Thursday, December 15, 2011
YACHT PARTY 101
Hey I just figured out how to hold a yacht party without wrecking your boat by reading a story on Tilman Fertitta’s yacht party aboard his 164 ‘ super yacht BOARDWALK. So you know the problem when you invite a group of friends, business colleagues or relatives to a boat gathering and they show up in street shoes and heels anxious to step aboard and hang out with a drink and some food! Well the street shoes are a killer on fiberglass and teak and most visitors don’t realize the kind of almost irreparable scratching damage this can cause. Then comes the food droppings and the wine stains on the carpet etc. It’s all too much for many yacht owners to manage and it’s embarrassing all around when guests don’t know any better in terms of how to party on a boat bare footed and casual. Let’s face it – few boat owners have Bill Gates pocketbook to pick up the tab to make things as they were on your boat before the party. For the most part only other boaters understand this ... and the work involved in rubbing out gel coat and refinishing teak doesn’t enter the picture for visitors. At one time or another, you have likely cringed at some relative or guest that shows up and jumps from the dock to the cockpit in one street shoe clad leap, landing like an elephant on your balsa cored cockpit putting spider cracks all over the gel coat. You don’t want to be a party pooper and educate or chastise anyone ... so you put up with it.
So Tilman Fertitta, as the wealthy Texas owner of Landry’s Restaurant chain and the Golden Nugget Casino knows a thing or two about staging a yacht party. The yacht becomes the backdrop for the party, not the party central location. Guests do not go aboard the boat in shoes – bare feet only ... and the booze and food are served on dock only. So everyone congregates on the dock where champagne flows and plenty of nibbles circulate - but if you want to step on the boat you give up your shoes and walk aboard without the prospect of getting any food or drink onboard. So how long are visitors going to hob knob on the yacht without a drink and everyone eating and having fun on the dock? – not many for long. Folks take a look around and filter back out to the dock to party and converse. Those that do stay aboard are likely to sit somewhere and fall into deep conversation or contemplation rather than wrecking your boat.
So everyone enjoys the atmosphere conversation and food & beverage but you don’t spend the next week fixing the boat. It works on any scale. Only suggestion I can add to Mr. Fertitta’s great strategy is plan the event around the bug seasons and invite your neighbors five slips down on both sides and anyone else that happens along so they don’t hold the dockside commotion against you. Oh and don’t forget to have a boat hook handy for those that fall off the dock. Yah I know, Bah-Humbug!