Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dive right in: a 37-foot intrepid tender lets charter guests of the135-foot Christensen Atlantica enjoy scuba in style.(YACHTING LIFE). USA, LLC

Yacht reale, originally uploaded by __Olga__.

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For those of us who enjoy luxury charters with a healthy side of scuba diving, the options can seem as rare as a great blue hole. Most larger yachts don't offer scuba because of insurance costs and liability Captains say their goal is to avoid creating new shipwrecks, as opposed to exploring old ones.

The handful of charter yachts that do offer scuba tend to be owned by serious divers, with setups designed to enhance the owner's particular dive profile. Luckily, in the case of the 135-foot Christensen Atlantica, the owner has as strong a passion for comfort as he does for scuba itself--and has thus outfitted the boat not only with all the gear a serious diver could need, but also with a 37-foot Intrepid tender that truly enhances the scuba experience.

Now, I know what you're thinking: Intrepids have been around forever. Lots of motoryachts tow them for fishing, touring, and watersports fun. Even still, only a fraction of the world's megayachts are available for charter, and so the combination of one with a top-notch scuba program and an Intrepid in tow remains somewhat rare. Ask any charter guest who has been forced to hurl herself like a breaching whale into a RIB while treading water after an otherwise perfectly pleasant dive, and you'll elicit plenty of wistful cries for what feels like the absolute decadence of an Intrepid with drop-from-the-hull-side swim steps. And decadence, after all, is what charter should be about at the $110,000-per-week price point where Atlantica competes.

The Intrepid's design also lets first mate Jan Kunst and bosun Kathrin Eugen take Atlantica's scuba program to an exceptional level for beginners, and for groups that include divers of various skill levels. Tanks sit securely toward the stern, where experienced scuba enthusiasts can gear up quickly, while the shaded seating area forward makes for about as scenic a beginners' classroom as you'll find anywhere in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, or beyond. Kunst and Eugen have no problem taking two separate groups of divers out from the Intrepid simultaneously--an option that is difficult, if not impossible, to offer from a typical RIB, where gear and people intermingle constantly.

Of course, an Intrepid offers charter guests other benefits, too. Atlantica's captain, Roy Hodges, is a diehard fisherman who thrills in using the 37-footer to troll for big game. He told me that he and Atlantica's owner like the Intrepid so much that they recently ordered a replacement even though their current boat is operating flawlessly. "Our Intrepid isn't even that old," Hodges said, "but there's a two-year waiting list to get the new ones, and we want to be in that pipeline. We can't imagine running our particular type of charter operation without it."

That's saying a lot, given that the Christensen is quite a boat herself, having completed a $2.3 million refit in November 2008. Improvements included all new soft goods, mechanical work, and main engine service, and an overhaul of the audiovisual system--which now includes iPod docking stations, WiFi, and no fewer than 27 televisions with two satellite receivers apiece, all linked into eight distinct Kaleidescape systems with Crestron controls.

Like I said, a lot of megayachts may have similar tenders, but few in the charter industry put them to use the way Atlantica does. It's a pleasure to see a charter operation that isn't worried about insurance as much as ensuring the best possible charter experience for watersports-loving guests.

Atlantica takes 12 guests with eight crew, is based in the Bahamas and Virgin Islands, and may begin offering charters in Central America. International Yacht Collection, (888) 213-7577,


Source Citation
Kavin, Kim. "Dive right in: a 37-foot intrepid tender lets charter guests of the 135-foot Christensen Atlantica enjoy scuba in style." Yachting Sept. 2009: 36. General OneFile. Web. 17 Feb. 2010.
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Gale Document Number:A218314341

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