The 183-foot Benetti motoryacht Four Aces is a sure bet for a winning charter around the Western Mediterranean island of Corsica.
The 183-foot Benetti motoryacht Four Aces is a sure bet for a winning charter around the Western Mediterranean island of Corsica
King of clubs. King of diamonds.
I return my Texas Hold’Em hand to its face-down position and glance across the table. Kevin Bonnie, managing director of International Yacht Collection’s Monaco office, is deciding whether to check or raise. This is a guy whose job depends on sniffing out bluffs at the highest levels, whose most recent sales listing is for a $54 million motoryacht. Sure, we’re only playing for 10 euro apiece tonight, and everybody is feeling friendly after a three-course gourmet dinner aboard the 183-foot Benetti motoryacht Four Aces, but the fact of the matter is that I have a killer hand. I’m up against a shark, and I want the glory of taking his chips.
Bosun Casey Burrows—who could have a career splitting pots in Las Vegas should her yachting career fail her—lays down the flop. Three of diamonds, seven of spades, jack of clubs.
I raise, but not so much as to seem anxious. Bonnie looks me over. He bites.
The turn is a two of hearts. I raise again, barely enough to raise suspicion. Bonnie deposits more chips in the middle. I try desperately to look nonchalant, which is kind of like trying desperately not to breathe. Burrows readies the river card with an intriguing grin.
That’s when we hear the scream.
Everyone in our game bolts from their seats and rushes to the stern rail, arriving just in time to see a pair of Four Aces guests leap from the bridge deck for a refreshing starlight swim in the Mediterranean’s Girolata Bay. Howls of laughter continue well past midnight, with the wine flowing and the Kaleidescape system pumping out sing-along songs. It’s the perfect ending to yet another perfect day of chartering around the island of Corsica, alternating memorable tours of historic towns with the enjoyment of every possible modern amenity aboard Four Aces.
The yacht’s amenities are among the reasons that Four Aces is such a popular charter option not just here in Corsica, but throughout the Western Mediterranean. At a time when other megayachts are struggling to book four or five weeks of charter each year, this $240,000-a-week beauty came darn close to completing 10 weeks during the summer of 2010 alone.
“We like to be on charter,” Capt. Will Keiser says. “I think it’s better than sitting at the dock, just paying marina fees. When a boat is moving, things are working. They’re kept up because they’re in use. That’s true of crew, too. Having regular charters keeps us at the top of our game.”
I think most charter clients, as I did, will feel instantly comfortable aboard Four Aces while exploring the most historic corners of the Mediterranean. Keiser is an American who plays Grateful Dead classics in the pilothouse, but he’s been chartering here for years and knows the waters like a native. The chef prepares local delicacies, but in a way that makes sense to most palates. And Four Aces herself is large enough to fit into the glamorous West Med superyacht scene, but still of a size that lets her feel like a yacht—and one with a fun-loving crew, at that.
Like the bosun, Burrows, who spent a full day at work on deck before dealing Texas Hold’Em hands for us into the wee hours simply because she enjoys the game. That river card she turned over, by the way, was the king of hearts—giving me a formidable three-of-a-kind. I gleefully took that particular pot from the über-broker Bonnie, leaving me with a fun story to tell even though he would ultimately win all the chips on the table.
That’s just how things go with the best players at any game, be it poker or yacht charter. If you innately have what it takes to be the best, your winning nature will always shine through.
It’s a quality that Four Aces has, too. In spades.