The Celis family’s backyard might be a tropical oasis, lined with palm trees and filled with lush grass, but the real centrepiece is the infinity pool that overlooks a sleek Manhattan 63 yacht. A spacious garden-side terrace provides much-needed shade, pillow-adorned couches and tasteful Riviera-style décor. This is a haven for the fast-paced, motor-obsessed family, who need to remember when to take their foot off the pedal.
Formula 1 racing car driver Alfonso Celis Jr. has spent his 20 years flitting from one city to another; born in Mexico City, he lived in the Mexican state of Puebla and in Houston as a child, before eventually relocating to Spain on his own for the European racing season aged just 14 years old. Yet despite his international lifestyle, Alfonso and his parents have come to see Cancún, Mexico, as their home and refuge from the hectic world of racing.The 20-year-old seems fully at ease here. “Going from race to race is a really demanding lifestyle. It’s stressful, and there have been times when I watch a video of myself driving from the flybridge and I think, ‘Wow! I wish I was there.’”
On this particular morning, Alfonso Celis Jr. and his father are anxious to get out on the yacht and enjoy the sunshine. The crew takes the Manhattan through the canal and straight into the ocean. Ten minutes later the yacht is anchored in water just four metres deep, with the Cancún resort skyline on the horizon. The water has visibility down to the white sand floor, and the yacht appears almost to float on air. The Celis family often come to spots like this, usually to have lunch out on the yacht once or twice a week. “Normally we use the boat to go out and eat,” says Alfonso. “We go out to the high sea or to nearby islands like Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, or we just anchor in a shallow spot and cook there. I also take it out with my friends. It’s a means of relaxation, of taking the stress away.” When they have a long weekend free, the Celis family will head out to islands, such as Cozumel in the Caribbean Sea and Holbox in the Gulf of Mexico, both about two hours away, and spend a few nights away in the four-cabin boat.
This Manhattan 63 is the Celis’ third Sunseeker yacht. Alfonso Jr. admits that he still prefers the Predator range, but the Manhattan flybridge has won him over. “I love having the flybridge here in Cancún. I love taking it out. With the flybridge, you can take the bimini down or leave it up. It’s a very versatile boat. I really enjoy using it.”
The family yacht has gained popularity among Alfonso’s friends here in Cancún. “It’s named ‘Don Agus’, which was my grandfather’s name, short for Agustín. It’s a real family boat. My friends know that when I come to Cancún, we will go out on Don Agus, so it has a certain esteem compared to any other boat.” Even when the family upgrades to a larger model, the name will remain. Alfonso’s sights are set on a new Manhattan 66, or a 76 Yacht.
“We love Sunseeker. I’m happy with the boat but, to be honest, we’d like to have a bigger one, which is possible in Cancún,” he says. “We want to travel even longer distances, with more space and more cabins. In truth, we’re very happy, which is why we’re sticking with Manhattan and with Sunseeker. The interiors are of high quality and the boat has never given us any trouble … but the most important thing is that we’ll have to keep the name. It has to be Don Agus! The new boat will have to be a kind of homage to him.”