Under cover of darkness and armed only with curiosity, camera and an inflatable with electric outboard, the Overboards recently sneaked out to peek up the skirts of some superyachts that were docked at Falmouth Harbor, Antigua. Passing under the stern of the 145-foot Hemisphere (the world’s largest sailing catamaran) without getting noticed by the dinner party on the aft deck, the Overboards realized that they were operating in full stealth mode, a bit like a special ops team in the military.
Emboldened, the trio tiptoed the entire length under the giant cat. Nobody knew, except the fishes. And they can keep a secret. Giddy like kids who just pulled a preposterous prank, the Overboards skulked away, unheard and unseen.
Next stop was Hetairos, a 220-foot ketch, which carried a dark green submarine on deck, but had been stripped of her bowsprit. One dock over, the occupants of a dwarfish 80-footer watched a sitcom on a giant TV screen that was strung up in the cockpit. “Pass the pretzels, please,” the Overboards thought as they puttered by, invisible.
On to the marina, to Vertigo, a Bunyanesque 220-foot ketch, dark and mysterious, except for the rumble of her generators that seemed to spew more diesel exhaust than a parking lot full of idling 18-wheelers.
As the Overboards stumbled down the docks, they twisted their necks to look up these towering rigs that are topped by red aircraft warning lights. Soon their noses started to bleed, which was a perfect excuse to get cooled off by the misters of the Antigua Yacht Club bar.
It was almost time to call it a night, but not without visiting Maltese Falcon, the world’s largest sailing yacht. Staring up at her from a 12-foot dinghy, the black 288-foot body looked like it stretched for a mile and half. A school of large tarpon circled her underwater lights, but the reflections of their silhouettes in the hull seemed to float upward, toward the illuminated yardarms, somewhere up there.
Limping back with what was left of a dying battery, the three Overboards quietly digested this surreal night. It was an impressive display of toys, for sure, even without the 390-foot motor yacht that would saunter into Falmouth Bay the following day.
But all that splendor also left them pondering: how much does one really need to be merry and content?
Photos courtesy Jen Edney