BOAT finds out how real-estate developer Jeffrey Libert became a boating convert and came to own the 27.4 metre superyacht Libert-y.
I’m a late bloomer into the yachting world. When we bought an oceanfront house on Jupiter Island, my astute wife, Marty, said, “You’ll be very happy to have your own dock,” but I told her if I ever set foot on a boat, even at the dock, I’ll be seasick, so that’s going nowhere. Wisely she said, “We’ll see.”
The first year at the house, I joined Club Nautico, I loved it, and after years of excuses, I boldly accepted a friend’s invitation to sail up to Maine. I loved that too. I bought a 7.9 metre Wellcraft and, a year later, a 10.6 metre Tiara. But I was useless, I didn’t know how to tie a knot – and what’s a macerator? So, I went to the Chapman School, 40 hours, read the whole textbook and that gave me the confidence to take the Tiara up to Maine.
Reading the weather, understanding how the sea builds, you don’t learn that in a textbook. I graduated to a 14.3 metre Grand Banks, and spent a lot of time living on board, and when I moved up to a 24 metre Offshore, I was smart enough to realize that at 50, I needed crew. I kept that boat for 10 years until I moved up to this 27.4 metre Offshore.
The name Libert-y is a play on my name, and I have a Friendship sloop that I use as my tender, called Libertini. I hear there is only one other boat that has a sailboat as a tender, so everyone knows us on the East Coast. Normally we would stop at 17 ports on our way to New England but with Covid-19, for a while no marina would take us.
The pandemic gave us the opportunity to explore the west coast of Florida – so many great places from Boca Grande to St Petersburg. My wife and I are not explorers, we are not going to the North Pole! She likes to dress up and go out for nice dinners. I swim about a mile a day and I don’t mind sharks.
My children have children of their own, and when on board we use all five staterooms. Fortunately, this is a beamy boat, none of it feels cramped. We have no toys on the boat – the grandkids can swim or snorkel with me or fish off the back. It’s so serene on the water. God has given us all these pleasures, why spoil it with noisy toys?