Icebreakers, Anyone?

by Louis Postel for Boat Life in Showboats International, Spring 2015

Boarding a mega yacht for the first time as a guest can be one of life’s most awkward moments. The default chit-chat sounds absurd when alighting upon the afterdeck of a 300’ floating castle.

“Looks like we’re in for some nice weather, don’t you think?” just doesn’t cut it conversationally any more than turning to one’s host with, “Nice boat… Looks new!” and this can leave newcomers on board M/Y uncomfortably speechless with awe.

But now there’s hope for the terminally M/Y tongue-tied: icebreakers strategically positioned right at the point of greeting.

Solicitous hosts take note.

A Maritime Chart to Remember
A Maritime Chart to Remember

I Was Right There (and so was I!)

Embellished with 38 inset maps and views of the major ports of the Mediterranean, this early edition of a circa 1694 maritime chart by Romeyn De Hooghe almost guarantees conversation. Who hasn’t been at least somewhere recognizable on one or more of its three hand-colored, engraved sheets joined for a total width of 1440 mm and a height of 600? Its dealer, Daniel Crouch, will be happy to show this treasure at his home port of London, found at www., or else this June at the largest antique map market in Europe, the London Art Fairs.


Argentinean Candy Jar
Argentinean Candy Jar

When All Else Fails, Try This

There are few things that can compete with the beyond-words magnificence of a mega yacht. Ironically, penny candy can do the trick. A humble Hershey’s Kiss may be just a kiss, but the emotions it conveys are certainly mega. One guest, for example, might insist that Certs is a candy mint, while the other is just as certain it’s a breath mint. This Meanwhile, let other guests help themselves from the rotating globes of this jar inspired by old-world Argentinean apothecaries. Clear glass and iron, 20”l x 20”w x 24”, $445 + shipping from the Boston showroom Hudson, where its creative spirit, Jill Goldberg happens to be married to a sculptor of Argentine descent, Damien Hoar de Galvanthe



Remembrances of parties past

If everyone at the table were to uncork his or her memories into this do-it-yourself trivet, there would be no loss for words. Just imagine if someone happened to have gone slumming at a port ‘o call the week before and picked up a few disreputable corks. Should he even be invited to contribute them to the Cork Collection, and, if so, would his corks be relegated to a remote corner of said trivet?

And how about that one cork that represents that one night of all nights, especially when a duplicate pops up? Just ask Tati Guimaraes, a Brazilian-born working in Barcelona who designed the Bakus Trivet for the Circlus studio, available for  $48.00 from the Shop at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY:

Wet1HGWhich way to the water?

This 5 foot, 152 cm wide antique sign derived from the UK gives everyone something to talk about. For old salts it provides an opportunity to point out what is indeed wet out there to landlubbers. The ocean is wet, while the deck we’re standing on is dry. The whirlpool is wet…

Hence the big metal sign, mate.

And over the bar the same WET sign can signal cocktail hour when the neon lights up. (It’s three inch width is reverse channeled for lighting and can be provided at additional cost). For the romantically inclined the same luminous sign over a headboard can spark another kind of conversation altogether.  $250 from Griffin Trading Company in the Dallas Design District (Texas, USA).

The social selfie reborn

002aBack in the old days, you didn’t necessarily need words to break the ice. You could just share sixty seconds in photo booth. Drawing a curtain between you and the world, sitting in the dark for that one magic moment to happen, and then out spits the two or three or four of you memorialized for all eternity. Sounds like a natural for an M/Y, right — this little house of instant intimacy? The problem was the prohibitively toxic bath needed for developing, but with digital this is no longer an  issue. Once a sideline, architect Anthony Vizzari of A&A Studios in Chicago, IL now leads a team of photographers, electricians, wood and metal workers, and artists building and restoring booths for A-list clients such as Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures (Zero Dark Thirty, American Hustle) and the daughter of mega-yachter Larry Ellison. Base models range from $14,000 to $23,000.