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Yachts International 2011 - High Stakes Fun - BOARDWALK

Written by Cecile Gauert

In October 2010, Fertitta bought back Landry's Restaurants Inc., which he took public in 1993 when it had nine restaurants. A youthful and confident-looking Fertitta appears on the lead business page of The Houston Chronicle before closing on the deal, estimated at $1.4 billion, including debt. Aside from Landry's seafood restaurants, the group that employs 24,200 people nationwide, also owns the Chart House chain and kids' favorite Rainforest Cafe.

As a father of four, Fertitta knows something about entertaining children, and as the head of a growing hospitality empire, he knows about comfort and keeps a handle on the latest trends. The changes he specified for Boardwalk (about nine pages of additions and deletions from the Westport spec list) certainly reflect that.

We toured the yacht with his long-time captain, Tristan Judson. The stylish passerelle in sturdy carbon and attractive teak by Nautical Structures (standard issue on the 164) leads to a roomy foyer with marble and tile flooring and elegant sconces by Wired Lighting.

Several of the deletions made are readily apparent: no doors set the dining room and salon apart; the entrance to the foyer is wide; the galley is also open, and there is no elevator; instead, an elegant spiraling staircase is a light conduit from the bridge deck.

The choices made in the main-deck salon and dining area accentuate the yacht's generous 31' beam. The lovely curves of a sprawling dark brown couch suggest it is welcoming and soothing—just like the deep cream carpet underfoot. A custom detail delineates the dining table set with elegant cream-tone leather chairs. But without dividers, columns or cabinets, the space is more inviting than most formal dining rooms. A colorful abstract painting is the work of Landry's artists in residence.

The master stateroom is forward, past an office. That's a great workspace with a view, but workspace nonetheless. Even while exploring the Bahamas in winter or European coves in summertime, Fertitta must stay in touch with mission control, a.k.a. his Houston office, and multiple businesses nationwide. There is even a TV screen above the tub in the master bathroom. In fact, there are lots of TVs.

One obvious change to the Westport 164 is the radar arch. The one on Boardwalk is probably about triple the size of the "standard" arch on some of the sisterships. It is designed to support in style massive domes containing the latest in communications and streaming technology. It's expensive, Fertitta admits, but the ability to roam and remain in touch is, well, priceless.

We take the interior staircase up to the bridge deck. Near the landing is a bar with a stylish restaurant-style open wine rack. There are a number of highly rated labels from an excellent year for Bordeaux—1995. Another curvy couch in the elegantly casual skylounge, scattered with toss pillows, is a tempting place to curl up to watch a game or a movie.

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