As the oldest of eight children, Rich Frain grew up looking to find his own space. "We lived in a 1,500-square-foot house," he recalls. "I can't remember ever taking a shower without somebody flushing a toilet."
Boating was a part of his childhood for only a couple of years, when his father had a 45-footer. But that was enough to give him the bug—and the desire to go cruising at his own pace, wherever and whenever he wanted.
He and his wife, Tami, realized that lifelong dream about seven years ago, when they bought a Fairline 65 and docked her near their home in Chicago. She didn't stay there for long, though, as the couple cruised virtually every year down to Florida and the Bahamas, plotting every waypoint and tending to every fender themselves. Brokers kept trying to persuade them to move up to a bigger boat (after all, they have four children), but Rich and Tami liked running the 65. They weren't interested in having a large motoryacht with crew.
That is, until a few years ago, when they didn't have a chance to cruise down to Florida. A friend helped them get that year's boating fix by organizing their first motoryacht charter, aboard the 94-foot Hargrave Sassy ("True Colors," August 2004). "We met at Staniel Cay," Tami recalls of the Exumas vacation. "We got on this boat, and it was great."
They went home the following week and immediately started looking into buying a Hargrave—a 76-footer, to be exact. The Frains didn't want to make too big a jump up in size from their 65. "The next thing I know, I'm signing papers for a 98," Tami says with a wide grin, standing in the main saloon of their brand-new Hargrave 98, called Tiger's Eye. "As many boats as we've been on, I wouldn't change a thing. This boat came out perfect."
That's thanks in part to their charter onboard Sassy, which they used as an opportunity to pick the captain's brain about which features make the most sense onboard a boat that size. One design detail they copied is the head on Sassy's top deck, which has a door opening into the skylounge as well as a second door that opens out onto the bridge deck, so anyone in wet bathing suits or slathered in sunscreen doesn't have to walk inside.
"There were a lot of things the captain suggested," Rich recalls. "He said things like, 'Put a bathroom in the engine room so the crew with greasy hands don't have to go upstairs.' So that's why we have a bathroom down there."
Tami worked closely on the decor for Tiger's Eye with interior designer Shelley DiCondina of Interiors by Shelley in Fort Lauderdale. She wanted an Asian theme, but not one that was overpowering. Hence the natural woodwork throughout the yacht with Asian accents, such as pillows and vases—which both women were still fussing over getting just right as the yacht made her debut at last year's Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
This article originally appeared in the February 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.