Peter de Savary is a larger-than-life entrepreneur with a cigar to match. Well-known in his native UK, even after all these years, as the man behind his 1983 America's Cup challenge—the plucky Brits lost but put up a good fight, which to the British psyche is better than winning—he is a yachtsman through and through.
"I've raced everything from dinghies on Frensham Ponds to Vagrant in Antigua," he declares, alluding to the legendary 106-foot Herreshoff gaff schooner built for the Vanderbilts in 1910 and rescued and restored by de Savary. "And I've driven everything from my 33-foot Fairey Swordfish to 10,000-ton cargo ships. I love boats."
Although by his own admission primarily a sailing man, he is no stranger to power yachts, having famously owned Lands End, a 1965 160-foot, traditionally styled, Dutch-built motoryacht. There have also been a giant sea-going tug called St. Eval, luxuriously fitted out as a motoryacht, and of course the beautiful Kalizma, a 1906 Edwardian yacht designed by G.L. Watson, once owned by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and which de Savary used, in the great prewar style of a Sopwith or a Lipton, in support of his America's Cup yachts.
Like most of us, however, de Savary, who has a penchant for real-estate development, does find that the job gets in the way of the boating—but that's where Savvy comes in. Moored in St George's Harbour in Grenada, she serves as both a floating billboard for his latest venture and as a convenient boardroom, family holiday apartment, and hotel.
Built in 1966 in South Africa to a Camper & Nicholsons design, she has a timeless look about her. But after a recent complete refit in Malta, she is virtually new inside and out, from her pristine paint job and modern electronics to the satin varnish and "modern classic" interior decor. Her layout has a modern feel about it, too. The owner's suite is on the main deck forward—where you'd expect it to be if Savvy had been built yesterday in an Italian shipyard—and down below there are two twin-berth guest cabins, both with en suite heads, and a full-beam VIP suite in the stern.
The stern? That dates her, of course. As does her surprisingly narrow 20-foot beam, which is maybe six feet less than you might expect on a modern motoryacht of the same length and means there is no ballroom-size deck saloon, but a pleasingly snug and traditional space with sofa seating for six, and a small bar. The dining table, of course, is in the cockpit. The deckheads, too, are a low 6'2", for although Savvy has an efficient set of fin stabilizers, she was built at a time when naval architects didn't rely on such things, but sought to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. She also has a deep, 8'6" draft.
This article originally appeared in the February 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.