Not the yacht owned by Johnny Depp

But Johnny Depp would probably like it

If like Johnny Depp, you share a similar eye for beauty when it comes to yachts (not pirate ships), here’s one that might appeal, the 160-foot Clarity, built by Bilgin that launched in April 2015 and debuted at the 2015 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.

“Whenever people see a classic boat, they always assume it’s Johnny Depp’s,” said Bobby Ball, who served as owner’s engineer for Clarity’s refit (Depp’s yacht, Vajoliroja, renamed Amphitrite, by the way, was just purchased by JK Rowling).

Classic Gentlemen’s Motor Yacht

Some yacht owners, like Clarity’s, are enamored by classic gentlemen’s motor yachts of the 1930s. In addition to Amphitrite, for example, a couple others capture attention, Ball said. “Sycara IV is for sale.” The 151-foot yacht was built by Burger in 2009. And while Clarity was not based on any specific classic yacht, Nero was a point of inspiration, though Nero, built by Corsair Yachts in 2008 is 295 feet and Clarity’s owner was looking for something smaller.

Clarity’s owner, “a British gentleman who lives in the Bahamas, went to Istanbul in 2014 looking to build a boat,” Ball explained. “He wanted something different; he was tired of big white-triangle-shaped boats, that when you pull in to the marina, there are four more tied up just like it.”

Originally, though, the owner had in mind a more modern boat, but when he saw Clarity, which was already 60-percent completed at the time, he just fell in love with it, Ball said.

After buying it, the owner did make quite a few improvements, which is when Ball got involved, fine-tuning lines, and changing configurations.

“Part of my inspiration came from the experience I have working on boats. I wanted functional, but at the same time, I tried to make it look good,” Ball said.

For the first couple of months on the job, Ball went backwards, undoing some of the work already completed.

“The original crew quarters was in the bow, forward of the superstructure and master stateroom. We moved the crew aft on the lower deck.

“We cut the superstructure on the main deck, extending it two meters. When we did that, the master stateroom could absorb the crew area, which became the master head.

That translates to a split-plan master stateroom, with the bedroom and office on the main deck, and the bathroom on the lower deck. Also on the main deck are the salon and galley.

This new configuration allowed for two new entrances to the crew area: one from the galley and the other from the guest corridor. Originally the only access to the crew quarters was through a foredeck hatch.

On the upper deck is the pilothouse, captain’s cabin, and an upper salon with double doors that completely open to the aft deck where there is a bar, lounge area and day head.

On the lower deck, in addition to crew quarters, are three guest staterooms and a full-beam VIP stateroom. As such, the yacht can take ten passengers in five cabins, and there are crew quarters for eight.

“The yacht had really beautiful lines, but I was shooting to have great spaces to entertain. In addition to the bar on the upper salon deck, we opened that salon up. Also, we wanted a lot of great observation areas, so forward, there’s a seating area, and keeping the side profile looking nice, we kept low seating up there with sun beds, but we made sure it was still a full walk-around so people would be comfortable. To enjoy the view”

Interior decoration, fabrics and furniture designs was done by Christine Coffey of Coffey Park Design, Portsmouth R.I., and Bilgin manufactured the cabinetry and most of the furniture,” Ball said. “You’ll see a lot of dark satin mahogany woodwork and there’s zero gold on this boat. It’s all polished chrome and stainless steel. We wanted bright and shiny, and even though it appears to be an old boat, we wanted crisp rather than gold which we felt aged the boat.”

They also used beautiful local marbles. For example, “the forward salon wall by the dining table is back-lit agate and looks like sliced geodes, and we tied that in with the bar top on the bridge deck,” Ball said.

Mechanically, Clarity has two 700 hp C18 Caterpillars, a low fuel burn of 25 gallons an hour, and a full-displacement hull with a bulbous bow. The yacht cruises at 10 knots with top speed of 14 knots.

It has two Koehler 50 KW three-phase generators, an 1,800-gallon-per-day water maker, Echomar type 2 waste treatment system and silver ion water sterilization system, and hydro-marine hydraulic systems for the wenches. Interior galley equipment is all stainless-steel by Seamans.

Clarity is the second yacht in Bilgin’s Classic 160 series, featuring a stylized funnel, mast and bowsprit. The first, M&M (renamed Timeless) was launched in 2012. Clarity’s owner enjoyed the building process and wants to build another, possibly a little larger yacht. Clarity is offered for sale, $17.9 million through International Yacht Collection. Call Katya Jaimes at 646-369-4562.

Click here for the shorter version at the Palm Beach Daily News

Princess Yachts America’s new 68 footer

While the Princess 68 is the latest model launched by Princess Yachts America, it was not at the recent Palm Beach International Boat Show. That’s because it sold right after the Miami show.

Still, the Palm Beach show earned praised from James Noble, Princess Yachts America’s vice president and marketing director. “Out of five models, we sold four out of the show, and we still have activity going on that we are following up.”

Overall, Princess offers 10 flybridge models from 43 to 98 feet, and the 68-footer was developed to fill the gap between the popular 72-foot and 64-foot motor yachts.

“Unlike the 64, the 68 has a foredeck seating area. It has a hardtop, and it has the ability to carry a tender on the flybridge or the hydraulic platform,” Noble said. “It is a very unique layout for its size range. The galley is aft on the main deck, and it has a private stairway to the owner’s stateroom, which is very unique for a boat in this size range.”

Princess also makes nine V-Class express models from 39 to 85 feet; a 72-foot S-Class Sportsbridge; and three M-Class yachts at 30, 35, and 40 meters.

Plymouth, England-based Princess International, founded in 1965 by David King as Marine Projects, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In 1995, King’s company partnered with Viking Yachts, headquartered in New Jersey, forming Viking Sport Cruises, to produce boats for the American market.

“Our boats are 80 percent done in-house, including all the woodwork, metal work and tooling for the fiberglass molds,” Noble said. “Changes were made to fit the American market.” Appliance brands recognized in America were used, refrigeration was increased, and air conditioning and generator system specifications were upgraded for Florida and the Caribbean’s climate. Engine rooms were reconfigured for more horsepower, and electrical systems were designed to handle the increased load.

“When we first started in this market, Princess was not a known name in the American market because there was no customer support. While Viking didn’t have facilities to bring on a whole new product line, it could offer support and service after the sale,” Noble explained. In the United States, Viking has two service centers: New Gretna, N.J., and Singer Island, as well as a network of more than 60 yacht-dealer service locations in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Proving to be a winning combination, the two companies together made a mark. In 2008, Princess became part of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy family of luxury brands (other brands include Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior and Feadship). Princess builds about 300 boats a year, introduces three or four new models each year, and will soon launch its 30-meter and 35-meter M-class yachts.

“We’ve sold five of the 35-meter and we’ve sold some of the 30 meter, too,” Noble said. “What we learn when we build a new model translates to everything we do.”

INFORMATION

Princess Yachts America has an administrative office at Royal Poinciana Plaza. HMY is its dealer in the Palm Beach area, with an inventory of four-to-six new boats docked at Palm Harbor, 400 N. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach. For information, call HMY at 833-6060.

article written for Palm Beach Daily News

Green gray yacht: Arcadia

If you saw the 85-foot Arcadia at last weekend’s boat show, don’t let appearances deceive you. This gray boat is green.

arcadia 2

Built by Arcadia Yachts of Italy, “Arcadia’s ‘Eco + Think’ philosophy aims to leave less of a carbon footprint; the engines are very economical, at 12 knots only burning 18 gallons an hour,” says Dean Young, broker at HMY Yachts, and partner representative for Arcadia Yachts.

The main aft deck is set up for al fresco dining, and in the salon, glass is everywhere, with walls of glass port and starboard, a half-wall aft, and an entire ceiling that features two layers of glass, which sandwich photovoltaic cells. Flip a switch, and silhouette blinds slide into place for shade.

“It’s called a heavy glass veranda,” Young says.

arcadia 4

arcadia 1

The photovoltaic cells are capable of producing 4 kilowatts of electrical energy, which will power onboard the audio-visual equipment, refrigerator and freezer, lighting and the inverter that makes this power for a period of up to 12 hours.

The Arcadia also has a Hamann System, which turns black- and gray-water sewage to fully acceptable discharge in any marine environment, Young explains.

In addition to its green technology, the yacht is also lovely, comfy and roomy, with architecture and interior design by Francesco Guida. Surfaces are richly finished in washed oak, lacquered zebrawood, and slate. Furnishings are by Poltrona Frau Group, and audio/visual is all Bang & Olufsen.

The dining area is part of the salon, and forward are the galley, pilothouse and foredeck with a dining / seating area that converts to a sunbed.

On the lower deck are the full-beam ensuite master stateroom, ensuite VIP stateroom and two ensuite twin staterooms, as well as two crew quarters with heads, the engine room and tender garage.

The yacht will cruise at a comfortable range of 1,000 nautical miles at 12 knots, and top speed of 18 knots.

Arcadia Yachts is a new corporation based in Torre Annunziata, Italy, that started in 2007. This yacht, which was launched in September 2014, is No. 8 hull in its series and the first built to U.S. specifications.

Sold through HMY Yachts, Arcadia is priced at 5 million Euros. For information, call Young at 833-6060.

Written for the Palm Beach Daily News. Click here to go to the story.

A Waterfront Classic

Link to Palm Beach Daily News Story

It’s no surprise that horses played their part in Mary Jo Condren and her late husband deciding to buy a home in Palm Beach.

William Condren, after all, was part owner of two Kentucky Derby winners — Strike the Gold in 1991, and Go for Gin in 1994 — and the 1996 Preakness winner, Louis Quatorze. He also co-founded and served as director of the National Thoroughbred Association and as a trustee for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

His wife took up riding again with her daughters, and in 1995, when the Condrens bought their Estate Section home at 240 Banyan Road, their daughter, Jennifer Bargas, was still in college and riding in Wellington.

“My sister, Jennifer, was involved in horseshows,” explained Elizabeth Condren. “I was finishing up college then, and Jennifer spent more time in Florida than my brother, Colin, or I.”

Their parents also made regular visits to Florida from New York.

“My father would go down to Gulfstream to watch the horses race. That was a factor in their coming to Florida,” she says.

“When my parents saw this house on Banyan, they liked it. They enjoyed the size and flow of the rooms, the view, the light airy feel — and it’s at the end of the block, so it’s quiet.”

After William Condren’s death in 2007, Mary Jo continued to live in the house but has decided she wants to spend more time at her summer home in Southampton to be closer to her daughters, who live nearby.

Accordingly, the Condrens’ four-bedroom villa — with 11,365 square feet of living space, inside and out — is listed by Cristina Condon of Sothebys International Realty. She has it priced at $21.5 million.

U-shaped floor plan

Built in 1991 on a lot measuring three-quarters of an acre, the house was developed by the Condron’s neighbors at the time, Diana and Lowry Bell, Elizabeth Condren recalls. The interiors were designed by Palm Beach decorator Scott Snyder.

With a U-shape configuration featuring north and south wings, the main house is oriented toward the west to make the most of its Intracoastal Waterway views. Rooms facing the water also look out to the pool and patio, an expansive lawn and the dock. In the waterway beyond is the northern tip of Everglades Island.

The main entry to the two-story house is on the east side, with an arrival court running the length of a raised garden. The garden lies between the main house and a two-story building that houses the three-car garage and an upstairs guest apartment with a living room, bar and two bedroom suites.

The front façade for the modified Georgian-style house features quoins at the corners, shutters at the windows and an elaborate arched surround around the front doorway. Triangular pediments pierce the roofline over the central portion of the house as well as over first-floor windows that flank the front door.

The design of the gardens is based on an axis with a central fountain and radiating walkways leading to the main house, the east building, a south covered walkway and the motor court.

Water views abound

Inside, the foyer and stair hall are quite grand, with a curved staircase and a variety of moldings. Floors here and in the main living areas are covered in marble.

The living room features a carved-stone fireplace, deep crown molding, classical surrounds around the doorways. French doors with fanlights above them lead outside to the covered loggia.

In the south wing are the kitchen, breakfast room and dining room, and in the north wing are the library and den.

Both the dining room and den have French doors fronting the loggia and with picture windows capturing views of the pool and Intracoastal. The central portions of the windows are crowned with fanlights, and all the windows set off with pilasters.

The den also has an alcove bar, a pecky-cypress coffered ceiling and a terracotta-tile floor.

The library features a hardwood floor and plantation shutters at the windows, along with custom cabinetry and paneling with decorative molding and wainscoting.

Upstairs in the north wing is the master suite, which includes a bedroom, two bathrooms, a dressing room and a sitting room with a morning bar and arched French doors opening onto a balcony. Windows in the master bedroom offer water views, and other features include crown molding, casement windows and a hardwood floor.

Also on the second floor are three en-suite guest bedrooms. In all, the property has five bathrooms and two half-baths.

‘House was fantastic’

Elizabeth Condren recalled the home as a happy one.

“When I was in college, this was a vacation house for me. We have a little back garden off the kitchen, and I’d pick up the scent of jasmine,” she said.. “The house was fantastic. I’d come with good friends, and I loved seeing everybody and hanging out by the pool.”

A Waterfront Classic photo

Higher-than-average ceilings are found throughout the house, including those in the second-floor bedrooms. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

The property measures three-quarter of an acre and freatures extensive gardens. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

A second-floor balcony overlooks the pool. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

Because of its U-shaped configuration, many of the rooms have views of the extensive pool area facing the water. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

A Palladian-style window showcase the view from the formal dining room. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

In the north wing, the family room directly faces the pool area. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

From the living room, sets of French doors with fanlights above them open onto the covered loggia. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

In the foyer and stair hall, a curved staircase provides a focal point. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

A fountain anchors the approach to the house at 240 Banyan Road. The estate is listed for sale at $21.5 million by Sothebys International Realty. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

The library is appointed with detailed paneling and millwork. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

An elaborate frontispiece, typical of the Palladian style, adorns the front fa ade. The axis of the house runs straight from the front door to pool beyond. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

A Waterfront Classic photo

An aerial photo looking south shows house s position in relation to the gentle curve to the Intracoastal Waterway. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

Get going with hybrid cycle

Link to original Palm Beach Daily News story

Here’s a bike that might make a perfect holiday gift. And it might be a perfect vehicle for your New Year’s resolve to get more exercise.

download-03
The GoCycle changes back and forth from your power, with manual shifting, to electric power, with gear shifting engaging automatically

Karbon Kinetics Limited’s GoCycle G2 lets you pedal away to your heart’s content (and health), or you can choose to be completely lazy, thanks to this electric bike’s combination of two drive systems: a three-speed hub gearbox, as well as a front hub-mounted 250W motor.First and foremost, the GoCycle electric bike is an actual bike, can be ridden as a bike and feels like a bike.

To get it going under its own steam, so to speak, just push its little red turbo button on the dashboard display on its handlebars, and you’ll zip around effortlessly.

The faster you were going when you pressed the button, the faster you’ll be propelled, although it won’t go much above 20 mph.

How far will it take you? Well, it depends on how much effort you put into it. You can ride forever under your own power; you can go up to 80 miles if you do some of your own pedaling; or you can travel a distance of 8 to 12 miles, if you don’t pedal at all, depending on the terrain.

Created in 2002 in Britain by ex-Formula One design engineer Richard Thorpe, the GoCycle’s second generation was launched in the United States at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in fall. The GoCycle G2 is ergonomic, environmentally friendly, elegant and fun to ride. It has a comfy saddle, and its fore-aft weight distribution, with a low center of gravity, makes it agile and responsive to ride.

How does it work? Utilizing its easy-to-use dashboard display on the handlebars, the rider can monitor the battery level; set the riding mode to city, eco, on-demand or custom; change gears; and regulate speed.

In addition, it has a trip odometer and calories-burned calculator. Also available is a Smartphone GocycleConnect app, which links to GoCycle with Bluetooth, and you can set modes that way. The app also can shut the GoCycle off, if it gets stolen.

With GoCycle, you don’t have to worry about getting into the wrong gear. The electric motor powers the front wheel, while the pedals power the rear wheel.

Either you are in command, changing the gears as you pedal along, or, when the motor is engaged, you let GoCycle intuitively change gears for you.

“What makes this bike unique, is that you can use it as a bicycle with no drag from the motor. It’s just so easy to ride. It figures out what you need and gives it to you. It’s amazing,” said Roger Moore, owner of Nautical Ventures of Dania Beach, a business that carries GoCycles.

Other features include high-tech, durable injection-molded magnesium fabrication; three-speed fully enclosed drive chain (so your clothes don’t get greasy or caught up); and interchangeable side-mounted front and rear wheels with hydraulic disc brakes. It comes in white, black and gray; and it weighs 35 pounds.

With four parts – frame, wheels, saddle – it’s technically foldable (to a dimension of 2 by 2.5 by 1 foot) and storable, so it’s ideal for yachts. Also, since it’s easily adjustable without tools, its driving position can be changed, and it can be made to fit a variety of body types, so the bike can be shared by different riders.

No special license is necessary; it can be ridden wherever a bike can be ridden.

The GoCycle, priced at $5,199, comes with a storage case, and is available at Nautical Ventures, 50 South Bryan Road, Dania Beach, where it also can be serviced. For information, call (954) 926-5250.

Accessories, including packs, mud guards and lighting, can be purchased.

“We just became dealers, and we’ve already sold a few,” Moore said. “We sell tenders, and for people with boats who want portability, it’s killer.

“We call it the ‘GoCycle smile.’ Customers, who take it for a ride, come back with big grins. It’s cool with all these intuitive features.”

Suspended in air, hovercraft lets you fly

Link to Palm Beach Daily News Story:

If you buy a Universal Hovercraft Renegade IQ, not only can you hover, but you also can use it as a Jet Ski, snowmobile, amphibian, airboat and four-wheeler. No matter your destination, this hovercraft is an easy-to-drive two-passenger vehicle.

renegade-20

renegade-16
The Renegade IQ hovercraft, which comes with an LED headlight, rear-view mirrors, and cruiser windshield, is priced at $32,000.

Like a Jet Ski from the floorboards up, it has handlebars and a bench seat. But it also has a vertical fan that blows air underneath the hull, and a flexible skirt around the edge that keeps the air from dissipating too quickly, creating a bubble of high pressure that lifts and moves the craft.

“Mom can get in one with her kid, turn a key, hit the throttle and enjoy a hovercraft ride,” said Matt Stewart, who represents the company and also works for Nautical Ventures in Dania Beach.

“I could teach a 10-year-old how to drive it in a few minutes.”

For those who want some excitement, “you can be at a 30-degree drifting turn, while also doing 360-degree spins, if you can imagine that. It’s epic,” Stewart said. “The sensory experience is unparalleled.

“I can teach people to do 360s right off the bat, too.”

Crash-proof

A sort of science-fiction vehicle that moves suspended in air, it seems otherworldly, even if you know the physics behind it. And, while it can’t go to Mars, it can go places no other vehicle can, such as over shallow water, thin ice or deep mud, as long as the surface is relatively flat.

It has a 29 horsepower engine, can go up to 50 mph and cruises at 35 mph. Seven gallons of gas will take you 140 miles. It’s registered as a boat, so you don’t need a driver’s license.

If you live on the water, you can just drive it out of the garage and into the water. Or, if you are in the water and want to bring it onto a beach that allows boats, you can drive it up on the sand.

They are compact, relatively lightweight, and can easily be stowed aboard most yachts.

With a foam core that’s wrapped with layers of Kevlar, it’s crash proof, Stewart said.

“Others have two fans: one that lifts and one that pushes forward. What the Renegade has is the lift and thrust with one propeller, so it’s less weight, which means you can pull it on a trailer behind a Mini Cooper; it’s simpler to operate and quieter.”

In the making for 10 years

Universal Hovercraft, headquartered in Rockford Ill. and founded by Bob Zang, has been in existence for 30 years. “The current owner, Bill Zang, likes to say ‘Uncle Bob didn’t invent them, but he was a pioneer,’ ” Stewart said. “From what I understand, Bob saw one on TV when he was young, and said ‘I’m going to make those,’ and that was it.”

The Renegade, made to be consumer-focused, has been in the making for 10 years. Its soft start was three years ago, and it was officially launched during the Miami Boat Show in 2014.

Universal Hovercraft makes 20 models, including commercial crafts, sports crafts that can hold several people, search-and-rescue crafts, and even a craft for kids.

Flies off the water

If you want to get really fancy, you can purchase its highest end hovercraft, the Hoverwing, which flies off the water.

The Renegade IQ, which comes with an LED headlight, rear-view mirrors, and cruiser windshield, is priced at $32,000. While it can go on any trailer, one designed specifically for it, the EZ Load Trailer, is priced at $1,890.

To price-compare some options, if you want to put the Renegade IQ together yourself, you can buy it as a kit for $23,995, or you can go all out and get the 240-horsepower Hoverwing for $190,000.

The Renegade IQ is available at Nautical Ventures, 50 South Bryan Road., Dania Beach. For $80, you can attain a demo-flight experience. For more information, call (954) 926-5250.

‘Magical’ estate: Merrilyn Bardes

Built in the late 1920s and little altered since, the estate captures the grandeur and whimsy of its era.

196-Banyan-Front

The historic architecture and the natural light — especially the way sunshine filters through the original stained-glass windows — are as special as they are lovely, said Merrilyn Bardes about her historic estate at 196 Banyan Road.

“I thought the house was magical when I bought it in 1998, and I still think it’s magical,” she said.

Designed by noted society architects John Volk and Gustav Maass for owner Harry Thomas, the 1929 Mediterranean-style house stands on a prime Estate Section street, and exemplifies the fanciful and elaborate homes of its era.

Just look at the report prepared before the house was granted landmark-protection status by the town in 1979. It aptly describes the house as a product of its time, a “unique example of the economic and social atmosphere during the Boom Time era of the 1920s. It was constructed after the hurricanes of 1926 and 1928, and just as the financial collapse of 1929 began. It represents one of the last ornate and expensive estates to be built in Palm Beach.”

196-Banyan-Pool-Corn
At 196
Banyan Road, the landmarked home’s two wings flank multiple outdoor terraces that were built by homeowner Merilynn Bardes. Landscape architect Mario Nievera, today of Nivera Williams Design, created the hardscape plan, while Bardes chose the plants. The house is listed for sale at $14.5 million through Sotheby s International Realty. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby s International Realty

In the ocean block at the corner of South County Road, the main part of the L-shaped house fronts Banyan Road, while the more utilitarian rooms and garage run along County Road. Along the back of the house are loggias and terraces descending to a pool, which is set amid lush tropical landscaping.

Because Bardes has downsized, her four-story, seven-bedroom, 10-bathroom, three-half-bath home with a tower, staff rooms and 13,077 square feet of living space, inside and out, has been offered for sale. Sotheby’s International Realty agents Cristina Condon and Todd Peter have set a price of $14.5 million.

Much is original

Like many architects of the era, Volk not only had a hand in the architecture but also in selecting the furnishings, according to John L. Volk, Palm Beach Architect, a book compiled by the Volk family.

196-Banyan-Foyer
Visitors pass through the front door into a small foyer and then into the main hallway, where an arched passageway pierces the staircase and leads to the rear loggia. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby s International Realty

Adding to the history of the house, Bardes mentions that the late H. Loy Anderson was a former owner — followed by two more owners — before she purchased it in 1998. She has left the house mostly unchanged, except for the family room.

“It was a breakfast room and bar divided by pocket doors,” she said. “I redid them to be one big family room.”

She used pecky-cypress paneling and tile flooring, which blends with the original Cuban tile used on the first floor of the home.

“The Volk book will also tell you that the materials that he used cannot be reproduced today,” she said. “You can’t find Cuban tiles anymore, and nobody can make stained glass and the cast stone like this house has.”

Some of the stone details she’s referring to include elements adorning the stucco facades: a decorative frontispiece, with an arched door and a “Juliet”-style balcony above it, and a handsome stone cornice that embellishes the roof line.

196-Banyan-LR
Cinquefoil arched windows fitted with leaded glass create a romantic play of light in the foyer, living room, and dining-room gallery. Other architectural elements in the public areas include intricate ceilings, a carved-stone fireplace and crown moldings.

All in the details

A romantic double staircase with colorful tile risers greets visitors as they arrive from the foyer.

“The wrought-iron on the double staircase is one of my favorite things about the house,” Bardes said. “On the landing, you look through a basket of flowers made of wrought iron.”

196-Banyan-Stairs
With twin flights of stairs, a grand staircase greets visitors to the house. The living room can be seen at the rear left. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby s International Realty

The home was made for entertaining, she noted, and it was a breeze to decorate.

“So much of my furniture that I’ve had forever — it just walked in, found a place to live and was happy,” she said.

196-Banyan-DR
Gothic-style arches with cinquefoil details adorn a wall in the stately dining room, which is large enough to seat 12 or even more comfortably. The Cuban-tile floors are original. Photo by Andy Frame, courtesy of Sotheby s International Realty

The master bedroom and bathroom are above the living room and loggia, and open to a broad second-floor terrace that wraps around the outside of the staircase landing.

“The master bathroom has the most beautiful pair of Art Deco sinks, with all the original brass knobs and spouts,” she said. “They are just perfect, and the tile is cobalt blue. It is magnificent. The whole tub area is beautifully tiled and the floor has terra cotta tiles, inset with tiles that have medieval hunting scenes. The ceiling is pretty — arched with rounded beams — and the windows facing Banyan have the same stained glass as downstairs.”

Elaborate gardens

By the time she bought the property, the grounds needed work, and it was in this area that she worked her own breed of magic. A longtime member of the Garden Club of Palm Beach, she chose tropical plant materials and commissioned landscape architect Mario Nievera to design the hardscape.

“The house sits on almost an acre, and Volk had designed a beautiful fountain with tiles that came from Spain. But it was all long gone by the time I bought the house,” she said. “Now, there are steps that go down to the swimming pool, which is kind of surprise, since it can’t be seen from the main terrace.

“The landscaping sort of fell into place. Choosing a tree is like choosing a dress. You have to love it, and that’s kind of the way I garden.

“It’s definitely a tropical garden, with many species of palms. I have quite a few cycads, a fabulous Queen Fego palm, and a pink rain tree, Albizia Saman, that covers the terrace. I have my coveted Lady of the Night, which is a heavily scented plant, outside my kitchen door and another outside my family room door.

Other plants include a big gardenia, specimen hybrid hibiscus, an all-spice tree, bay-rum tree and bougainvillea — all of which have provided a lush backdrop for the outdoor parties and fundraisers she has hosted at the estate.

Written for the Palm Beach Daily News, May 2014

Helicopter: serious sea toy

Do you hate expressways and trips to the airport? Do you like to hover?

Then you might really like owning a helicopter.

Let’s talk about the LongRanger, Bell Helicopter 206L4, which was shown at the 2013 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show on the deck of the 190-foot yacht Mi Sueño (Spanish for “My Dream”).

“This one costs about $3 million,” said Anthony Moreland, managing director of Bell’s North America commercial business. Other models range from $1 million to $12 million.

The cabin of the LongRanger can hold the pilot and six passengers, with five seats in the back and two in front.

helicopter-2 copy copyhelicopter 4

Features include a high-inertia, two-blade rotor system and a patented suspension system that delivers a smooth ride, club-seating configuration that allows for face-to-face conversation, and 61-inch doors that open wide for easy access to its 80-cubic-foot cabin.

It’s not necessary to go into decorative details, because the sky’s the limit. The helicopter “can be painted any color the customer wants,” Moreland said. “Sometimes they paint them to match their boats, planes and homes; and some people have a fleet, matching leathers and woods.”

And they are fast, safe and comfortable, he added. “They can go up to 10,000 feet, cruise at 125 to 130 knots (130 to 135 miles per hour), typically fly 300 to 400 miles, and, in an emergency, there’s still a lot of control. If there’s engine failure, they can still be landed very safely. An advantage over a plane — they don’t need forward motion, meaning there are more places for them to land.

“And they can hover.”

Bell International, an 80-year-old company, has its main location in Fort Worth, Texas, with independently owned service facilities all over the country. In the United States, Bell serves five types of clientele: offshore (e.g., flying people out to oil rigs), corporate, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and utility operators.

Individual customers, usually affluent people who are entrepreneurs, senior executives or retired senior executives, use them for flying themselves or their guests from their home to the airport, their businesses or to yachts, Moreland said, noting that he had fewer than 12 Palm Beach customers.

“This type of client I place in my corporate segment. They are a good business for us,” Moreland said.

Some of the owners have their pilot’s license; some don’t.

“Often, even if they are enthusiastic for aviation, they’ll have private pilots, or they have an arrangement with service providers who provide the pilot and the maintenance personnel, and we have a facility in north Fort Lauderdale,” he said.

Some yacht owners like to come back and forth, from boat to land, in a helicopter rather than a tender, Moreland added.

“They keep the helicopter in a hangar on land; a few have their own hangars. The owners come down in their airplane, get on the helicopter, get on the boat, and the helicopter goes back to the hangar. It can stay on the boat, which is under way, but the deck has to be designed so that you can secure the helicopter — that’s not ideal.”

Looks like helicopters prefer not to rock and roll.

Written for Palm Beach Daily News

Rybovich services superyachts

It’s business before pleasure, even for floating pleasure crafts. With cruises headed for the Caribbean along with area boat shows, it’s full steam ahead for ocean-going yachts, South Florida and Rybovich.

“A very typical sequence: Many yachts come to our facility from the Mediterranean at the end of their summer season. They cross the Atlantic on their own or on a transport ship,” said Francois van Well, vice president of business development for Rybovich. “We do the maintenance, repair, paintwork, etc., in preparation for the boat shows or their cruising season.”

Or both. Take the 190-foot Mi Sueno, for example. Built by Trinity in 2010, the yacht that can accommodate up to 12 guests for charter is shipshape inside and out. With luxurious interiors designed by Patrick Knowles, amenities include Honduran mahogany, maple burl and wenge-wood finishes; an elevator; Jacuzzi; splash pool; garage for toys; and touch-and-go helicopter capability.

It’s also fast, said its captain Glynn Smith. “Along with our many special features, we also have a great capability to increase our cruising footprint. While most yachts cruise at 13 or 14 knots, we cruise at 17 knots. That means we can get to places quicker.”

Last fall, Mi Sueno came across the Atlantic in bad weather and had to stop in the Azores and Bermuda, which caused a week delay. Normally, it can run across the Atlantic in 12 days.

This meant a very fast turnover at Rybovich before the Fort Lauderdale boat show.

“Once we got to Rybovich after thrashing about in the ocean, we had to do a huge clean up, get the engines and generators serviced, and have the minor wear-and-tears repaired,” Smith said.

He and his crew unloaded the sundeck so that they could put the helicopter onboard, took part in the boat show, came back to Rybovich, reloaded the sundeck, provisioned the boat and left for a charter in The Bahamas. “Each time at Rybovich, it took us about 12 hours, and they worked through the night as well, because time was so short,” he said.

On the move

Over a year’s time, Rybovich sees between 30 to 50 ocean-going yachts (from 160 feet to 350 feet) making these kinds of turnarounds, van Well said.

“It’s a big part of our business,” he said. “A lot more man-hours are required on larger boats, and these clients have a limited availability to do their repairs because they are constantly on the move. They know their schedule and they tell us when their yacht has to depart, and we get the work done.”

If a boat has been at the Monaco boat show in September, it’s at Rybovich in October at the earliest. If not, it’s here mid-December in time for a Christmas cruise. Some turn right around Jan. 2 or 3 for spring cruises, and then they head back to Europe or New England in April and May for summer cruises, he explained.

This particular segment of business from the yachting world is new to West Palm Beach, van Well said.

“Large yachts are coming to us because we have the ability to facilitate and service them,” he said. “We bought the dry dock so that we can get large yachts out of the water, and we are continuing to invest toward building a larger facility in Riviera Beach to cater to these yachts, which can bring economic growth to our business and West Palm Beach.”

To make that happen, Rybovich is waiting for a permit to dredge. Also, Huizenga Holdings, the company that owns Rybovich, recently proposed to West Palm Beach a plan to develop a six-tower village on 14 acres along the Intracoastal Waterway. Already approved by the planning board, it will go to the city commission in February.

Now for the pleasure side, using Mi Sueno as an example again. The yacht, which currently is for sale and for charter through Worth Avenue Yachts in Palm Beach, uses South Florida as a base for its Caribbean charters and the boat shows.

It’s offered for sale for $36.95 million and to charter, the price is $300,000 a week in winter for The Bahamas and Caribbean tours, and its high-season summer rate in the Mediterranean is 325,000 euros, said Shannon McCoy, Worth Avenue Yacht’s head of business development.

“Glynn Smith has one of the best ‘can-do’ attitudes of anyone we’ve worked with, and his crew is young and energetic,” she said. “They are so fun, and they cover every detail. They go above and beyond, creating unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

These months are great for cruises to the Virgin Islands, she said. Here’s her suggestion for an enjoyable outing: “The yacht picks up its clients at Yacht Haven Grand in St. Thomas. They cruise to Jost Vandyke, a small island in the British Virgin Islands. It’s fun to anchor out and go to the beach by tender and enjoy the local drink, Pain Killer, at the Soggy Dollar Bar (it’s named that because customers swim in). Then they can walk down the beach and watch a magic show performed by local islander, Seddey, who owns the One Love bar. For dinner that evening, it’s pleasant to visit Foxy, a restaurant that boaters made famous.”

Captain Smith, who hails from Southampton, England and now lives in Fort Lauderdale, especially enjoys his charters around Italy.

“We typically go to Capri and it’s only a seven- or eight-hour hop to Stromboli north of Sicily in the Aeolian Islands,” he said. “With a live volcano, Stromboli is an incredible island. In the evening, our guests watch it erupt while they eat dinner.

“Positano on the Amalfi Coast is absolutely stunning, and another beautiful area is the entrance to Bonifacio, Corsica, where our clients love going through the huge cliffs. It’s a fjord and we back in stern first all the way down about a mile.”

While Mi Sueno can accommodate a helicopter, not everyone charters one, he said. However, there are tenders and plenty of toys on board that his clients can enjoy: jet skis, WaveRunners, Seabobs, inflatables, skis, wakeboards, snorkel and dive gear, even a regulation basketball hoop.

“We did wakeboarding behind this boat down the coast off of Tuscany for a client. It was a spectacular day. Our client was an avid wake boarder, and I asked him if he wanted to do something really cool that nobody had done. We towed two people from 300-foot lines at 16 knots with a wake of 5-to-6-feet high. He loved it. That was one in a million, a magical day, with dolphins jumping in the wake. His face lit up.”

Concerning food, clients will have what they want. No exceptions. “There are no ‘I’m sorry, we can’t get it,’ ” Smith said. “A client might drop $20,000 in caviar, and one wanted to buy $70,000 of Cristal Champagne. Normally we get it in advance, but we will fly it in to make it happen.”

With 7,000 square feet of interior living space overall, on the main deck are a stunning main salon, wine cellar and elegant dining room with a table that can seat 14 guests comfortably.

The full-width, split-level owners’ cabin with 270 degrees of panoramic windows is forward on the main deck and includes a king bed, study, lounge and his-and-hers bathrooms.

Five en-suite staterooms on the lower deck include a full-width VIP king suite, two king staterooms, a wheelchair-accessible queen stateroom and a twin stateroom with a Pullman berth.

There are multiple conversation areas throughout, including three exterior living areas. The upper deck features a panoramic sky lounge with oversized windows and an air conditioned aft deck, and on the sundeck, which is touch-and-go helicopter-capable, are a workout area, bar, Jacuzzi and splash pool.

The crew accommodations support up to 14 crew in seven cabins, including the captain’s cabin aft of the pilot house.

The lower deck is laid out with a beach club/tender garage, the main machinery space, engineer’s cabin and additional crew cabin.

“The mantra of this yacht is ‘fun.’ It’s a toy, and there’s no hotel in the world that can match what we do,” Smith said.

Written for Palm Beach Daily News

Feel like a Frog

For $42,000, you can feel like a frog. All you have to do is own a Quadski.

Half ATV (all-terrain vehicle), half PWC (personal watercraft; think Jet Ski), the four-wheel, motorcycle-like amphibian, built by Gibbs Sports Amphibians Inc., goes up to 45 miles an hour on land and in the water.

A fun toy, it was meant to be enjoyable and easy to use, said Graham Jenkins, Gibbs Sports’ head of public relations and marketing and son of one of the founders. “And we were not trying to build the fastest thing, because the Quadski is the fastest thing. We are pretty happy about that.”

There are other amphibians, he said. But they are speedy either on land or in the water, not both, which makes Quadski an amphibian of a different color, so to speak.

“It handles very smoothly,” Jenkins said. “It’s got a good center of gravity and wider wheelbase, so it’s smoother than an ATV, and it can handle off-road conditions — hills, gravel, dirt, etc. — without trouble.”

He can attest to that because he’s ridden it over the 5-mile track at the company’s test site in Stuart. (Gibbs Sports is headquartered in Michigan.)

Easy to handle

“I am not a light guy, and going around corners on an ATV, it was incredibly easy to tip over. When I got on the Quadski, I did not have a problem. Each time I went around the track, I got going faster and faster. It’s a very forgiving machine, with a good suspension; I didn’t feel like I was being kicked by a mule.”

Some particulars: the 1,300-pound, 10.5-foot-long Quadski draws power from a BMW K 1300 Motorrad motorcycle engine capable of producing 175 horsepower. The engine is mated to a five-speed transmission with an automatic clutch. The craft can carry up to 260 pounds.

Jenkins enjoyed the water experience, too. “I am not an outdoor kind of guy. But I spent a lot of time on the Quadski in the water and had a lot of fun, stopping only because the sun went down. Then, when I was finally finished, I was able to drive the Quadski back onto land and into the trailer. Done. Finished. No dragging out of the water. It was so easy.”

The Quadski came after another invention, the boat/car Aquada. That, too, was conceived by New Zealander and entrepreneur Alan Gibbs. Why did he invent such a vehicle?

Explained Jenkins: “Because in the 1990s, he lived in a tidal area and got fed up while waiting for the tide to come in to launch his boat.”

Then Gibbs met engineer/entrepreneur Neil Jenkins (who came from Nuneaton, England, and now lives in Orchard Lake, Mich.). The two started working on the amphibian car.

Regulatory issues

They built 30 Aquadas. But they put the project on the back burner because the process to satisfy all three regulatory agencies (Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Coast Guard) to make the craft road-legal has been a long process.

However, the company was able to meet EPA, Consumer Product Safety Commission and Coast Guard criteria, as well as California Air Resources Bureau standards, for the Quadski.Gibbs and Jenkins had started developing it in 2007, announced it in 2012, and began selling the craft in 2013.

The two have also noted an interest in other amphibian vehicles — part of their larger Amphitrucks line — which they plan to develop as emergency vehicles for first responders.

The Quadski has been popular, Jenkins said. Gibbs Sports has sold about 1,000 of them and plans on producing 3,000 to 4,000 this year. Yacht owners particularly enjoy them and often have them custom-painted to match their boats.

Saving the best for last (and guessing what it might feel like to kiss a frog), here’s an explanation of Quadski’s land/water transitional phase.

“If you are on land and you start to drive the Quadski into water, it feels incredibly strange. You are floating. Then you press a button, the wheels fold up, disengage from the engine, and off you go,” Jenkins said.

“The other way around, just make sure you are floating before you put the wheels down,” he said. “There’s nothing else quite like the feeling. It’s a very strange thing that takes the mind a little while to get used to.”

Quadskis are carried by Riva Motorsports in Pompano Beach and Cycle Springs Powersports in Clearwater.

Christine Davis has learned that she’s a boating enthusiast, much to her surprise. If you manufacture or want to purchase a really cool craft, email her at cdavis9797@comcast.net. She’d love to know about it, write about it and come along on a test drive.

Written for palm beach daily news