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On board 31m Passepartout with social media influencer Serena Spinucci

16 December 2022 • Written by Kate Lardy

Many yacht owners try to hide from the spotlight. Serena Spinucci, owner of a 30.8 metre Moonen, on the other hand, lives her life online. She tells Kate Lardy why…

Instagram is all about the beautiful life. Its aspirational devotees are attracted to the perfection they see in the flawlessly framed and filtered photos and videos. For most Instagram users, the carefully curated glimpses of their lives merely feed an illusion of perfection; the reality doesn’t measure up. Serena Spinucci, however, is the real deal. Owner of 30.8 metre Moonen Passepartout, a fitness enthusiast and a globetrotter, the stylish Italian has a lifestyle that is utterly Instagrammable. It’s no wonder that she has managed to use the social media platform to launch a successful career as an influencer (@serena.spinucci). “It all started just for fun,” she tells me, speaking from her home in Lugano, Switzerland. “Then it evolved into a real passion and a job.”

Serena Spinucci grew up in Porto Sant’Elpidio in the Marche region of Italy, where skilled artisans work with luxury brands
Credit: Norman Rinaldi

Her start in the professional world was at pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum. After she graduated with a law degree from the University of Bologna, she moved to Milan and worked for a fashion company and for a law firm. “That’s when I learned that the serious world of law wasn’t for me,” she says.

“After having my second child, I founded a fashion startup with a friend of mine, based in California, that allowed me to emerge in the American fashion scene with a special focus on social media.” The online platform, bymilaner.com, sells a curated selection of made-in-Italy clothing and accessories produced by the same artisans that make products for the top design houses, such as Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès and Chanel. “It was very stimulating, but after some time, the business itself became less interesting for me and I was more and more focused on the social media side,” says Spinucci. “That intrigued me even more.”

The 30.8 metre Passepartout is the key to relaxing family holidays for Serena Spinucci
Credit: Leonardo Andreoni

She started on Instagram by posting photos of herself with Milaner’s products. “I noticed an increasing interest in it from my followers. At that time, I counted about 500 to 600 followers on my personal Instagram page and, honestly, I never thought that it could become a real job in a short time. I also started to share some moments of my life: holidays, dinners with family and friends and, of course, some sneak peeks of my yacht life and, as you know, people are attracted by lifestyle insights and love living your experience through the web.”

In three short years, her followers went from numbering in the hundreds to the tens of thousands. At time of press, she has 64,700 Instagram followers, and she has numerous collaborations with clothing, accessory, jewellery and beauty brands. She is also a brand ambassador for The Sun Secret Collection, a travel service specialising in ultra-luxury family holidays.

Passepartout is the ideal setting in which the family of four can spend idyllic holidays or entertain guests in her spacious, light-filled interiors
Credit: Leonardo Andreoni

Her photos show her modelling fitness clothing by lululemon, OPI nail polish and earrings by Chiara Costacurta, wearing hats by Veronica Marucci and shirts by Bruli, or carrying a Badura bag – with recent posts garnering somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 likes on average.

She’s also mother to two boys, one teen and one pre-teen, and family time on their yacht is an escape from the stress of daily life – but it’s no holiday from her job. She posts at least once every day, and holidays typically warrant a live stream. “I’m aware of the fact that yacht life catches the eye, so I usually try to involve my followers during my holidays, telling my day with live streams and pictures of places I visit and moments on board.”

The lengthened flybridge is one of Spinucci’s favourite spots for relaxing
Credit: Leonardo Andreoni

Spinucci was born and grew up in the Marche region of Italy. “My town was a few kilometres away from the Adriatic coast and the sea has always been part of my life,” she says. Boats are a common thread in her family story: she met her husband on board a boat, their first holiday together was on a boat and their first child was born during a boat holiday.

She has her husband to thank for her immersion into the world of yachting, as it’s a real passion for him. He can likewise thank her for bringing her innate sense of style to their boats. With each of the yachts they’ve owned, they have done a comprehensive refit, splitting the work, with Serena focusing on the interior-design choices and her husband on the technical side. Describing a refit as “real fun” for both of them, she says “it’s amazing how, through a refit, in a short time, you can create a totally different result from a different base. I think this is why we have always preferred to buy and refit old yachts rather than build new ones from scratch.”

They first tackled a project together on the 20 metre Virginian, a classic-style motorsailer built by the Dutch yard Van Dam Nordia. Their next yacht was Madhuri, a sporty 37.5 metre aluminium yacht by Eurocraft that was able to go more than 30 knots. Their current yacht, Passepartout, is what Spinucci describes as “halfway between the others”, a displacement yacht like their first boat with the comfortable interior spaces of their largest one.

The refits mainly dealt with the interiors: Virginian and Madhuri both received a new layout, while Passepartout saw the flybridge lengthened and modifications made to the stern. “For each boat, our goal was to create an environment that was warm and welcoming, comfortable, modern and practical, all while respecting the spirit of the boat,” says Spinucci.

Virginian was the first yacht Spinucci and her husband refitted

This was achieved with the help of Tommaso Spadolini, who they met almost 12 years ago through a friend who was refitting his yacht with the well-respected Italian designer and naval architect. “We immediately fell in love with his style. Over the years, our relationship developed into a friendship.”

For his part, Spadolini says “collaborating with Serena has been a truly pleasant and interesting experience; she is able to clearly share her ideas and needs in terms of design and functionality”. The Spinuccis’ relationship with Spadolini has now spilled over to their home in Lugano. “After so much yacht- design work, Serena kindly asked for my assistance in designing the interiors of her new house and arranging a few areas of the exteriors,” says Spadolini. With his influence, it’s no surprise that the result mimics the feeling of being on board a yacht.

Spinucci has been collaborating with designer Tommaso Spadolini on the family’s yachts for more than a decade. This led her to approach him to create interiors for her home on the shoes of Lake Lugano
Credit: Giovanni Malgarini

“Tommaso studied each detail with the expert eye of a nautical architect, mixing his experience with our requests and our style, using only natural materials like stone and wood, and combining classical and modern tastes,” says Spinucci. “The house has a stunning view of Lake Lugano, and sometimes it really seems like you are on a yacht. Honestly, the magic that Tommaso has made is to create a cosy ambience with a unique nautical touch that makes us feel as if we are still on board.”

They’ve tried to capture that feeling on land because time spent yachting is the best time. “During the year, we are so overexposed to people, chaos and stress that yacht holidays mean relaxing time for us,” says Spinucci. The family spends a good amount of each summer on board Passepartout, which they’ve had for three years now. Of all the boats they’ve owned, it best matches their lifestyle and idea of yachting, says Spinucci. Its steel displacement hull lends itself well to long cruises and spending time at anchor, and its five cabins comfortably accommodate the family of four while also allowing them to host up to four guests on board. “We use Passepartout like a home – a beautiful floating house that shows us a different landscape every day. We usually prefer isolated places to crowded ones, to be better connected with nature,” she says. South Sardinia is a favourite cruising ground for its empty anchorages. “It is a very magical island: the water is super crystalline, the nature is wild and the food is good.”

Spinucci loves the house’s “cosy ambience with a unique nautical touch”, which was created using natural materials to combine classical and modern tastes
Credit: Giovanni Malgarin

Wherever Passepartout goes, Mr Fix, their 8.5-metre Novamarine Black Shiver tender, follows, just as Inspector Fix chases Phileas Fogg’s valet, Passepartout, in Around the World in Eighty Days. “Our perfect day on board involves dining with family and friends, reading, having fun with Seabobs, snorkelling, fishing – not always with good results, unfortunately – and exploring the area with Mr Fix,” says Spinucci, adding, “and some relaxing naps, lulled by the waves. I personally adore and spend a lot of time in the spacious and well-equipped flybridge.”

All of this is chronicled on her Instagram feed, with one exception: although her children are enthusiastic about spending time on board, they aren’t so crazy about appearing in her posts, so she respects their privacy and avoids putting them in the spotlight.

“Social media today shows everything of our life. Followers are curious; they follow you because they want to be involved through pictures and videos in something new and not yet experienced,” she says with the practical perspective of an influencer, yet it’s a rare attitude among yacht owners.

“Lifestyle is the key to my job. For sure, it has a direct impact on my private life, but, in some ways, this is what it takes.”

First published in the January 2023 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.


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