July 29, 2017
I am surfing along the Cycladic islands on a 125-foot classic that was launched in 1929 by John Alden and has remained among the most beautiful sailing boats ever: Puritan. Everything on board is original, including the MoMC, my two grandchildren, and my son. I boarded her at Porto Heli, where the granddaughter of Aleko Goulandris was married last week in a two-night bash I shall not soon forget. It was a mixture of young and old, Marietta Chandris being in her very early 30s, the groom the same age. I was among the oldest people there, a repeat performance that is getting me down sooner rather than later. I made up for it by getting so drunk even the youngest among the crowd of 500 were embarrassed. And the crowd was a good one, the last hurrah of Athenian society, not a celebrity or Kardashian or Hilton among us. All the Greek royals were present, Greek industrialists and shipowners, plus the king and queen of Holland and German nobility. It would have been a paradise for name-droppers, the trouble being they were conspicuously absent. Michael and Loula Chandris, the parents of the bride, put on a hell of a bash, with yours truly getting off to a slow start because Loula’s father, Aleko Goulandris, was such a close friend and it was on his property that the party took place. I hadn’t been inside since his death, and it took a strong drink to lift me from sad thoughts.
There were two gate-crashers on both nights, Taki and Maria, ages 11 and 9, but apparently they were so adorable dancing and showing off, people actually applauded them. My, my, I had to have two show-offs for grandchildren, didn’t I? What I appreciated was the lack of dressing down by the guests, a horrible habit practiced by so-called power players in order to look cool. This calculated “schlubbiness” has also infected Greece, but it was absent at the parties. Relaxed does not mean looking like a slob, and relaxed was the theme on the second night. The first was dark blue and neckties. Not one black motorcycle jacket over a white T-shirt was seen, a fact I thanked the god of fashion for, whoever he might be.
I know, I know, I sound prissy, don’t I? But have you ever seen modern tycoons in skinny jeans and cargo shorts and puffed-up muscles they couldn’t use to beat their way out of a wet paper bag? Can you picture Jeff Bezos in full flow, his ugliness and bald head outshining his $87 billion? It is a horrible sight. Casual now spells disgusting, and no one looks more disgusting than power players playing down their power by dressing down their armor in very expensive rags.
One of the saddest sights I can imagine is of an old skirt-chaser sailing peacefully along with his family and with no pussy in sight. I am ashamed to admit this, but family outings can be almost as much fun. First of all, there is far less partying on board. The MoMC stopped my son and me from getting loaded the day after the night before by reminding us how much sailing we had to do that night to reach Serifos and then Paros. We followed her advice—orders would be closer to the truth—and enjoyed a great crossing.
The crew is multinational. An Italian captain, a Russian female cook, and a Russian stewardess. Both Russkies are not only pretty but very, very good at their jobs. A South African, a Kiwi, an Aussie, and an Englishman make up the rest. Puritan is easy to handle, with a flatter sheer and more freeboard amidships, longer ends, a smaller transom, and less spoon to the bow. The mainsail is quite large and she has heavy gaffs and running backstays. She was launched the day the stock market crashed back in 1929. Ouch! A Mr. Curtis rang to cancel the order, but a Mr. Brown substituted on time. Puritan served as a U.S. Navy vessel on the Pacific on the lookout for Japanese U-boats, but I am reliably told that she never managed to get any of my beloved Japanese boats sunk. In turn, Puritan was purchased by some shady Peruvian people who may have used her in shadier transportations of drugs. I have looked deep into the bilges trying to find some of that Peruvian marching powder, but have come up with nothing. She has since been rehabilitated by rich owners who have turned her into a true classic marvel of a boat, and while sailing I can relive the way she was once sailed by gentle people during the ’30s.
I plan to sail for two weeks, visit lots of old friends, and drink the minimum unless the company is good, which then becomes the maximum, and while the MoMC leaves the boat for ten days, I will look for Miss Perfect. She must be around the Greek isles. The Riviera is a shithole and the Hamptons have the lamest sailing in the history of lame sailing. Please, Miss Perfect, come and visit the poor little Greek boy aboard Puritan. You won’t regret it. Pretty please!
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