A true yachtsman at heart, Jim Glidewell has owned many vessels, but the head-turning M/Y SERENGETI has a special place in his heart.
Glidewell’s 130-foot Westport, built in 2002 was previously called MARY ALICE II, but she was originally named SERENGETI by a Hollywood legend. In homage to her original owner, when Glidewell purchased the yacht, he reverted the name to SERENGETI, but also because “it’s bad luck to change the name of a boat,” he proclaims.
But let’s start at the beginning. In 1987, Glidewell purchased his first vessel, a 50-foot boat, which grew into a 63-foot Sea Ray, which lead him to an 84-foot Sunseeker. He then purchased a 95-foot Heesen dubbed VOYAGER. The next yacht was a 120-foot Broward called SOVEREIGN and from there, a 122-foot Flagship named SHOGUN. The culmination was a 154-foot Admiral named OHANA. The Glidewell family loved OHANA, but because his children were so young, the vessel did not receive as much use as she deserved, and she was destined for a sale.
Now, Glidewell proudly owns M/Y SERENGETI, which lives on the west coast of the Americas, chartering the Pacific from Mexico to Alaska. While SERENGETI is on the seas, Glidewell also owns a “back up” yacht in Newport Beach, an 82-foot Hatteras sportfish.
The 69-year-old yachtsman has lived on the West Coast his whole life. Glidewell was born in Las Vegas, moved to California for college and never looked back. Now living in Newport Beach with his wife and four children, Glidewell gets quite a bit of use out of SERENGETI.
“I mainly have boats for the kids,” says Glidewell. “It’s exciting sharing different ports of call with them.” His children range in age from four to 10. From June to September, SERENGETI is based in Juneau, Alaska, where she charters if the Glidewell’s aren’t on board. From October to May, the vessel lives in Newport Beach, California, occasionally heading south to La Paz or Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. “I love the balance of the Westport,” says Glidewell. “All of the systems work perfectly. We can run at 29 knots and cruise comfortably at 22. There are five staterooms, which work well for my family and, since I have an office in Newport, we use the vessel for company events. We have cocktail parties on board, and we’ve even taken her out to Catalina for weekends.”
A native to the area, Glidewell favors the U.S. and Mexican west coast. “I’ve been a pilot for 30 years and I used to fly to the west coast of Mexico often and stay in hotels, but now I can fly in and stay on my yacht, which I much prefer.” Other favorite yachting hubs for Glidewell are Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. He also loves The Bahamas, “I like it there better than the Caribbean islands.” Glidewell hasn’t spent time aboard yachts in the Mediterranean, but he has traversed the Panama Canal aboard three times.
One of his favorite yachting memories happened on M/Y SERENGETI quite recently. Glidewell brought the yacht and 20 guests to The Bahamas to attend the ShowBoats International Boys & Girls Clubs Rendezvous at the Atlantis resort. After the event, they cruised to the Exumas, in The Bahamas, for a double hook-up with Glidewell’s east-coast-based yacht M/Y OHANA. As many yachts only can host up to 12 guests, the double hook-up worked well for Glidewell, and “the critical mass of 20 people made the whole trip more enjoyable,” he says.
When it’s just the family on board, one of Glidewell’s favorite pastimes is fishing with his children. “Most people say they fish,” he laughs, “we catch.” Captain Mike Finnegan has been with Glidewell for five years, previously working as captain of SHOGUN, and he is an avid fisherman. “We catch everything from Dungeness crab to salmon, halibut, cod, and what we catch goes on the menu,” Glidewell smiles.