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The Atalanta Owners Association (AOA) supports members and potential members in sailing, maintaining and restoring the Fairey Marine's yachts and tenders - Atalanta, Titania, Fulmar, Atalanta 31, Fisherman, Dinky and Duckling. We hope that you enjoy our site. Creating a login will allow you to take part in conversations and see more about the individual boats.

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Review of Atalanta 31

Basic specs., sailing characteristics.

This section covers widely used rules of thumb to describe the sailing characteristics. Please note that even though the calculations are correct, the interpretation of the results might not be valid for extreme boats.

What is Capsize Screening Formula (CSF)?

The capsize screening value for Atalanta 31 is 1.60, indicating that this boat could - if evaluated by this formula alone - be accepted to participate in ocean races.

What is Theoretical Maximum Hull Speed?

The theoretical maximal speed of a displacement boat of this length is 7.0 knots. The term "Theoretical Maximum Hull Speed" is widely used even though a boat can sail faster. The term shall be interpreted as above the theoretical speed a great additional power is necessary for a small gain in speed.

The immersion rate is defined as the weight required to sink the boat a certain level. The immersion rate for Atalanta 31 is about 134 kg/cm, alternatively 753 lbs/inch. Meaning: if you load 134 kg cargo on the boat then it will sink 1 cm. Alternatively, if you load 753 lbs cargo on the boat it will sink 1 inch.

Sailing statistics

This section is statistical comparison with similar boats of the same category. The basis of the following statistical computations is our unique database with more than 26,000 different boat types and 350,000 data points.

What is Motion Comfort Ratio (MCR)?

What is L/B (Length Beam Ratio)?

What is Displacement Length Ratio?


If you need to renew parts of your running rig and is not quite sure of the dimensions, you may find the estimates computed below useful.

This section shown boat owner's changes, improvements, etc. Here you might find inspiration for your boat.

Do you have changes/improvements you would like to share? Upload a photo and describe what to look for.

We are always looking for new photos. If you can contribute with photos for Atalanta 31 it would be a great help.

If you have any comments to the review, improvement suggestions, or the like, feel free to contact us . Criticism helps us to improve.

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Atlanta 28 - a safe introduction to cruising

Product Overview

Manufacturer:, price as reviewed:.

Atlanta Marine made a good living in the late 70s and early 80s revitalising the cast-offs of other companies, particularly Macwester. The Atlanta 28 (aka the Macwester 28) is typical of their range, which stretched from a sporty 22-footer to 32ft. Hull mouldings favoured bulk over sophistication and the interiors were similarly robust if uninspired. The 28 was, though, spacious for the age and had a practical five-berth family layout in two cabins. There was a quarterberth, decent galley and chart table, and enclosed heads. Headroom was reasonable. She sailed quite well, having a taller rig than the Macwester, but she was no racing boat. Atlanta also produced a number of kits and some of these are best avoided. Well-maintained factory models make safe introductions to cruising.

atalanta yacht review



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Atalanta Golden Yachts: Becomes Part of the Worldwide Fraser Yachts Group

Atalanta Golden Yachts Becomes Part of the Worldwide Fraser Yachts Group

Two industry-leading companies join forces as Fraser Yachts acquires a majority interest in the renowned Greek yacht management company, Atalanta Golden Yachts (AGY) based in Athens, Greece.

The integration of the internationally respected AGY team, headed by AGY founding member, Popy Kaia, within the Fraser Yachts Greece team lead by Vassilis Fotilas , is the result of a continued drive by both companies, and Fraser’s parent company, MarineMax, Inc. (NYSE: HZO), to further deliver an unparalleled depth of insight and know-how through best-in-class expertise.

Yacht owners, charter clients and the industry now benefit from both an unmatched level of regional and local expertise and the increased wide-reaching strategic networks available to them through more than 19 other key global Fraser locations and the MarineMax network worldwide.

Founded in 2006, today AGY charter manages 51 yachts in Greece from 21 - 95m+ (70ft -300 ft+) including such renowned yachts as O'PARI 95m/312ft, O'PTASIA 85m/278ft, O’EVA 60m/196ft and the newly launched O'REA 77m/255ft.

The longest serving full-service luxury yacht specialist in the world, Fraser celebrates over 75 years of multi-award-winning excellence in luxury yachting. Today the company manages a client portfolio of yachts worth over 5.8 billion dollars for owners and a fleet of over 90 charter yachts ranging from 24m/79ft to 90+m/295+ft including such yachts as the highly sought after M/Y CARINTHIA VII (97m/318ft), M/Y WHEELS (76m/247ft) and M/Y FORCE BLUE 71m (231ft).

John Dragnis, principal shareholder of Atalanta Golden Yachts, retains a significant interest in the newly combined operation and will play an important part in the continued growth of the Group’s success in Greece.

Following an initial period of transition, the newly combined companies will operate under the brand: Fraser Yachts Greece as part of the overall Fraser Yachts Group.

With over 2,700 days booked in 2023 alone, Greece is the world’s #1 destination for charter clients with Fraser and AGY.


Brett McGill, MarineMax Chief Executive Officer and President:

“The inclusion of Atalanta Golden Yachts complements our leading superyacht brokerage and luxury yacht offerings. Atalanta Golden Yachts’ long-standing relationships and network of clients, combined with Frasers’ full-service yachting offerings, strengthens our commitment to providing unparalleled luxury yachting experiences to a growing number of customers worldwide. We are thrilled that the Atalanta Golden Yachts team will be joining our Fraser team in Greece and look forward to further solidifying our position in this attractive and growing market.”

John Dragnis, principal shareholder of Atalanta Golden Yachts:

“MarineMax and Fraser’s exceptional expertise and global leadership in the superyacht brokerage and luxury yacht services markets presents a compelling partnership opportunity for us. We are excited to work with the MarineMax family and contribute to the significant growth opportunities created by this powerful combination.”


Vassilis Fotilas, Managing Director, Fraser Greece:

“Fraser and AGY share the same ethos in conducting professional, informed, respectful and ultimately successful client and industry business. Our complementary strengths and common goals were the core building blocks in combining our two teams. Continuity is key, and for this reason, the AGY charter, marketing and back-office team will all be combining forces with our existing Fraser Yachts Greece team.

“For myself and my team, we are incredibly excited about working with Popy Kaia, as Charter Director of Fraser Yachts Greece and her charter, marketing and accounting teams. As a result, the new Fraser Yachts Greece will offer our existing and future clients the best opportunities, information and service.

“Adding to our combined existing success, we are focused on being able to offer the yachts we already represent even greater exposure on the world stage via the Fraser brand and global network. In addition, we can now offer our clients greater insight and a wider range of services in Greece including sales and purchase, charter retail and yacht management.”

About Vassilis Fotilas: Recipient of the coveted Richard Earp Award for outstanding fair, ethical and transparent professional client service in yachting, Athens-born Vassilis Fotilas has been with Fraser for over 16 years. An accomplished and respected sales broker in his own right, he also served as Commercial Director for two years overseeing the sales and charter operations for Fraser in Europe, Asia and Oceania.

Popi Kaya

Popy Kaia, Charter Director, Fraser Greece:

“As all of our clients and indeed our industry colleagues are only too aware, great business really only comes from even greater relationships. Relationships with owners, charterers and importantly charter brokers that are cultivated over time and built on trust, reliability and excellence. With this dynamic and transformative union of brands, I am pleased to say that not only does this reinforce our commitment to deliver for all of our Central  Agency owners, it now gives us the network, tools and opportunities to devote even more of our focus on the growth and advancement of our Greek fleet with heightened visibility and promotion worldwide.

“We are delighted to join forces with Fraser and the whole of the MarineMax family of companies to establish what we feel is an unparalleled standard of service excellence.”

About Popy Kaia: Born in Greece, Popy commenced her yachting career in 1996. Her expertise in yacht charter and yacht management earned her the role of Partner and Charter Director at Atalanta Marine in 2004 and at Atalanta Golden Yachts in 2006. Under her leadership the yacht fleet has expanded from just 4 yachts to more than 50, including yachts ranging from 80 to 95 metres.

The first person of Greek nationality to have ever been elected to the MYBA Board, Popy has also served as Chairwoman of the East Med Liaison Committee with her contributions to the yachting industry including the introduction of the MYBA standard in Greece and her advocacy for the implementation of MYBA guidelines for Yacht Owners, Captains and crew.

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Fraser acquires Athens-based Atalanta Golden Yachts

Fraser acquires Atalanta Golden Yachts in Athens

International brokerage firm Fraser continues to drive towards new heights with the recent acquisition of Atalanta Golden Yachts (AGY), a Greek yacht management company based in Athens. 

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MSY Atalanta Atalanta for rent in Croatia

MSY Atalanta (Atalanta)  - 0

Split (Croatia)

Lowest price from 06/04 to 13/04/2024

Price per 1 day

Price per 1 hour

Mandatory services:

- Skipper included in price – €0

- Cook included in price – €0

- Deckhand/ Marinero included in price – €0

Optional services

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Gulet MSY Atalanta (1998)

  • Bowthruster
  • Air conditioner
  • Electric Toilet
  • Furling main sail
  • Batten main sail
  • Air Conditioning
  • Bedlinen and towels
  • Echosounder/Depthsounder
  • Inside shower
  • Kitchen utensils (Galley equipment, cutlery)
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Sun mattresses
  • Wi-Fi Internet
  • Wind instrument/Anemometer



Current base:

Frequently Asked Questions about yachting

Does this boat have insurance, cancellation policy, booking procedure.

  • Make online reservation (payment is not required)
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  • Make down payment according to the agreement


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atalanta yacht review

ATALANTA Gustav Junge

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ATALANTA has 1 Photos

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Premier Overview On Yacht GITANA

Gitana | From EUR€ 57,000/wk

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If you have any questions about the ATALANTA information page below please contact us .

A Summary of Sailing Yacht ATALANTA

The sailing yacht ATALANTA is a 36 metre 118 (ft) well sized wooden ship which was constructed by Gustav Junge and her design is by Gustav Junge. A well sized twin masted schooner ATALANTA is a particularily distinctive German made yacht which was launched to celebration in 1900. Accommodating 12 passengers and 5 crew members, sailing yacht ATALANTA was once called Cuxhaven. She could be described as a classic twin masted schooner. This graceful boat has been designed by a naval architect called Gustav Junge.

The Build & Designing relating to Luxury Yacht ATALANTA

Gustav Junge was the naval architect involved in the technical vessel composition for ATALANTA. Gustav Junge is also associated with the yacht wider design collaboration for this boat. Created at Gustav Junge the vessel was built in Germany. She was successfully launched in Wewelsfleth in 1900 before being handed over to the owner. Her main hull was crafted from wooden. The sailing yacht main superstructure is fabricated extensively from wood. The measurement of the luxury yacht on deck is 24.63 (80.8 ft). With a width of 6.19 m or 20.3 ft ATALANTA has reasonable room. She has a reasonably deep draught of 3.2m (10.5ft).

S/Y ATALANTA Engines And Speed:

She is driven by a single screw propeller. Her total HP is 200 HP and her total Kilowatts are 147.

The Guest Accommodation Aboard Superyacht ATALANTA:

The good sized luxury yacht S/Y ATALANTA can sleep up to 12 passengers and 5 qualified crew.

A List of the Specifications of the ATALANTA:

Further information on the yacht.

This sailing yacht has a wood deck.

ATALANTA Disclaimer:

The luxury yacht ATALANTA displayed on this page is merely informational and she is not necessarily available for yacht charter or for sale, nor is she represented or marketed in anyway by CharterWorld. This web page and the superyacht information contained herein is not contractual. All yacht specifications and informations are displayed in good faith but CharterWorld does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the current accuracy, completeness, validity, or usefulness of any superyacht information and/or images displayed. All boat information is subject to change without prior notice and may not be current.

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Customer service

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  • Marina Stobreč

Gulet 92 | Atalanta


This 28 m long gulet was built in 1998 , and it is docked in Marina Stobreč, Croatia.

Atalanta can accommodate 15 guests in 7 cabins. A shower and 6 toilets are available on board.

2 crew members are on hand to ensure guests' comfort.

In hot weather, guests will benefit from air conditioning and a generator .

Sailing is great fun on this gulet as kayak and snorkel sets are included in the price.

This gulet is operated by the charter company Charter Denebola.

Charter company

Yacht highlights

Double cabin

Triple cabin

Beds for the crew


  • Yacht pick-up:
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  • Yacht drop-off:
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Services & Extras

Excluded charges.

  • Tourist Tax
  • $1.51 per person per day mandatory

Good to know

Charter Denebola | {{__( '#%1$s of %2$s charter companies in %3$s',charterRank.place, charterRank.out_of, charterRank.country)}}

Yacht pick-up address

Yacht pick-up

Yacht drop-off

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Cancellation / Payment policies

Cancellation and prepayment policies vary according to your selection. Please check the payment conditions when selecting the price above. Check price Check price

Sailing license required

Pets are not permitted on this boat.

Payment methods accepted by charter company

Information about the marina

Marina Stobreč boasts a wide range of facilities for sailors, including a parking lot .

It also offers a restaurant .

All berths are connected to electricity .

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ATALANTA J yacht NOT for charter*

25m  /  82' | feadship | 1958 / 2014.

  • Amenities & Toys

Special Features:

  • 2,000nm range
  • Lloyds Register ✠100 A1 classification
  • Sleeps 8 overnight
  • 3.5m/11'6" RIB

The 25m/82' classic yacht 'Atalanta J' (ex. Atalante) was built by Feadship in the Netherlands. Her interior is styled by design house De Voogt and she was completed in 1958. This luxury vessel's exterior design is the work of De Voogt and she was last refitted in 2014.

Guest Accommodation

Atalanta J has been designed to comfortably accommodate up to 8 guests in 4 suites. She is also capable of carrying up to 3 crew onboard to ensure a relaxed luxury yacht experience.

Onboard Comfort & Entertainment

Her features include WiFi and air conditioning.

Range & Performance

Atalanta J is built with a wood hull and wood superstructure, with teak decks. Powered by twin diesel Iveco (SM 2100) engines, she comfortably cruises at 9 knots, reaches a maximum speed of 15 knots with a range of up to 2,000 nautical miles from her 6,500 litre fuel tanks. Her water tanks store around 2,500 Litres of fresh water. She was built to Lloyds Register ✠100 A1 classification society rules.

*Charter Atalanta J Motor Yacht

Motor yacht Atalanta J is currently not believed to be available for private Charter. To view similar yachts for charter , or contact your Yacht Charter Broker for information about renting a luxury charter yacht.

Atalanta J Yacht Owner, Captain or marketing company

'Yacht Charter Fleet' is a free information service, if your yacht is available for charter please contact us with details and photos and we will update our records.

Atalanta J Photos

Atalanta J Yacht

NOTE to U.S. Customs & Border Protection


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Atalanta "The Canadian Mud Turtle"

Atalanta – unsuccessful challenger for the america's cup series of 1881 fourth america's cup race series: new york, november 1881.

These notes were prepared for a dinner talk at the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club on the painting by Peter Rindlisbcher, CSMA, of the Atalanta in March 2012; an image of the painting appears below.

Challenger: Bay of Quinte Yacht Club Designer / modeller : Captain Alexander Cuthbert (? - 14 January 1890) Owner : Captain Alexander Cuthbert Built at : Flint & Holton lumber yard [West side of the Moira River, Belleville] Type : Centreboard sloop Construction : wood Official Number : 711001 Launched :17 September 1881

LOA : 70' 2" (between perpendiculars) LOA : 96' 1" (rigged length) LWL : 64' 0" Beam : 19' 2" [18' 8"] Draught : 5' 6" [5' 4"] (board up) Draught : 16' 5" (board down) Gross Register Tons : 46.65 Displacement: 44.7 tons Rating: 3568 (Cu. ft. under the Cruising Club Rule; at 64lbs/cu.ft. == 228352 lbs or 101.94 long tons!) Main mast : 70' 5" above deck Top mast : 32' 2" Boom : 63' 3" Bowsprit : 25' 11" Sail Area : 3,118 sq ft [Note: 465 m2 == 5,005 sq ft]

The Challenge:

In 1851, the America won the "hundred sovereign" cup from a fleet of 15 Royal Yacht Squadron yachts. The first Deed of Gift was established in 1857. Lord Ashbury challenged unsuccessfully with Cambria in 1870 and Livonia in 1871. The RCYC challenged unsuccessfully with the Countess of Dufferin (also designed and modelled by Captain Alexander Cuthbert) in 1876.

Bay of Quinte Yacht Club (BQYC) sent their challenge on 16 May 1881, naming Captain Alexander Cuthbert's yacht Atalanta . The challenge was accepted 12 June by the NYYC. [In Greek Mythology Atalanta was abandoned as a child, raised by bears, rediscovered by her father who looked to marry her; not interested she bet her suitors could not beat her in a foot race, which did not happen until Melanion distracted her with golden apples. She possibly sailed with Jason and the Argonauts.] Atalanta was the first sloop rigged challenger. Construction had started at the Flint & Holton lumber yard (West bank Moira River, Belleville) in the early spring of 1881.

The Atalanta was designed, modelled and built by Captain Alexander Cuthbert of Coburg, reportedly at a cost of $2,100 [C.H.J. Snider], as an improvement to his Annie Cuthbert [he also designed Countess of Dufferin , Dauntless , Surprise and Katie Grey .] Chronically short of money, he was the only man in history to be designer, modeller, builder, owner and skipper of an A.C challenger., and where his backing - if any - for the Atalanta came from is somewhat of a mystery.

In June, BQYC requested that a single yacht be named as defender; NYYC accepted. During the summer of 1881, a syndicate from the NYYC commissioned a $20,000 sloop rigged, potential defender Pocahontas .

Launched late (17 September 1881) the Atalanta was not finished. Her planking was not planed down and her fittings were almost unfinished. Money was lacking and work had stopped several times to wait for cash. When the boat sailed down the Bay of Quinte, the crew were still nailing down her deck and other fittings. The suit of sails was brand new, ill-fitting and the cotton duck had not had time to lose its nap.

Due to this delay, Atalanta had had no time to sail the St. Lawrence-ocean course to New York if she was to reach the venue in time. Instead, she was forced to take the short route entering the Erie Canal at Oswego. But the beam was too wide for the locks, the crew shifted ballast to one side to heel her over. Then a team of mules towed her and the boat got the nickname of "The Canadian Mud Turtle".

From the 13th to the 20th October, the NYYC organized the defender trial races between Pocahontas, Hildegard, Mischief and Gracie.

When Atalanta reached the Albany end of the Canal, the crew shifted the ballast back, stepped the mast and set sail for New York harbour arriving on October 30th, 1881. The same day, the NYYC began preparations for the challenge races planed for November.

Many of the crew promised from Belleville didn't come to join Atalanta . In a hurry, the team was complimented by a number of amateur sailors from the Oswego Yacht Club, and possibly some "Norwegian steam" in New York. Some last minute modifications were made - shortening the mainmast and re-cutting some sails. Afterguard: J.S. Mattoon, J.B. Donnelly, W.B. Phillips, W.S. Stone, and Captain Nicholas Dand.

atalanta mischief sections

Fourth America's Cup series:

The series was planned as a "best of three" against Mischief (designer: Archibald Cary Smith, 1837-1911, built by Harlan & Hollingsworth of Wilmington, Delaware in 1879 for English owner Joseph Richard Busk of the New York Yacht Club.) Mischief was 3' shorter LOA and LWL, 1' greater in beam, displaced about the same, maybe marginally less, carried 250 sq ft more sail area - rigged with an extra 7' of topmast with a slightly shorter boom (10") and slightly longer bowsprit (1' 8".) Nicknamed "The Iron Pot", she was skippered by Nathanael "Than" Clock during the series. She was arrested for smuggling in 1904, and was finally taken out to sea and scuttled in 1929. [ 1 ]

First race:

8 November, Mischief named as defender, race cancelled due to fog and light air.

9 November, 1st race, 32.6 miles, "inside course" (triangle), fresh Sou'Wester: Atalanta started reefed, added then struck tops'l, shook out reef, added then struck tops'l; Mischief started with a full main then shortly added her tops'l; both boats set and struck a balloon jib top on the downwind leg.

Mischief beat Atalanta by 28 minutes 20.25 sec on corrected time (she had a 2 minute 45 seconds time allowance.)

Second race:

10 November, 2nd race, 32 miles, "outside course" (leeward windward): Atalanta did fairly well downwind, losing only 2 min 15 secs at the leeward mark. As to sail changes Atalanta started with her tops'l and reefed main, Mischief with a working tops'l and full main; both set a balloon jib tops'l, but Atalanta broke her pole; both housed their topmasts for the return leg, Atalanta double reefed, Mischief single reefed.

Mischief beat Atalanta by 38 minutes 54 sec on corrected time (same allowance.)

Result: Mischief beat Atalanta two wins to nil.

The painting:

atalanta yacht review

Lines as taken from the model loaned to Thomas W. Lawson by Dr H.A. Yeomans of Belleville, to whom Cuthbert had given it prior to departing for New York. Lawson also published a pen and ink drawing from an 1886 [sic] photo loaned by Lt. Col. William N. Ponting, also of Belleville (differences in rig were noted.) Vide "The Lawson history of the America's cup : a record of fifty years" , Boston, 1902.

The artist used the following parameters:

  • moments when yachts are the closest (start of either race, first race preferred and finally retained)
  • wind: W-SW, approx 18 knots with gusts
  • time: 11.11 am November 10th (late autumn sun direction and elevation
  • starboard tack, heading approx 180 degrees (South)
  • Atalanta : over-canvassed, showing excessive heel
  • appropriate national ensigns and burgees
  • respective sail sets consistent with news reports
  • spectator fleet consistent with news reports
  • weather details consistent: rain squall recently passed
  • sunlight: no reports of presence, absence -- possible but likely infrequent
  • both hulls painted black as per period paintings

The poor sailing of Atalanta forced the NYYC to change the Deed of Gift so that the challenger should belong to a yacht club situated on an arm of the sea, thus excluding the freshwater Great Lakes, and had to sail on her own bottom to New York.

It is possible to conclude that the Atalanta lacked preparation and crew training. The state of her bottom and sails left much to be desired. It might also be said that under the right weather conditions she could have been much more competitive, if not a winner (c.f. her later successes on the Great Lakes.) She and Pocahontas were the first yachts ever designed and built specifically for the America's Cup -- the latter at nearly ten times the cost.

Subsequent history of the Atalanta :

1882 : Atalanta was sailing on Lake Ontario.

1883 : The sloop sailed to Chicago to race in the Fisher Cup. She was leading the race when she broke her spinnaker boom and was beaten by Cora . After completing the repairs, Cuthbert beat Cora by 16 minutes, during a private match on the same course, and took back the Fisher Cup to Bay of Quinte. Atalanta held the trophy until 1886.

1896 : Atalanta was partly burned. Sold and taken to Chicago where the sloop was rebuilt with higher topsides and flush decks.

1900 : Atalanta was last seen in New Orleans.

1. The races were "accompanied" by the Gracie ; see Charles R. Flint, Memories of an Active Life , Putnam's (1925), specifically Chapter  X . [ back ]

N aval M arine A rchive – The Canadian Collection 205 Main Street, Picton, Ontario, K0K2T0, Canada Telephone: 1 613 476 1177 E-mail: for comments, queries and suggestions.

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Atlanta Magazine

Confessions of a Cover Band: Yacht Rock Revue croons the hits you love to hate

atalanta yacht review

"I never would've guessed I'd be doing what I'm doing now. The 23-year-old me would punch me in the face."

One night in 2012, a man in a Ronald Reagan mask paused beneath a stop sign in the Old Fourth Ward. Armed with a stencil and a can of white spray paint, he transformed the sign into a tribute to a 1978 hit by a mostly forgotten Canadian pop crooner named Gino Vannelli: “I just wanna STOP & tell you what I feel about you, babe.”

“I Just Wanna Stop” is the kind of song whose words most Americans over 40 know despite never consciously choosing to listen to it. After peaking at no. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978, the tune never quite disappeared, becoming the aural equivalent of a recurring wart. The song found a second life—an endless one, as it turns out—in the musical nether region where the smooth, soft-rock hits of yesteryear remain in heavy rotation. Yes, that’s “Africa” you’re hearing in the dentist’s office. And “What a Fool Believes” in line at CVS. And that faint melody burrowing into your brain while on hold for the next available customer service agent? That’s “Steal Away.” Songs like these, disparaged by critics in their time then jokingly christened “yacht rock” by a comedy web series in 2005, are now the soundtrack to American tedium.

They’ve also become the source of a very good—if conflicted—living for the man who defaced the stop sign: Nick Niespodziani, the singer, guitarist, and de facto leader of the wildly popular cover band Yacht Rock Revue , which tours the country, headlines 1,000-plus capacity venues, and occasionally even plays with the original artists behind these hits.

At the time of the Vannelli vandalism, Yacht Rock Revue had begun to graduate from a local curiosity to a national one. Niespodziani’s sister videotaped the incident and posted it on YouTube. They then printed T-shirts of the sign and, when Vannelli performed at the Variety Playhouse, they got one to him.

On a gray Monday afternoon not long ago, Niespodziani was standing at this crossroads, looking at the sign, trying to explain the motivation behind the prank. “We had this idea, so we videotaped,” he said. “It was definitely guerrilla marketing.” Also, he was pretty drunk.

The episode seems to capture something ineffable about Yacht Rock Revue—part fandom, part joke, part self-promotion, each element infused with irony. When YRR takes the stage at Venkman’s, an Old Fourth Ward restaurant and nightclub co-owned by Niespodziani and bandmate Pete Olson, the band is fully in character, complete with gaudy shirts and sunglasses. They crack jokes about each other’s moms and theatrically highlight multi-instrumentalist Dave Freeman’s one-note triangle solo during America’s “You Can Do Magic.”

“This music isn’t easy to perform,” Olson says. Yacht rock songs tend to be filled with complicated chord changes. All seven band members are accomplished musicians, and Niespodziani, who trained for a spell as an opera singer, is a rangy vocalist, capable of gliding through the high notes in Hall & Oates’s “Rich Girl,” Michael McDonald’s gruff tenor in “I Keep Forgetting,” and Dolly Parton’s amiable twang in “Islands in the Stream,” without seeming to strain. He, Olson, and drummer Mark Cobb first played together in Y-O-U, a band they formed at Indiana University in the late ’90s. They found scant support for original music there, so they relocated to Atlanta in 2002.

Photograph by Mike Colletta

Y-O-U built a buzz in Atlanta, thanks to Niespodziani’s catchy, Beatles-esque songs and the group’s playful gimmicks. They performed, straight-faced, as Three Dog Stevens, a sad-sack trio playing what they called “sandal-rock” (a made-up, synth-heavy genre defined by its purveyors’ predilection for wearing sandals with socks); they covered Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” entirely on keyboards while dressed as the Royal Tenenbaums; they created a YouTube mockumentary series about a competitive jump-roping team. “Comedy has always been part of what we do,” Niespodziani said. “We were doing anything to get noticed because we felt we had good songs but just couldn’t break through with them.”

“I said, ‘That sounds like hell on Earth.’ He was like, ‘But you’re going to make a lot of money.’ So we did it.”

In 2008, Y-O-U was booked every Thursday at the 10 High club in Virginia-Highland. They’d stage “Rock Fights,” playing dueling sets of covers by artists like Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and INXS, or rejigger Y-O-U songs as soul rave-ups with horns and backing singers, or do a standup comedy night. Yacht Rock Revue was just another of these goofs: Put on silly clothes, and play songs everybody knows but nobody really likes—or claims not to. It was Cobb and guitarist Mark Dannells who came up with the idea. Dannells thought about calling it “A.M. Gold” but Cobb had recently seen a viral web series called Yacht Rock and felt like the term would resonate. Niespodziani went along because his friends needed his vocals. Two band members wore wigs to that first show, and, at one point, Niespodziani stripped off his shirt. People loved it. The club’s booker invited them back the next Thursday. The gig sold out. He asked them to do it every Thursday.

“I said, ‘That sounds like hell on Earth,’” Niespodziani recalls. “He was like, ‘But you’re going to make a lot of money.’ So we did it.”

Most cover bands are awful. But because they play well-known songs, they often secure regular, paying gigs that bands playing original music can’t. Even for the good ones, there’s a ceiling. Few ever perform further than 20 miles from wherever they played their first gig. What’s more, performing other people’s music for a living carries a degree of shame. Cobb has heard the mutterings about Yacht Rock Revue: “Why are these guys playing covers? They could write their own songs. They don’t need to hide behind a gimmick.”

Most of the guys in Yacht Rock Revue—which also includes bassist/vocalist Greg Lee and keyboardist/vocalist Mark Bencuya—had already spent half a lifetime dragging gear into dank basement bars to play for a few bucks and even fewer people. They did this in an era when the music business was cratering. The rise of the internet taught a generation of consumers that music is free, devaluing the dream to which musicians dedicate their lives.

When Yacht Rock Revue started in 2008, Dannells was nearly 40. “It’s not like the world is beating down the door of 40-year-old rock stars,” he says. Today, Yacht Rock is a business, owing its success partially to the corners of the business that haven’t collapsed: live music and merchandising. Besides their public shows, Yacht Rock Revue plays a steady stream of well-paying corporate gigs. They also sell lots of captain’s hats, T-shirts, and other swag. The success of the franchise means it’s been more than five years since any of them had a day job. Niespodziani and Olson created a company, Please Rock , that provides the bandmembers and their families with health insurance, 401Ks, and all the other trappings of comfortable, upper-middle-class stability few musicians ever achieve. All this grants bandmembers some real creative freedoms. “I just released a whole record of orchestral music,” Dannells says. “I don’t care if it sells. I just do it for enjoyment.”

Niespodziani shuttered Y-O-U years ago but still writes elegant power-pop songs for his other band, Indianapolis Jones . But the difference between his two bands’ profiles is stark. Troy Bieser, who has been working on a documentary about Yacht Rock Revue, says he’s seen this in the juxtaposition of the footage he’s compiled. “I’ve seen Nick going through the journey of being thankful for the success but it also feeling ill-fitting,” Bieser says. “That existential dilemma has followed him.”

Niespodziani knows whenever Yacht Rock plays anywhere, that’s a slot a band like Indianapolis Jones can’t get. “We’re a big part of the problem,” he says. As a 39-year-old father of one, who’s worked hard to get what he has, he isn’t about to give it up, but he’s also honest about the compromises he’s made and doesn’t hide from the question that is a natural byproduct of his own success: When a joke becomes your life, how do you keep your life from becoming a joke?

“I never would’ve guessed I’d be doing what I’m doing now,” he says. “The 23-year-old me would punch me in the face and leave me for dead.”

Yacht rock was mostly made in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but the genre wasn’t named until 2005 when JD Ryznar, a writer and actor, created the Yacht Rock web series with a few friends. The video shorts imagined the origins of songs like the Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes,” Toto’s “Rosanna,” and Steely Dan’s “FM.” The music, Ryznar says, was well-crafted, like a yacht, and recurring nautical imagery in songs like Christopher Cross’s “Sailing” or on Loggins and Messina’s album Full Sail made the term fit. According to Ryznar, true yacht rock has jazz and R&B influences, is usually produced in California, and frequently involves a rotating group of interconnected studio musicians. The term was never intended to be a pejorative—“we never thought it was silly music,” Ryznar says—but the web series is most definitely comedy, and feelings about the music itself tend to be buried under layers of hipster irony, warm nostalgia, and veiled contempt. Yacht rock songs are finely constructed: They’ve got indelible pop hooks, but they’re decidedly professional, not ragged and cool like punk or early hip-hop, which were canonized among the music of that era.

For the first Yacht Rock Revue gig, much of the set list came from a compilation CD that Cobb had burned titled The Dentist’s Office Mix. It included songs like Player’s “Baby Come Back,” Ambrosia’s “The Biggest Part of Me,” and Rupert Holmes’s “Escape (The Piña Colada Song).” “I’d put it on at parties and just see what the reactions would be,” Cobb says. “It was a weird, guilty pleasure.”

Niespodziani’s initial feelings about the music were uncomplicated. “I wasn’t a fan,” he says. “I was really into music that made people feel something, that had some grit and humanity to it. The ethos I thought was important in rock ’n’ roll was rebellious fun crossed with a heart-on-your-sleeve kind of thing. Yacht rock doesn’t do any of that. It doesn’t rebel.” He found a lot of yacht rock to be technical, clinical, and sterile. “Sophisticated for the sake of being sophisticated.”

Onstage, Niespodziani is the picture of unapproachable retro cool. Tall, with shaggy hair and an angular face, he hides behind large, dark sunglasses and frequently surrenders a thin half-smile. In other words, he personifies the classic, arrogant, coked-up, late-’70s rock frontman. In person, he gives off nearly the opposite impression. Over coffee, he’s thoughtful, earnest, and self-deprecating. His sharp facial features are accentuated by wide-lensed prescription glasses, and, having traded the polyester shirts he favors onstage for a camouflage green hoodie, the vibe Niespodziani exudes is hardcore music geek. Olson, who has known Niespodziani since they were in fourth grade in Columbus, Indiana, says when they met, “Nick was the nerdy kid who was good at math and jump-roping.”

Photograph by Emily Butler

Yacht Rock Revue, for Niespodziani, is a part he plays: “I’m almost more an actor than a musician.” He and his bandmates spend hours prowling vintage stores looking for the retro leisure wear that they don onstage—and then a not inconsiderable amount of money getting those old clothes tailored to fit. “It’s a war of attrition,” he says. “You find something that might work, and then it’s itchy or it smells or holes develop because the shirt is older than I am. You have to be shopping at all times.” They once did a gig in street clothes, but it felt wrong. “Polyester,” he says, “is our armor.”

Sometimes that armor hasn’t been enough for Niespodziani. During the band’s first few years, they played weekly at the 10 High. “I would drink a lot and almost sabotage myself, sometimes onstage, and make fun of it,” he says. “People would ask me about the band, and I’d talk down about it and act like I was too cool. I didn’t lash out at people, but it was strange to get well-known for something that didn’t make me feel good about myself. I’d get drunk onstage to deal with it.”

His bandmates certainly noticed, but, for the most part, they let their friend work through it. “He’s been the moodiest about it,” Cobb says. “He just hates Rupert Holmes’s ‘Escape (The Piña Colada Song).’ Hates it. But he knows it goes over well.” So when Niespodziani’s got to play it, he’ll often deadpan an introduction comparing Holmes to da Vinci and Picasso. “By talking about how great it is, it helps me shed that song’s terribleness.”

Niespodziani believes the ironic distance he puts between the guy he is onstage and the guy drinking coffee at Ponce City Market is fundamental to the band’s success. “Because we thought—or at least I thought—I was too cool to be doing this, everything has keyed off what the audience reacts to, whether it’s the clothes we wear, the sidestep dance we do, whatever. The audience has been the head of the snake. We’ve just been following it.” It helps that with more than 500 songs in their repertoire, the band doesn ’ t burn out too badly on any tune. “The only song we have to play is ‘Africa.’” The 1982 hit by Toto, by a band made up of talented but largely anonymous studio musicians, has become something of an Internet meme itself, with multiple think pieces devoted to untangling its allure. “Part of it may be the audacity of the synthesizer sound,” Niespodziani says. “They’re just so cheesy. The chords are fairly complex and pretty unexpected. The way it goes to the minor key in the chorus is kind of a cognitive disconnect. And when you listen to the words, it’s not really about anything. Maybe that’s why it’s so quintessentially yacht rock. It’s not so much what the words are saying, it’s how they make you feel, this combination of pure joy crossed with reminiscing.”

Despite his ambivalence about the music, Niespodziani is first among equals within the band. He sings lead on more songs than anyone else, and it’s his judgment they trust when adding songs to their catalog. He has a system: “Generally, the more a song annoys me, the more likely it makes sorority girls want to eat each other’s brains. Also, almost every song would be an encore for the band we’re covering. So, those are the basics: Does it annoy me? Are girls going to like it? Would it be an encore for the band we’re covering?”

“I’m almost more an actor than a musician.”

Others in the band are more unabashed about the music. “I’ve always loved all this stuff,” says Lee, the bassist. “You have to love it before you can play with it in that comedy sense and do it right.” This ability to walk that line between having fun with the music and making fun of the music has won over many of the original artists. When the band first reached out to guys like Dupree, Gary Wright (“Dream Weaver”), and Player’s Peter Beckett, some artists disdained the term “yacht rock” and feared being treated as a joke. Dupree was an early convert and evangelized about the band to his peers, touting their musicianship and enthusiasm. He says those who eventually performed with Yacht Rock Revue were “staggered that they were playing in front of 4,000 people who knew every word to their songs.”

The genre’s rise as a cultural touchstone—Jimmy Fallon has been a big booster, inviting Dupree, Cross, McDonald, and others to perform on TV, and there’s now a SiriusXM station devoted to it—has benefited these artists. Their Spotify and YouTube streaming numbers have risen noticeably. “It’s made a big impact financially,” Dupree says. “Even the skeptics have seen the power of it.”

For a while, the band had a bit of a good-natured Twitter beef with the creators of the Yacht Rock web series. Ryznar admits he initially felt like the band had hijacked his idea, but now his only real gripe is Yacht Rock Revue’s liberal definition of yacht rock. “Half their set is incredible yacht rock,” Ryznar says. “The other half, they play way too much Eagles, America, and Fleetwood Mac. Those aren’t yacht rock bands.”

The band makes no apologies. As Niespodziani puts it, “Yacht rock is what we say it is now.” That’s not just bravado. Yacht Rock Revue trademarked the term “yacht rock” for live performances, so other acts can’t use it without permission. The maneuver helped snuff out competition from other cover bands but occasionally puts them in conflict with some of the genre’s originators. When Cross’s manager tried to assemble a “Yacht Rock” tour featuring Cross, Orleans, and Firefall, it ran afoul of the trademark.

“We said, ‘If you want to call it Yacht Rock, we’ve got to be the [backing] band,’” Olson says. That compromise collapsed when Cross’s manager “wanted a piece of the trademark and of all our earnings over three years.” Yacht Rock Revue sent a cease-and-desist letter instead.

The band’s set list is anchored in the classic late ’70s, early ’80s yacht-rock era but can stretch to include songs as old as the late ’60s or as recent as the early ’90s. Of course, there’s a balance to be struck: If they go too far afield, they risk becoming just another cover band, but there are other considerations to take into account, too. As Cobb explains, “Nothing about Whitney Houston is in the genre, but when we play ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody,’ the chicks go crazy, everybody orders another round, the bar sells out of Tito’s and Red Bull, and they’re like, ‘When can you come back? You broke alcohol records.’”

The band’s audiences have evolved over time. The earliest shows were heavy on hipsters and fellow musicians. Then, those fans brought their parents. At a Buckhead Theatre gig in March, the crowd leaned toward balding guys in button-down shirts and platinum-blond women wearing expensive-looking jewelry. Niespodziani once called yacht rock “the music of the overprivileged,” which was a joke, but also not. Getting older, wealthier fans out to shows is an impressive accomplishment most artists would envy, but it has changed something fundamental about Yacht Rock’s appeal. “When we started, it was people elbowing each other, laughing at this music,” Niespodziani says. “Now, there’s no irony.”

On a night off during a Vegas stand in 2015, the entire band went to see Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band perform at the Pearl Theater in the Palms Casino. Starr began doing these tours in 1989, fronting a band of aging rockers like Gary Wright, Steve Lukather (Toto), and Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), whose names and faces you might not recognize but whose songs you certainly would. Just past the midway point in the show at the Pearl, Lukather stepped to the mic, and Starr began beating out a familiar rhythm on the drums. As Lukather picked out the first few notes on the guitar and the synths pumped out the insistent melody, the song was instantly recognizable: “Africa.” In the theater balcony, Cobb recalls looking across at Niespodziani and seeing something change in his friend. “I just watched Nick’s face and, all of a sudden, it was as if this weight lifted off him.”

The Beatles had always been Niespodziani’s favorite band. “Now, I’m watching Ringo Starr, and he has to play fucking ‘Africa’ every night, too,” Niespodziani says. “He was in the Beatles! That was a life-changing moment for me.” Starr and his band were touching many of the same nerves in the audience at the Pearl Theater that Yacht Rock Revue touches all the time. “When we started Yacht Rock, I didn’t like the music we were playing. I didn’t like myself for being in a cover band. I had some dark times. It’s been a journey for me to get okay with it. That was a pretty key moment. Once you get to a certain point in the music business, everybody’s hustling. I’m not going to look down my nose at anybody for doing anything that makes it possible to feed their family by singing songs.”

Seeing Starr go yacht rock was a significant step that’s made enjoying Yacht Rock Revue’s triumphs a little easier. For years, Olson and Niespodziani waited for interest in yacht rock—and their band—to fade. Opening Venkman’s was a hedge against that. But Yacht Rock Revue’s stock continues to rise. Their touring business has grown 375 percent since 2014. “It’s not a fad,” Niespodziani says. “This is going to be our biggest year by far.” They play increasingly larger venues and have recently started booking dates overseas, including this summer in London.

The question is, where else can they take this, literally and figuratively? Back in 2013, the band quietly released a five-song EP: four original songs and a cover of—what else?—“Africa.” They used to occasionally drop an original tune into their shows, sometimes announcing it as a “Hall & Oates B-side.” The crowds were amenable, kind of. “It’s hard when they know every word to every song,” Niespodziani says. “They don’t come for discovery; they come for familiarity.” That’s a truism any band who has ever had a hit knows all too well. The essential appeal of Yacht Rock Revue—and yacht rock—is a combination of nostalgia and escape, a yearning for the simpler, easier time these songs evoke. Yet Niespodziani has been wondering lately if it’s possible to pivot fans to his own songs, either with Yacht Rock Revue or Indianapolis Jones.

“That’s still my dream,” he says, “to have one song that matters to somebody the way ‘Steal Away’ matters to people. No matter what else I do in life, if I don’t ever get over that bar, part of me will feel like I failed at the one thing I wanted. I don’t know if I can ever let go of that. I don’t know if I’m ready to face that darkness.”

In 2013, during a commencement speech at Syracuse University, the author George Saunders told graduates, “Success is like a mountain that keeps growing as you hike up it.” Niespodziani brought this quote up to me while we were having coffee. He knows his life is nothing to complain about. He lives a rarefied existence where he gets paid a lot of money to play music. But clearly, the mountain grows in front of him, and the hike up isn’t always easy. He’s still prone to self-deprecating asides about his band, he still kinda envies the Robbie Duprees of the world—but, hey, he doesn’t need to get drunk onstage anymore, and he doesn’t lose sleep wondering if he’s a force for good or evil in the world. That stop sign at the crossroads in the Old Fourth Ward isn’t an omen or a cautionary tale. It’s simply a funny story that makes people smile. He’s just working on becoming one of them.

“The way I really made peace with it is, it occurred to me that everywhere we went, everyone was so happy to see me,” he says. “These people, it’s the highlight of their week to come sing along with these tunes. If your job is making people happy, that’s a pretty good calling.” He leans back in his chair and smiles. “My job is to make it okay for everybody else to have fun. That’s kind of cool.” He gets quiet for a moment and shrugs.

This article appears in our  July 2018 issue .


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