49m yacht Asteria in motion ice

10 images

Courtesy of owner

Owner's logbook: the upcoming European adventures for Asteria and King Benji

16 May 2024 • Written by Grace Trofa

Every month, superyacht owners reveal where they are in the world and share their future plans. This month, BOAT speaks to an owner about a new-build project with zero regrets and an owner who is lucky enough to do once-in-a-lifetime cruising twice...

Owner of Asteria

Length: 49m
Year: 1970
Location: Norway

Courtesy of owner

What have you got planned for this summer?
We’re heading up to Norway, starting in Stavanger and we’re going to keep going north, up to the Lofoten Islands and ultimately Svalbard. My good friend Espen Øino, a native of Norway, has given us some amazing ideas of things to do in Norway. We love these kinds of latitudes. 

We’ve done the west coast of Greenland and the entrance to the North West Passage in Asteria, and in January we went on Le Commandant Charcot passenger ship to Antarctica, which was incredible. So we’ve done a lot of these places, but never Norway and Svalbard, and we thought it’d be pretty cool to tick off the Antarctic and Arctic in the same year. We had been considering South East Asia this year, but we didn’t feel like sending the boat through the Suez and down into the Gulf of Aden, which has become a lot riskier lately.

Tell us more about Le Commandant Charcot...
It’s the most amazing boat in the world. It’s a true state-of-the-art ice-breaker and is only three years old. It can plough through two metres of pack ice! I’d thoroughly recommend it. The amenities on board are amazing. This was a kind of research trip so we were able to visit some very remote places such as the Larsen B ice shelf, which is uncharted territory.

Read More/Inside the Arctic adventure of 49m former salvage tug Asteria
Credit: Joshua Kettleu On Unsplash
Credit: Adobe Stock

What draws you to these places?
I feel like we only have a few years left to visit these places before they disappear, or it’ll be forbidden to go there. My boys are eight and 10, so I want to do it now and show it to my kids. I don’t want to spend all summer in the Med – it doesn’t appeal. We did spend a lot of time in Greece last year and had a wonderful time there exploring the villages and different landscapes, but I barely saw a single fish. The wrecks are fun to dive, but there’s no wildlife left beneath the water.

What are your longer range plans?
We would love to go back to the South Pacific. We spent three or four years there with Asteria and loved it. Cocos Island is incredible; we loved Polynesia. My favourite spot was the southern part of Fakarava, an atoll in the west of the Tuamotu Islands. I also want to go back to Vanuatu. These are once-in-a-lifetime places, so we’re very lucky to get the opportunity to go back. And there aren’t many boats. It’s a huge commitment to send your boat there, and if you do, you really need to spend a few years there. It makes no sense otherwise.

Read More/Tetiaroa: the atoll that's home to French Polynesia's sequestered and paradisal resort
Credit: Adobe Stock
Credit: Luke Stackpool On Unsplash

Do you take guides with you?
Not always. We will have someone with us in Svalbard, but we’ll be following Espen’s plan up the coast of Norway. We might engage some guides for shore excursions. When we dive, we always have a guide, as that way  you guarantee you get the best from the experience. We can’t wait to get going on this trip. But I should mention that we have some availability on our luxury charter yacht in July in Norway, if anyone would like to spend some time on one of the world’s most capable explorers!

Courtesy of owner

Josh Golder

Yacht: King Benji
Length: 46.7m
Year: 2024
Location: South of France

Credit: Jeff Brown

What’s on the agenda for your first summer with the boat?
We’ll head to Croatia and Montenegro. We also want to visit Albania, as we’ve never been there but hear it’s the new up-and-coming hotspot. I love those Adriatic islands. At the end of the season we’ll probably head back west and across to the Caribbean but stop off at Madeira on the way.

You’ve only been on the boat a few weeks, but have you got a favourite spot on board?
I love the breakfast bar next to the open galley. There’s a huge window right next to the table, so we can eat informally and watch the world go by. I love interacting with the chef and seeing what he’s preparing. We’re also spending a lot of time in the main saloon.

Is there anything you would have done differently?
In almost every project I’ve ever been involved with, I’ve always come to the end and thought there was something I should have done differently. But with King Benji, I can’t think of a single thing. There’s a few little cosmetic items, like the handles of the cupboards, but as far as the layout and design are concerned, the boat has exceeded all expectations. We went into such detail in the preparation phase that this doesn’t surprise me – we built a 1:1 mock-up of the interior to make sure we got exactly what we wanted.

Read More/On board Dunya Yachts' second new build, the 47m King Benji
Credit: Boudewijn Boer On Unsplash

What were the project’s absolute prerequisites?
Seamless floors was a massive one for me. I hate it when you have a lip or sill between indoor and outdoor areas. I just feel like it ruins the connection. I wanted a really easy transition between the spaces. I also wanted to make sure there was no wasted space – there is nowhere on board where you think, “Oh, we already have this.” But really the whole project emanated from the big aft deck. We can carry a 12-metre Nor-Tech chase boat, jet skis and all the other toys. It all stemmed from there.

Credit: Mike-Swigunski On Unsplash

You were looking to buy 45-metre Big Fish before embarking on a new build. Are you glad you didn’t?
I am very glad we didn’t succeed in buying Big Fish because I would never have known how fun a new-build project can be – putting the team together and collectively creating something totally new that’s never been seen before. I think we’ve moved the explorer game on.

What are your long-range plans with the boat?
I don’t really think long term. The truth is, we could do anything with this boat. It really just depends on how we’re feeling. I would like to go to Alaska with her, but that’s as far as that thinking has gone! I would like to build a bigger series of these boats, incorporating everything we’ve learned. But right now, having no plan is the plan.

First published in the June 2024 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

Read More/Owner's logbook: a hair-raising journey in New York and why it took 17 years to convert a trawler

More about this yacht

Anastassiades & Tsortanides   48.77 m •  1970
Dunya Yachts   46.7 m •  2024

Yachts for sale

Anastassiades & Tsortanides   49 m •  12 guests •  $19,900,000

Similar yachts for sale

Anastassiades & Tsortanides   49 m •  12 guests •  $19,900,000

Yachts for charter

Anastassiades & Tsortanides   49 m •  12 guests • Price from $250,000 p/w
Dunya Yachts   47 m •  12 guests • Price from €270,000 p/w

Sponsored listings