Bella Una is my second yacht. My first was an 85-footer [26m] that used to belong to former NBA All-Star basketball champion Scottie Pippen. Even though that boat was customised for him, with extra-large headroom, my family outgrew her. I have three adult kids – 45, 42 and 39 years old – and they all have families, so we have grandchildren ranging from two to 24 years old. We needed a bigger boat.
We all have a great time cruising together, but sometimes the kids just use the boat on their own. They all love to snorkel and water-ski and play on the water. We have a great captain, David Steehler, who makes our life easy and accommodates all of our family outings.
One of my most gratifying family trips was one that I took through the Great Lakes with my two brothers, my sister and their respective spouses. What better way to have a family reunion – seeing the American landscape, dining together and enjoying each other’s company while cruising?
We are very proud of our American-built yacht and I can’t say enough about the quality of the workmanship on board and the way the boat works. We are currently aboard our yacht at the Southwest Florida Wine and Food Festival in Fort Meyers to support the Golisano Children’s Hospital. As a complete change of scenery, in a couple of weeks we are going to Cuba on the boat. Having a yacht is wonderful for exploring new cultures and making new friends.
Our yacht is a platform for much of our life. For instance, we used it at a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis in Baltimore two summers ago at the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner event. The Blue Angels were flying overhead and used Bella Una as a GPS coordinate and performed flybys, tipping their wings at us. It was quite a thrill. Having a yacht is a way to keep the family intact, enjoy time with friends, have fun and influence people… hopefully for the good.