The M5, the largest single-masted yacht ever built, dwarf’s other boats at DeMillo’s Marina in Portland on Monday. The luxury yacht measures 277 feet long by 54 feet wide and comfortably sleeps 12. The vessel has room for a smaller yacht held inside its hull, and deck space for a small float plane. (Photo by Bronson Guimond)

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 wind gust a little after 8:15 a.m. on Saturday caught the broadside of the 277-foot long and 54-foot wide super yacht, which has been docked at DiMillo’s Marina since Sept. 3, according to Harbor Master Kevin Battle. That, together with the incoming tide, created so much force that the vessel ripped a floating dock away from several pilings, Battle 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 boats 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 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 and forth to shore from anchorage. It also has space for a small sea plane 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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Twitter: randybillings

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