Saturday January 24, 2015
Back when we were still doing pleasure cruises on Lake Michigan with Serendipity, there wasn’t much boat envy in our little home port of Muskegon. At 34 feet we were actually on the larger side, or at least average, of all the boats in our mooring field. Even though we did see the occasional yacht near Mackinac Island or Lake Saint Clare, we remained within 10 feet of everyone else until we cruised into Annapolis.
That’s when 34 feet began to feel a little small in comparison. It’s also where I had my first breakdown about living on a boat. I’m actually surprised it took that long.
From that point on we’ve been off and on with boats within, let’s say 15 feet of us, but without any mega yachts cruising the same grounds. Sure, I got a little ecstatic on our first cruise over to the Bahamas when I saw a 120 ft yacht that I thought might be Tiger Woods (holy crap, we’re cruising in the same grounds as celebrities now!), but usually it was just us and other sailboats near our size from then on out.
If anything over 100 ft came wandering by we were glued to the deadlights wondering who these rich and/or famous people were that could afford such extravagant water crafts. Oh foolish me. I thought 130 feet was as big as they came. Or at least, the ones who would come into the same cruising grounds as us.
Well the tables have turned and now that we’re in the Eastern Caribbean in the height of the winter cruising season, we’re taking over the same areas that these mega yachts call home. And I mean, the MEGA yachts. I’m talking about the biggest boys any of these seas have to offer.
First there was Eclipse and Le Grand Bleu off St. Barths on our way in. Eclipse is currently the largest yacht on the water measuring in at 536 feet, and although Le Grand .Bleu is only 371 feet, it carries a 73 ft sailboat on it’s deck as a toy. Are you freaking kidding me? Trust me when I say I was half tempted to contact them to see if they wanted to swing by Las Palmas on their way out of the Med and throw us up on deck as well so we wouldn’t have to make another Atlantic crossing. I would have even worked in the galley for a shot at that ride back.
St. Barths is just a small slice of the pie though and many of the yachts move themselves to the lagoon in Simpson Bay where they sit at docks and have crews mercilessly clean them from top to bottom all day in the blazing heat. These floating mansions arrive by the day and the best part is that while we sit anchored outside in the harbor, we get to watch the daily parade of them entering and exiting the small channel. The smaller ones (under 150 feet) will normally wait for the appointed time for a bridge opening and line themselves up at which point we’ll normally fire up the AIS to gather intel on them.
These poverty-stricken yacht owners will pay the bridge fee of $300-$500 every time they transit out back into the bay. The larger and wealthier yachts though prefer to transit whenever it’s most convenient for them and will hand over $1,000 to have the bridge open on their demand. It’s actually disturbing how many choose this option. But with all that money I’m sure $1,000 is just pocket change to them. Although I’d gladly take it off their hands since that is the same amount we’re getting our monthly cruising budget down to.
Inside the lagoon we’ve also seen Steve Jobs’ (family’s) newest yacht, Venus. It’s quite a different design and even though Matt had originally hated the looks of it from photos he instantly fell in love with it’s sleek lines upon seeing it in person.
All these mega yachts we’ve been coming upon recently though have me baffled by all that space. Is it really necessary? What are you even going to use it for? You can easily entertain your guests on something much smaller, trust me. All you need is a decent cockpit and, ok, maybe an over-sized fridge and a well stocked liquor cabinet. I have a feeling that if I were ever invited on such a sizable vessel I’d probably feel so out of place that I’d be hanging out with the crew, socializing with someone more on my economic level.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d be hanging out in the galley and chatting with the chef as he prepared my rare premium cut steak before bringing it topside to savor with a select bottle of red wine while enjoying the sunset as a personal quartet played classical music in the background. Hey, you can’t blame a girl for wanting to enjoy a few of the perks that would come with it.
The daily line-up to get into the lagoon.
I bet Ester III felt big…until Steve Jobs’ yacht pulled in next to it.
Steve Jobs’ yacht….Venus.
Matt originally hated this yacht in photos but fell in love with it in person.