On board superyacht Miss Christine with Jim Walker

4 images

Credit: Courtesy of Jim Walker

My Life in Boats: Jim Walker on his love of New England and his 48m Trinity Miss Christine

5 May 2023 • Written by Interview by Grace Trofa

The owner of Miss Christine tells Grace Trofa he’s fallen back in love with New England...

I grew up on the water and have been around boats all my life. I was 13 when I got my first boat, a 15ft (4.5-metre) Penn Yan with a 50-horsepower engine. And I have a long history of mariners in my family; my great-grandfather was the first captain of a life-saving station in Orleans, Massachusetts – before the US Coast Guard – and my father was a lighthouse keeper.

Credit: Courtesy of Jim Walker

When I was a kid, every summer we would get a cottage on Nauset Beach where my cousins and I used the lighthouse as our playhouse. It has since been moved to Provincetown and is now a museum. A few summers ago, I visited the station, looked up the manifest and there was my great-grandfather’s name, Abbott H Walker, and his photograph hanging on the wall.

After high school, my first job was with Hyannis Marina. The owner, Wayne Kurker, has remained a dear friend, so a few years ago I told him I was coming to visit. He didn’t know I had bought a yacht or anything. So I showed up with my 157ft [48-metre] Trinity and my 66ft [20-metre] Spencer. For a kid starting at the bottom of the totem pole, cutting wood for the stove and washing boat bottoms, it was kind of neat.

Credit: Alison Wright via Getty Images

In 1982, I moved to Marco Island, Florida. I began fixing boats, printed some business cards, and started my business with $250, a pickup truck and a toolbox. At the end of my career, I had about 150 employees and nine locations, and we stored upwards of 1,700 boats. My passion turned into my career. I still own the first marina that I bought, Walker’s Coon Key, off Marco Island, and we are in the design phase for a condo/hotel/marina resort.

I retired from the boat business, but I have an entrepreneurial spirit. As far as personal boats, no one in my family has ever fished, but I love it, so the yacht became a support vessel for my fishing habit. I am a sports fisherman and I hardly ever eat fish. I go to New England for giant tuna and the Bahamas for bigger game fish. The biggest blue marlin I’ve caught to date was a little over 700 pounds.

Credit: Adobe Stock

Our first yacht was a 90ft [27-metre] Horizon, and we enjoyed it very much. But when you buy a boat you immediately start to look for your next boat, so we went bigger with a 124ft [38-metre] Broward. Then we set our sights on a bigger boat to venture out further. This is the 157ft [48-metre] Miss Christine; she is magnificent.

My wife, Christine, and I have been spending the summers in New England. We’ve been tuna fishing off Cape Cod and Nantucket and, of course, spending time in Newport, which is one of our favourite places. It’s funny when you grow up in a place, you don’t see it for what it is. I am a 12th-generation Cape Codder. I didn’t realise how beautiful it was until I returned to my home as a visitor and fell back in love with New England.

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