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October 23, 2015

VivieRae offers owner plenty of form and function
N86 has proven to be capable, versatile, sound investment

The dilemma of finding time to go cruising while under the constraints of work and life is a predicament faced by many boaters for whom retirement is still years away. Bob Giles, a Nordhavn 86 owner, found himself in that same boat as it were – but managed to strike a balance between spending time on his yacht and handling work responsibilities, all the while getting to enjoy himself in the process.

Giles bought Nordhavn 86, hull #1, CaryAli, in 2012 despite being in the market for a much larger boat, because the brand was the only one he found ticked all his boxes: safe, roomy, comfortable, luxurious, stylish, economical, seaworthy, and impressive range.

Like many, he had the cruising bug, though not necessarily the time to spend on board that getting to other parts of the world requires. Giles invests a significant amount of time overseeing his automobile dealerships but made a promise to his wife (and himself) that they would spend no less than one week per month on their boat. Three years later the couple has stayed true to that plan, having fun cruising and most importantly enjoying each other’s company. 

 At its core, N86#1, (re-christened VivieRae, a tribute to Giles’ granddaughter), has been a means to amp up family time together. “For me, the best part of owning VivieRae has been the wonderful time I have spent with my family and friends over the last three years,” says Giles.

Giles’ maiden voyage as owner of VivieRae set the tone. Having taken delivery in Newport, RI, and joined by his wife, daughter and some friends, he spent a week bringing the boat down to New York City and eventually to Fort Lauderdale, covering 1,000 nm in six days non-stop. 

Since then, the Giles clan et al. have taken VivieRae to the Caribbean, South and Central America including a visit to the San Blas islands, one of the family’s favorite stops. They transited the Panama Canal and spent most of 2013 exploring and fishing the Pacific side of the Caribbean before returning late in the year, and going back through the Canal to enjoy the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao – “where the diving is spectacular”, explains Giles. Since her purchase, VivieRae has amassed over 21,000 nm.

In order to achieve his cruising goals, Giles makes sure he stays on top of business dealings by keeping in touch with the office, which he does via a laptop, tablet, and two phone lines. “Having internet and two U.S. lines on VivieRae means I can stay connected to my office. In turn, this allows me to enjoy spending time on the boat,” says Giles. The set up means he can tackle work matters – anytime, anywhere – while he’s at sea.

Saddled with an executive’s schedule, Giles still has the heart of an adventurer, and in fact had the adventure of a lifetime when he was able to use VivieRae as the mothership to a underwater expedition. While in Panama’s La Perla islands two years ago, Giles and a couple of friends – one of whom is a captain, and ocean exploration expert - went in search of a USA World War II sub that sank over 70 years ago. After researching the sunken S22 submarine, they identified a search area site of four one-mile grids based on the sextant coordinates recorded in 1942. From VivieRae, the trio boarded Giles’ Hydrasport “Ricochet”, equipped with side scanning Sonar, and traveled some 20 miles to the dive site. They spent each day from dusk to dawn searching for the wreckage and on Day 3 achieved success. Situated 290 feet down, Giles described the discovery as a truly exciting experience akin to “finding a needle in a haystack.” In the process they captured some incredible footage which can be seen in the video to the right.

After a few years’ use, Giles decided to freshen up VivieRae with a refit. She spent most of summer 2014 being made better than new with paint, a style makeover by Destry Darr, including all new exterior cushions, new teak installed on the swim platform and all the exterior wood work refinished. Add to that, engine and generator maintenance plus a number of other upgrades. When Giles received her late last summer, she was even more remarkable, prompting him to realize VivieRae’s investment potential. He hooked up with a charter outfit in Fort Lauderdale where VivieRae was offered up for weekly charters. With the boat unoccupied much of the time (save for crew), the idea made perfect sense. “In the beginning, it was a way to offset operational costs with hopes we could get three or four charters,” said Giles. The plan worked and by year two, VivieRae had doubled its number of charters. Having achieved such success, Giles will likely follow suit with the new boat.

After three years of cruising, Giles and his wife decided they truly did need a bigger boat, one as perfect a fit as the Nordhavn 86 had been. While not necessarily intending to stay in the Nordhavn family, they circled back to the brand after searching the marketplace for 100-foot yachts. Eventually, Giles – convinced by his Captain as well as his Nordhavn salesman Andy Hegley – chose the Nordhavn 96, realizing major distinctions between it and his current boat. “It was evident that there were some significant differences between the 86 and 96,” said Giles. “And although the cost difference was considerable, I decided for me the idea of being able to build the 96 according to my exact preferences and equip her exactly as I wanted, was worth the additional investment.” 

As he did with the N86, Giles will continue to achieve that balance between work, family and oceanic adventure on his new N96 in safe, roomy, comfortable, luxurious, economical and seaworthy style.

Ed. Note – The extraordinary VivieRae is now offered for sale and will be featured at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, November 4-9. Those interested in inspecting her can contact Andy Hegley: 855.475.1239 or e-mail: andy.hegley@nordhavn.com.

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