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Sailing Yacht: Whisper

Whisper , the stunning new 116-foot sloop from Holland Jachtbouw, is the first yacht her owner ever commissioned. He didn't build her because he loves boats (though he does), or because he wants to sail the world (he already has). He built her because, after several decades' worth of looking, he simply couldn't find her.


"He had a very refined eye," says Dirk Johnson, sales broker with Little Harbor Yacht Company. "He would charter boats over the years, we'd go to boat shows, we'd fly all over the place. Over the course of two to three years, we saw every significant sailing yacht that had been built in the past seven or eight years. We started to develop a mosaic of things he liked, a little from one boat, a little from another boat."

The owner's taste is classic elegance, the exquisite kind rarely found outside of much larger yachts. He wanted to incorporate it inside a smaller package - in a layout that made sense for charter. After all, if he had been trying all those years to book a yacht of that size and caliber, other people must be willing to pay, as well.


About five years ago, when the owner decided to build Whisper , Johnson had him meet one of the few men he thought could handle the job.


"I introduced him to Andrew Winch, one of the best interior designers I've ever come across who has the ability to listen to the client and draw from the client what he wants, as opposed to saying, 'This is what I do' " Johnson says.


Winch says the owner asked for a quality classic with a romantic touch; classical in inspiration, but with a fresh outlook. The builder would be Holland Jachtbouw, a Dutch yard that has delivered only about two dozen yachts since opening its doors in 1990.


"These guys are small and energetic," Johnson says. "They have a burning desire to build great stuff."



Winch worked with the furniture company Holland Jachtbouw selected to build a full-size corner mockup based on his sketches. It included a wall with paneling, some furniture, every joinery junction.

  Charter Whisper  

"It's a way of analyzing the quality of joints, of the client seeing - before the whole boat is built - the quality and flavor of the design," Winch explains. "He can choose the finish, the level of varnish, the accessories can all be checked. It's invaluable in having a final sample of quality with the builder."


The owner visited the yard every month to inspect the interior as it was built. His involvement made a huge impact, Johnson says. The craftsmen got to know the man for whom they were turning the tools

The owner also named the boat before construction began, which Winch said was invaluable, as well.


"He came up with the name Whisper from day one," Winch says. "She, the boat, had a spirit. She had a title. She had a look. We just had to make the clothes."


Winch also brought his dedication to the yard, particularly in the creation of the hand-carved shells that hang throughout Whisper's interior.


"The interior builder had an old-timer that was able to do these hand-carvings," Johnson recalls. "Andrew Winch actually came to meetings with shells wrapped in tissue paper. We'd look at the shells and say, 'Wow, that's beautiful,' and we'd give it to this carver, and he'd carve the wood relief."



Winch's favorite part of the boat is the master stateroom.


"It's got a fabulously big owner's cabin, the biggest shower I've ever put in any sailboat," he says. "I love his desk area in his cabin. It's an area you can really sit and think in, relax in. You want to have places where, in a stormy sea, you can go down and feel safe. Or say, 'This is a desk where I could sit down and make millions.' It's exactly the same as the original drawings, and I'm very proud of it."


Yacht Charter Whisper


Whisper takes six guests on charter and has a whopping five crew at an introductory rate of $50,000 per week, plus expenses. Sandy, who represents the yacht, said the rate is expected to go up to $65,000 per week high season ($60,000 low season) when Whisper gets to the Caribbean in mid-November 2004.


"If people are willing to book now," she says, "the owner will entertain offers for $55,000 low season."


That's quite a deal for a yacht that already fulfills one man's lifelong dreams and promises to make good on many others.




Kim Kavin, editor of

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