“She was surely the most beautiful boat that we had ever seen.”
INTERVIEW WITH THE CAPTAIN—Jim Bryant
Why did you choose to buy a custom boat like Spirit of Marblehead?
Spirit of Marblehead was built by Latitude 46 in St Martin Île de Ré, France. Lynn and I have commissioned a number of beautiful production boats, and we were attracted to Spirit as her look and design are unique to this area.
What other kinds of boats did you consider before buying this custom model?
We weren’t actively looking at the time.
How did you come to find/locate her before purchasing?
As Lynn and I stepped off the highspeed ferry in Nantucket, we both noticed Spirit (then known as Eloise) in a slip in the Boat Basin. She was surely the most beautiful boat that we had ever seen. And imagine our surprise when we noticed that she was for sale!
Who first introduced you to boating/sailing?
I grew up in New Orleans. When I was a junior in high school my parents moved across Lake Pontchartrain to Covington. To get to school, I had to commute across the Causeway, which at the time was the world’s longest bridge. I saw a lot of sunrises and sunsets and started dreaming about boats during that time.
What boats have you previously owned?
We owned one of the first Hinckley 36’ Picnic Boats. Safari was hull number 36 and appeared in Hinckley’s iconic advertisement campaign which you may still see from time to time. Marblehead’s own John Rogers made his modeling debut with his Labrador retriever in that ad, which was shot overlooking Brown’s Island. We also commissioned a 44’ Hinckley Talaria, which we used extensively in the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands. I’m also a huge fan of rigid inflatable boats. After co-founding Ribcraft here in Marblehead nearly 20 years ago, we’ve built a number of RIBs, including the Mitigator which was intended to test the usefulness of newly designed suspension seats and noise cancelling headsets, which we identified as being essential after delivering our Zodiac Hurricane RIB to the Exumas from Florida.
What are the features you like most about your boat?
Overall, I like Spirit’s operational simplicity and overall appearance. We designed our 44’ Hinckley with sophisticated systems that required too much maintenance and that had a tendency to break at the most inopportune time. If anything, I have learned that simplicity should outweigh the perceived need for extra comfort or convenience. Think about what can go wrong first before deciding on features like electronically-controlled helm seats, which may break while facing backwards, or water makers which are impractical today considering the availability of fresh water everywhere you are likely to go in a 40’-50’ powerboat. We enjoy the large open space on deck which is perfect for whale watching and cocktail cruises. The space down below is quite large and generously lit with natural light from beveled glass glazing and traditional fixtures in her headliner. I like the brushed stainless-steel working surfaces in the galley and the satin mahogany woodwork throughout.
What features/improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
Apart from the 100 volt and USB outlets we haven’t needed to add anything. We do plan on recovering the outdoor cushions this winter.
How do you typically use your boat over the summer, and where do you go?
We enjoy whale watching trips to Jeffreys Ledge or Stellwagen Bank and occasional trips into Boston for lunch. And this past summer with the pandemic isolation we have enjoyed just being aboard on the mooring or on our dock.
What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
We are quite fortunate to have Fred Atkins, Rob Gorman, and their team from Dion’s Yacht Yard available to look after Spirit. They have done a phenomenal job.
Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a custom yacht like this?
First, if you are buying a previously owned custom boat, it’s essential to have the original construction documents available to refer to for maintenance and for future modifications. If you are commissioning something new, it is fun to stay involved and participate in the step-by-step build process. East Coast Yacht Sales is offering a couple of great boats now, including Spirit of Marblehead.
What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
Spirit’s classic lines bring to mind an earlier time. We thought it would be appropriate to reference Marblehead. And, as we live so close to Abbot Hall, we liked the association with Spirit of ‘76.
Check it Out
For more photos and information on Spirit of Marblehead, click the gallery below!