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St. Ekaterina

Last December, Captain Paul Brackley stood on the sundeck of the Benetti St. Ekaterina watching the world’s top charter brokers inspect the recently completed 197-foot megayacht. Brackley had just spent two years shepherding St. Ekaterina's build in Italy, and he was confident that the boat was truly stunning. However, given that there is currently no shortage of impressive yachts, he could not assume these individuals would share his fondness for the boat. That day, they would be judging the vessel not just on its appearance, but also on the way every design detail would affect a guest’s charter experience. Was St. Ekaterina's cutting-edge Apple TV setup better than the A/V systems on similar-size yachts? Would these brokers like the ceiling in the master suite, which was hand-painted by an expert in Italian fresco restoration? Would they share his opinion that the onboard hovercraft was insanely cool? Brackley had no reason for concern. Within weeks St. Ekaterina would become the belle of the Antigua Charter Yacht Show, the largest gathering of its kind in the Caribbean. St. Ekaterina accommodates 12 guests and 15 crew members at a weekly base rate of about $425,000. It offers its guests outstanding service on an exceptionally well-designed luxury yacht. "Look here," Brackley says, motioning toward a pantry off the bridge-deck game room. "I got our chief stewardess involved in this design. There was supposed to be a technical cabinet here, but instead we store glassware. That way, we don’t have to interfere with guests when we need to grab something." Such attention to guest comfort even extends to St. Ekaterina's 25-foot Tresco tender, which stands at different heights from the waterline at its bow, sides, and stern so that guests can step on and off the boat with ease. St. Ekaterina also carries a 20-foot Novurania Equator rigid-inflatable tender and a pair of Yamaha WaveRunners for high-speed water activities. "You can bring a book if you charter with us," Brackley says, "but I don’t think you’re going to read it."

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