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Lunch with... superyacht owner Paola Trifirò

Lunch with... superyacht owner Paola Trifirò

When the Trifiròs bought her they called her Kalea, and embarked on an ambitious renovation. Paola had the opportunity to exercise her design outlook. The exterior was rebuilt as original, but the interior was given a modern look with mahogany finish, red leather, a small library, a proper galley and even a dishwasher.

‘It took one and a half years, very, very intense. The quality of artisan in Cantiere Valdettaro was superb,’ she remembers. In Kalea, their cruising reach moved out again to include the Greek Islands, North Africa and Turkey. The Trifiròs kept Kalea for about four years, and were very pleased to see her again recently. ‘And still the boat is superb. We were on board Rrose Selavy with the Commodore, sailing around Porto Cervo last year and we saw Kalea. It was like an apparition – we had a look and I was so happy and so surprised, it was perfect.’

Paola would have liked to keep her for longer, but in 1990 the couple had their heads turned by a Jongert available at a particularly good price, a 26m boat called Happy Taurus II. ‘It [had] a super kitchen; you can’t imagine how beautiful the kitchen was, like a professional one. And with this boat we did a lot of things, it was a splendid boat, very tough. So strong, all steel.’ The motivation was once again to extend their cruising range, and this time they hoped to reach their ultimate goal of sailing around the world.

The Trifiròs cruised north with Happy Taurus II, across the Bay of Biscay to Normandy, before crossing the English Channel to Southampton and heading west along the south coast, before taking in Wales and Ireland. ‘Beautiful country, the south of England, and we didn’t eat any longer ham or chicken, just clotted cream. Everyday. This was a fantastic holiday,’ she says with a laugh. They took Happy Taurus II up the Thames to St Katherine’s Dock, to Norway and Sweden, and across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and then up the east coast of the US to New York and New England.

Happy Taurus II kept the Trifiròs happy for a lot longer than any of her predecessors, staying with them for a decade until 2001, when she was replaced by a version five metres bigger, called Anamcara, which means ‘soul friends’ in Gaelic. ‘This boat was absolutely beautiful,’ says Trifirò. Anamcara crossed the Atlantic and the couple went through the Panama Canal for the first time, to visit Baja California. In 2003, they cruised north with her and visited Seattle, Vancouver, British Columbia and Alaska.

On returning to their base in Antibes and Porto Cervo in the summer of 2004, they had their first contact with the yacht racing scene, at the Rolex Cup. ‘My husband said, “What boat can we do regattas in?” It [Anamcara] was very, very strong, but too heavy, it was all steel. So we said, let’s see if there is a second-hand, more performance-orientated boat.’ The boat they found was Lang Walker’s first 40m, Kokomo of London, an Ed Dubois design built in 2000.

In 2005, the Trifiròs went to look at _Kokomo _with the agent. ‘The boat was beautiful, and there was nothing I wanted to change,’ says Trifirò. They got her that year, sailed in Sardinia, Turkey and Greece, competed in Rolex Cups, and in Palma, before crossing the Atlantic, cruising the San Blas Islands, Costa Rica and back to the Mediterranean. ‘We were entering this world of racing and competition, and it was exciting. I had never thought about [doing] it, but never say never. And my husband was passionate to have a better performing boat.’

Kokomo _had been a great success, so the pair inevitably gravitated towards Ed Dubois when they – equally inevitably – thought about a new boat. They met at the Monaco Yacht Show in 2008 and _Zefira was proposed, with construction in New Zealand. ‘My husband was concerned because he doesn’t speak English,’ she says, ‘and second because his job has the first call on his life – there are 85 people in the office, and often on Saturdays, [so] it wasn'’t possible for him to follow the work. I said, OK, I can do it.’

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