From the mast­head

win­dow seat by the Wa­ter

Yachts International - - Contents - Kenny Wooton Ed­i­tor-In-Chief

Alux­ury char­ter yacht is a ver­i­ta­ble mem­ory-mak­ing ma­chine, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to the culi­nary arts. It’s a move­able feast with a view you can’t beat. I can say with­out reser­va­tion that I’ve en­joyed some of the finest meals of my life on char­ter yachts, pre­pared by chefs who ri­val the best in any land-bound kitchen I’ve ever vis­ited, in an am­bi­ence no restau­rant on Earth could match.

I’m lucky in life to have in­gested more than my fair share of mem­o­rable yacht meals, but there have been stand­outs. Among the more ethe­real of­fer­ings I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced were sea scal­lops with roe at­tached, awash in sa­vory broth, con­sumed on a gim­balled ta­ble in the cock­pit of a su­per­sailer heel­ing in the Trades on a pas­sage from An­tigua to St. Barths. Then there was the gi­ant-clam ce­viche har­vested by a first mate in the shal­lows off a de­serted beach in French Poly­ne­sia, pre­pared to per­fec­tion by the tal­ented chef on board. And then there were the sal­mon steaks done on an out­door grill aboard a mo­to­ry­acht in Alaska while cruis­ing past glaciers in a fjord, pre­pared from the catch taken. That en­trée fol­lowed mam­moth crab leg ap­pe­tiz­ers har­vested from a trap dan­gled off the tran­som the night be­fore.

For any­one who val­ues the finer things in life, es­pe­cially ed­i­bles, few ex­pe­ri­ences can match a crewed yacht char­ter. If you own a yacht with a pro­fes­sional crew, such plea­sures won’t be a mys­tery. If you don’t, and you’ve never done an all-up char­ter, I can tell you with cer­tainty, it will ab­so­lutely blow your mind.

I’m a life­long fine-food zealot, but you don’t have to be one to ap­pre­ci­ate the cui­sine on a char­ter yacht. The fully cus­tom­iz­a­ble vacation that char­ter yachts of­fer be­gins with a pref­er­ence sheet that in­cludes—most im­por­tant, in my mind—meals. A first-class yacht chef will ac­com­mo­date nearly any­thing you de­sire, from the ex­otic to the diet fad of the month. If you crave diner food each night, the chef will be happy to make that hap­pen, al­though he or she might make you suf­fer with hand-sculpted French fries, gal­ley-made buns and fresh ground burger. I’ve al­ways found that yacht chefs are at their most creative when you spec­ify that you love lo­cal in­gre­di­ents from wher­ever you’re cruis­ing. They’ll rise and shine to the oc­ca­sion. If you awaken at 3 a.m. crav­ing a fresh sar­dine omelet, chances are the cap­tain will send a deck­hand over the side with a net.

Luxury crewed char­ter is the cen­ter­piece of this is­sue. We take you to the Balearics, the hottest desti­na­tion in the Med; the San Juan Is­lands in the Pacific North­west; and the sub­lime Exumas chain in the Ba­hamas, where Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor An­drew Parkin­son is treated to a deluxe, adult ver­sion of Out­ward Bound. And if you miss your fa­vorite toys while you’re on char­ter, Kim Kavin tells you how you can take them with you. As al­ways, our On Char­ter depart­ment feau­res the epi­curean-fo­cused Cel­lar & Gal­ley col­umn, which pro­files a first-class yacht chef, her fa­vorite menu and wine pairings from master som­me­lier Vir­ginia Philip.

All this has made me rav­en­ous, but not for the left­overs in my fridge. I’m think­ing about those scal­lops, and that sal­mon, and those clams and the ex­tra­or­di­nary mem­o­ries they evoke. That’s what yacht char­ter is all about.

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