Happy 50th Birthday, Elegante

Whiticar Boat Works honors the 61-footer built in 1964 and first called Aphrodite.

61-foot Whiticar motoryacht Elegante

Elegante’s travels have taken her all over the world. Courtesy Whiticar

Whiticar Boat Works in Stuart, Florida, recently held a 50th birthday bash for the 61-foot Elegante, which originally launched in 1964 as Aphrodite. More than 140 people attended the celebration, which included a luncheon co-sponsored by current owners Bill and Pat Anton as well as several speakers whose own stories combine to tell a story of American wealth and entrepreneurship.

She was built for John Hay “Jock” Whitney, who was publisher of the New York Herald Tribune and the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was a member of the prominent Whitney family, which included everyone from U.S. presidential cabinet members to the first owner of the New York Mets baseball team. The Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan is named for the family.

The yacht’s second owner was Louise O’Connor of Houston, Texas, who came from a ranching family and began searching for a boat in the early 1980s. By then, Aphrodite needed major renovations, and O’Connor transformed her back to her original 1960s looks. Much of the interior teak and mahogany still on the boat today stems from this endeavor, during which the yacht was rechristened Bandarlog (after the monkeys in “The Jungle Book”).


The name Elegante came with the next owners: Wilbert and Peg Hamstra of Indiana and Florida. They bought her in the early 1990s and cruised some 6,000 miles per year, everywhere from Ontario and Nova Scotia to Florida’s West Coast and the Bahamas. They took the yacht to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and they completed the Great Loop six times.

The current owners made their fortune in the airport food-service industry and took possession of Elegante more than three years ago. During the past two winters, they have undertaken a stem-to-stern upgrade of mechanical, navigational and technological equipment. The Antons also have added creature comforts such as wine stowage, commercial ice makers and an authentic disco ball to go with the new music system.

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