In jazz festivals, golf tournaments, and now, football championships yachts increasingly are playing host to events. Nowhere was this more evident than on the St. Johns River near ALLTEL stadium on February 6, when Philadelphia faced New England in the Super Bowl. Where did former Presidents Clinton and Bush hang before the game in Jacksonville? Away from the masses on private, highly secured yachts. How did Bill Gates choose to make his larger-than-life presence known? On Goygpus, at 200 feet the longest and most weirdly named private yacht in attendance. Among the friends of Hugh Hefner docked at River City Brewing Company, NASCAR king and celebrity contender Jeff Gordon stood out on his Lazzara 106 24 Karat.
On one Radisson-sponsored finger pier, MarineMax was marketing Ferrettis and Spike TV was shooting a reality segment. Top dog was Roger Penske, whose 150-foot Feadship Detroit Eagle dominated Jacksonville Landing. Penske chairs the host committee for next year’s Super Bowl and his yacht was the mothership for an entourage of ambassadors for the Motor City, allowing city fathers, hockey legend Gordie Howe and representatives of the Big Three automakers to pitch in style. Meanwhile, Penske’s technical contingent fanned out into Jacksonville to study parking and shuttle transport, crowd control and security.