Just before her death, Smith was preparing for future sailing with Stern

By Linda Trischitta
Updated February 10, 2007 04:45 PM
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Anna Nicole Smith had a sense of humor about her background, and it was reflected in the name of her newly purchased sport yacht.

Ned Bruck, general manager of Reel Deal Yachts in Miami Beach, says that Smith and Howard K. Stern were really looking forward to enjoying their newly purchased Carver motor yacht, which they had christened “The Cracker.”

“We were dealing mostly with Howard, but Anna came to see it when they were last in town,” Bruck tells PEOPLE. “She liked the fact that there were two separate bedrooms and a forward deck to sunbathe and a salon living area.”

Bruck says the 40-ft. sport yacht was a cream puff, with only 500 hours on the diesel engines, even though it was 10 years old. Their plans were to redecorate it to their tastes. He wouldn’t say how much it cost but “it was not a million-dollar yacht,” Bruck adds. “If they decided that they didn’t like it, they could sell it fairly easily.”

An interior designer was working with Smith to choose bedspreads; new flat-screen TVs and electronics had already been installed while the Cracker was in a Fort Lauderdale marina, being readied for the eight- to 10-hour sail to Nassau on Friday with a Bahamian captain at the helm, but without the couple.

Stern was at the boat Thursday when he got the call that Smith was in dire condition, Bruck tells PEOPLE.

He says he enjoyed meeting the couple, adding that they were looking forward to getting their first boat and enjoying the cruising lifestyle. “I liked him,” he says about Stern. “Anybody in that situation is going to get a bad rap. But he was a gentleman. I think he treated Anna with respect and seemed to worship the ground she walked on.”

Visit PEOPLE.com for continued coverage of Anna Nicole Smith as the tragic story continues to develop.