Mi­ami Vice

Yachts International - - Sternlines - By DuD­Ley Daw­son

Work­ing in yacht de­sign can some­times take you to the dark side with­out warning. The Har­grave stu­dio’s prox­im­ity to Mi­ami and that city’s cen­tral­ity to many things il­licit—drugs, gam­bling, big money and “the fam­ily”—seemed to breed sur­prises, es­pe­cially in the ’80s.

Drug smug­glers usu­ally pur­chased their boats used or di­rectly from builders, but we once had an in­quiry for a de­sign de­fined only by speed and “bale ca­pac­ity.” We de­clined, but that didn’t pro­tect us from scru­tiny by the FBI, who came call­ing at our office on an­other mat­ter. The feds asked why we had re­ceived pay­ments from a cer­tain busi­ness­man on Mi­ami’s “Thun­der­boat Row.”

It had started innocently enough. Bill Gar­den, the famed Pa­cific North­west naval ar­chi­tect, had de­signed a large sail­boat. Rather than fly­ing cross-coun­try to carry out a sim­ple sta­bil­ity test on the com­pleted yacht in Mi­ami, he called and asked us to do the job.

We com­plied and thought no more about it un­til the FBI in­formed us that the boat’s owner was Ben Kramer—a man the Sun-Sen­tinel once called “one of South Florida’s most no­to­ri­ous drug king­pins,” a man con­victed of or­der­ing the mur­der of Cig­a­rette’s Don Aronow and a man who once botched a heli­copter es­cape at­tempt from prison.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors cleared us, but I’m sure my name re­sides to­day, decades later, in some gov­ern­ment database.

When Fidel Cas­tro shut down the casi­nos in Cuba, they soon re­opened in the Ba­hamas. Mi­ami wasn’t that far away, so sev­eral casino big­wigs kept homes and yachts there. We were sub­con­trac­tors on a com­plete re­power for a siz­able sport­fish­er­man: new en­gines, new gears and new cus­tom pro­pel­lers at con­sid­er­able ex­pense. The props were late in de­liv­ery, so we sent the client fish­ing with a tem­po­rary pair, at a top speed sev­eral knots shy of what he had prior to all that ex­pen­di­ture.

We as­sured him, through an in­ter­me­di­ary, that the promised speed would be achieved with the new props, but as week after week went by, the client be­came in­creas­ingly im­pa­tient, and the mid­dle­man be­came in­creas­ingly ner­vous, con­cerned with his per­sonal safety—and mine.

The new props fi­nally ar­rived and all was well in the end, but the poor guy lost a cou­ple years of longevity, I’m sure, and I had a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the im­por­tance of care­ful cal­cu­la­tions.

Big money in Mi­ami is mea­sured not in mil­lions, but bil­lions. David Paul, chair­man of Cen­trust Bank, vis­ited our office one day to dis­cuss a de­sign for his new yacht. After meet­ing with him for sev­eral hours, Jack Har­grave and I talked pri­vately. We’d both picked up bad vibes and de­clined any in­volve­ment in the project.

Good de­ci­sion. The builder went bank­rupt and Mi­ami Beach’s mayor was jailed on con­vic­tions for tax eva­sion, ac­cept­ing bribes while in office and ob­struct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Ac­cord­ing to The New York Times, one of his ad­mis­sions was “hav­ing taken $35,000 in Cen­trust bribes” in ex­change for help­ing Paul get per­mits to ex­pand his dock. As the broader web un­rav­eled, Paul was con­victed of 68 fed­eral counts, in­clud­ing 47 for bank fraud in con­nec­tion with Cen­trust’s $1.7 bil­lion fail­ure.

“Fam­ily busi­nesses” have al­ways had a whis­pered pres­ence in in­ter­na­tional yacht­ing. I’ve had sev­eral close en­coun­ters, but one stands out. After sign­ing the con­tract to re­fit a su­pery­acht, the owner’s Mi­amibased “nephew” in­formed me that my new client was “the most im­por­tant man in Si­cily” and that I “should do a good job for him.” Well, okay then. The job was go­ing smoothly, but dur­ing one visit to the yacht, I was un­able to get a ho­tel room, so I was in­vited to stay aboard that night. With­out ex­pla­na­tion, the cap­tain ad­vised that my state­room would be locked and that the crew would let me out in the morn­ing.

It was not the ideal guest ex­pe­ri­ence, but it wasn’t the worst. That would be my night in a Pana­ma­nian prison, an­other story for an­other day.

Dil­bar is the largest launch of the past year. Built by Lürssen un­der the project name Omar, she mea­sures 511 feet 9 inches (156 me­ters). Pre­cious lit­tle is known about her. As with most su­pery­achts of her mag­ni­tude, builders are bound by con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ments. We do know her in­te­rior is by Winch De­sign. She has been seen un­der­go­ing sea tri­als in Ger­many. For more in­for­ma­tion: lurssen.com Ow­ing to many own­ers’ de­sire for pri­vacy, it has be­come in­creas­ingly chal­leng­ing for the pub­lic to gain ac­cess to su­pery­achts, es­pe­cially when they’re new. More and more builders are re­quired to sign nondis­clo­sure agree­ments that cover ev­ery­thing from the ex­act length of the boat to ac­com­mo­da­tions plans, de­sign de­scrip­tions and even the name of the boat. The wood­worker who de­cides to snap a photo of his hand­i­work and up­load it to Face­book would be in se­ri­ous jeop­ardy of los­ing his job. Un­der­stand­ably, some builders and de­sign­ers must re­main cir­cum­spect about the in­for­ma­tion they are al­lowed to share.

1 2 3 4 5 (T)6 (T)6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Az­zam Eclipse Dubai Dil­bar Al Said Topaz Prince Ab­du­laziz El Hor­riya A( S) Yas Ocean Vic­tory Al Salamah Ris­ing Sun Serene Al Mirqab Oc­to­pus Maryah Katara Savarona Golden Odyssey Alexan­der A Tu­rama Kleven 370 At­lantis II Issham Al Ba­her Pelorus 591 533 532 512 508 482 482 478 468 463 459 456 454 439 436 414 410 408 408 404 400 390 382 381 380 380 377 180 162.5 162 156 155 147 147 145.72 142.81 141 140 139 138.4 134 133 126.2 125 124.4 124.28 123.2 122 119 116.41 116 115.82 115.76 115 2013 2010 2006 2016 2008 2012 1984 1865 2015 2014 2014 1999 2004 2011 2008 2003 2015 2010 1931 2015 1965 2008 1990 2016 1981 1973 2003 Lürssen Blohm+Voss Plat­inum Yachts Lürssen Lürssen Lürssen Helsin­gor Vaerft Sa­muda Bros No­biskrug ADM Ship­yard Fin­cantieri Lürssen Lürssen Fin­cantieri Yachts Kusch Yachts Lürssen Elef­sis Lürssen Blohm+Voss Lürssen Lubecker Flen­der Werke Blohm+Voss Rauma Ship­yard Kleven Hel­lenic Ship­yards Hel­lenic Ship­yards Lürssen

Kleven 370, built at the com­mer­cial Kleven Werft ship­yard in Nor­way, mea­sures 380 feet 6 inches (116 me­ters) and is pur­port­edly a lux­ury ex­pe­di­tion ves­sel with con­nec­tions to 351-foot (107me­ter) Ulysses, launched last year at the same ship­yard for New Zealan­der Graeme Hart. The rugged yacht is by Nor­we­gian de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing firm Marin Teknikk in co­op­er­a­tion with naval ar­chi­tect Kyle Dick of New Zealand-based Os­carMike Ltd. She is de­signed for lengthy trips in rough waters, while still main­tain­ing com­fort. For more in­for­ma­tion: kleven­mar­itime.no Mis­tral, the 347-foot-10-inch (106-me­ter) Lürssen with naval ar­chi­tec­ture by Lürssen and ex­te­rior styling by Espen Øino, has been de­liv­ered to her owner. For more in­for­ma­tion: lurssen.com

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