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My life in boats: Murray Peretz, owner of 27m Escapist

From Cobalt to Burger via a host of other craft, CEO and dog lover Murray Peretz tells Grace Trofa how he caught the boating bug...

The model that really got me into boating was a seven metre Cobalt that I had on Geneva Lake, Wisconsin, about 21 years ago. I used to like to get on that boat and go to dinner. Then I bought a vintage Chris-Craft, a 1956 Sportsman twin engine, but that wasn't really a get-around boat. From the Chris-Craft I went to my first Streblow, a 7.3 metre single engine, to a custom 8.5 metre Streblow that I've not had for 12 years. It sounds like a league of Harleys, very American.

I had a house in Miami with a boat slip that would hold maybe a 50ft boat, so I bought my first motor yacht, a 14.6 metre Azimut. For a short time, I had a 19.2 metre Sunseeker, followed by a 22.8 metre Hatteras that I kept for almost 10 years and then two years ago I bought my 27.4 metre Burger. Three of my four boats have been called Escapist. The name comes from the superhero in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Chabon novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

I really love my Burger. After having the Italian Azimut and the English Sunseeker, one of the criteria for any new boat was it had to be American made and this boat is a great example of very high-end American craftsmanship. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing when so many things are well done, but the wine cooler is unbelievably important in my life because the first thing I grab when I get on board is a bottle of wine.

Part of the reason we like boating is we get to take our dogs with us. I am a big supporter of PAWS Chicago and was recently appointed to the board. My older dog is a mixed breed and was really adopted by my now deceased golden retriever at our fundraiser, the Fur Ball, which is a black-tie event with 700 people and 300 dogs. She protected this frightened dog at the event and that was it, she became our dog. We also have an 11-month-old Lagotto Romagnolo, a rare Italian water dog. They are Bahamas dogs – they like to swim in 80-degree water with no waves.

My favorite cruising ground is Florida, the Keys and the Bahamas. We entertain a lot and we like to keep the boat in Sunset Harbour in Miami or Ocean Reef, where we are looking out to the ocean. If I ever buy another boat it will be another Burger but, size-wise, I am maxed out at Ocean Reef and am not about to give up my spot.

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