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The Mostest Mariner


In Ancient Times the world's greatest mariner was a Greek named Odysseus. Today the world's No. 1 mariner is still a Greek, but now he is named Stavros Spyros Niarchos (see cover). There are probably lots of other people who think they are more yare than Niarchos, but consider this man's qualifications. First of all, Niarchos, whose name translates roughly as "boat commander," commands more boats than anybody else. The world's biggest independent shipowner, he directs an awesome armada in which one of the smallest vessels is the 190-foot schooner Creole, shown on these pages. Besides owning all these boats, Niarchos is a shrewd and dedicated man of the sea. He first spotted Creole, a relic of the days of superyachts, rotting in the mud of an English shipyard. He bought her, and within a year she had become as fine a yacht as ever sailed, worth $2 million to a prospective buyer whom Niarchos turned down flat, not because the offer was too small, but because Creole is the hub of his nautical world. In summer he lives aboard, cruising the Mediterranean and the Aegean. Each morning from her radio room he checks on his worldwide shipping interests, then goes topside to take the helm. Under his orders the 38-man crew musters to make sail. If the wind is right they set the soaring spinnaker shown at right and Creole becomes the embodiment of ancient legend, sliding down the blue Aegean, her sails high and light and lovely, the largest private sailing vessel in the whole world.

Rusing like a spider into the great web of "Creole's" rigging, a crewman in his bosun's chair swings aloft to check the fittings at the head of her Terylene spinnaker

Hauling down yacht's largest sail, young crew of "Creole" brings all 9,300 square feet of her translucent Terylene spinnaker tumbling onto foredeck under the watchful supervision of their officer.

Snoozing peacefully after a hard day's work, crewman stretches out on sail furled over the "Creole's" bowsprit