After two days of trudging around the 2018 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Jamie Haslund had come up empty. He’d gone with longtime friend and boat owner Steve Isakson to look for something small, maybe a trawler, that Haslund could dock in the 65-foot slip he’d acquired as an investment back home at Sunnyside Marina in Stillwater, Minnesota. But nothing had caught his eye.
Then he saw it, like a beacon across the dock: a Galeon 510 Skydeck. Its blue LED lighting was “lit up so grandly,” Haslund recalls.
He was familiar with the Galeon brand; Isakson, who happens to be his next-door neighbor at Sunnyside Marina, owns a Galeon 560 Skydeck.
“I knew the craftsmanship was outstanding,” Haslund says. “As I walked through it, I thought, ‘This would be a great boat to have.’”
Before long, Haslund celebrated the purchase of his first big boat, and the 100th Galeon sold in the United States.
Haslund was no stranger to boating. He’d grown up on the St. Croix River in Northern Minnesota and spent countless hours exploring the waterway on his family’s fishing boat, water-skiing with friends and, later, cruising on a 1970 20-foot Cal sailboat he’d restored. The sailboat had been a gift from Ray and Donna Highness, for whom Haslund had worked since his teens and who had become a second family to him. When the couple passed away, their bequest to Haslund enabled him to buy his Galeon 510 Skydeck. “I named my boat Royal Highness in their honor,” Haslund says.
Haslund lived aboard Royal Highness for part of his first winter, keeping her at Tarpon Point Marina in Cape Coral, Florida, while completing his proficiency training.
“The space is spectacular,” he says. “There’s wonderful light throughout the boat. You’re surrounded by glass.”
A single-pane windshield and a nearly full-width, retractable sunroof over the helm give a glow to the warm walnut woodwork and white suede decor in the salon. Hatches illuminate the VIP stateroom in the bow, where a designer headboard frames the bed.
The full-beam amidships master stateroom was a cozy retreat for Haslund at the end of each training day. “It’s very comfortable and intimate—and very quiet too,” he says, adding that the hanging locker and other stowage areas were ample for his snowbird stay. “Living on it is far better than I ever would have imagined.”
Once Royal Highness took to the water for her relocation cruise, he came to appreciate her bow and stern thrusters, which proved invaluable in navigating the nearly 50 locks along the route.
“You can pivot the boat in one spot,” he says.
The twin 670 hp Volvo Penta diesels provided a smooth and consistent 26 to 28 knots, although he had to trim the speed back a bit on the Mississippi River to avoid debris left over from spring floods.
“The performance of this boat is unbelievable,” he says. “One of the highlights was running down the narrow channels of the Tarpon Bay waterway, with lots of hidden corners and figure eights, at 28 knots. That was a real thrill.”
Haslund also made full use of the yacht’s namesake feature: the skydeck, with a seating area and weatherproof cover that can deploy over the entire flybridge with the push of a button.
“You never have to deal with tightening up plastic or canvas,” he says. “That was one of the top selling points of the boat for me.”
Now that Royal Highness is safely ensconced in her slip in Minnesota, Haslund looks forward to hosting family and friends aboard. The boat has lots of room to spread out or congregate. Lounges line the flybridge. A pair of sun pads are in the bow. Another lounge overlooks the swim platform. The helm seat rotates 90 degrees to form a couch with the adjacent seat, providing a third row of seating around the dining table.
“You can comfortably seat eight or 10 people for dinner or conversation,” he says.
He’s also excited about finally using the yacht’s beach mode, in which foldout sections expand the cockpit area from 14 feet, 8 inches wide to 19 feet, 8 inches wide. At the stern, a lounge spins to face outward. To port, the fold-down terrace has slots for two stools to pop in along the salon’s galley-counter-turned-bar.
It’s easy to envision Haslund and Isakson astride those stools, toasting again, this time to their long friendship, their twin Galeons and their yachting future.