“A transat­lantic cross­ing was on the cou­ple’s minds.”

Yachting - - FEATURES -

while on his hon­ey­moon in Aca­pulco, Mex­ico, Bob Book fell in love yet again — with boat­ing. He fondly re­calls tak­ing out a 16-foot out­board-pow­ered boat and be­ing “hooked for­ever.” In fact, the Amer­i­can had such a great time that he and his wife de­cided to buy their first boat just a few months later. ¶ Af­ter a while, want­ing to cruise more, they bought an­other boat. And then an­other. And an­other. Each one was suc­ces­sively larger, “ap­pro­pri­ate for a cer­tain pe­riod of my boat­ing life,” he says. ¶ Even­tu­ally, the Books stepped up into su­pery­achts. A few years ago, while they were en­joy­ing the long range and fam­ily spa­ces of a 130-footer, their 16th — yes, 16th — yacht, Book de­cided that a full-dis­place­ment, metal-hull yacht was in or­der. A transat­lantic cross­ing was on the cou­ple’s minds, so re­li­able range and sta­bil­ity seemed the right fit. He had a list of ad­di­tional musthaves skewed heav­ily to­ward tech­ni­cal fea­tures ver­sus aes­thetic ones. (Spend­ing abun­dant time with your cap­tain and en­gi­neer can have that ef­fect on you.) He vis­ited sev­eral ship­yards across the United States and through­out Eu­rope. He even knew ex­actly what length over­all he wanted: 180 feet. ¶ In­stead, in spring­time 2017, two years into the search, the Books bought a 154-footer that was less than a month from com­ple­tion at Heesen Yachts in the Nether­lands. ¶ The 13th hull in Heesen’s 47me­ter se­ries, started on spec, the yacht ticked a lot of boxes for the cou­ple. In ad­di­tion, “Heesen was the most im­pres­sive in terms of qual­ity of fa­cil­i­ties, and pro­duc­tion ex­cel­lence/best prac­tices,” Book wrote in an email. What’s more, he said, Heesen made “an unswerv­ing com­mit­ment to de­liver the boat on time and on bud­get,” even while invit­ing changes that in­volved more than mere pil­low swaps. ¶ To be clear, the Books weren’t in­ter­ested in start­ing a yacht project from the keel up. Hav­ing owned two semi­cus­tom su­pery­achts, a West­port 112 and a West­port 40M, they were ac­cus­tomed to shorter de­liv­ery times than are pos­si­ble with a cus­tom build. Their de­sire to cruise the Mediter­ranean in sum­mer 2017 was an­other big fac­tor in the pur­chase. ¶ Book says the qual­ity con­trol built into each yacht and Heesen’s rep­uta-

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