When I joined Natalie to make her maiden voyage to the sea, I found myself in darkest Mitteleuropa, land of Rhine Maidens and Valkyries and battlegrounds soaked in the blood of invaders and Crusaders. At this time, only four years ago, the once glamorous sections of the River Danube were no place for luxury yachts; the Kosovo war had destroyed bridges and infrastructure, rendering the river's upper reaches unfit for navigation. PR Marine was located on those upper reaches, although in Germany, and Natalie was its largest yacht up to that time (the company has since gone out of business, transferring many of its designs to other yacht builders, including Millennium). The 82-foot yacht was molded in fiberglass to a design by Paolo Scanu, combining Italian style with German-built quality. Her moderate-V-hull and skeg improved the directional stability, particularly at slow speeds-which turned out to be good for the river and canal trip. The power units were twin MAN 1,100 hp diesels coupled to a propeller and shaft system, with the propellers recessed into semi-tunnels. Top speed was 28 knots and cruising 24. A bowthruster provided low-speed maneuverability.