Many years ago I was in the car with my then-seven-year-old niece on a monumental day in her life: her First Communion. As we pulled out of the church parking lot and headed off to the ensuing party, she said something that to this day I can only deduct was a reflection of the magnitude of what had just taken place. She turned to me and with big, bright, innocent eyes said, "Sometimes, I just wonder, why life?"
Her question was posed more in a "What’s it all about?" way than a "I’m about to end this thing for good, and I need psychiatric help" attitude. But still, her inquiry caught me off guard, given her age and the fact that in the 20-something years of my existence, I’d asked myself the same question many times and never come close to getting an answer.
But a few weeks ago, I found someone who actually does have an answer.
I was interviewing the owner of the Hargrave 96 Raised Pilothouse La Vida at the Yacht and Brokerage Show in Miami, and after he’d explained why he chose Hargrave, how he placed his personal stamp on the yacht’s design, and his commitment to giving to those less fortunate than he, I realized he understood the importance of savoring life.
His story begins three years ago when he was living in Fort Lauderdale and looking to step up from his 72-foot motoryacht to something in the 90-foot range. "My family was expanding, and we needed more space for everyone onboard, so I went shopping for a builder," he recalls. After looking around for several months and becoming disenchanted with what he saw at four other yards ("Imagine asking $8.9 million for an 80-footer that has wallpaper and Formica," he scoffs), he decided on Hargrave, not only because of its talent for combining megayacht-class amenities with the comforts a cruising family wants but also because of the attitude. "They were by far the most welcoming," he recalls, adding, "and they just seemed real and genuine. They invited me to all their events, parties, [and] rendezvous and treated me and my entire family like we were part of their family." No wonder he was impressed, since one of the main things he was looking for was a yacht on which everyone who came aboard would feel comfortable.
This article originally appeared in the May 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.