Sawyer chose the Hargrave for several reasons, not the least of which was her build quality. He had zero interest in the sexy speedsters that make most men his age drool. “I wanted something that was built from the inside out, that was comfortable, that could accommodate eight people, that we weren’t afraid to go in and touch things because we were afraid we’d break them. Hargrave builds a great product. The outside isn’t as pleasing to the eye as maybe a Ferretti, but it’s so much more comfortable inside. They also have great customer service.”
Sawyer says he spent about $4 million on the boat, money he believes he will get back when it comes time to sell. (He looked only at brokerage models, not wanting to buy a brand-new build that could lose value the way a new car does when you drive it off the lot.) Then he made interior improvements and added watertoys, including three Jet Skis and a towable Fountain 34. In part, they were for his own use, but he also wanted to increase Golden Boy’s charter appeal among potential charter guests. “People come on a boat to enjoy [her],” he says. “You want Jet Skis, fishing equipment, all the extracurricular gear.”
His philosophy about high-tech helm electronics and new engine-room equipment is that he doesn’t really care what’s aboard as long as the boat runs well. If the crew need something to do their jobs better, that’s an expense he’s willing to shoulder, but he’s not shopping for at-rest stabilizers simply because new Feadships have them.
He priced Golden Boy at $30,000 per week, plus expenses—and the rate includes the Fountain, a rare perk in the charter world. He attends industry-only shows to see what competing yachts in Golden Boy’s size range offer, and he sets about offering more for the same or less money—not just to increase his number of bookings, but to enhance his ownership experience, too.
“Financially, it makes no sense to own a boat like this,” he says. “You get depreciation, you get to write off the expenses, and you have a little bit of charter income. Financially, it’s so stupid, but it’s so much fun. Not just the fun of being on it, but also of operating the business.”
Sawyer’s also learned that in order to generate the most business, he’s got to be flexible about his own week to ten days aboard each month. “Mom and my dad, they use the boat about as much as I do,” he says. “But our itinerary for this year is to do a few more charters, so we’re not going to be able to use it as much.”
Golden Boy is cruising in the Caribbean, but Sawyer’s cellphone keeps him connected to business in California—at a cost of about $10,000 a month thanks to roaming charges. He figures it’s a worthwhile expense. After watching his 89-year-old grandfather work for years without taking time to relax, Sawyer is trying to build in time for family and friends. “A lot of the people who own these boats never use them,” he says. “I don’t know how you can spend $4 million or $5 million—even if you’re worth $500 million—if you’re only going to use it once a year. Why waste the money?”
Unlike Sawyer’s parents and three siblings, his grandpa has yet to get aboard Golden Boy because of the long transcontinental flight. Still, he’s coming around to the idea that his young protg isn’t throwing his money away.
“He’s from the Depression [era],” Sawyer says. “You know, ‘What do you need a yacht for?’ But now he sees everybody together, and that’s something he didn’t get to experience in his life. He just wanted to take care of his family, but he didn’t enjoy himself. That’s what I’m trying to do. Provide a comfortable life for the family, but I want to have a good time.”
The Sacks Group (954) 764-7742.
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