July 24, 2014

Guy Stuff

Falling for the James Bond Boat 

The yacht sparkled with the star power of Sophia Loren—sophisticated, stylish and sultry.
She radiated an ultra-cool confidence that held sway over all the starlets docked at the Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club in Naples. She was the hand-built, 2009 Aquariva Super, a 33-foot Italian charmer priced at $944,444.

I’m sometimes attracted to beauties beyond my reach, and this dark-hull seductress was no exception. Especially after John Sullivan, vice president of Hamilton Harbor said, "That’s the James Bond boat."

I admired the enchantress from afar. She was blessed with voluptuous lines, rapturous colors and a silky finish from bow to stern—all accented with stainless steel boat bling.

I played footsie with her teak deck, and soon Cupid’s arrow was launched. Excellence of design is evident in every shape, texture and proportion. Each joint, screw and fitting is perfectly aligned—detailed like an Academy Awards evening gown. There is no compromise—even inside the engine compartment—by the shipwrights of the Riva company.

"We have our own school to train master carpenters," says Enrico Della Casa, a company representative. "Many of our artisans are second- and third-generation craftsmen."

It takes seven months to create an Aquariva Super at the factory near Lake Como, Italy. Of the 25 produced annually, only four are shipped to the Americas. The rich mahogany and maple trim sports 20 coats of lacquer. The fighter jet-inspired dashboard is all control with easy-to-read, black-on-white analog gauges. The lounge-style cockpit seating appears intimate and comfortable. A V-berth and a large sun pad aft offer ample room to stretch out.

On hot afternoons, an electric sun shade rises silently with the push of a button. A large swim step, a freshwater shower and a wet bar make it easy to relax. An exquisite pedestal table unfolds neatly so you can serve the Special Edition Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Champagne, which comes in a matching case.

Captain Kurt Hartliev III powered up the twin T-380HP Yamar diesels, and using the extra torque provided by the ZF two-speed automatic transmission, quickly rose to plane. The engines run smokeless, quiet and efficient.

I stood at the helm, held by the embrace of a wrap-around bolster, as we darted across the water. She is tight and responsive—I wove side-to-side with just a fingertip caress of the wheel. I skimmed over boat wakes and chop on a ride that was smooth and dry, even at the 36-knot cruising speed. There is no engine vibration or hard bounce—just a frisky jaunt with the wind blowing your hair.

A full moon rose toward the heavens as our time together ended. We carefully moored the Italian beauty for the night. Then, I kissed Sophia’s hand, and bid her addio mio amore. And, as I walked away, I believe she murmured, "Goodbye, James."

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