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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection


by Gordon
February 2007

Every so often I get a chance to take a trip back into my past life, where my career in yachting began. I started out in 1973 as a dock boy and because of that exposure, I managed to parlay myself a job as mate on a yacht in Florida. This continued for several years, with each new job putting me on larger yachts.

Now to get to the point. With this background I am occasionally pressed into service here at Ed Hamilton & Co. to attend the fully crewed yacht shows, to inspect and write descriptions of the motor yachts that currently offer themselves for charter. Early each December there are two shows in the Caribbean, one in St. Martin followed by another in Antigua. December is always a busy time here in the office, so this year it was my turn to go, leaving the bareboat department in the capable hands of Jackie Brown, my co-broker on the bareboat side.

Let's look at some interesting statistics just for fun.

When I started out, the largest yacht that Feadship had built was Jim Ryders' 'Jardell' (later 'The Big R'). At 147', she was the talk of the industry, but today she would hardly be noticed. Even a 200 or 220 foot yacht isn't considered that large any more. In the 70's if you wanted a bow thruster or heliport on your yacht, you went to the yard and had it custom installed, but now they are standard equipment. Yachts today come with elevators, sterns that open up like garages for all the toys, multiple jacuzzi's and hot tubs. If all of your flat screen plasma TVs don't disappear at the touch of a button, well, you are just not keeping up. First we had yachts, then mega-yachts, now we are up to super-yachts. At the present time there are several 300 to 400 foot yachts under construction, and if that weren't enough, the soon to be completed 'Dubai' will stretch the imagination at a whopping 525'!

The hit of the Antigua show or maybe perhaps the most talked about, was the largest private sailing yacht in the world, the 'Maltese Falcon'. This impressive vessel stretches 289 feet in length, carries a beam of 42 feet, draws 36 feet with her board down, and tips the scales at a mere 1366.00 US tons! Her tallest mast is a lofty 191 feet high, and with her two companion masts can spread 25,792 square feet of sail, all of which can be set at the touch of a button in mere minutes. She performs very well and has managed to get up to over 24 knots under sail. I really got a sense of her scale when I walked to the afterdeck after a brief rainstorm. Being stern to the wind, her soaked yacht ensign had blown inboard and become fouled on top of the "little dinghy" (her main tenders are custom 32 footers and kept in recessed pockets on the foredeck). I asked a deck hand if it was OK if I un-fouled it (old habits die hard) and as I gathered it up and tossed it over the stern rail, I realized that it was quite an arm load. The ensign staff is at least 12 feet tall and the flag itself is 8 feet wide, on the short side!.

On the power side of things, it is hard to pick just one, so in the interest of time maybe we will save that for a future discussion.

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