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Hargrave's DREAmer: All In The Family

Hargrave's newest and largest yacht to date, the cutting-edge motor yacht DREAmer is an extended family affair. Part of the close-knit family is South African Captain Sharon Buttemer, who managed the build in Turkey.


"You must feature Sharon in your article; she is an amazing person,” says owner Sam Shalem, who was involved in every detail of this very personal yacht. Sam may be soft spoken, but he is persuasive and he makes sure I meet his captain after patiently walking me through the boat and showing me all the details that came out of his creative and practical mind.

DREAmer is his third Hargrave yacht and the largest he’s owned. He bought his first craft in 1975, a $7,500 boat that made him proud. He chuckles as he recounts the experience of overhearing a lift operator describe his newly acquired pride and joy in deprecating terms.

That evidently did not deter him. He has gotten more involved with his each of his boats’ designs. DREAmer, his most personalized yacht yet, fits his family's lifestyle.

Before walking through the yacht, we have a long chat in the galley, a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Miami boat show. DREAmer, with a prime spot alongside Collins Avenue and an imposing curvaceous exterior, is attracting all kinds of attention.

Actually, although “galley” is the proper word to use in the boating vernacular, this open space with table, comfortable banquette in Formenti Italian leather, large free-flowing cooking island, stylish stainless-steel appliances, including a Sub-Zero wine refrigerator, feels and looks more like a gourmet kitchen. Sam, the CEO of a commercial real estate company and large mall developer in the Northeast, is the chef aboard. He cooks for his wife, children, grandchildren and the crew. He’s chosen everything from the man-made stone for the countertop, quartz-based Caesarstone from Israel, to the chafing dishes, which he found in Turkey. He also has a warming drawer to keep the food nice and hot, when he does not make sushi with the fish he’s caught and cleaned. He took advantage of every corner, or rather every curve, to ensure his oils and spices, glassware and cooking pots had convenient storage.

This open space is a place for the entire family, including the extended one who lives aboard. “I like to interact with the crew,” Sam says. And so he does. He truly was a mentor to Sharon. He stops her as she walks by and the conversation continues in the galley.

Sharon started with the family as a stew/deckhand on the family’s 92-foot Hargrave, she explains. Eight months into the job, Sam, having spotted in her qualities she did not realize she had, began to teach her everything from changing oil to navigating. Finally, Sam and his wife were about to take delivery of a new 105-foot Hargrave called Dream, Sam encouraged Sharon to get her captain’s license. “Nawwww, I don’t think so,” she recalls saying. He persisted; she relented, but not without some lingering self-doubt. When she first reported for class, the instructor spotted her hesitation. Yet, by the end of the day, she had won him over. “You can do this,” he told her.

“I surprised myself,” says Sharon who ran the 105-foot Dream before this much larger 136-footer. In November 2008, she moved to Antalya to follow construction of Sam’s new dream, a voluminous and contemporary composite yacht that features so much of his personal design.

Sharon, a young lady armed with a disarming personality, packed her bags and checked into a hotel close to the shipyard. At first she was tentative with the all-male working crew. There was a language barrier, which increased the distance. One of the craftsmen who spoke a few words of English asked her if she really was the captain. Little by little, they built a friendly working relationship. She learned Turkish and she taught them English. And she earned their respect.

Sam, who sourced everything from the small glass pebbles forming a colorful path in the owner’s bathroom to the fabrics, custom Italian furniture and innovative faucets, flew to the shipyard about every two weeks. Sharon made sure everyone stayed on task and complied with Sam’s vision.

Hargrave CEO Michael Joyce unequivocally gives credit to the owners for what was achieved on this yacht, and on a walk through he points out the details that Sam added, including a couple of curved mahogany pieces that are decorative elements along the bulkhead.

People familiar with Hargrave Custom Yachts may be surprised to read that the new flagship of the Hargrave fleet was built in Turkey. Michael Joyce says this is not so unusual. The company is not married to a single shipyard, even if it has collaborated very effectively with Kha Shing shipyard on many builds. It is helpful to remember that Hargrave, originally a design studio, years ago branched into building custom yachts. DREAmer exemplifies this mission.

A radical departure from the traditional Hargrave look inside and out, it is the largest composite yacht bearing the Hargrave label. This, in turn, determined the choice of the shipyard. This particular yard, based in Antalya, had experience building large composite yachts. “There was no learning curve,” Mike says. The yard, which has a working relationship with composite specialists High Modulus, built the 41-meter Tamsen Yachts Namasté and sistership taTii, among others. They built the 27-foot beam DREAmer to RINA class for unrestricted navigation.

The owners took advantage of that freedom and a 3,300-nm range, and hopped aboard for a long Mediterranean cruise, followed by a trip in the Caribbean before the yacht's 2011 Miami show debut.
Given the frequent use (the family normally uses their vessel 12 to 15 weeks a year) and the yacht’s long-range abilities, the owner focused on comfort. While he went for a contemporary look, he softened it with numerous curves, soft ultra suede on the walls and neutral tones, which come alive with occasional splashes of warm color and dark mahogany cabinets. Yet, he points out that the color scheme is subdued enough that a future owner could personalize the décor easily with art pieces.

The staterooms on the lower deck are equal in size and smartly distributed around the stairs leading to the foyer. One, however, has a smaller additional room with bunk beds for the grandkids.
A small door in the ensuite bathroom of one of the guest cabins leads to the crew quarters. Like in all Hargrave yachts, they are spacious, comfortable and well appointed. It’s no surprise, of course, given these owners’ relationship with the crew. The designers used the same color scheme and good-quality materials, albeit easier to maintain than the rest of the boat, to make the crew mess and rooms cozy and pleasant.

A separate staircase leads back to the main deck and galley, the dining area with a table and chairs, custom-made in Italy, and a spacious salon with bar. The master stateroom is forward. Big windows, protected by smartly designed shades that allow the light to filter in or block it out as needed, open onto great water views. There is ample headroom (more than 7 feet) below the soffit for plenty of breathing room. The bathroom is spacious and fanciful, with asymmetrical oval sinks, a glass-enclosed shower with Italian-made shower head by Gessi Ovale and a bathtub with jets. Hard-to-build single-panel ceilings feature curvatures that follow the pattern on the glass pebble floor. The shipyard reconstituted the puzzle to match the original design.

The skylounge with its massive TV screen (65 inches wide) is ideal for movie night, and opens onto a generous aft deck with low-lying cushions that look made for naptime after a satisfying meal. Up top is the sun deck with Jacuzzi, which the grandkids will use as a pool, and a large barbecue, because Sam also likes to grill when he entertains friends and family.

Forward is an exterior console for navigating in open air. In the main bridge below, three helm chairs upholstered in leather face the console, with two large screens framing the engine-monitoring screen, GPS and autopilot. The yacht is appointed with the latest in electronics. A banquette and table welcome guests, and the captain has her own generously appointed cabin with desk and a nice-size window. It comes as no surprise. Speaking about the owners, Sharon says, “They treat me like their daughter, and I have not had a crewmember that has worked with them who has not appreciated them and spoken highly of them.”

Indeed, this yacht looks like a great extended family yacht, with plenty of space for fun times at sea. ■

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LOA: 136ft. (41.45m)
Beam: 27ft. (8.23)
Draft (max.): 6ft. 10in. (2.08)
Speed (max.): 18 knots
Speed (cruising): 16 knots
Range: 3,300 nm
Hull/superstructure: composite
Fuel capacity: 10,500 gal. (39,747L)
Freshwater capacity: 1,300 gal (4,921L)
Year launched: 2010
Classification/certification: RINA, unrestricted
Engines: 2 x 1,825-hp Caterpillar C32 ACERT
Drive type: V drive
Transmission: ZF 3055V
Generators: 2 x Kohler 80 kW
Watermaker: SEA RECOVERY Aquamatic
Stabilizers: NAIAD model 525 with stabilization at anchor
Bow thruster: NAIAD
Passerelle: Opacmare
Windlasses + capstans: Maxwell
Tender: Nautica RIB15 Widebody