You Live, You Learn
It’s hard to argue with Henry James, at least on the topic of tradition. He once wrote, “It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.” In many respects, it is the aspect of legacy that has always made me a lover of classic yachts and workboats. There’s something at once thrilling and reassuring about feeling rooted to the past, especially since so much that’s new in the world these days seems less than positive.
However, lately, a few things have forced me to reconsider my ingrained attitudes — the America’s Cup, for example. I can’t say I preferred the fantastically fast and futuristic boats of the 2013 Cup to the J Class yachts of the past, but I appreciated the new extreme sport Larry Ellison and several billion of his dollars created.
A recent trip to the Festival de la Plaisance de Cannes — known with less ooh-la-la here in the United States as the Cannes boat show — also caused me to do some soul searching. What I noticed docked amid the ever-expanding, über-luxurious palaces that sometimes seem way too disconnected from the water to qualify as actual boats (at what point does floating become just a technicality?) was a handful of really innovative midrange yachts.
Take the Top Deck, designed for Astondoa, the Spanish builder, by Luiz de Basto. We featured this Transformers-like design in the April 2013 Currents section. To be honest, we may have done so with the kind of grudging admiration one shows the neighborhood kid about to leap from his roof with a homemade set of wings. You have to applaud his moxie, but this is going to hurt.
At Cannes, I saw the 63 Top Deck, which had gone from concept to actual build in about seven months. From the perspective of the dock, it was still a little odd-looking. But the moment I stepped aboard, I realized this boat was cool and the limitations had been mine. With her fold-down gunwales, large open top deck and enormous garage/beach area, this was a craft that screamed fun.
Drop the anchor, turn on the music, bring out the refreshments, and be prepared to spend the whole day as happy as a clam in a wet bathing suit.
Stanley Paris embarks on what he hopes will be a record-breaking voyage.
From the sheer line to the flying bridge, this NISI resembles a trawler yacht but rides on a semi-wave-piercing, planing bottom. Her unique styling always turns heads. By Dennis Caprio
Stanley Paris and Kiwi Spirit head off to Lyman Morse in Thomaston, Maine to be readied for the Solo Circumnavigation.