The boat is the best house in the world. Peter Sellers’ word

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Peter Sellers
Photo Credits: Terry O’ Neill, 1968.

For years, British comedian Peter Sellers was the owner of an 18-meter yacht from the prestigious baglietto shipyard: the Amelfis. His relationship with the boat was so deep and special that he considered it his most precious refuge.

The boat is the best house in the world. Peter Sellers’ word

Can one experience the boat as a place of the soul? A place not only to occupy physically and with which to travel across seas and oceans, but a kind of three-dimensional refuge of our child spirit that only there, in that floating shell, is truly free to hide, to play, to fantasize, to be itself without fears, constraints and prejudices. The answer is probably yes. And, indeed, there are not a few boaters who experience the concept of a boat in exactly this way: nothing but their true home.

Maybe they don’t physically live there or even spend most of the year there. But all he needs to do each time is to climb that gangway, open a locker, caress a maneuver or simply look at the glimpse of the sky from the deck, to find his own essence, look in the mirror and recognize himself. “Home is where the heart is,” said Pliny the Elder. And if so, then the hearts of many boating enthusiasts lie right on board their boats. And it doesn’t have to be a yacht. It can also be a vessel, a goiter, a dinghy. Any floating object can express this wonderful warm and comforting dimension.

Peter Sellers
Photo Credits: “The Pink Panther,” 1963.

Peter Sellers, the movie star who loved boats

Such was certainly the case for an outlier, beloved and celebrated as the greatest performer of British comedy and one of the most talented actors in film history-Peter Sellers. Star of many films and interpreter of bizarre characters unforgettable for their madness and comic vis. From the funny and neurotic Inspector Clouseau of “Pink Panther,” to the bungling Indian Hrundi Bakshi of “Hollywood Party,” from the multifaceted protagonist of “Dr. Strangelove,” to the candid Chance Gardener of “Beyond the Garden.”

In short, so many immortal masks for a cult artist who in private life was actually a complex, moody, mad man in some ways and eternally dissatisfied. Or, as he liked to tell himself to reporters, “a prisoner of my own characters, with no real personality of my own.” Torments and demons aside, Peter Sellers was an extremely vital person, overwhelmingly likeable, married four times to beautiful women, and full of friends among actors, artists, rock stars, and members of the international jet set.

Peter Sellers
Photo Credits: Baglietto, 1967.

Amelfis: love at first sight

In addition to owning countless sports cars and luxurious villas, Peter Sellers was also for many years the owner of a splendid 18-meter yacht built by the Italian shipyard Baglietto: the Amelfis. It was the 1960s, and at that time thanks to the so-called “Metric Series,” the Italian shipyard was in one of its best moments, both in terms of the quantity of boats produced (196 in total) and the quality and sophistication of technical and stylistic solutions. It churned out luxurious, sophisticated yachts rich in fine finishes, with marked lines and pastel colors that soon became the very essence of a Mediterranean style, typical of the “dolce vita” years. It is no coincidence that in addition to Peter Sellers those yachts won many other celebrities, such as Christina Onassis, Rainier of Monaco, Virna Lisi, and Mike Bongiorno.

The Amelfis was the flagship of the fleet. Peter Sellers had just seen it launched in 1967 and instantly fell in love with it. So much so that I bought it after just a couple of minutes spent on board and even before the test drive. This is told along with other tasty anecdotes by Roberto Franzoni in the beautiful book “Baglietto. 160 Years of Italian Boating” dedicated to the oldest Italian shipyard and one of the most prestigious brands of Made in Italy boating.

Peter Sellers

“Nothing is more beautiful than being at sea.”

Here, it is Peter Seller himself who describes his undivided love for that boat and how much he felt it was his true home. He tells this in 1969 within the documentary filmed by the BBC entitled“Will The Real Peter Sellers Please Stand Up.” These are profound and engaging words, in which many of us will not struggle to recognize ourselves: “I suppose my real home is on the boat. I put all my ‘pieces’ in there. I know the crew, they know me, they don’t bother me. They follow me. I can manage the boat by myself. Up there I’m not stuck in one place. I go out to sea and there is no one, no one at all. There are vast expanses of blue, and when the weather is good, I know of nothing more beautiful than being at sea aboard a yacht, entering ports when you want, getting off when you want, eating aboard, swimming. It is the ultimate in luxury. If they asked me what is the greatest luxury you have in life, I would tell them it is my boat“.

Photo Credits: “Dr. Strangelove,” 1964.

He dreamed of escapes with his family to the Mediterranean.

There is an extraordinary photo (the one with which this article opens) of the British actor aboard Amelfis in 1968. The boat is moored in some Mediterranean bay and on the teak-finished deck is the actor relaxed in a director’s chair, sunglasses on, reading a movie script. At his feet the trusty little dog and lying next to him his wife Britt Ekland, by then a few years sensational “Bond girl.”

After all, next to the concept of home, Peter Seller, an absolute star of the time always chased by trails of admirers and filmmakers, associated his boat with escape: “I know that at any time When the going gets tough, I can move it and walk away. It is like still being a child who is running away from his mother and keeps looking back to see how far he can go before his mother stops him. Here, how far can I go? I imagine a family trip to the Mediterranean. A blue moon and me playing the recorder. Just the music I want and we will dive into the waters at night with an underwater flashlight with which to see even the stars. All a dream“, says the actor again in the BBC documentary.

Photo Credits: movie poster for the film “The magic Christian,” 1969.

Friend Ringo Starr and that passion for octopuses.

In addition to his family, on his strategic getaways aboard the Amelfis, the British actor often brought his friends. This included Ringo Starr, the Beatles’ sarcastic and talented drummer, who precisely by virtue of his outgoing personality and comic verve was always at ease with Sellers. In the late 1960s, on a cruise to Piraeus aboard the yacht, at a time when Starr himself was on a course with the band, Peter Sellers decided to serve the guest for dinner a plate of boiled octopus. Seeing his friend’s reluctant and disgusted expression, Sellers explained that he loved that animal with a thousand tentacles and had discovered during his dives that certain octopuses embellished their underwater “dens” by artfully arranging pebbles and shells in front of the entrance, almost as if to make a small garden.

At the end of that dinner, Ringo Starr locked himself in the cabin and wrote the masterpiece that is “Octopus’s Garden,” later included on the 1969 Beatlesian album “Abbey Road.” The song is about how nice it would be to be in the “octopus garden,” feeling safe and sheltered from storms, inviting friends over, dancing and being sure not to be found by anyone. Here’s the point: deep in the ocean depths, as well as aboard a yacht sailing free and happy, the important thing for all of us is to be ourselves and finally feel at home.

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