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Big blue boat stirs interest in Grand Haven

Becky Vargo • Aug 24, 2018 at 12:00 PM

A West Michigan family took delivery of their Italian-built yacht in April, and the large blue vessel has caused a lot of second looks and inquiries since arriving in Grand Haven almost two weeks ago. 

The owner of the Absolute Navetta 58 asked to remain anonymous in order to maintain his family’s privacy, but he was willing to tell the story of how the unique boat called Last Morning ended up in Grand Haven.

The operator of a chain of small businesses in West Michigan said this is the first boat he’s owned — other than some personal watercrafts — since he had a 32-foot Baja about 25 years ago. 

The Grand Rapids-area man also noted that his big blue boat is only one of three 58-foot Navettas in North America. One is in Florida and one is in British Columbia, he said.

That and the cost of the boat were reasons why his insurance provider required him to have a captain aboard until the man’s boating skills were in order.

The owner said the boat was delivered to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the family went onboard, with the captain, to start the first leg of the Great Loop and bring the vessel to Michigan. They parted ways with the hired captain after reaching Lake Erie.

The owner said that his family spent summer vacations in Charlevoix and started talking about buying a boat after taking a trip with friends on their trawler.

He said that his wife was not interested in a boat for several years until she got frustrated about dog restrictions when they camped. They put a down payment on a different type of boat, but that kept getting delayed, so he finally canceled the order.

At that point, he went back to a picture of a boat he had taken from a boating magazine. It was in an article on the 52-foot version of the Navetta.

The owner said that he filled out a form, got a call from a local salesman who was working for Jefferson Beach Yacht Sales in St. Clair Shores, and ordered his boat. It took about a year from the time he ordered it until delivery.

The man said the almost-16-foot-wide boat has plenty of headroom for him, and he’s 6-foot-3. There are three staterooms (bedrooms) and three bathrooms, not counting the crew berth and bathroom with its separate entrance on the back of the boat.

The trawler-style boat has twin Volvo IPS diesel engines and a fuel tank capacity of 635 gallons.

The owner said that he generally cruises at a speed of about 18 knots.

“At that speed, I burn about 50 gallons per hour,” he said.

The vessel can easily cruise up to 30 knots, which is nice if you are trying to outrun a storm, he said.

The boat also has a lot of modern features, including a gyroscope that helps steady it from rocking while docked. It has a large living room that opens to the kitchen. It also has a joystick for steering and a bow thruster.

Stairs lead down to the staterooms past a washer/dryer combination unit. 

The blue on the hull is a wrap that was applied in Fort Lauderdale, the man said. It helps protect the boat, but you have to be careful not to scrape it when you dock, as there is no bumper strip on the vessel.

The owner said he can easily work from the boat and their son is homeschooled.

The family plans to do some short trips to Saugatuck and South Haven before eventually heading to Chicago to visit family. They will continue into the river system to finish their adventure on the Great Loop, but there’s no timetable, the man said.

Once down South, they plan to check out the Florida Keys. Other than that, there’s really no agenda, he said. 

“We just take it a day at a time,” he added.

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