First Words — 03 October 2014
Heart and head slug it out at the boat show

By Mark Gauert

Sitting on the dock of the boat show, watching the tide roll away with the superyacht chase boat Crazy Too, I start to think that I’ve been wasting time.

I love that boat. I want that boat. I’m crazy about it, too.

I should be on it right now, I think, as the gangplank goes up, this time without me on board. It should be mine. I should be stretched out on that lounger, under the warm Riviera sun, purring out of the old port of Cannes. I should be enjoying a ride so smoothly engineered by the geniuses at the OTAM shipyard in Italy that I wouldn’t spill a drop of my Laurent-Perrier, even when the captain opened up on the flat Mediterranean blue.

“Forty knots,” he’d call. “Fifty. Fifty-five.”

“How fast can we go?” I’d scream into the wind.

Crazy fast.

I start to imagine the places I would go next. To starboard, St. Tropez. To port, Portofino. Just ahead, the Iles Saint-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat.

I’m about to choose a heading when I hear a voice from my past over the Crazy Too’s twin 1,724 HP Caterpillar C32 Acert engines, atomizing the blue Mediterranean into rooster tails behind us.

It is the voice of Loren Simkowitz.

I am sitting on the dock of the 2014 Miami International Boat Show with the founder and president of Monocle’s Fractional Yachts in Fort Lauderdale. The entrepreneur, who earned his Ph.D in business administration and finance at American University, has dozens of boats under regular yacht management and under a fractional ownership program.

“Before you buy any boat,” I hear him say, “ask yourself these five questions:

–How much cash am I really willing to give up for this indulgence?

–How much devotion will I have for its care and sustenance?

–How often am I really going to use it?

–How much time am I really willing to expend on managing the daily operations of the crew, supply purchasing, monitoring vendor repairs and major shipyard work as well as countless hours of research, decision making and legal consequences.

–What if something changes in my life and subsequently owning this yacht becomes more of a burden than an asset? How easily will I be able to get rid of it?”

I admire this reasoning. I want this guidance. I’m feeling a little less crazy now, too.

If I named a yacht after Simkowitz, it would be called the Sanity Too.

But the question remains: Heart or head?

It’s a question to ponder, gentle reader, as you head off to the docks this month at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, or to the showrooms of luxury sports cars, or kitchens, or even to a waterfront restaurant to consider nothing more crazy than another slice of Key lime pie.

Heart or head? Full throttle on to Portofino, or to practicality?

Sitting on the dock of the boat show, I know which one I would choose.


VIDEO: What 55 knots looks like aboard the OTAM superyacht chase boat Crazy Too, off the coast of Cannes.


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