The capacity crowd aboard the Ambassador last weekend chose to forego the usual wining and dining typical of a Newport Harbor cruise, opting instead to stretch and sweat while taking part in a quirky blend of recreational pastimes: yoga and yachting.
Put together by members of the Fashion Island-based yoga-inspired clothing store Lululemon, the free three-hour cruise Sunday consisted of yoga instruction by trainers to the 138 participants on board, along with complimentary food and drinks.
Classes for varying skill levels were held on different levels of the yacht.
“It really was amazing,” said Achilles Imperial, a Lululemon employee. “One guy even said it was the best day of his life.”
Imperial, along with Lululemon educator Lizabet Latvala, came up with the idea to put a yoga class on a yacht due to the headaches they had been encountering with trying to organize a large outdoor event elsewhere.
“We were thinking of having a party on the beach, or perhaps at a local park, but we were just running into a lot of permitting and cost issues,” Latvala said.
Imperial said the hindrances ended up being a blessing in disguise, as it allowed Latvala to come up with the long-shot possibility of a yacht-based event.
“She was the only one who put forward an idea, which was a Hail Mary that landed,” Imperial said.
With a plan in place, Imperial and Latvala just had to find a boat. That’s where Pacific Avalon Yacht Charters owner John Gueola came in.
Imperial said Gueola’s wife often shops at Lululemon, and he immediately made the connection between the two company’s clientele.
“He saw that the people who walk into Lululemon are probably the same people going on yachts,” Imperial said.
With the inaugural event deemed a success, Imperial hopes to put something similar together on an annual basis.
“John has a boat that holds 400 people, so maybe we can get that one to make it even bigger and better.”