My life in boats: Ricardo Baptista, owner of Carobelle
by Interview by Grace Trofa
I was 13 years old and living in Brazil, where I was born, when I bought my first little boat and fixed it up. It was a two-seater with a big V8 engine in the centre.
I built boats in Brazil for 35 years. When we closed the company eight years ago we were building 12 models, from 10.7 metres up to 30.5 metres. We kept the first of every model we built as Forza Yachts, so over the years I have owned many boats. My favourite was a 15.5 metre I designed and built; I loved that boat.
Before, my business was boats and airplanes were a hobby. Now it is the opposite. Our company, Tornado Aircraft, buys, refurbishes and sells airplanes. We are close to completing an experimental six-seater, much like the Socata TBM. I recently did one last yacht for former Redskins football star Vincent Promuto. It was fun but it made me realise I want to move on to airplanes.
One of our favourite boating memories was a trip to Angra dos Reis near Rio de Janeiro. Saco do Céu beach on Ilha Grande is so beautiful. We made reservations months in advance for the mountaintop restaurant as they only serve one boat per day. Because there is no electricity the path up to the restaurant was illuminated by torches. It was magical.
The boat shows brought me to Florida and each time I visited I thought someday I’d like to live here. In São Paulo, where we lived, the traffic was terrible. When I come back from Brazil to my home in Fort Lauderdale, I tell my wife Cristiane “Ah, I’ve returned to paradise.”
We have water toys but we don’t use them. They are a lot of work. My boat is not designed to be fast, but you have lots of space so anything you do in your home you can do inside my boat. We enjoy just taking her out on the water, not far, to have cocktails or view the sunset with family and friends.
I am a mechanical engineer so I am very involved with the engine room; that is the part I love. It is painted completely white, so you can go in with your white socks and they will stay clean. When you understand a boat and know how everything works, it makes it easier.
Pictures: Getty Images; Alamy