There is no shortage of yachtmakers in the world, but finding the perfect fit of timeless style and custom luxury? That’s a unique challenge. We favor yachtmaking companies that take the time to craft boats by hand, in the process granting their clients’ wishes with each custom feature and one-of-a-kind twist. With the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show just around the corner, we decided to round up our favorites, along with our favorite destinations for discerning mariners to show off their new favorite toys.
If you’re not familiar with Perini Navi, look up Tom Perkins and his iconic boat, The Maltese Falcon. Though this boat is spoken for, whether you’re in Europe or North America, Perini Navi has a solution for you. The Italian boatmaker from Viareggio, Italy also has a full sales operation in Newport, Rhode Island, making themselves fully available to a large range of clientele. Thanks to their four companies under the Perini Navi umbrella, they are also able to offer several different boating options, though they are known primarily for sailing yachts: racing sailing yachts, fast cruising sailing yachts, large sailing yachts from 131-197 feet, extra large sailing yachts over 197 feet and motor yachts. In case you’re not ready to take the plunge, they also offer charters for those who want just a taste of the good life.
Burger Boat Company
The Manitowoc, Wisconsin’s latest project, a 103-foot-6-inch yacht outfitted by famed Miami-based designer Luiz de Basto, promises to be one of Burger’s most stylish endeavors. For everyone else, Burger Boat Company employs designer consultations and client visits to initiate the client into its hands-on process. They’re religious about the client aiding in hull design, exterior styling and interior floor plans, making sure any bells and whistles come future operator-approved.
Founded in 1969 by Robert Braithwaite, Sunseeker has grown into one of the most recognized names in custom yachtmaking today. The company grew from humble beginnings: Braithwaite started the business from the ashes of Owens Cruisers’ United Kingdom business, using the molds to produce smaller leisure boats. Eventually, their growth in the Mediterranean brought a needed for bigger craft, culminating in their largest delivery to date in September 2014. This 155-foot beauty is Sunseeker’s 100th performance motor yacht, but is the top of the line – they’re still producing luxury craft of all sizes.
Dave Christensen, founder of his eponymous Vancouver yacht company, is obsessive about details. That’s why his custom fiberglass yachts are true feats of engineering, employing large-scale vacuum infusion combined with proprietary in-house technology that creates a boat more solid than steel. The hulls are fully insulated, eliminating the “double boiler” heating effect that afflicts boats traveling in warmer climates and ensuring there will be no condensation-causing corrosion, interior finish damage or mold infestation. Christensen’s inspiration? Other builders’ low standards. He sought out to build a yacht in 1982 and couldn’t find a builder who met his requirements. The rest is history, and he is now building custom boats up to 212 feet in length.
One of Hurricane Katrina’s great redemption stories lies with Trinity Yachts, now based out of both Gulfport Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana. Their shipyard was destroyed by the storm in 2010, as it brought a 15-foot wall of water into the yard where it then ruined most of their manufacturing equipment. To add to the destruction, most of Trinity’s employees were scattered around in the aftermath. By an incredible stroke of luck, two almost-completed yachts and a handful of hulls in-progress survived the storm, providing the basis to rebuild company from the ashes. Founder John Dane III, knowing a good opportunity when he sees one, made good on this small fortune and set out to rebuild as quickly as possible, acquiring the Gulfport shipyard in the process. Today, Trinity is fully back in the game and operational in its two locations, with a 168-foot tri-deck yacht slated for near-term delivery.
Now that you’ve got the goods, where to? Two of our favorite yacht destinations include Christophe Harbor in St. Kitts and Island Gardens Deep Harbour, on Watson Island in Miami. Christophe Harbor is fully outfitted with a deep-water superyacht marina, a members-only beach club, a beach bar, real estate options, a retail village, a golf course and the Caribbean’s first Park Hyatt, slated to open next year and taking reservations as of March 2017.
If you’re staying stateside, the United States’ first superyacht marina has anything you would want out of an on-shore experience. The marina can accommodate yachts of all sizes, even those exceeding 500 feet, and offers docking options for tenders and smaller powerboats, as well. As for the amenities, services include charter options, aircraft facilities and United States Customs capabilities. On the more fun side, there is a social club, called The Deck, which hosts an open air lounge and restaurant.