There are a few boats in Marina del Rey that stand out from the rest of the pack for one reason or another. It may be because of when they were built or who they were built by or who owns them now or who used to own them orÖ
In the case of the 100-foot sloop Christine that takes up an entire end tie in B basin, it’s about size (the largest sloop in the Marina), craftsmanship and the undertaking of a man who had a concept and turned it into a large- scale breathing entity capable of going anywhere on earth — fast.
She’s a one-off design spawned from the mind of owner Fred Preiss, who in 1989 decided to go on the journey of building a massive racer/cruiser from the ground up.
He had done it once before with an 85-foot racer, also named Christine, that was very successful on the course, but he wanted something to compete with skippers such as Roy Disney in cutting-edge racers like Pyewacket.
This incarnation of Christine packs 8,000 square feet of sail area, 17 beds, a 130-foot mast and ten deep-cycle batteries powering a long list of amenities that make the boat both luxurious and powerful.
These on-board conveniences ultimately made the boat heavier and less competitive in the racing world, which was disappointing to Preiss, but the inclusion of the amenities make the boat immaculate from an all-around perspective.
“I had the idea of building a boat that would finish first all the time,” said Preiss. “But it didn’t materialize. Part of it was because the designer wanted us to have an empty shell, but we didn’t want that. We wanted some creature comforts inside, which this boat has.”
Unlike other flat-out speed machines of its size, Christine’s interior is handsomely designed and decorated. It has varnished walls and ceilings with doorways leading into the various compartments and a relatively spacious master cabin.
In the end, the boat wouldn’t be a champion thoroughbred, but it would be a one of-a-kind creation unlike any other.
“It didn’t turn out like we hoped in terms of winning,” said Preiss. “But in every other aspect it did turn out the way I had envisioned. We never had to change anything or fix anything.”
Preiss, who co-designed the boat and managed every aspect of the building process, spent seven years bringing Christine to life here in Southern California and, with a background in engineering, he was methodical and meticulous about getting the project done right.
He made mock-ups of all the various aspects of the process, so when it came time to attach or produce whatever it might be, it would have already been tested.
While naval architect Peter Ebbutt designed the lines of the boat, Preiss handled the interior, bulkheads and all the other elements of sound structure.
Today, Preiss has lost interest in competitive racing and is looking to sell his 100-foot custom-made racer/cruiser that isn’t being used very much anymore. He is currently trying to assess the most effective way to list the boat.
“I’m open for someone to come along and help me promote it the best way possible,” Preiss said.
In the meantime, the graceful mammoth sits peacefully on her end-tie acting as a testament to the notion of finishing what is started and large-scale quality craftsmanship.