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Yachting - November 2011 - Lucky Seven

Written by Diane M. Byrne

There are repeat yacht buyers, and then there's Tilman Fertitta.

Yachting - Lucky Seven by Diane M. Byrne

Fertitta is chairman, president and CEO of Landry's Restaurants, one of the largest privately owned restaurant, entertainment and gaming firms in the United States. Given that his company owns eaters ranging from Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. to the Chart House, as well as operating the Golden Nugget casinos, Fertitta knows a thing or two about hospitality. And in his role as a father of four, he understands how to keep kids entertained. No wonder then, that his 164-foot Westport Boardwalk reflects a mix of spaces meant for grown-up fun and family-friendly gatherings. Fertitta made Boardwalk fully his own, and different from the six deliveries in the Westport 164 series that came before her. He took full advantage of the customization that the Pacific Northwest builder offers, a level that other series builders rarely permit.

Prior to commissioning his 164, Fertitta owned a Westport 112 and then a 130, both christened Boardwalk. While each of the three models differs from the others they share some similarities. You'll spy the first upon stepping inside from the main afterdeck doors. Directly to port, there's a stone-top wet bar with leather-clad bar chairs. The setup worked well aboard the smaller Westport's, without impinging on the rest of the salons's space, so why not incorporate it aboard the 164, especially given the extra floor space afforded by the length of the overall and nearly 31-foot beam?

The other major similarity is also on the main deck. Boardwalk's galley has a dining spot much like a country kitchen does. Fertitta's 112- and 130-footers featured Westport's standard country kitchen arrangement, and he preferred this to the stainless —steel commercial look that Westport offers as the standard galley design on the 164. Whether cruising stateside or in the Med, as Boardwalk did this summer, Fertitta wanted an open, warmer ambience where he and his family could fell welcome while the chef and stews were at work. As a result, the galley is rich with stone-top counters and wood-clad cabinetry. The welcoming feel is aided by bar stools that pull up to the island cooking area, ideal for observing the pros at work or for sneaking samples out of the pots when the chef isn't looking.

Boardwalk incorporates a handful of other customized touches as well. There are loose furnishings on the afterdeck, easily moved when entertaining large group or rearranged into intimate relaxation areas on private trips. Normally an elevator rises through the tri-deck 1645, but Fertitta specified a stairway instead, something that a few other 164 owners also chose. Aboard Boardwalk, the stairway treads are floating affairs, with a sturdy yet elegantly curving stainless-steel handrail outboard, along the mahogany-lined walls.

To lessen the formality of the dining area, Fertitta requested a smooth flow-through from the salon, skipping the customary central buffet that acts as a room divider. The arrangement still avoids the "bowling alley" look, and it's simultaneously family-friendly and suitable for big gatherings. In the master, rather than have the standard separated his and her heads, Fertitta wanted one full-beam bath. In another change the vista bar, a standard wet bar tucked forward to port off the skylounge, is more like an intimate wine-tasting area, since Fertitta has it equipped with glass-front bottle stowage. Plenty of extra televisions are aboard as well, from the main afterdeck bar to the full-beam master bath (the TV is camouflaged as artwork when off) to the galley's dining spot. And to help set various moods day or night, plus highlight the colorful, specially commissioned artwork throughout Boardwalk, a great deal of attention was paid to lighting.

Of course, some areas aboard Boardwalk follow the standard Westport 164 layout, which has both typical and atypical features. A good example of the latter is the upper-deck VIP stateroom, which benefits from a private sun deck. There are four more guest staterooms, all on the lower deck. Fertitta can stay in touch with his various businesses while in the office within the main-deck master suite. The room doubles as a lounge, with comfortable seating opposite the desk. Doors connecting it to the owner's foyer just aft and the sleeping are just forward can close for more privacy. And guests can watch the captain at work from a raised observation settee in the pilothouse.

The crew also benefit from keeping some things the same aboard Boardwalk. The crew's quarters (accommodations for 10 in five cabins, in addition to the captain's stateroom) have service access to the guest staterooms via a dedicated housekeeping area. An automatic door leads from the galley to the formal dining area, and a dumbwaiter makes serving hor d'oeuvres or full meals easier while dining abaft the skylounge. Also when Fertitta, his family or guests want to explore and anchorage, the crew can retrieve fishing rods and dive gear and launch the tender from the garage. The toys were put to good use this summer while Boardwalk was exploring the Mediterranean. She also put her own propulsion package to the test: twin MTU 16V 4000s, which permit a reported 20-knot cruising speed and 24-knot top end (each at half load). Range at cruising speed is reported to be 1,700 miles, though it naturally increases to 5,200 miles when speed is reduced to 12 knots.

As a repeat yacht owner, Fertitta knows what works well. Being a repeat Westport client, he also knows that a turnkey construction approach can still successfully offer tailor-made options. When a buyer and builder understand each other as well as these two do, the end result is a yacht as custom as you can get without compromising production principles.