The true story of Wolf Of Wall Street’s yacht ‘Nadine’
Jordan Belfort’s antics are so legendary that sinking a multi-million dollar yacht is just another act of depravity that Martin Scorsese manages to weave among The The wolf of Wall Street grotesque film adaptation. Those who know the wolf of Wall Street book will have read Belfort’s account about it in more detail, but the backstory of the superyacht Nadine is a lesser-known tale with unexpected twists.
Despite Jordan’s notoriety for unbridled bacchanalia, Nadine was sunk by natural forces far greater than even the fiercest drinking bout he could muster. In the middle of a pedestrianized Mediterranean cruise, a storm unexpectedly turned into a raging storm with high winds and huge swells to send the pride and joy of the wolf into Davey Jones’ locker.
In fact, this type of storm is so specific that it has its own name. The mistrals get their name from the winds that blow from the French Alps into the Mediterranean. This convection cycle is caused by warm air rising from African deserts and colder air from the Alps rushing through the void for sustained round trips of 12 to 40 hours. Nothing like a strong relentless wind to generate a dangerous swell. And the kicker? Mistrals are difficult to predict.
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En route from Riva de Travino to the island of Sardinia, off the west coast of Italy, what should have been a routine race (which usually takes around 7 hours) ended in the fiasco that International Yachts described as ‘Mayday in the Med.’
“When we set off,” said Captain Mark Elliot, “the forecast told us to expect wind and choppy but small seas. Knowing that this wouldn’t be an ideal crossing, the captain asked if the guests wanted to delay until the next morning. The answer was a definite ‘no’ as they were all eager to head to Sardinia for a round of golf the next morning. So, they cast off and set sail for another corner of paradise.
Hours later, the guests were enjoying the sunny afternoon weather of another dream day in the Mediterranean… when a rogue wave reached the bow and wheelhouse, inundating a hostess from head to toe. Immediately after this warning sign made contact, a transmission was received via radio warning of unexpected gale force winds in the area. The mistral had announced. The swell heights doubled, the winds intensified, and the shit became real.
However, before Belfort throws next-level parties aboard his elegant ship and charters it across the Mediterranean to Sardinia on that fateful day, Nadine had already lived many lives. In truth, the luxury yacht seen in The Wolf of Wall Street movie bears no resemblance to the period ship owned by Jordan Belfort. Scorsese hired a yacht called Lady M for these stages, which was originally built by Intermarine Savannah in 2002.
On the other hand, the real one Nadine (Where Mathilde as it was originally called), was built in 1961 and delivered by the Dutch shipyard Witsen & Vis for none other than fashion mogul Coco Chanel. At the time, Mathilde had five dark teak cabins, exceptional dining rooms and a helipad.
“At that time, it was the largest yacht on the East Coast,” recalls Captain Mark Elliot. “No one had ever seen anything like it.”
After Coco’s death in 1971 the yacht was renamed Jan Pamela by its new owner, Melvin Lane Powers. While not as decorated as his predecessor, Powers was a notorious and ostentatious Houston real estate developer known for wearing crocodile skin boots and driving a golden Cadillac after being acquitted of the murder of her lover’s husband. The New York Times described his 1966 trial as “one of the most spectacular homicide trials of all time.”
Powers ordered a huge refit and extension of the ship, but in 1983 it hit rock bottom and Jan Pamela was sold before being renamed Waterside. In 1989, it was Bernie Little’s luck, and he bought her sight without seeing her. She then underwent another refit, before becoming Great eagle under the command of Mark Elliot once again. In this form, she caught the attention of Jordan Belfort, who took possession of it in 1995. Of course, he had to undertake his own additions and renovations, before renaming the ship after his second wife, Nadine.
However, the reincarnation of this historic yacht as Nadine was to be short lived. After 35 years of leisure, sailing on the most beautiful coasts and welcoming the great names of the time, Mother Nature would have the last word.
Back in the Mediterranean, hours later, roaring gusts ripped the $ 100,000 tender from its tow lines. Captain Mark Elliot calls to abandon yacht, as turning point Nadine against the crashing waves would have courted disaster. Abandoning the course to try to outrun the mistral was out of the question for the same reasons. They are there now – every captain’s nightmare – with seventy knot winds and 35 foot ridges to negotiate.
Then, Nadine’s The moment of “perfect storm” pointed its formidable head. The huge wave crashes all over the ship, tearing off the hatches and deck fittings, triggering a death knell that can only end with a day of disaster. The remaining supply crashes into the dining room window, causing it to collapse wave after wave flooding the living room.
“I knew at that time that Nadine had received a fatal blow. Once I assessed the damage, I walked over to the deck and used the satellite phone to contact the Italian Coast Guard known as “Gruppo Marine Italian,” says Captain Elliot.
First aid stations. Guests are gathered in a secure central location and escorted one by one to their cabins to collect passports and any valuables that can fit in a small bag.
Half an hour later, a rescue helicopter attempts to bring down a diver to pick up guests. However, the gusts of wind turned out to be too violent, and after almost losing the said diver, the helicopter aborted. Imagine the heartbreaking feeling of those on board Nadine, as the Coast Guard abandon ship, defeated by the rampaging elements, and return to the safety of the coast as the sun sets below the horizon and night sets in.
Hurricane-force winds, severe flooding and a 15-meter-high sea are now pounding Italy’s shores in what will be known as the storm of the century. The situation is so tumultuous that when a large merchant ship attempts another rescue attempt a few hours later, it almost crashes in Nadine, before setting off again and again, abandoning the crew and the frenzied guests.
The liferafts are deployed as a precaution… until the roaring wind also tears them from the sea, leaving the crew completely stranded on board.
Below deck, the flooded kitchen has become an electrified death trap, and the chef and engineer receive jolts from the current before pulling the ass out of there to the (relative) safety above. It should be noted that this is probably around the time when a deranged and drenched Leo shouts at Jonah Hill with the unforgettable line: “Get the ludes downstairs!” I will not die sober! To have. The. Whore. Ludes! ”
Times of crisis. With no options left, Captain Elliot calls to throw the helicopter off the bridge to free up space for another rescue attempt. He unhooks the tie-downs and rolls the ship twenty degrees, throwing the expensive equipment overboard and into the Mediterranean, where its rusty skeleton undoubtedly lies to this day.
At around 5 a.m., the Coast Guard returned and began to hoist the guests, then the crew to safety in the reassuring light of dawn. The weather calmed down as the winds and waves calmed down, but the damage was done. The last to leave the ship he commanded for so many years, Mark Elliot takes stock of the wreck before finally accepting his loss, closing the engine room controls and seizing the buoy rescue package handed to him by the coast guard.
Nadine is swallowed up by the sea, just ten minutes after Captain Elliot left his decks.
While all the guests and the crew of 11 survive, the prestigious motor yacht and its collection of toys (including eight jet skis, four motorcycles, snorkeling gear, a helicopter and a seaplane) sink into the deep end. at the bottom of the Mediterranean, over 1000 m deep. the water.
“The insurance paid off immediately because it was the storm of the century,” said Captain Elliot.
Back on dry land, Mark Elliot was hailed as a hero after showing courage and leadership in such a dire situation. He was then offered command of Bernie Little’s famous yacht Vessel, and today works as a broker in Miami as one of the most experienced and capable men in the business.