When I started testing boats years ago, each new boat brought not only a welcome challenge, but also a tingly excitement. It’s the greatest perk of the job, and one I’ll never take for granted. That being said, unfortunately, tingly feelings tend to fade, and for the most part, my early infatuation with testing boats has given way to a cool professionalism.
But that was not the case as I sat with a cadre of journalists on the second-story deck at the Numarine offices at Atakoy Marina on the outskirts of Istanbul recently. The locale was one of the more exotic ones my career has taken me to, and as I breathed in the ever-present smell of roasting lamb, and watched the palm trees rustle in the breeze, I couldn’t deny that old familiar feeling: anticipation.
We journalists had come from far and wide —Hoboken, Belgrade, London, Barcelona, Viareggio — to test the new Numarine 60 Fly. And as she sat there just across the road, bobbing in her snug berth between a seawall and another yacht, the collective excitement was palpable as we waited for the full host of journalists, Numarine execs, and public relations people to arrive.
The Turks have an expression, havadan sudan: literally “of the air and water.” It means to chat about nothing in particular, and that day it was as appropriate as it was inaccurate. We talked about many things. The boat of course; the baby in the Numarine line, the 60 Fly will be coming to the United States this spring, sure to impress with her seemingly magical interior volume. Looking at her from the outside, and then stepping aboard, it would be easy to think that you had somehow managed to get on board the wrong boat. She couldn’t possibly be a 60-foot motoryacht with all this headroom, this stateroom space, this galley. Or could she?
We havadan sudan’d for the better part of the morning. The internationals had a particular interest in an American curiosity known as Donald Trump. But this is no political forum, so I will spare you the general feeling among them toward the Republican frontrunner. We spoke of Turkey’s current political plight —troublesome to be sure, but not as catastrophic as U.S. headlines might lead one to believe. And we spoke of lighter fare too, such as Coppola’s mastery in The Godfather: Part II and whether anyone could name a song by House of Pain other than “Jump Around.” (No one could, not even me, the lone American.)
And after our espressos and waters and an abundance of cigarettes, we made our way down the docks to the Numarine 60 Fly and climbed aboard. The captain fired up her Volvo Penta IPS 950 pods and deftly maneuvered through the marina and out into the busy Sea of Marmara, where scores of freighters and cargo ships transporting goods between Asia and Europe freckled the mercury-colored water. Presently, I made my way to the helm.
“Excuse me captain, do you mind if I take over for a while?”
He smiled and nodded and stepped aside. I gripped the wheel, and felt a tingle of excitement run down my spine.
To learn more about the Numarine 60 Fly, click here, and look for the full story about what happened next in an upcoming issue.