Best Of The Best 2006: Sherakhan
Sherakhan is enjoying the type of retirement many of us hope for: She looks better than ever, and she spends most of her time leisurely traveling the world. Built in 1965 in the Netherlands as a training ship for the Dutch navy, the vessel endured the rigors of the North Atlantic for nearly four decades. Then she was decommissioned in 2002 and moored off the coast of Rotterdam, the home of Jan Verkerk, who owned and captained a 125-foot charter yacht. Verkerk had been searching for a larger vessel, and soon after happening upon Sherakhan, he was imagining how he could refit the ship and join the rarefied business of megacharters, private yachts that carry more than 12 guests.
Verkerk purchased the 228-foot Sherakhan and converted her, establishing his own shipyard for the duration of the three-year project. He transformed her appearance from that of a military vessel to a private yacht by raising the bow, scrapping the superstructure—replacing it with one reminiscent of such great yachts as Leander and Virginian—and painting her hull navy blue. Claudia Ryntjes, Verkerk’s partner, tackled the interior, dreaming up a host of amenities.
Now in her first charter season, Sherakhan cruises with as many as 26 guests attended by 19 crew members. On day charters, she can carry up to 140. Guests may roam five of the seven decks to socialize or find quiet corners. Both the bridge-deck observation lounge and the enclosed crow’s nest offer spectacular views, and the glass bottom of the sundeck Jacuzzi, which can accommodate as many as 20 people, forms a skylight over the glamorous atrium dining salon 21 feet below. (Rest assured that Ryntjes has made the glass suitably opaque.)
Adjacent to the main salon is a small dance floor fronting a white baby grand and bar. The suites, ranging in size from 323 to 538 square feet, hold king-size beds or pairs of full-size beds, except for the two children’s or staff cabins with four bunks each. The owner’s cabin is a study in decadence with its revolving bed, private terrace, and lounge. All cabins include minibars, computer ports, walk-in closets, safes, Jacuzzi tubs, and music in each bath. Sherakhan even carries her own spa, with a gym, massage area, sauna, whirlpool tub, and beauty salon.
Camper & Nicholsons
(available worldwide for about $435,000 per week)