Billionaire Herb Chambers’ award-wining 263-ft. superyacht is the new master of the seas…
Self-made billionaire Herb Chambers, known for the highend car dealerships throughout New England that have made his name a household word, is one of the great American success stories. He’s also one of the world’s most renowned commissioners of luxury yachts, having just launched his sixth vessel christened Excellence, which has immediately taken its place on the list of the world’s most beautiful superyachts.
Built by Abeking & Rasmussen, the legendary shipyard founded in 1907 on the banks of Germany’s Weser river, the 263-ft. craft is immediately recognisable thanks to its slightly intimidating reverse bow; but any hint of menace is offset by massive, multi-level windows that reflect the sea and the yacht’s surroundings, altering its appearance with every journey. Designed by the UK’s acclaimed Winch Design, it captured both the “Best Exterior Design” and “Finest New Superyacht” awards at the Monaco Yacht Show in 2019.
“Her interior takes cues from Floridian East Coast Art Deco, near where the owner grew up, as well as from the details found in his impressive automotive collection,” Ignacio Oliva-Velez, Senior Partner, Yachts for Winch Design tells us. “These automotive references are found throughout her interior…. Excellence has a modest volume but an incredibly generous feel, ergonomically designed with socialising in mind.” “It’s fun to build a boat,” as Chambers told Forbes. “As a matter of fact… it’s probably more fun to build them than it is to use them.”
As one of the country’s savviest businessmen, Chambers is also apparently out to make it profitable as well; Excellence is being offered for charter by Burgess with rates starting at about US$1.1 million per week. Although with an estimated fortune of US$1.7 billion, which began with US$500 borrowed from his mother to start his first company, a copier distributor, which he sold for US$80 million in 1983, he surely doesn’t need the cash. Having built his own fleet of superyachts must be especially satisfying however to the former Navy recruit.
The new Excellence can accommodate 12 guests in seven cabins along with a crew of 20. The sophisticated style of Winch’s interiors, flooded with natural light thanks to a triple-height glass atrium, belies the yacht’s power; despite its size it is capable of a maximum speed 16.8 knots with a cruising speed of 13 knots. The owner’s suite, complete with a private deck with a Jacuzzi and sun loungers as well as a separate terrace, is especially impressive with floor-to-ceiling glass providing 180-degree views.
There is a large swimming pool on the yacht’s main deck aft with a swim-up bar, while the sun deck features another Jacuzzi. A spa with a sauna, a gym and a tiered cinema are all in keeping with the billionaire lifestyle, as is a spacious beach club with a sea terrace and bathing steps on the swimming platform aft. And Excellence carries two custom limo tenders crafted by Hodgdon of Maine for excursions to shore, stored in a large water-level tender garage.
“I wanted the boat to be what I’ll call a ‘happy boat,’” Chambers explained to Forbes. “There are many boats out there that are overdone. They become an exercise in excess. I didn’t want that.” For all its luxurious appointments and design flourishes, Excellence evokes elegance above all. And fully lives up to its name. ■
By JARED PAUL STERN