financial market databases in the world" with a partial customer list that looks like a who's who of the financial world including the treasury departments of several countries, major merchant banks, pension fund management companies and multinational corporations.

So, all that being said, we now know a lot more about the mystery boat than before. Is George B. Herrdum the mysterious owner of the boat? I think he is.

Mel Cheek can be reached at mcheek@juneauempire.com. Send What's Up With That comments and questions to whatsup@juneauempire.com.

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