“I’ve always wanted a spaceship,” says Dave Hagewood, owner of Galaxy, a 56-meter Benetti megayacht that was recently renovated. “I’ve always wanted to feel the liberation of space travel because my father worked on the Saturn V rocket for the space program. The more time I spent aboard ships, the closer I thought I was getting to feeling that way on land.
Hagewood, a first-time owner, has frequently relied on his ongoing desire of independence to guide his actions. When I was younger, I dreamed of a time when I could do anything I wanted and go wherever I wanted, but I also understood that in order to achieve that, I would need to be incredibly wealthy and successful.
Hagewood, who grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, dedicated his first fifty years to business and built a successful career in the video game industry. “I dropped out of college because I was so excited about the internet,” he says. “I self-funded my education in game design and development because I was so passionate about gaming.” This was the starting point for my notion of “creating the life you want.”
Galaxy undertook a five-month refurbishment that resulted in entirely new interiors
In 2001, he established the San Diego-based video game studio Psyonix. We created a company culture that emphasizes having fun at work because, he argues, “if we’re not having fun, how can we make a product that makes people have fun?” This turned out to be one of my plan’s strongest points. Because it was such a great place to work and they were involved in it, people rarely left the organization.
The business achieved success in 2015 with Rocket League, a football video game in which players control jet-propelled vehicles. Gamers embraced it right away. It was first released for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4, and it was afterwards ported to additional consoles like Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
With Rocket League solidifying Hagewood’s gaming legacy, he “wanted a change” and sold Psyonix to Epic Games in 2019. “When I sold the business, the first thing I thought about was my desire to live on the water,” he explains.
During this period, Danielle, a Fort Lauderdale native who grew up sailing on her family’s boats and tubing or snorkeling with her peers after school, became his partner. Danielle’s feeling of independence and desire for travel encouraged Hagewood, and he and Danielle began exploring the world by boat, beginning with a catamaran cruise in Puerto Rico. “That time was like a rebirth,” he recalls. “Danielle was a part of it, as was travel, and selling the company – everything happened all at once, like a Big Bang.”
The main saloon of Galaxy resembles a cabaret lounge
The couple had rented two yachts, a 27-meter catamaran named Maxi Beer and a 28-meter yacht named Yvonne, and were sailing them across Europe for three months when they realized they were some of the few Americans left on the continent. Hagewood continues, “During this period, we came to the conclusion that we liked yachting and that we wanted to make it a lifestyle. We intended for it to be our sole source of income.
The lobby exemplifies Galaxy’s futuristic interior design to perfection
Back on land, they started looking for a boat and came upon Galaxy, a 56-meter Benetti that had been delivered in 2005 and was a popular charter vessel. “It was older than some of the other boats we were considering, but it was so well-kept that it appeared cleaner than some of the newer boats,” explains Hagewood. “We also liked the idea of going slightly under budget in order to have a solid foundation from which to create something truly ‘us’.” We had some very radical ideas about how we wanted our boat to appear and feel, in contrast to the desires of the normal yacht owner, so it was the ideal situation for us to design our own fantasy.”
The main deck saloon
The yacht’s design was inspired by Hagewood and his partner. When not sailing, the owners go to Burning Man and music festivals. The yacht’s ambience and design are a reflection of the festival’s focus on originality.
Compared to most yacht owners, we are more honest. We wanted the yacht to be a venue for our friends to get together and have fun because our lifestyle is quite social, says Hagewood. Due to their design for entertainment, boats are excellent for fostering community.
Dave Hagewood: “I always wanted a spaceship”
On the retrofit, Hagewood collaborated with London-based Njord by Bergman Design House, founded by Marie Soliman, Albin Berglund, and Sarah Colbon. Hagewood states that Galaxy was his dream starship. “The designers understand what we’re looking for. When we explained that we wanted it to feel like a galaxy, they came up with so many ideas that I hadn’t thought of. “They nailed it.”
Galaxy’s upper saloon and dining area are designed with a distinct aesthetic from the main deck for relaxation
There are stars on the headboard and a constellation on the ceiling of Galaxy’s owner’s cabin
The yacht fuses the ethereal allure of space with Burning Man’s mystique and ingenuity as well as the practicality of a “floating venue.” The main deck has been transformed into a lounge in the style of a nightclub, complete with cutting-edge DJ gear, personalized furnishings, and bright artwork, such as paintings by Camille Hannah and wall covers created by digital artist Dylan Cole, who is best known for his work on Disney’s Avatar and Maleficent. Within his ethereal settings, Cole has hid supernatural beings and extraterrestrial aliens. The Thinker, an extraterrestrial sculpture by modern artist Joseph Klibansky that was influenced by Rodin’s famous work, dominates the room.
The formal dining room
The upper deck is intended for relaxation, with seating and dining for 12 people. There are other guest suites named and modeled after other planets, as well as a master cabin with a one-of-a-kind design on the yacht. The bed’s headboard has been transformed into a stargazing platform with the owners’ and their friends’ star signs, while the ceiling depicts the owners’ favorite constellation.
Njord by Bergman Design House executed the project in just five months, keeping Hagewood’s eagerness to embark on the next chapter of his life in mind. The work was done at Monaco Marine’s La Ciotat yard in France.
Galaxy’s swimming pool
Galaxy will act as Hagewood’s primary abode, unlike the majority of megayachts. “When renting a yacht, you try to squeeze every second out of each day. Hagewood continues, “We’re taking a more relaxed approach and trying to make it more of a daily reality. It feels more impressive than a house because of its size and stability. And having a whole staff take care of all of your needs is very comforting. Due to the fact that we travel so regularly, the traveling lifestyle is really more practical aboard a boat because we are constantly packing and unpacking at home.
Naturally, Hagewood is still interested in space travel. “Every day, I look for new opportunities to invest in or become involved with,” he says. “It would be fantastic to help space travel become a tourism industry for everyone, not just astronauts and wealthy individuals with $20 million to spare.” I’d love to go into space, feel zero gravity, and visit a space station.”
In the meantime, he is quite pleased in his own personal cosmos onboard Galaxy. “I like how Galaxy is a self-contained universe inhabited by a group of people who work tirelessly to make it the most comfortable and ideal place for us at all times.” It is the pinnacle of existence. And waking up in a different spot every day is the most amazing thing ever.”