As one of New York’s premier shareholder rights attorneys, Juan Monteverde knows a few things about hard work. And as a yacht owner, he knows a bit about finding peace.
With the frantic pace of daily life in the world’s fastest-paced city, top performers need a peaceful hobby to keep their mental health in peak condition. For Juan Monteverde, a Zen sensation comes from not just sailing his yacht — but from scrubbing it.
“Boating is a community all its own, and when you get into that community, one of the things you find that you enjoy the most is cleaning your boat,” he says. “It’s something that can sound odd from the outside. Most people probably don’t appreciate or even understand it.”
Sure, he could hire someone to wipe down his 47-foot Meridian, but that would deprive him of the sheer joy of the work itself.
Cleaning a ship may seem grueling, but it’s the sweat that brings the rewards. Having someone else clean your vessel may yield the same look, Monteverde says, but it doesn’t provide the same sense of accomplishment.
“I can spend hours on end cleaning my boat,” Juan Monteverde says. “My wife makes fun of me because I will go on a Saturday at 7, 8 in the morning and I can be cleaning till 8 o’clock at night. It’s very therapeutic, very relaxing. You’re out in the sun with your bathing suit and just getting wet and cleaning, and it’s very enjoyable.”
The energy invested into his yacht cleaning comes back to him tenfold, he says. He views the time spent devoted to the upkeep of his yacht as a privilege — the chance to take care of something he truly loves.
The 12 hours he spends brushing, washing, and swabbing is a kind of meditative retreat that cleanses his mind as well as his yacht. Not only do the repetitive actions in a scenic environment help calm his body, the exercise is a great way to spend pent-up energy and drain away any bad feelings he’s built up.
More Than Just a Boat
As for why the hours he devotes to cleaning cultivate feelings of peace, Juan Monteverde, explains that his yacht is more than just a boat. It’s a devotion that hearkens back to his earliest years.
“The yacht is my passion. I love boating. I’ve boated since I was 7 years old,” he says. “I started with a very small sailboat, which is called an Optimist [dinghy]. You might have seen them. They’re the very small square boxes with old Greek sails. That’s where kids learn to navigate. Then, I graduated from that to catamarans. I did that throughout my childhood. My dad’s a boater also. He has a 50-some foot sailboat.”
When Juan Monteverde cleans his yacht, he connects to those times. He sees how far he’s come. He fondly looks back on his time as a child in Spain to his teen years in Great Britain to his college tenure in California to now. At the same time, cleaning the yacht helps him stay in the present moment. It’s a way to appreciate his accomplishments and find relief.
When asked about his favorite part of yacht cleaning, Juan Monteverde can’t decide. There’s the meditative act of scrubbing. There’s the intense feeling of exhausted pride that comes from a day spent doing manual labor. And then there’s the contentment that comes from knowing that work done today ensures enjoyment tomorrow. All of them are a welcome reward away from the demands of his law practice.
“It’s very enjoyable because it’s something that you own, not just the vessel itself, but you own the experience,” he says. “It’s your life, it’s your time off, whatever you do for a living to really relax, and it’s very enjoyable.”