New yacht, crew, flag kick off adventure in the Med

Jun 2, 2015 by Peter Herm

The new boat has been bought. It’s about the same size as the last boat that I shared with two partners who overworked the captain and his team because we were having so much fun.

The new boat will unfortunately have less use with just one owner, but the crew will be less frazzled, a good thing, I think.

This boat may be higher maintenance as it is metal/European vs. fiberglass/North American. It has been in the Med most of its life, and the Med is new cruising territory for this damn Yank and his family. Given the euro-dollar exchange rate, this seems to be the time try it.

We will keep the existing crew of three. They have been together more than three years and seem to be the perfect fit for my export of the “West Coast Family” style of boating. (See last month’s column for more about that.)

We shall see, of course. There will be no one to hand us towels upon our disembarkation from the hot tub, but that’s OK. And at least for this summer, we are importing our own bartender from Ireland so there will be someone on hand to handle the drinks.

I already know the boat needs a grill and a bigger icemaker. I can’t imagine a boat without a grill and lots of ice.

My last boat was U.S. flagged; this one has red on the flag from a country where they have a stiff accent. And its Lloyd’s classification is a first for me. We shall see on this front, as well.

The British captain started his “yachting” career by spending 10 years sailing around the world on a plywood sailboat about the size of our tender. His stories will be worth the price of admission alone. Pirates in the Indian Ocean, cyclones in the South Pacific and becalmed off the Galapagos for 30 days. It’s going to be a fun summer.

But my captain is not excited about the idea of towing a big tender. We will see how he feels when we cross the pond in the fall. I think the big keel, far below the prop tips, will give him a little comfort when we get to the Bahamas. He was aghast when I described the depths we cruise in over here. I pointed out that the Abacos charts are in meters, not fathoms. There are no fathoms in the Abacos. Our 440 feet of anchor chain should be enough.

The stew/chef (she calls herself a cook, not a chef) is the captain’s significant other from Poland. I am in love, and I don’t even speak Polish. This love comes from the immaculate condition of my new boat, not my old age crisis. That and the face that she seems to say yes a lot more than no. I like that. I guess we will find out if she can cook — I had never eaten deep-fried minnows until my visit to Spain last week — but she does not appear to be crazy, which is my one criteria for a chef.

The engineer/mate has grease under his fingernails and it shows in the engine room. He went through a two-year refit on this boat and seems to know just about every square inch of it. This will be my first boat with a full set of drawings aboard, a fuel centrifuge and compliant sewage system. And I am very pleased to report that the only exterior varnish is on deck furniture.

The surveyors gave the engineer a gold seal of approval on their very short list of recommendations, but the sea trial was interesting. Alas, that’s a tale for another time.

There will be some fun challenges ahead. The shore power conversion issue should be interesting … Asea or Atlas? Getting the boat across the Atlantic should also be a fun math/wear-and-tear/brain damage exercise. The boat probably has a 4000-mile range going slow, but riding on the back of something bigger might be less stressful for all involved. All new to me, so more learning experiences to come.

The critical issue now is where to send the boat for the summer. She is in Spain and the crew is restless to move after a winter at the dock. I hear the Balearics are nice. And by September it has to play hotel room for our team at the Monaco show. So what do we do in between?

I am sure the captain has some ideas, but I will appeal to the community of kindness at The Triton to tell me where to go for the summer. I would prefer to avoid the crowds and the embarrassment of hanging out with the 100m boats that seem to be everywhere. (Or should I say ships?) It will be an interesting summer of gawking at the neighbors, if nothing else.

High tide only and bow west!

Peter Herm is the pen name for a real yacht owner who is an entrepreneur based on the East Coast of the U.S. It comes from Pieter Harmensz, original owner of the oldest known stock certificate in 1606, issued for a Dutch company with the largest shipping fleet in the world. Comments are welcome at