Pure Pleasure: Cruising on a 50-ft Yacht Around the Hamptons

Captain Charles Giambalvo and his wife, Karen aboard the Pure Pleasure yacht
Captain Charles Giambalvo and his wife, Karen

There is nothing to compare with cruising on our bays and harbors. Whether by motor or sail, the experience gives you a whole different perspective on the Hamptons from what you get by driving around. Sunday, June 13, was a magnificent sunny summer’s day and, at the recommendation of a friend who told us of a particular boat that offered an extraordinary experience, we chartered Pure Pleasure a 50-foot luxurious motor yacht berthed at Three Mile Harbor in Gardiner’s Marina that cruises the bays and harbors of the Hamptons.

There were six of us all together, two men and four women, and we were met at the gangplank by the captain and his mate in their full dress whites.

After boarding, we assembled on the covered aft deck dining area—a round table that could seat eight, already set up with gold-plated silverware and monogrammed linen napkins for our upcoming leisurely lunch for six—and were given a brief captain’s safety talk about the rules aboard ship. The yacht could accommodate 13 passengers with additional crew members. Champagne corks were then popped and we clinked glasses and saluted one another.

Captain Charles Giambalvo then gave those of us interested a full tour of this magnificent 50-foot motor yacht. On the bow, where cushions were set up for sunbathing, speakers playing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” set the scene. Steps going down from the dining area led to a sunlit teak salon living room with sofas, club chairs, barstools and a big screen TV. Then further down past a galley he showed us this grand stateroom with a double bed and headboard. Up top on a second floor was the enclosed captain’s flybridge with a panoramic view of the water in every direction.

Inside Pure Pleasure, a 50-foot yacht
Inside Pure Pleasure

The four women—Vicki Schneps-Yunis, Lois Christie, Chris Wasserstein and Adele Enlander—went off to sunbathe on the bow, and Dr. Derek Enlander and I sat down in the dining area to discuss, among other things, the meaning of life. Then the twin 600-horsepower diesel engines rumbled to life, and we were off.

Coming up the harbor at the speed limit of 5 knots, we passed harbor-side beaches with sunbathers, magnificent homes, marinas and restaurants, including the new Si Si restaurant where Dan’s Papers held Dan’s Chefs of the Hamptons on June 24. Then it was out into Gardiners Bay, making good speed toward Sag Harbor.

During the cruise, I joined the captain on the flybridge. With three degrees, in electrical engineering, telecommunications and business, he had been the CEO of an Israeli subsidiary company before retiring to live the life of a charter yacht captain. He had bought the boat nine years earlier.

He and his wife, Karen, who’d had a career in real estate and international travel consulting after becoming a national gymnastics champion and judge, lived aboard it in the guest off-limits aft master stateroom, and ran charters out of Palm Beach and Naples in the winter and the Hamptons in the summer. They have two grown children.

I asked if he’d had well-known clients and he said yes, but he couldn’t tell me because of professional courtesy. However, he could tell me one story.

The charter was for a man with a bodyguard who was the founder of a popular search engine company, the captain told me. “He and his wife and guests had so enjoyed the cruise that on their way back in, he asked me to turn the yacht around and go back out for several more hours. After he went below, I did that, and then I was rushed by the bodyguard asking where I was taking them. I hurried to tell him I was not a terrorist. This was not a kidnapping.

‘Your boss ordered that we extend the cruise,’ I told him. But it was a dicey moment.”

The captain’s wife, Karen, was a great hostess, moving among us with drinks and sunblock, then with canapés, drinks and hors d’oeuvres before serving lunch as we cruised for an hour offshore Gardiners Island, Northwest Harbor and Barcelona Point, then Shelter Island and into Sag Harbor to mingle among some of the large 150-foot privately owned mega-yachts. Then it was a grand lunch on our way back home.

Pure Pleasure has three paddleboards, as well as rafts, onboard for swimming off the stern and inner tubing for those who care to get towed along through the spray at 25 knots or more behind the tender.

The whole event put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

To book a leisurely lunch, a delectable dinner or a sunset cruise on Pure Pleasure, call concierge Karen at 978-852-4920.

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