Piano Man Turns Celebrity Yacht Designer
Life in the music business just won’t be the same without doing some extreme things for fun. Like having crazy parties, racing around town in luxury cars, and of course buying luxury yachts. For musicians like Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs who owns the Maraya yacht, and record producer David Geffen who took over the Rising Sun from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, having a fancy yacht to have parties on is enough. But for top American solo artist Billy Joel, simply owning a yacht is not good enough. At one point the singer and pianist owned as many as five yachts. One of these vessels was an explorer yacht called Audacious which he used to store part of his motorcycle collection – and even that didn’t satisfy him. Billy Joel decided to take things one step further, and designed his own luxurious yacht.
The musician and yacht fanatic became fascinated by the classic gentleman’s commuter yachts that were all the rage in the 1920s. It was a quick form of transport (across the water instead of dealing with traffic while navigating roads), and businessmen of that era used these yachts to commute from Long Island to the city. Joel also regularly needed a ride from his home in Long Island to the city when he had performances scheduled. He decided to work with internationally acclaimed designer Doug Zurn to create the 57-foot Vendetta. The idea was to design Joel’s new yacht to be an exact replica of the classic gentleman’s commuter yacht of the 1920s.
Transported to The 1920s
Valued at around US$1.3 million, the Vendetta has an enclosed cockpit that can easily accommodate six people. Designed to look like a 1920s saloon, guests are transported to a different era on-board the Vendetta. Although the yacht looks like it is almost 100 years old, it is equipped with all the modern amenities imaginable including a custom Raymarine electronics package, air-conditioning, comfortable seating and a state-of-the-art propulsion system. The two 1,300hp MAN diesel engines propel the yacht at an impressive top speed of 47 knots, even though the yacht weighs over 18 tonnes.
Born in the Bronx Billy Joel grew up in Hicksville, New York. His father was a German classical pianist and his mother’s family was originally from England. Aged only four Joel started piano lessons with a renowned American pianist. This proved to be useful in later years, even before he became internationally famous with his music. After Joel’s parents divorced and his father moved to Austria, he helped his mother make ends meet by playing at a piano bar. Because of this he didn’t graduate high school and instead launched his career in music. Joel achieved massive success in the industry with Top 40 hits in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He wrote all of the 33 Top 40 hits he achieved in the United States himself, won six Grammy Awards and sold more than 150 million records around the world.