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Sea Magazine - December 2008 - Introducing Estancia

Story and Photos by Bridget Debernitz

The master stateroom runs the full-width mid-ship on the lower deck, providing ample space for the enormous California king-sized bed and "his and hers" bath entries. The VIP stateroom is located forward on the lower deck, complete with a queen-sized bed. Two additional guest rooms are located port and starboard and include private bath facilities.

New Adventures

At press time, Wrigley had just completed participation in a horse show and reunited with McDowell in British Columbia, Canada, where the couple planned to take a grand tour of Desolation Sound.

"Bill's showing me the sound to whet my appetite. So far I've seen beautiful bays and inlets and can't wait to see more," Wrigley exclaimed. McDowell felt the Pacific Northwest was the perfect training ground for the yacht's critical break-in period. "I wanted to spend the first year in Vancouver Island, because to me, it made the most amount of sense because it's such a big boat. I needed the space to learn about what I can or can't do with it," he said.

McDowell isn't the only one on board Estancia who will be getting their "sea legs." Wrigley suggested that he hire a small crew "to help me keep the boat clean" - she said - and the couple decided to do something a little unconventional for owners of a boat of this magnitude: They hired an inexperienced couple to join them as crewmembers, opting to send them to training first.

McDowell said, "When Julie asked me to hire the help, I knew an experienced crew wasn't going to be the thing for me. We wanted people we knew and could already get along with, so we asked a couple of newlyweds who worked for Julie to crew for us. We sent them to training in Fort Lauderdale. I think the idea worked out well. The reality is you just need a couple of people who can read a manual and are savvy when it comes to reappearing little things that need to fixed, like changing oil filters."

The yacht certainly makes a scene wherever it goes, and Wrigley and McDowell are eager to make new boating friends along the way by welcoming curious guests aboard for tours - another gesture not usually made by boaters among the mega-yacht set. McDowell also stressed that he likes to consider himself a more considerate large boat owner than those he's witnessed in other marinas.

"I don't anchor in crowded places - I don't want to obstruct the view of boaters with smaller vessels, especially in beautiful places like the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where they mainly come just for the scenery. I also anchor farther out so I don't disturb our neighbors with noise from our generators. That's something that can really ruin someone else's enjoyment too," he said.

Future plans on board Estancia include having the yacht shipped to Costa Rica for a yearlong visit in 2009-10. It seems that for McDowell and Wrigley, the possibilities are endless.

"It's a fabulous adventure of life," Wrigley said.

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