Searching for a place to write, Kristin Ducote finds a boat with a great past and the perfect story
In the distance, a buzzing cacophony like a nest of angry hornets vibrated up between the buildings and over the rooftops of Monaco. My champagne sparkled in the mid-May sunshine, and I lifted the brim of my Chanel sun hat to take a sip. “They’re coming,” someone murmured. We shuffled across the gleaming teak sundeck and leaned over the brass cap rail of an impeccably restored 1960s Feadship to view the street circuit’s legendary Tabac corner below.
Just then a pack of 1970s-era race cars dodged and wove through the bend, jockeying for position as they shot down the avenue lined by a row of stately, historic Feadships. As the distinctive, soul-shaking roar of vintage horsepower rumbled past, I turned toward my husband, Chapman, with a Mona Lisa smile. How the heck were we so lucky to end up here?
But like the great lady in the old master painting, I too already knew the answer. The adventures that led us around the globe to the ninth Grand Prix de Monaco Historique were thanks to another grand, significant lady in history. Once lost and forgotten, she was now resurrected to a place of admiration – and she was ours.
Rewind a year. I’ve always wanted a 1950s tugboat behind our home in Miami Beach as a floating guest house. And what better writing nook than a glass wheelhouse in the sky? So, dutiful husband that he is, Chapman began the search. While he never found my dream tugboat, he did find an interesting vessel for sale on the other side of the continent. So interesting, in fact, he immediately booked our plane tickets and within days we met her.
Her owner knew she was 25 metres and old, but he couldn’t offer much more detail on her pedigree. Take her or leave her. We took her on the spot on Chapman’s hunch alone that under the dust of time she was an extraordinary piece of history. Fingers crossed, we began the research to authenticate this old lady with beautiful bones. Before long, we had the support of Feadship and the proof that we had indeed found Anahita V, one of the first Feadships, built in 1952. The son of her original builder flew from Holland to stand on her deck. His eyes welled with tears when he heard her four engines rumble to life, as he remembered that exact timbre from her christening he attended as a child.
Upon her authentication, we joined the Feadship Heritage Fleet (FHF), an association for owners of Feadships more than 30 years old, and received invitations to club events around the world. When the opportunity to attend the Historic Grand Prix arose, we knew it was an experience too rare to pass up.
Besides the itinerary of cocktail parties and elegant dinners, we were lured by the chance to soak up the enchantment of some of the most exquisite vintage yachts in the world. But what we walked away with was something infinitely better. During that long weekend, we were overwhelmed by the incredible quality and warmth of the other FHF members. We made lasting friendships and shared once-in-a-lifetime moments, and it was all thanks to that great lady, Anahita V.