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ShowBoats Int'l. - July 2008 - Not Desperate...and Not All Housewives

Written by Jill Bobrow

Yachts International - Westport 164

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Gender bias aside, ShowBoats International is predominantly a magazine for men who own and love boats. Our audited demographic profile confirms that our high net worth readership is 97 percent male and 75 percent married. The common and cliched wisdom is that men are the ones who initiate the purchase of a boat, while their wives or girlfriends go along kicking and screaming. It's widely believed that women would take the chalet in Aspen, Colorado, over the boat on any given day.

As a female editor in a male-dominated world, I am not one who subscribes to cliches. I am convinced that it is not only men who dream about cruising aboard their yachts or booking a charter on someone else's. Statistics aside, my female intuition and my life's experience tell me that women like boats (almost) as much as men, and that occasionally they pick up an issue of ShowBoats and like what they see.

I was recently invited to partake of an all-female cruise in the Virgin Islands archipelago aboard Kelly Sea, a 112-foot composite motor yacht built by Westport Shipyard in Washington state. Owner Kelly Colleen ("Kelly C") Schmidt left her husband at home. This was a ladies trip from the get-go.

Most of us knew one another beforehand, but the common denominator and driving force behind the trip was the inexorable Kelly, a beautiful, fun-loving woman who loves her yacht. We were all working women: a real estate developer, a nurse, a sales executive, a yacht brokerage principal, a photographer, a magazine editor and one (by choice) stay-at-home mom with twin toddlers (the hardest job of all). With the winter blahs setting in, we were all ripe and ready for adventure.

We flew into St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, to meet the boat, which was docked at the new Yacht Haven Grande marina. Captain Philip "Blurge" Brown (we never did get to the bottom of that nickname) and his wife, first mate Daniela Sartorio, helped us settle in while our stewardess poured us fresh-squeezed juice and offered us a welcome platter of fruit kebabs.

From the aft cockpit we glanced over at the swank new marina village. A stone's throw away were high-end shops such as those found on Fifth Avenue in New York City or at Florida's Bal Harbour Shops: Louis Vuitton, BCBG Max Azria, Gucci, Coach, Ferragamo and such. The half-off winter sale signs attracted the female shopping gene in us all. We walked down the dock for a quick fix, itching for a rush of retail therapy.

After we settled back on board for wine and dinner on the aft deck, Kelly Sea's ever-cheerful Kiwi chef Heather "Miss Mei" Meihana served up succulent rack of lamb to nourish us before we went imbibing at Duffy's Love Shack in Red Hook on the east end of the island. An unprepossessing strip mall housing a chiropractor's office, maternity shop and pharmacy seemed an unlikely locale for this lively scrap of a bar that is long on reputation. South Beach's Shore Club it was not, but it was every bit as much fun, with energetic music and divas drinking, dancing and carrying on. Ever witness an upside down margarita? Duffy's accommodating bartender-who has seen it all-pours triple sec and tequila simultaneously into your mouth as you limbo over the bar top.

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