Over at the Marina del Rey Landing – A.K.A. the Fuel Dock – sits a 328-foot leviathan of lavishness, a behemoth of boats called the Attessa IV that absolutely commands the attention of anyone in her vicinity.

While she’s not the largest privately owned power yacht in the world – that distinction goes to Eclipse at 557 feet – Attessa is in the top 30. The boat towers over the harbor like an apartment complex on water, begging the questions: who owns this thing? and how much did it cost?

With five levels – featuring an onboard helicopter, jacuzzi, pool, marble fireplace, chandeliers, hanging glass sculptures, marble staircases, around 7,600 square feet of interior space and a 24-person crew to insure everyone is happy – the Attessa IV embodies the “yachting” stereotype to the most extreme degree.

I, personally, am torn as I marvel at this masterpiece of craftsmanship. The owner, Montana businessman Dennis Washington, apparently comes from humble beginnings. While he is now a billionaire, he supposedly began a construction business with a $30,000 loan and a single bulldozer.

In the beginning, he landed some highway contracts then transitioned into mining and dam construction. According to Forbes magazine, Washington has only a high school education and is the 60th richest man in the U.S.

As a boater, I look at Attessa and am astonished at what has been accomplished and on such a grand scale.

It’s been reported that reconstructing and refitting mega-yachts is Washington’s passion. While the 77-year-old still checks in regularly with the leaders of his company, he now spends time enjoying the process of constructing and then cruising large-scale power yachts.

I understand that all things are relative – I have a boat I love that’s worth about $3,500 which, when doing the math, I actually spend far greater percentage of my annual income on mine than does Washington, but it’s the actual amounts that get to me.

I’m sure to Washington the Attessa is a great place to sprawl but also a testament and symbol to a lifetime of hard work. And who am I to judge what others should do with their hard-earned money? This vessel looms over wherever it is and screams – “guess how much?” and “I’m owned by a person with lots and lots of money!” Some are charmed by this, some find it somehow fun and entertaining, but I find it perplexing.

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