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FYI: July 2003

FYI — July 2003
By Brad Dunn
   
 
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Target Practice, Things We Like, and more
• Part 2: A Word With..., and more

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• News/FYI Index

Target Practice
A 500-pound, laser-guided bomb can really take a lot out of a boat's fit and finish. But when 16 of them hit, well, that would leave any owner a little crestfallen.

In April Saddam Hussein was that boat owner. During its invasion of Basra, the U.S. Navy found the former Iraqi leader's megayacht docked at a nearby port. The luxurious, 350-foot Al Mansur had long been abandoned by her 120-person crew, so coalition forces decided to turn her into another symbol of Saddam's collapsing regime: They greeted her with dozens of high-powered artillery shells, bombs, and missiles.

Despite being charred to the hull, the presidential yacht withstood the onslaught pretty well. She didn't sink, which is a testament to the craftsmanship of the Finnish boatyard that constructed the 7,359-ton steel vessel in 1982. At that time, Al Mansur was one of the largest, most lavish private yachts in the world. Now she's floating wreckage near the Euphrates River.

Because she was staffed by members of Hussein's Special Republican Guard, Al Mansur was actually considered part of the Iraqi Navy, though she was hardly outfitted for battle. Instead, the Iraqi dictator decorated the vessel extravagantly with exotic woods, marble, and gold and silver trim. The 350-footer had plenty of luxurious amenities, including a private theater, a giant Jacuzzi bath, and an enormous glass atrium that could seat 200 people for dinner. Besides reflecting his gaudy tastes, Al Mansur also reflected Hussein's deep-seated paranoia: There was a secret escape route that led from his stateroom down to an underwater submarine launch pod.

According to witnesses, the atrium suffered the brunt of the first strike. A bomb incinerated the entire area, and subsequent fires tore through the center of the boat and covered everything in black soot. When it was over, a tattered Baath Party flag on a warped mast and the name Al Mansur in singed blue lettering on the stern were all that identified the one-time symbol of a dictator's power.

And then there's the irony: Al Mansur means "the victor" in Arabic.

82
The percentage of serious boating accidents in Florida in 2002 in which the boaters involved were not wearing a PFD.

Things We Like
It seems the closer you get to New York City, the harder it is to find a quiet, luxurious place to tie up for the night--especially if you're hoping for a really good meal to go with it. But now there is such a place just over the Connecticut-New York State line. It's called the Delamar, and it's just steps away from tony downtown Greenwich, Connecticut, home to some of the best shopping this side of Rodeo Drive. A $32-million renovation has transformed a tired old waterfront watering hole into a Tuscan-inspired luxury retreat that is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World chain. Best of all, a world-class restaurant, the L’Escale, is right next door, and PMY editor-in-chief Richard Thiel reports its seafood-based menu and service are superb. Room prices start at $335, and there's 600 feet of private dockage able to accommodate yachts to 160 feet. Phone: (866) 335-2627.

July Calendar
9-13. The Houston Summer Boat Show in Houston, Texas. (713) 526-6361. www.houstonboatshows.com.
11-13 and 18-20. The Dallas Summer Boat Show in Dallas, Texas. (469) 549-0673. www.dallasboatshow.net.
18-20. The Boat Show in Clinton Harbor, Connecticut. (860) 529-2123. www.northeastpromo.com.

Got an interesting boating story for this column? Write to FYI, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: eileen_mansfield@primediamags.com. No phone calls please.

Next page > A Word With..., and more > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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