“I want you to be my skipper”, the American informed the cuban fisher, “my first order is, that you drink whiskey with me. And the second, that we immediately start fishing in the gulf.” The american was Ernest Hemingway, the cuban fisher Gregorio Fuentes. For 250 dollars per month, alongside free gin and whisky, Fuentes becomes the bosun of the “Pilar”, Hemingway’s twelve meter yacht. On that very ship, Hemingway would now spend the next decades writing, fishing, drinking and acquainting his close friends, like Errol Flynn, Ava Gardner, Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergmann, with the sea. The fascination of owning a yacht hits every man at some point in his life. Just as in Hemingway’s short novel of “The Old Man And The Sea”: fascinated with the struggle of man versus nature, the awe for life itself and the wonders of the sea.
Alte Lieben, neue Welten.
Old lovers, new worlds.
Imagine how the bow of the yacht rises and plunges with the waves, the scent of salt in a fresh breeze of air, different and strange to anything known to your nose. The world feels big, wonderful and adventurous. Then, the sound of the waves, which, seemingly endless, melting into the sky where the horizon disappears into a thin, ephemeral line. Steadily rolling, gently calling, quietly whispering, loving and furious alike. Since the beginning of time man has tried to subdue the sea, conquer the oceans and rule the waters. For the seafarers of ancient Greeks and Romans, theirs ships were divine, godlike creatures, painted with eyes on the bow so they would find their way through stormy seas. Ancient hero Ulysses made no secret of the fact that “to follow a daily work routine…was not my thing…what I loved instead were rowboats, war and violence”. Agreeing with Ulysses principles many young greeks and romans sought their salvation at sea. And often they would return as famous and wealthy men. Just like the vikings: whose most important transportation and weaponry were their ships. Despite the fact that they discovered America way before Christopher Columbus couldn’t find the way to India, they would insist on even being burned or buried with their ships. To enjoy the pleasures of a sailing trip even in the afterlife in Valhalla. During the course of the fifteenth century the portuguese Vasco da Gama sailed around the south peak of Africa and opened a trading way to India, whereas Christopher Columbus re-discovered America instead – now to finally remain discovered at least. The legends that formed around these famous names we will never forget. The fascination of the sea and its freedom for exploration mesmerizes men since the year dot to surpass themselves. Men became seafarers way before and after Ulysses, riding the stormy waves and wrestling the salty waters, to find new worlds and conquer them, establish trade routes and dive deep into the adventure. Because not the sea is their destination, but whatever waits at the other end.
The sailing yacht, the motor yacht, the explorer yacht, the megayacht, the luxusyacht: how to become an adventurer at sea has changed. Yet the explorers drive and the striving for adventure remain unbroken. Where in the old days it was an unpleasant necessity to deny oneself certain comforts to manly face the harshness of elements at sea, today offers way better possibilities to enjoy the vast waters. For centuries, freedom meant facing what others would not withstand or cope with: grim thunderstorms, sudden weather changes, unpredictable winds and inaccurate navigations alongside ubiquitous wetness, pervasive cold and relentless hunger. Today modern explorer-yachts and high tech racing yachts swing the ocean doors wide open and wave a welcoming hand. Step into the largest sailing yacht on the seven seas: the Sailing Yacht A is more than a boat: almost 143 meters long and close to 25 meters wide, equipped with over 3700 square meters of sails, about the size of a soccer field. Famous designer Phillip Starck outlined the elegant curvature of the ship, which could not just casually sail into the icy arctics but doesn’t limit your comforts – hop in the whirlpool or watch a movie in your home cinema for example.
The Octopus, Paul Allen’s yacht, on the other hand, is not just a lifestyle product. The billionaire uses his ship – submarine included – for serious deep sea explorations and so – a couple of years ago – discovered the sunken japanese second world war super battleship Musashi. Fortunately you don’t necessarily need to own a yacht to enjoy the delights of a sea adventure: Aside the german ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in Hamburg, with two expedition ships “Bremen” and “Hanseatic” also the shipping company Hurtigruten, the american company Quark Expeditions in Seattle and Oceanwide Exports in Holland offer expedition travelling all across the globe. Luxurious comforts included: chill in your steaming bathtub while watching icebergs float by your cabin window. Or enjoy an afternoon stroll on the white beaches of an uninhabited, unpronounceable tropical island. To taste a bit of freedom and adventure, this utmost human drive, that irresistible call of the ocean, is what calls our names over the seven seas – and we shall follow. Adventure does not measure in size and equipment of a yacht – private or charter – it measures in boldness.