Lux Exposé. When and how did your love affair with yachts begin?
JR. I have always been a water person or soul. In fact, for what it’s worth, astrologically I am a triple pisces. I was educated as a Marine Biologist and worked for Sandy Hook Marine Lab, NOAA for a year.
I used to take my wife Loren (girl-friend at the time) out in an outboard 16ft. ‘dingy’ back when I was broke and just starting our business. We would cruise the water ways of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami and look at the mega yachts and I told her: “some day we are going to own one.” A lot of water has gone over the dam since then and we climbed the boat ladder without necessarily really intending to do so.
I started out with a 27 ft. Carver Cabin Cruiser, then a 38 ft. Wilkerson express similar to Sea Ray, then Utopia I, a 105 ft. Hatteras Yacht extension followed by Utopia II 116 ft. classic canoe stern Fed-Ship. Our last yacht, which we will regrettably have to part with because you cannot have two girl friends at once is a 160 ft. Trinity. She was built in the hay day of Trinities and there are many incredible memories left aboard. She was kind of a legend in her own time and impeccably cared for but nothing can equal the new Utopia IV – Rossinavi Vector.
Utopia IV: The Launch with Rossinavi (Pisa, Italy)
Lux Exposé. What was your previous model yacht?
JR. We still have her, but will have to find a new home for her. She is a 160 ft. Trinity tri deck with blue hull. Loved her because she is fast (21Knots and 18 cruising) and the most spacious for a yacht of that size.
Trinity built these yachts to be right under the commercial registration and flagging requirements; so you got the most boat for the money, speed, and shallow draft to get in most destinations or to reside behind the house on the water.
See the attached Utopia III brochure for more information. Inquiries: Anthony Akers, (336) 337-4148, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lux Exposé. What were some of the major factors you and your wife chose Rossinavi as builder and designer Enrico Gobbi to commission your dream yacht?
JR. Interesting question. I never built a yacht before and never really considered it as an option because I had heard too many shipyard nightmares. However, we had scoured the market place to meet our requirements for a new yacht with more space for entertaining and our expanding family.
I was forward-looking and forward-thinking because we had reached a station in life where yachting had become a lifestyle that served us well both personally, socially, and business wise. We wanted more space, speed, shallow draft, metal hull, and the most modern technology.
We looked for a year and no broker could find the match. We started doing a personal search and came across this revolutionary new concept. At first, I was skeptical and was sure that there was something wrong with it from what I knew about yacht marine architecture and engineering. On top of that she was pricey and over our number at the time. My wife got on the phone with Claudia Rossi, the owner and CEO, Claudio’s daughter and they made the deal work somehow. I researched them, doing my due diligence, because they were a relatively new pedigree. They had won awards in the Monaco boat show and they paid all of their contractors on time and had a great reputation all the way back prior to Rossinavi’s inception to when they were metal fabricators and hull builders.
My concerns about what appeared to be impossible engineering, design, marine architecture were resolved by investigating and finding that this new paradigm was already used by the US Navy and the technology and engineering became available in the last several years. It is absolutely revolutionary and leading the parade.
After we had a meeting of the minds on the basic deal they came to Miami for a few days and worked through details. They were absolutely fabulous and we consummated the agreement. More important we broke bread at a favorite Italian restaurant and become friends anchored in mutual respect as well as partners in the project.
Enrico Gobbi, Team For Design is simply a genius and easy to work with and has made this yacht into a masterpiece of art and design.
Lux Exposé. Tell us your experiences while working with designers about choosing custom options for your new yacht.
JR. This can make or break a yacht’s appeal. Our experience with this in the past has been frustrating, complicated, compromised and expensive (over budget). However, the process of selecting custom options was surprisingly an exception to that.
Gobbi got to know us and some of our projects and we made it clear that we loved his basic concept for the Yacht. He worked closely with Loren, was fast and exceeded our expectations. We are still pinching ourselves. He really cares. The entire design of the yacht is Italian sleek and sexy inspired by Italian auto lines and elegance.
We loved the minimalistic design that already existed. However, Enrico and Loren hit it off and Loren is already a bit of an interior designer in her own right having done our seven houses around the world. But Enrico is simply genius and we shared the same vision. This has not been our experience with other designers or interior decorators. His attention to quality and detail is impressive and he doesn’t miss anything. His passion for this project would be hard to equal and he did it with us, but as if it where his own. His fingerprint or signature is on this master piece. He also is cost conscious without compromising the elements or quality of the design.
The most amazing thing about this process is that it was the first project in our lives that was easy, gorgeous, on time, and within budget.
Utopia IV: Pre-Launch at Rossinavi (Pisa, Italy)
Lux Exposé. What major role did your wife Loren Ridinger play in the purchase of Utopia IV?
JR. Oh My God! She made the deal when I ran into a dead end on price and she made it happen.
We made critical major choices and decisions together but she totally made it happen on the design and decorating end partnering with Enrico Gobbi.
Neither one of us have the time to do this because are both at the helm of a large growing international company, Market America, Inc. and SHOP.COM
Time is the most valuable commodity! I handled the contracts, financing, government registrations and maritime law compliance as well as the process of monitoring milestones and releasing staged funding. I had a great team that made it happen seamlessly. But this yacht has been a life time dream and Loren made it possible and I am thankful for having such an inspired, smart (also beautiful) wife who makes things happen.
Lux Exposé. For anyone thinking about purchasing a custom built yacht what are some of the key factors to look out for?
JR. If it’s the first time purchasing a yacht, I would recommend to buy a built or previous owned one first rather than building a custom one unless you are extremely wealthy or have experience in naval architecture or engineering, are a seaman, or have experience in yachting.
It is a rough place to learn. The risks of problems are reduced and the ability to make good decisions is founded on experience. Until one has experience they do not know what they want or what is important.
Utopia IV: Timelapse - The Move from Rossinavi
Lux Exposé. Can you tell us where some of your favorite destinations to sail are located and why?
JR. We have never cruised the Mediterranean or Adriatic and Greek isles on our own yacht but have chartered several times. We are going to do that as the maiden voyage on Utopia IV.
Unlike some owners, we use the yachts all the time and it is a lifestyle. When she returns to the US, we will repeat cruises through the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and West Indies and St. Bartholomew. The Yacht sits behind our homes in Miami, NY and Connecticut and is part of our home and lifestyle.
We frequent the Bahamas and Miami – Florida coast and waterways. We belong to Cat Cay Yacht Club and have a house there so we make weekend runs there. The Yacht runs north to NY (Chelsea Piers) and Greenwich. One of our favorite trips is through New England waterways during the summer. That always include, Sag harbor, Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Boston Harbor.
The Why is because they are all unique and different yachting destinations that we love. Variety is the spice of life!
Lux Exposé. Speaking of destinations what locations have you not sailed to but now are on the top of your list?
JR. As I previous mentioned, we have a long list of destinations in the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Croatia, Geek Isles. We haven’t been to Bermuda by yacht so that is a goal between NY and Miami 300 miles off NC.
The boat is really the destination! There are so many places in the Caribbean Sea that one can fly to the yacht and Island hop in sequence through the West Indies from Bahamas to Virgin Islands to West Indies, including the Lesser Antilles, and Leeward Islands.
We haven’t sailed to Barbados where we got married. Cuba, Cartagena, are destinations we have not been and are on the list.
Lux Exposé. Can you name a few advantages of Utopia IV as far as its design and capabilities?
JR. This is a potentially dangerous question as there is a lot. Here is a list of the top 5:
1. Four water jet propulsion engines in Rolls Royce housing that all steer separately allowing for maximum agility in maneuvering. It also eliminates the problem of Props hitting debris or bottom and allows for shallow water navigation.
2. Shallow draft of 7ft on a 63+ meter yacht is rare and allows it to go places others its size cannot go.
3. Blistering fast for its size at 28 knots.
4. Unique design features like “Beach” on the stern that hydraulically extends out for lounging, Balcony off master suite, swimming pools, and spacious because of the wider beam.
5. Gyro Stabilizers – state if the art – space age 6500 rpms
Lux Exposé. Does the final result of Utopia IV live up to your dreams as the yacht you’ve always wanted?
JR. Yes, it really does and now its time to enjoy the journey!
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