Bob Book is an entrepreneur and a longtime yacht owner who is used to making swift decisions. When he became interested in the newly restyled Westport 112, he signed a contract, closed the deal, had the yacht delivered and went off cruising to the Bahamas in less than a week’s time.
Ron Nugent, Westport Yachts marketing director, laughs when he describes how quickly the deal went through. Book, who has owned 23 or 24 boats of various lengths and pedigrees over a period of some 35 years, waived the survey and sea trial on Book Ends.
“My boat is hull number 62. I figure Westport has got it right by now,” Book says with a chuckle.
And, the current Book Ends is not his first Westport. He owned a 131-foot (40-meter) Westport several years ago, and an earlier-vintage 112 a decade ago.
In late spring of this year, Book and his wife, Amy, were both vaccinated, feeling cautiously optimistic about the pandemic, and keen to cruise somewhere. They spent a week aboard their new Book Ends at Albany resort and the environs around New Providence Island in the Bahamas. Their maiden voyage was a success, but challenges arose on their passage back home to Florida.
“We left Albany in fine weather, but ran into a sudden rainstorm and 6- to 8-foot seas,” Book says. “It felt like we were in a car wash, but the Westport was bulletproof, and the ride was amazingly comfortable. We kept the power up and made it from Chub Cay to Fort Lauderdale in five and a half hours doing 26 knots.”
A fishing enthusiast, Book also owns a 65-foot HCB center console sportfishing boat that accompanied Book Ends on that trip. A couple of crewmembers drove it back.
“The interior is furnished like an Italian luxury apartment in Rome, and it runs like a rocket,” Book says of the HCB. “Pushing 37 knots, the boat made it safely home in just four hours.”
Book talks as fast as he makes decisions while juggling demanding business enterprises, family obligations and philanthropic causes. Being on the water, he says, lets him turn off, kick back and slow down. He’s a second-generation American whose grandparents arrived on Ellis Island in the early 1920s, traveling in steerage. The son of a rabbi, he was raised on the Lower East Side of New York City to be an independent thinker.
At New York University in 1970, he created his first business. With the city in the midst of a financial crisis, many hotels were reporting less than 50 percent occupancy. Colleges, meanwhile, were suffering a housing shortage. At age 19, Book calculated that there were 21 colleges and universities in the five boroughs of New York, and developed a business plan to rent unused hotel rooms to students and young professionals. His fledgling company grew significantly in the New York area.
Ever the impresario looking for solutions to problems, Book crafted one successful company after another. He also invested in software and cybersecurity companies. Thirteen years ago, he launched Jet Support Services, one of the world’s top independent providers of aircraft maintenance programs.
One reason he wanted the Westport 112 in a hurry is that during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, he sold his 154-foot (47-meter) steel displacement Heesen, which was sitting at Fort Lauderdale’s Pier Sixty-Six. He received an offer from a motivated buyer in Hong Kong, who briefly viewed the boat on FaceTime. Book saw the Heesen sale as an opportunity to get a lighter, faster, shallow-draft yacht.
Book says he has never sold one of his yachts for less than he paid for it, but for him, boating is more about time than money. The same way he likes to get where he wants to go—fast—he also likes to cherish his time aboard his yacht. With three adult sons, two granddaughters and two grandsons, he says, spending family time is of paramount importance. They all enjoy being together on the boat, and his wife was initially concerned that the Westport 112 would be too small.
“She is loving all the finishing touches and the comfort on board,” he says, adding that so far, “she is happy with it.”
He and Amy most often choose to dock at a marina because it is more convenient with their two English golden retrievers.
“We like to get up early, maybe 6 a.m., and take a three- to five-mile walk, then come back to the boat for breakfast,” he says. “Afterwards, we go fishing or scuba diving depending on what the kids want to do. There is always plenty to entertain yourself on a boat. If it is raining, we all put away our iPads and iPhones and play board games such as Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly. We would never do this at home.”
The Books have been boating for more than 40 years. On their first 25-foot boat, Bob was the captain and Amy was the mate. She came up with the name Book Ends. The name stuck, as did the joy of boating.
“Being at sea gives me perspective and keeps me going,” Book says. “I might as well spend all this money on boats. If not, I’d be spending it on a shrink or a cardiologist.”◊
For more information: westportyachts.com
BOOK ENDS Specifications
LOA: 111ft. 8in. (34m)
BEAM: 23ft. 9in. (7.3m)
DRAFT (full load): 6ft. (1.8m)
SPEED (max./cruise): 26/22 knots
DISPLACEMENT: 300,000 lbs. (full)
NAVAL ARCHITECTURE: Westport
EXTERIOR DESIGN/STYLING: Westport
INTERIOR DESIGN: Westport in-house/Sylvia Bolton
BUILDER: Westport Yachts
This article was originally published in the Fall 2021 issue.