From homemade childhood boats to his beautiful, Italian-designed 30.5 metre yacht Jupiter, superyacht owner David Miller tells Grace Trofa about his continuing love of no-frills sailing...
I built my first sailboat when I was in the third grade. I would forage for lumber, craft it into something and then take it out on the water for as long as it would float.
I sailed with the Sea Scouts in high school, in college I raced on large offshore racers and at 28 bought my first real sailboat, a Ranger 26. I have had a progression of boats. After the Ranger 26, I had a Ranger 32, a Frers 36, an S&S 43 designed by Frers, and a Jonmeri 48.
I don’t race any more; nowadays it’s out of control with new sails after every race and paid crew, but you know the only time a sailor is not racing is when he doesn’t have his sails. Whether a big cruising boat or a 12 Metre, we are always trying to get the best out of our vessels.
I first saw Jupiter advertised in the Med and was fascinated by her history. She is an aluminium yacht built by Cantiere Ferri, now part of Wally, and one of the first expedition, long distance, self-sufficient boats, yet very much a yacht.
As an engineer I appreciate that there is a redundancy and simplicity in everything, plus she is a beautiful sailing boat. Her Italian designer, Giorgetti & Magrini, also built the 12 Metre class Italia, which competed in the America’s Cup.
We use our boat every third weekend and whenever it is not chartered. For sunset cocktails, I enjoy the beautiful aft deck by the mizzen while my wife would say her favourite spot is the spacious cockpit.
We spent Christmas aboard Jupiter in the harbour in Barcelona; it was brisk but the heat and the cockpit enclosure worked. We even had a Christmas tree. It’s not easy getting four children aged 32 to 17 in one place at the same time but it was a fantastic five days of Christmas cheer.
I always had designs to sail around the world, but now around the world is not so inviting as it used to be. I think we will stick to the places we want to be, like the Med and the northern Europe area. My children like to be on board for long-distance crossings so we enjoy that time together.
What keeps me captivated and in love with sailing is that connection to nature and the whole cosmos, without any frills and away from our built-up civilisation that we think is so important.
The only thing you can count on is that the sun and the moon will come up at a certain time. It is fascinating to be a part of that natural rhythm.