In­side An­gle

A client’s cus­tom re­quest brings new mean­ing to the term “beach club.”

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Bill Prince

One client’s cus­tom re­quest—and a fas­ci­na­tion with sand— brings new mean­ing to the term “beach club.”

De­sign­ing cus­tom yachts pro­vides me with op­por­tu­ni­ties to meet some of the world’s most in­ter­est­ing, charis­matic and dy­namic peo­ple. Ac­coun­tants and TSA agents aside, I’m talk­ing about my clients, those bil­lion­aire—and some­times merely mul­ti­mil­lion­aire—boat own­ers. By the time a per­son has achieved the kind of fi­nan­cial suc­cess it takes to com­mis­sion a yacht (or even buy a de­cent new pro­duc­tion boat), he or she has bit­ten off the bet­ter part of a life­time weav­ing a tapestry of per­son­al­ity into a lush com­forter of char­ac­ter. Many of th­ese clients have be­come lu­mi­nar­ies. Some have be­come lu­natics. This story is about one of the lat­ter.

Sev­eral years ago a yacht bro­ker friend of mine (more on the com­pli­cated bro­ker-de­signer re­la­tion­ship in an­other is­sue) in­tro­duced me to a client of his who was look­ing to move up from his 100-footer into some­thing a bit more civ­i­lized, around 140 feet. The ar­ray of white tri-deck mo­to­ry­achts stretch­ing to the hori­zon at the Ft. Laud­erdale boat show didn’t of­fer what he was look­ing for, so he be­gan to con­sider a cus­tom ves­sel. I would soon find out why.

It seems ev­ery­one with a boat over 50 feet wants a tran­som garage to store a ten­der and a pair of PWCs. (What­ever hap­pened to mount­ing a 13-foot Whaler on the fore­deck and us­ing the last 10 feet of your boat for drink­ing and fish­ing?) And once a yacht reaches 140 feet we’re into “beach club” ter­ri­tory. Wa­ter toys, dive tanks, an el­lip­ti­cal trainer, ex­er­cise ball and an 80-inch TV are de rigueur in the beach club. And some­times a Corvette. They’re plas­tic, you know. Won’t cor­rode.

At an­chor, th­ese beach clubs pro­vide a wa­ter-level oa­sis. There’s room to frolic—af­ter you’ve set the Corvette to drift on a painter. (This is dry hu­mor, dear reader. If you don’t know the nau­ti­cal mean­ing of the word “painter” you might not be a real boater. Ask Siri, if you have to.) Our client wanted a proper beach club.

So if ev­ery one of the big mo­to­ry­achts for sale at the Laud­erdale boat show had a beach club on the tran­som, why didn’t our client find one to suit him? He de­liv­ered his an­swer with the con­fi­dence of Muham­mad Ali at a press con­fer­ence: “All of th­ese beach clubs are miss­ing one thing. A beach!”

This guy had a vi­sion for a real beach so he could feel the warm sand un­der his feet, then dig his toes into the cooler grains, just like on an is­land. He even came to us with the idea of re­frig­er­at­ing the plat­form on which the sand would sit, to en­sure it was cooler than the sur­face, even on the hottest day. Ge­nius! Lu­nacy!

A cu­bic foot of dry beach sand weighs over 95 pounds, so I kept a straight face and be­gan ask­ing gen­tle ques­tions. “How large an area do you en­vi­sion this sand cover­ing?” “How deep do you en­vi­sion the sand?” All the while, im­ages of waves and wake con­stantly fer­ry­ing his sand to its natural home at the bot­tom of the sea filled my nog­gin’. Clearly, re­serves would be needed, I thought to my­self sar­don­ically. And a Sand Man added to the crew to fill and rake on a fre­quent ba­sis.

Af­ter a bit of quick-sand-math I de­ter­mined that over 45,000 pounds of the stuff would be needed to achieve his vi­sion. That’s the equiv­a­lent of park­ing a new 45-foot Hat­teras on the swim plat­form of a 140-foot mo­to­ry­acht. (Drink­ing and fish­ing prob­lem solved.) Oh, and don’t for­get the weight of the bucket of Coronas, a lime and a metal de­tec­tor.

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