While most camera lenses are focused on the shiniest new yachts at the show this week, it’s one of the oldest that has veteran yachties talking.
The 122-foot M/Y Never Say Never, a 30-year-old Oceanfast, looks as cool as it did when it launched in 1985, drawing comments from people walking past and stirring up memories from those who can’t believe it’s been 30 years.
“I was coming out of Nantucket as it was coming in and I remember saying, ‘Oh wow, look at that’,” said Capt. David Nichols, now a broker with IYC.
“We docked at Shooters one night, and everyone in the two adjacent restaurants stood up and applauded,” said Capt. Peter Nord, who was first mate on the yacht from late 1986 to late 1987. “She used to draw crowds when we docked in Newport and Boston, and the U.S. Coast Guard stopped us over 20 times in ’87, mostly so they could get tours.”
Others can still remember seeing the yacht getting off a transport ship in La Spezia, or cruising up the New River in Ft. Lauderdale, or running a charter in the Caribbean.
The yacht was revolutionary when it launched, perhaps the beginning of the reason concert pianist Jon Bannenberg is so famous as a yacht designer. Built on spec by the Oceanfast shipyard in Perth, Australia, this yacht helped create Oceanfast, which gained its identity as the yacht was built and launched. The yard gave Bannenberg free reign to design whatever he wanted. And it was a rocketship.
“Never Say Never was tied up at Pier 66 and Mercedes was docked at Bahia Mar,” Northrop & Johnson broker Kevin Merrigan remembered. “Both were revolutionary at the time. Bannenberg was just on fire back then.
“We were all used to a more classic look like, well, pick any Feadship,” he said. “It was the coolest thing any of us had ever seen.”
American car parts dealer Gary Blonder bought it, and Capt. Gary Wright took command. (Wright is now a co-founder of the Y.Co yacht management and brokerage firm based in Monaco.)
Within about a year or so, Wright left to join the brand new Feadship M/Y Confidante and Capt. Bill Zinser took over, running the yacht up from the Caribbean for a busy summer charter season in New England, taking guests for 45 of 50 days that summer.
“It was fun to drive,” Capt. Zinser said. “It was like a spaceship.”
And she was fast.
“At that time, there were only four or five yachts in the world that could get up on a plane,” Capt. Nord said. “We could only do about 27 knots, but that seemed like light speed compared to the 10- to 12-knot 100-footers of the day. It drank a lot of fuel though, and smoked so much coming up to speed that I couldn’t see behind us for at least the first minute on a plane.
“She was primitive though; no bow thruster, no stabilizers, one radar, and no real navigation equipment,” Capt. Nord remembered. Capt. Zinser said he sometimes had to drop anchor to dock.
The yacht was launched as Never Say Never, but at just 112 feet (34m). According to old magazine articles, the yacht was extended 3m in 1994, had a helipad added in 1998, and went through some name changes, including Apocalypse and Prosper. She did a yard period at the Intermarine yard in Savannah in 1998, then named Odyssey.
Her latest owner, Victor Bared, bought her in 2001 and renamed her Never Say Never. In 2004, he extended the aft deck to create an outdoor dining area, added a swim platform and added a hard Bimini top.
She has been a staple in South Florida and the Bahamas for the past 10 years, still in charter. In 2009, she was the setting for a music video spoofing rappers, “I’m on a Boat” by The Lonely Island and featuring T-Pain that debuted on “Saturday Night Live”.
Based in Coral Gables, the yacht is listed with HMY for $4.9 million. Capt. Zinser walked by the yacht while taking in the show on Thursday and noted that she “still looks good.”
Remembering her presence in the late 1980s, Capt. Nord said, “Still, a very cool boat, thanks to Jon Bannenberg and a couple of Western Australian boat builders who took a big chance and steered yachting in a very new direction. It was fun to be involved in the beginning of that.”
Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton, firstname.lastname@example.org.