And he did mean everyone. Consider the crew quarters. It’s commonly accepted that a happy crew translates into a smooth-running yacht, yet many owners don’t give much thought to the space where the crew spends most of their time. La Vida’s crew quarters, which are aft, include a queen-size bed in the captain’s cabin and bunks in another cabin. Neither space has ports, so the owner chose a light sapelle wood and yellow fabrics to make the spaces seem larger, brighter, and more cheerful.
Or consider the galley. It features high-end touches like granite on the countertops and island, but it also has an eight-person C-shape settee and dinette that faces aft, to make the cooking and eating area a comfortable, family-oriented space. This country kitchen also provides a casual alternative to the formal dining area in the saloon. And to put his personal stamp on the space, the owner decorated the galley with several colorful wooden platters created by Bibi Leon, a Cuban artist who teaches HIV-positive women and children in the Dominican Republic.
Those colorful accents touch upon something meaningful for this owner: his desire to give back. "God’s been very good to me and my family," he says. That’s why he and his wife named their yacht La Vida, which translates into "The Life," and their tender Colores, which translates into "Colors." "We wanted [the names] to reflect that there are many colors of life," he says. His desire to give back also explains his involvement with the MIR Foundation for HIV-positive children and why he’s built several technical college and university buildings in his native Puerto Rico. (An art piece above the plasma TV recalls one of the buildings he donated.) Brightly colored paintings from Puerto Rican artists hang above the dining table, in the pilothouse, and in the day heads on the main deck and flying bridge, the latter a space he wanted to make "all inclusive." As Capt. Albert Rodriguez told me when he gave me a tour of the yacht, "It was designed so when you get here, you can stay here," pointing to the grill area and shaded and unshaded seating everywhere as evidence.
Today the owner’s satisfaction with Hargrave hasn’t diminished one bit, even after logging hundreds of hours onboard in the Bahamas. "When our main computer broke down when we were in the Bahamas, they Fed-Ex’d a new one right away and then installed it step-by-step with my captain on the phone," he recalls. Little surprise that he’s already in negotiations with Hargrave for a 115-footer, something that highlights this builder’s knack for turning first-time buyers into repeat customers.
As we were wrapping up our interview, the owner pointed to a seating area on the bow that he says is his favorite spot onboard and is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktails or glass of wine with friends and family while watching the sun go down. "This is my dream come true," he says. Then a proud smile comes over his face, as he spreads his arms wide and adds, "This is what life is all about."
For more information on Hargrave Custom Yachts, including contact information, click here.
Dock Like A Pro
Although Capt. Albert Rodriguez has been working for the same owner for five years and holds a 200-ton U.S. Coast Guard Master license, even he sometimes experiences difficulties maneuvering in tight quarters. That’s why he added Docking Master to La Vida’s electronics package.
Docking Master is a wireless system that lets you dock your vessel from anywhere onboard via a remote control and, according to Rodriguez, delivers on its promise to make for "perfect docking every time." It's suitable for vessels ranging from 25 to 200 feet LOA that has electronic controls.—E.G.B.
Marine Automation Systems
This article originally appeared in the May 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.