Bobby Genovese is a man with a crush. He’s got boats on the brain and in his blood, and when an opportunity arose to purchase the motor yacht he loved the most, there was no stopping him. In this interview, we talk honeymoons, dreamboats, and making memories with family and friends.
Bobby Genovese first fell in love with MY Charade when he spotted her at the Albany Marina in the Bahamas. “Every time I came to the marina with my 75ft Lazzara, I saw Charade and I just couldn’t take my eyes off her!” Begins Bobby, who is speaking with me from the aft deck of what is now BG Charade while he enjoys a few weeks aboard with his family in Amalfi. “This beautiful, classic Feadship was the most beautiful boat I’d ever seen, and I set my sights on making her mine.”
The 47.7m BG Charade is a boat that boasts a heavyweight pedigree and a star-studded past. She was owned by the late American business magnate Paul Allen for some 12 years. Cruising around the world under his ownership, an impressive line-up of rockstars and musicians graced the decks of Charade, joining Allen for impromptu concerts on the flybridge, and Bill and Melinda Gates spent their honeymoon aboard the boat in 1994. Allen subsequently sold the boat to British businessman Joe Lewis, who cared for her meticulously over the course of the next decade.
“And that was when the stars aligned,” tells Bobby. “I acquired Charade in 2014 for a fantastic price and my fiancé, Dee Dee Eustace, immediately set about transforming this classic Feadship into a stylish paradise beach house.” Dee Dee is a celebrated Canadian interior designer and architect, who runs her international design practice, Taylor Hannah Architect Design, from Toronto. “This wasn’t her first yacht project, but it was the first one where she really had freedom to make it what she wanted, what we wanted,” adds Bobby.
For Bobby, BG Charade is all about quality time with family and friends. “We create lifelong memories aboard the yacht. We go to sleep at night and awake in a new port, a new country, it’s a truly wonderful lifestyle.”
Under Bobby’s ownership, BG Charade has enjoyed another brush with celebrity status, appearing in the popular TV series Below Deck under the pseudonym MY Valour. I asked Bobby what that was like: “I never watched a single episode! The show is produced by a friend of mine, and he asked if I’d be interested in putting BG Charade on the show. Initially I said no, but he made me a very tempting financial offer and the idea was that the boat would be used for just six weeks or so while I was away skiing. But I truly never watched it – I don’t want to know what happens on my boat when I’m not there!”
BG Charade isn’t Bobby’s only yacht, and he describes himself as something of a collector. “You know, it’s a sickness!” exclaims Bobby. “I see a boat and I have to buy it. It’s ridiculous. I have a small fleet of boats in all sorts of sizes.” Bobby highlights Miss Canada III, which was the first Canadian boat to break the world speed record in 1939, and Miss Canada IV, which was built 11 years later and recognised as the first boat in the world to go 200 mph on the water, as two of the most important boats in his collection. “I like going fast, but really I just love boats – I’ve got them coming out my ears!”
And it was the variety of boats at his disposal that led Bobby to offer BG Charade for charter, “My captain was receiving enquiries to charter the boat all the time, and it’s easy for me to change plans or switch vessels – I have a Lazzara as well – and so I’ve ended up with a small charter business, which is based out of Miami,” comments Bobby.
Following the refit of BG Charade, which was a multi-million-dollar investment, the boat is now a Bridgehampton beach house on the water, with a chic interior style and colour palette of muted greys and whites. “I think the yacht’s classic Feadship aesthetic remains her most notable feature however – it gets people every time – she is breathtaking,” comments Bobby. Modifications made during the refit include a giant sun pad for the flybridge, which Bobby says is one of the most used spots onboard, and the upper deck was reconfigured as a multi-purpose entertainment space with options for sunbathing, alfresco dining, and even enjoying a film on the 102-inch screen.
With BG Charade on the market, I asked Bobby which of her attributes he thought would have most appeal to a new owner. “I’m going to say her stability,” begins Bobby, “she can go through some pretty rough water without you really feeling it. The layout is ideal, too.”
“When I was looking at how we could improve the boat’s interior layout, I called on the advice of Robert Shepherd,” explains Bobby. “Robert now works for Edmiston, but prior to that he had spent 13 years aboard Charade as a chef for Paul Allen. I knew how well he’d know the boat, and he had that first-hand experience of day-to-day use by owners and guests.” It was Robert’s input that saw the formal dining room converted into a sixth cabin on the main deck. “Robert said the dining room was used maybe five times in 13 years! The extra cabin is a huge selling point, it’s as luxurious as the master suite and now the boat can accommodate up to 12,” says Bobby. An interior dining space has been retained, but it’s now open plan to the main saloon.
With BG Charade in the best condition of her life, Bobby understandably has reservations about selling her. “I really love her. I have very mixed feelings about selling the boat, but it’s been eight years – my kids have jobs and are away at school, they can’t travel with me like they used to – and when a boat is all about time with friends and family, they’re an essential part of it!”
BG Charade is listed for sale with Henry Goulding of Cecil-Wright, at an asking price of BG $16,000,000.