Vote Early, Vote Often

Last month when I explained that the International Superyacht Society (ISS) was amending its annual awards for outstanding megayacht projects, I briefly mentioned how two new honors were being added. One is in recognition of innovation by individuals or companies, while the other acknowledges a person or business demonstrating excellence over the past year.

Why am I bringing them up again? Simple: You get to submit nominations.

That’s right, your vote counts. Instead of having submissions come solely from the board of directors and ISS’ members (of which, full disclosure, I’m one), the ISS is opening the floor to anyone and everyone involved in the industry. That means whether you own a yacht, run one as a crewmember, or even run the payroll department of a davit company, you can–and should–speak up.

To me, it’s a sign that the nearly 20-year-old Society recognizes those of you in the trenches, so to speak, could very well have a better handle on what’s going on in this business and can make the broader membership more aware as a result. And what better way for the ISS to continue fulfilling its primary goals: fostering dialog as well as strengthening and growing the industry as a whole.

The specifics of each award are:

Excellence in Innovation
Open to every aspect of the industry–from crew training to technological advances or environmental stewardship–the Excellence in Innovation award will be given to an individual or business that has demonstrated innovation in their endeavours. Nominations will come from the industry, and ISS board members will vote to determine finalists.

ISS Person or Business of the Year
The ISS Person or Business of the Year will be awarded to those demonstrating excellence in their area of superyacht expertise within the previous year; nominations will come from both the industry and the ISS board, with the board making finalists selections.

Nominations are due by September 15, either via fax to (954) 525-4325 or via e-mail.

I urge you to give the nominations serious consideration. There’s easily someone you encounter on a regular basis whose name deserves to be put forth. When you’re ready, make your voice heard, and make sure the unsung heroes of this business get the recognition they rightfully deserve.

Bubbly Breaks on Burger’s Biggest

Five thousand twenty-five square feet. That’s how much space is inside Ingot, the 153-footer that Burger Boat Company christened last weekend. And for the record, there’s 4,150 square feet of exterior deck space.

There are also 104 round pillars made of Honduras mahogany, all inlaid with maple burl. And there are probably more curved, molded, and radiused wood details throughout the yacht than you can shake a stick at.

Intricate details like this, both design-wise and tech-wise, go on and on. As a result, the megayacht is both the biggest and most complicated that Burger has ever built.

It’s partly because the 153-foot trideck started out as Time for Us, for an experienced American owner who held the bar high for Burger. And it’s also because Burger not only pushed itself to meet those demands, it decided to complete the yacht despite the owner parting ways with the team a few months into construction. (Howard Meyers, the yard’s owner, and his wife presently own the yacht. She and yard president Jim Ruffolo are in the great action shot at top, smashing the champagne across Ingot’s bow.) I’m glad Burger went ahead with completing the boat, because judging from my conversation earlier this month with Marnix Hoekstra, sales director/naval architect at Vripack, which collaborated on the naval architecture, she’s an impressive accomplishment.

The design brief called for a yacht capable of world cruising on her own bottom and equipped with commodious, comfortable accommodations for guests and crew alike. There are four king-size (yes, king-size) guest staterooms on the lower deck, each with heated marble soles in their baths, as well as four double crew staterooms on the same deck, all with en suite baths, too. (The captain’s stateroom is aft of the wheelhouse.)

I plan to get a first-hand look at these and more in the coming weeks, before Ingot departs the yard to head to the Med and begin serving as an ambassador for the craftsmen’s capabilities.

By the way, “ingot” means a metal that’s cast into shape for storage or transport so that it can be additionally processed later on. It’s a fitting name for an all-aluminum yacht that will be on display at the Monaco Yacht Show in September, where no doubt she’ll attract interested buyers. Asking price: $39.75 million.

Rites and Rituals

One of the things I love about the megayacht business is that I learn something new practically every day. And I’ve just learned about a truly beautiful Taiwanese custom in which an offering is made to ask for good luck and a deity’s protection when a groundbreaking takes place.

That’s what was going on in the scene above, at Kha Shing Enterprises, the Taiwanese shipyard where Hargrave Custom Yachts are built. Kha Shing recently embarked upon a groundbreaking to expand its facilities, and it invited Hargrave’s executives to attend the rituals.

The sticks the Kha Shing executives as well as Mike DiCondina, Hargrave’s president (black shirt), and Phil McIntosh, Hargrave’s vice president for Asia Pacific construction (white shirt), are holding are called Joss sticks. These are incense sticks that are often burned during religious ceremonies throughout many Asian countries, but they can also be burned, as in this case, during a groundbreaking. The groundbreaking itself is also quite symbolic: It gives notice to the god of the land that you’re the new landlord and that you plan to build something. Once Kha Shing’s team is finished constructing the building, they will carry on the offering by asking the god to safeguard the property.“This was a very joyful occasion–many prayers were spoken invoking God and their ancestors for guidance, approval, protection, and prosperity over the land and the building. It was truly a moving celebration,” DiCondina says.

The Joss sticks continued burning among food offerings set out for both the deity and the ancestors, followed by firecrackers set off in celebration. Then DiCondina and McIntosh were asked as honored guests to break ground alongside Kha Shing’s executives (below).It’s been a busy past few weeks for Hargrave’s team. Just last weekend Pete Colagiovanni, vice president of new boat sales, represented Hargrave at the Jason Taylor Celebrity Golf Classic in Florida. Hargrave was a major sponsor, as it has been in the past. Taylor, a player with the Miami Dolphins (and recent contestant on the TV show “Dancing With the Stars”), and his wife Katina purchased a Hargrave a few years ago, and even though they recently sold the 99-footer, they’re still good friends with the builder’s staff. The event raised more than a quarter million dollars, the proceeds of which went to organizations such as Holtz Children’s Hospital and Taylor’s own Jason Taylor Foundation. The latter offers programs in youth literacy and education, health and wellness, mentorship, and others that aim to end poverty.

Good God-dess

In Greek mythology, Amphitrite is the goddess of the sea–to be even more specific, the wife of Poseidon. In modern-day history, Amphitrite is a goddess of another sorts–an 84-foot Moonen who will carry her owner and guests on seagoing adventures of their own.

The yacht marks the eight launch in Moonen’s popular semicustom 84 series. In fact, it’s the Dutch yard’s most successful semicustom model, having been introduced just six years ago.Like the series’ other “pocket-size superyachts” (the nickname Moonen gives to its megayachts), Amphitrite features styling by Rene van der Velden Design and a full-displacement steel hull designed by naval architects Stolk Marimecs. But she also bears some differences compared to her sisterships. The interior, by Art-Line Interiors, icludes loose furnishings in the saloon instead of built-ins and both a walk-in closet and a desk in the owner’s stateroom. The main saloon features doussie (an African hardwood) on the sole, while cherrywood adorns walls and furnishings below decks.Top speed is about 12.5 knots at half load, thanks to Caterpillar power.

Saddam Superyacht Saga Resolved–Not

Remember last week when I wrote how the saga of Ocean Breeze, with her opulent rooms like the one above, was finally resolved? Not so fast: The lawyers for Sudeley Limited, the Cayman Islands firm partly owned by King Abdullah of Jordan and which presently claims ownership of the megayacht, were granted more time to prove their case.
I should have known something was up: A few times last week after I posted the story, which mentions how a French appeals court upheld the Iraqi government’s contention that the yacht was illegally transferred from Saddam Hussein’s ownership, I visited the Web sites of Burgess as well as Yacht Council and continued to find the 269-footer listed for nearly $35 million. When I saw it on Monday the 16th, I assumed that the listing just hadn’t been taken down yet. But after a few days of continuing to see it online, I began to wonder if more appeals were in the works. (After all, what lawyer do you know who’ll accept “no” for an answer?) My confusion was resolved yesterday when a member of Power & Motoryacht’s Megayachts forum posted a link to an Agence France-Presse story reporting that a French court postponed a hearing until November.

So, the only certainty at this point is uncertainty over who really owns the yacht.

If more news emerges over the summer, I’ll post updates accordingly. Otherwise look for my next story on this subject this fall.

Update: The court ruled early, and the yacht was deemed Iraqi property. She’ll reportedly head to Iraqi waters this month.