Hal Griffith, the owner of the 145-foot (44.2m) Christensen luxury charter yacht I LOVE THIS BOAT, has been a boater for more than 50 years.
His love affair with yachting began with a 48-foot ketch, before moving on to motor yachts, starting with a 65-foot Tollycraft and moving up to a 78-foot Hargrave and then to a 101-foot Hargrave. Today, Hal is the proud owner of his favorite yacht to date – a yacht he truly loves, hence the name.
Hal grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and from a very young age, he found himself around and on the water. His wife, also from the region, did a lot of powerboating growing up and is equally passionate about the ocean. Prior to purchasing I LOVE THIS BOAT, Hal and his wife were owner/ operators, captaining their own vessels. Their 145 Christensen marks the first time they’ve owned a crewed yacht. And how did Hal and his wife come to own this yacht? “We were at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show a couple of years ago,” says Hal, “While walking the docks, we saw another yacht we were very interested in. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but a few weeks after the show, we were contacted about I LOVE THIS BOAT. I flew back to Fort Lauderdale to see her.” It was love at first sight. “I thought the yacht was wonderful,” says Hal. “Christensen is a Pacific Northwest builder, very well respected. We found the yacht to be unique with so many special characteristics — we immediately loved the boat. She was already named ‘I LOVE THIS BOAT’ so we retained the name as it was a perfect fit.”
Hal and his wife are based in the Pacific Northwest, but recently purchased a home in Florida where they keep I LOVE THIS BOAT. Now that they are bi-coastal, they plan to use the yacht more often. “We’ve cruised to The Bahamas and around the Caribbean,” says Hal, “But we intend to see a lot more now that we’ll be spending more time on the East Coast.”
Hal and his family are avid fishermen, so a typical day aboard I LOVE THIS BOAT includes a spot of fishing. “We always start off our days with water activities — and, of course, fishing. We added a 500-pound capacity ice machine, so we have the ability to load up the tender. Then we like to swim and go on-shore exploring.” He says fishing in Florida and the Caribbean is a little different to fishing in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s still a favorite activity. “The whole purpose of the yacht is to gather our family and friends together, hook a good catch and have a seafood feast,” explains Hal.
Being from the Pacific Northwest, Hal and his family have traveled as far north as Glacier Bay in Alaska. “When we are on the West Coast our favorite place to cruise is the San Juan Islands and up to Glacier Bay,” says Hal. “Then, when we are on the East Coast and southern waters, the Caribbean is always enjoyable. It’s a totally different atmosphere. One is on the chilly side and one tropical with a warmer climate, but we like both for different reasons,” Hal explains. “We’ve spent a great deal of time in the British Virgin Islands and really love it there as well — the archipelago is one of our favorites to visit on I LOVE THIS BOAT.”
While Hal and his family do truly love their yacht, they can’t be aboard all of the time and so they decided to charter her out. “Our thinking was because we are not aboard all the time, we should keep the crew busy and allow others to enjoy a yacht that we feel is so special. We’re happy for her to not just stay in one place. We can go join her wherever she is,” says Hal. “Our philosophy is that we’re not number one, we’re number two. If there’s a charter, we’ll schedule our time around it.”
“One of the reasons we were so enamored with the yacht is due to all of her unique features,” says Hal. “And that’s why we feel it’s important to charter her out; so that others can experience the yacht. She’s a classy boat with a classic style. That’s what we really liked about her. The elegant feel really drew us in, and we have heard from charter guests who have been extremely overwhelmed with the feel of the boat, especially with her warm and traditional atmosphere. While that may not appeal to everyone, anyone who’s been on board has stepped off in absolute awe.”
I LOVE THIS BOAT is in impeccable condition, receiving excellent maintenance throughout her life and refits as recently as 2018. “We have upgraded her for the purpose of having a quality boat and sharing it with people. I believe she is better now than when she was originally built,” says Hal. “My experience in yachting has shown me nothing but the best and that is something that we are proud to be able to share with our charter guests.”
“The yacht has a unique aft deck with a beach club that is so low to the water that you can lounge and swim directly off the aft. It is large enough to accommodate larger groups, making it one of the most sociable areas on the yacht during the day,” says Hal. “Her upper deck dining area is spectacular and has a big round table where everyone can dine, and the skylounge bar is well laid out for entertaining in the evening.”
She also is outfitted with all the water toys you could possibly want. “When we hear someone would like to have a specific toy, we simply add it to the boat,” says Hal. “My favorite is probably the tender because I like to go fishing, but my grandchildren like WaveRunners. We also have a slide that is quite long and steep — another toy that the kids love. We have an array of floating toys and everything from scuba diving gear to SeaBobs. This boat is probably as well-equipped toy wise as any other boat out there.”
Hal maintains that for him chartering is not a business. “It would be a shame to have a yacht this wonderful sitting without use,” he says. “We have found that people who charter are very respectful, so we don’t mind the fact that someone else is on our boat. If the boat is available and someone wants to use it, we are very open to it,” says Hal. “We also have a great crew who look after our yacht and maintain it in top form. We have an excellent captain and it comes from the top down.
The crew are very compatible, vivacious and service-oriented. Every charter we’ve had just raves about them,” Hal says with great pride. “Each crew member has an excellent reputation. They are a very harmonious group dedicated to making sure guests enjoy themselves.”
If you are interested in chartering I LOVE THIS BOAT for Summer 2019, you likely can find her in the Bahamas. “We might also go up to the New England area,” says Hal. “It all depends on charter interest, but we will keep her on the east coast this year; and next year we might move to another destination — possibly the Mediterranean or Alaska.”
The 145-foot (44.2m) I LOVE THIS BOAT is available to charter through Northrop & Johnson in the Bahamas this summer season. Prices are from US$150,000 per week for up to 10 guests. For further information, contact your N&J charter expert