PHOTOS: TIM MCKENNA AND NEIL RABINOWITZ
If you’ve read the book Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Propotions, or seen the Tim Burton-directed Big Fish, you’ve been treated to a great story. The central character is a dying father telling terrific tales of his life—tales of mythic proportion. The inspiration for that character is Dan Wallace, an import/export businessman who died in 1997.
Wallace was also an inspiration of sort for Big Fish, the 45-meter (148-foot) intrepid megayacht built at McMullen & Wing. He was a good friend and mentor of the owner, Richard Beattie, a Hong Kong businessman. In fact, a backlit plaque mounted in the megayacht’s dining area pays tribute to Wallace. It tells of “the entrepreneur, the traveler, a joker, a big man who touched everyone he met.” To spend time aboard Big Fish is a chance to see those qualities at nearly every turn. Here’s a yacht intended to travel the world, letting you experience anchorages and the essence of yachting in ways that other vessels don’t. She delivers the kick-back-and-relax experience so many people crave.
Big Fish’s profile pretty much says it all: ready for adventure. Strong, squared-off lines let you know remote regions were top of mind from the start. Engineering follows suit. Naval architect Greg Marshall designed a full-displacement hull capable of cruising anywhere from Antarctica (though not to break ice) to Antigua. Big Fish is fuel-efficient, too, burning a reported 275 liters (72 gallons) per hour at 15 knots. Considering top end is 16 knots, powered by twin Caterpillar 3508Bs, that’s quite impressive. So is range: 5,000 miles at 15 knots.
Equally impressive, when balconies and the transom “wings” start extending, you really get the lifestyle emphasis. Hatches on each side of the transom fold down to let the swim platform practically wrap around the entire aft end. Neither this nor either of the two dining-area balconies are simply spots to stand and watch the sunset. They’re capable of holding dining tables and chairs. Even more interesting, they’re lined with a granite veneer, to be more eco-friendly yet also to invite guests to keep their shoes on.
Indeed, even though Big Fish caters to the casual set, Beattie didn’t want guests to feel as if they had to remove their shoes. Neither do they have to fear putting a drink glass down on a table. They’re welcome, even encouraged, to curl up in the window seats lining the saloon, where the views out the floor-to-ceiling curved glass are the only artwork. (And really, isn’t that what yachting’s supposed to be about?) They’re also encouraged to enjoy photos and videos of each day’s adventures replayed on the two-deck video wall (see photo at left) forward of the dining area. Happily, those images are placed on CDs for guests when they’re heading back home.
Imagine the stories guests are telling their friends and family right now. Big Fish has ventured from New Zealand to Tahiti, the United States, the Galapagos, and Antarctica. To date, Big Fish has put an astounding 28,400 nautical miles under her hull since departing the yard last July 1. More adventures await: Sweden is on the itinerary for June, then the infamous Northeast Passage in August.
Beattie and the design and build teams are so passionate about the ideas and goals embraced by both Big Fish and her smaller sister in the works, the 50-meter (164-foot) Star Fish, that they formed Aquos Yachts while Big Fish was still under construction. They hope to further inspire more owners and charterers to dare to be different.
Here’s a look at some of Big Fish’s adventures, plus highlights of how laid-back living is the order of the day, every day.