Like so many of us, Nick Cardoza fell in love in the Hamptons and changed his life. He knew in an instant, he had to spend the rest of his life with the simple elegance and sophistication he saw...in the Van Dutch yacht. "It was a bright Ferrari
red that pulled into the East Hampton Point
Harbor, a 40 footer," the former yacht captain-turned-chef told us. "It was a defining moment in my life. I had never seen such a simple yet stunning boat." He flew down to the Ft. Lauderdale boat show to meet the owners. Three years later, he's not only Miami's VP Van Dutch, but the city's go-to buddy for such celebrities as Ryan Phillippe to hang with him on it.
Seeing the yachts lined up at the Van Dutch party on the opening night of the Miami Boat Show, we also understood, at first sight, why they are the favorite floaters of Leonardo DiCaprio
, David Beckham and posh wife Victoria Beckham
, Mark Cuban, and Simon Cowell
. And why the party at the Ritz-Carlton Residence Miami Beach Sales Gallery was filled with the young and attractive. It didn't hurt that it was engineered by uber
Miami Beach PR strategist Tara Solomon, whose mere presence is the imprimatur of a good party.
Cardoza likens the Van Dutch to the Apple. "It's physically and conceptually the next generation of boating: a sleek, straightforward, user friendly boat. Lots of space and all one level. It's built to be owner operator. None of the boats require a captain and less things break.
"We've started a trend from the old way of boating, enjoying the water taking it easy in style. It's a fast boat but not a speed boat, a luxury boat but made from composite materials that can't be ruined. And the back of the boat is quite flat so doesn't rock back and forth.
"The look is very form follows function and very chic. They didn't make it look like that without having a reason. Turns out it's a taste maker."
Van Dutch USA CEO Anko Mast said a new 75 footer will be available this fall (starting at $2.4M). The 30, 40, and 55 foot boats range from $425,000 to $1,605,900.
After the party, VIPs jumped on the boats to drive to dinner at a Miami waterfront restaurant. That's how they party in the Magic City.
Anko Mast, Ophir Sternberg, and Nicholas Cardoza at the Van Dutch party in Miami. (Photo: Lee Fryd)