ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Take off your shoes. Please.
Do it before you step aboard. Ever tried to scrub dirt from teak decking?
Michael Edgar has enough to do washing off the sticky Annapolis pollen. He doesn’t have that problem while cruising the Mediterranean for the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix.
You certainly don’t want streaky decks while showboating off the south of France in a 230-foot luxury yacht.
The Martha Ann offers six decks, a glass elevator, a Jacuzzi, a gym and a 12-seat dining salon. There’s more than 13,000 square feet of air-conditioned interior dripping with gold accents and covered with silk carpets.
It’s all yours for about $784,000 a week.
Of course, it costs more to cruise, eat and drink — maybe $980,000 a week, depending on the champagne.
The yacht cruised into Annapolis harbor this month. Its hull now sits in the bottom mud at the Annapolis Yacht Basin near the Marriott Waterfront Annapolis Hotel.
The German-built yacht will stay the month while a crew of about 20 — including an Icelandic deckhand named Thor (honestly) — gets ready for summer in the Mediterranean.
“You can travel literally anywhere in the world and have it set up exactly as you want,” said Edgar, the first officer and a 1999 Severn School graduate.
The Erie Canal was dug to fit 30-ton freighters but wouldn’t have held this gal.
Guests can sleep in seven staterooms, slurp at seven wet bars, and crisp on sunbathing beds.
At your command, the crew will lower Jet Skis, Sea-Doos and a 26-foot limousine speedboat.
Isn’t life grand?
There’s laundry service and — if the scenery grows dull — a stock of 1,237 movies and 302 music albums covering everything from ABBA to ZZ Top.
Not a “Sharp Dressed Man”? The crew will outfit you in designer swim trunks.
So who rents a yacht for nearly $1 million a week?
“It could be an Arab, it could be a young Russian, it could be a Google guy or an Apple guy,” said Frank Grzeszczak of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based International Yacht Collection.
IYC Marketing director Terry Hines said customers are mostly international businessmen.
“Open up Forbes.”
But the Martha Ann isn’t available for charter in U.S. waters by Americans — no matter how deep their pockets.
To charter locally, the owner must pay a duty of about 1.5 percent of the yacht’s value, estimated at $95 million, said Grzeszczak. That would be more than $1.4 million in taxes.
So, you want to rent?
First jet to the Bahamas or France to tour the boat in foreign waters.
“We do have a few Americans, but most of our charters are from other countries,” said owner Warren Halle.
He founded a Silver Spring-based development company, The Halle Cos., which developed office buildings at the Odenton Town Center and Kingstowne Towne Center in Virginia.
Halle said Martha Ann charters about eight weeks a year.
“There’s a lot of wealthy people in this world who would rather charter a yacht than own it,” he said.
Edgar, though, won’t offer clues to the rich and famous who’ve lounged aboard.
That remains a trade secret.
In Annapolis, the crew will spend a day-and-a-half washing the boat, top to bottom. They’ll polish teak decks and buff stainless-steel railings.
Fingerprints remain a constant nuisance for them. Edgar opens doors with his shirt sleeve, careful not to smudge gold-plated bannisters, gold-plated doorknobs and gold-plated faucets.
In the salon is a vase of fresh baby’s breath — stems painted gold.
“You won’t find a nicer boat in nicer condition anywhere in the world,” Grzeszczak pledged. “It’s maintained to perfection.”
So if you got pocket change, how about jetting overseas this summer?
Step aboard the Martha Ann. Smell the saltwater and wood polish. Ask nicely and the crew might take her out for a spin.
Then sign on the dotted line — and we’ll talk about financing.
Just imagine munching grilled lobster with caviar garnish. Consider sunbathing while Swedish stewards serve chilled champagne.
They might even let you keep your shoes on.
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