Mega-yacht SeaFair’s arrival in Daytona draws stares

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mega yachtGiant yacht to host racing party and bring a bit of Miami floating glamour to Halifax Harbor.

There are boats that when they appear on the Halifax River make fisherman look up and take note. There are boats that make normal-sized craft scurry out of the way. There are boats that can make cars stop and park by the riverside for a better look.

And then there’s the SeaFair. Which is something on an altogether different scale.

The SeaFair pulled up to the dock at Halifax Harbor Marina Thursday afternoon. Its operators say it’s the fourth-largest privately owned yacht registered in the United States. At 228 feet long, it weighs more than 3,000 U.S. tons and can accommodate 600 guests. It has four decks if you count its sky deck, and really why wouldn’t you? It’s a lovely view.

Probably the largest yacht to have ever pulled up in the yacht basin downtown.

“Well, the largest thing I’ve ever seen here,” said Paul Ritziner, who with his wife, Carol, was among the knot of onlookers at wharf checking out the boat and taking cellphone pictures.

There’s been steady foot traffic to the harbor since the SeaFair arrived. At 57 feet above the water, it towers over the nearby harbor office. After dark, the nameplate on the gleaming white boat is bathed in blue LED lights. You can’t miss it.

The SeaFair usually is docked in Miami next to the InterContinental Miami hotel. It took two days to motor up the Intracoastal Waterway at a leisurely 7-8 knots to Daytona Beach. (It’s modestly powered for its size with two V-12 Caterpillar diesel engines operating at about 2000 horsepower.)

The boat is here to host a Fox Sports party Friday night for racing drivers, notables and sponsors, according to Julia Galmarini, SeaFair’s client services manager.

The floating venue’s base cost is $14,000 for a four-hour evening event. Plus more per guest if you invite more than 175 people and of course you’d want to do that. Then, there are food and the bar and extras and this and that and whatnot.

Usually, the boat hosts corporate events, but according to Galmarini, has been recently available for wedding receptions, too. It’s turned up on television shoots and in the tabloids. (Daily Mail: “David Beckham shoots commercial on a luxury $40 million mega-yacht in Miami with beautiful blonde in plunging black dress.”)

The boat, built in 2008, has a remarkably shallow draft for its size – just six and a half feet. Which means it’s not too big to ply the Intracoastal Waterway and easily glides under a standard-sized high-rise bridge.

But because of its size – a 49-and-a-half-foot beam fitting into a 60-foot channel – its docking was a snug fit requiring help from two tug boats, according to Michael Kennedy, the general manager.

Wharf onlookers wondered at not seeing rope lines from the boat. Instead, three 25-foot steel poles, called spuds, crank out from the hull and into the river bottom to hold it precisely and securely in place. The anchor, says Kennedy, “is mostly for show.”

And yacht basin strollers have only a short time for another look. Within a couple of hours of the last guest being helped down the gangplank, the SeaFair will head back to its home berth after bringing a bit of the Miami waterfront glamor to downtown Daytona Beach.

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