As a longtime yacht designer, Bill Prince has seen it all. Some of it he can write about; some of it he can’t.
I’ve been a yacht designer and marine engineer for the past 25 years, and I’ve written the “Inside Angle” column in this magazine since 2018. In fact, I’ve got 40 installments of the column under my belt now, covering all kinds of topics such as people you meet on the boat-show bus, Yachtworld oddities, motorcycles at sea, embarrassing mayday calls, bad design details and good times spent on the water.
I’ve said a lot here over the past three and half years. So this month, I’m going to write about the things I can’t say in this column.
I can’t say which A-list celebrity chef I met in Las Vegas a few years ago who wanted me and my staff of naval architects to re-design the kitchens in all of his airport restaurant installations. Space in an airport restaurant is always at a premium, and since we have experience designing space-efficient galleys in large yachts it seemed like a reasonable meeting to take. But I can tell you I walked past a guy on the way to the Bellagio whose cardboard sign said, “Kick me in the nuts: $50.” That was the best $100 I spent all day.
Speaking of food, I also can’t tell you which fast-food sandwich franchise founder’s foot-long buttcrack was exposed in broad daylight at a fancy event in the Florida Keys while he waited to get his photo taken with the Stanley Cup on board a classic yacht owned by the owners of the Chicago Blackhawks. But I can tell you the buns were white, not whole wheat.
I really want to write about flag etiquette and advise those of you who might need to brush up on the topic not to be a flag idiot. So for the love of God, fly your United States ensign at the transom, not the bow. And at a minimum the flag should be at least one inch long per foot of boat length. Have a 42-footer? Fly a 48-inch flag. And bring it in before sunset unless…
I can’t tell you which once-prominent boatbuilder had such an acute labor shortage that they actually bused in prison labor from the local penitentiary for the final year or so of their existence. The company is now out of business and their buildings have been sold to another boatbuilding company with generally upstanding citizens on the payroll. So sleep well on your 2016 Xxxxxx-Yyyyyy.
And I can’t go into detail about the origins of the name Fillet Show on a fishing boat at my marina.
I cannot tell you which shipyard had a crew replacing the paint shed filters one fine day while another crew was painting the hull of a 100-footer in the same shed at the time. Every car within 150 feet of the paint shed was covered in a fresh mist of Awlgrip Aristo Blue, including mine. I had the top down that day, too.
It is with deep regret that I cannot repeat the colorful words which were exclaimed by a yacht broker many years ago during a private showing of a 140-foot tri-deck motoryacht. The prospective buyer’s son knocked an evidently priceless sculpture off a shelf in the sky lounge. The young man instinctively lunged to grab the airborne artifact but instead knocked it down the spiral staircase. It shattered a deck or two below on an unforgiving slab of marble. Words—and contact details—were exchanged. And the guy didn’t even buy the boat.
Finally, I can’t tell you which yacht designer was coerced via considerable peer pressure to do his best impression of Dustin Hoffman’s character Raymond Babbitt in the movie Rain Man for a group of German shipyard executives he’d just met at the grand opening of a Hard Rock Cafe. Actually, I can definitely, definitely let this one slip. It was me. Definitely. I’m a very good driver.
Having not said any of those things, I’m out of space. But stay tuned, I’ll have something to say next month.