Sailing the first DSS foil superyacht in New England and the challenges of owning a classic – two owners share all...
Owner of Canova
Location: Nova Scotia
What inspired you to cruise the north-east coast of North America?
We really appreciate cold water. Last year we went to Norway and it was fantastic and this year we wanted to do New England, Maine and Nova Scotia. The best thing is we’re alone – there are very few other boats around, so we don’t have to fight for space in crowded bays. Being in a big boat in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard means you can’t get too close to shore, but we have a big tender, which has been transformative. If we have to get fuel or supplies, we use the big tender and it doesn’t interfere with the vacation. We have one custom seven-metre tender with 220 horsepower, which can carry 10 people and 1,000 litres of diesel bunker and has an all-weather bimini; and one 4.6-metre tender with 50 horsepower.
Have you done much sailing?
I have done seven transatlantics from Europe to the Caribbean and this one was the worst! But we had a fantastic passage from St Martin to Newport, dodging between depressions. The foil proved to be invaluable by stabilising the yacht through nasty waves. We normally use it to increase safety and comfort, sailing way more upright, reduce rolling and pitching, and stabilising the yacht during manoeuvres like reefing. When we deploy the foil the manoeuvre is made much safer. In terms of increasing the speed, the foil works well above 14 knots, which we get to fairly easily.
But the boat is sailing well?
Finally, yes. It’s taken a few years, due in part to the pandemic, for us to really get the best out of the boat and now we’re extremely happy with it. We’ve made lots of improvements. I must say Farr Yacht Design and Carbo-Link have been fantastic during this process. And, of course, my captain, Mattia. He’s been with me for almost 10 years and oversaw the build of Canova at Baltic. One issue we’ve discovered with this industry is no one has any inventory. Whatever we need is custom and it takes a lot of time, so you have to be extremely careful with spare parts. You have to plan in advance because if something does go wrong, it’s going to take quite a long time to fix. This is why it’s so important to have a crew that is intimately familiar with the boat. Previously, 90 per cent of our issues had to be referred to suppliers; now we have a highly skilled crew that can diagnose and fix issues as they arise.
Are you going much further north?
We’ll sail the east side of Nova Scotia and then head back across the Atlantic because we’ve promised Baltic Yachts they can display the boat at the Monaco Yacht Show. We thought about going to Newfoundland but there is a risk of ice. But I’m loving this area. The only thing I can complain about are the lobster pots, which are everywhere, like mines!
Owner of Santa Maria
Location: South of France
What’s the biggest challenge in owning a yacht from 1963?
To keep her in good condition! A yacht of this vintage needs constant attention, but it’s worth it – there is an elegance with these older boats that new craft cannot match. Everywhere we sail with Santa Maria, we get admiring looks and a thumbs-up from the other boats.
Did Santa Maria need much work when you bought her?
She was in quite bad shape, but we did a major refit in 2015 and did the final finishing touches in 2022/23. We renewed a lot of the hull planking beneath the waterline. The biggest job required the front section of the yacht to be cut off due to corrosion in the anchor chamber. It was made new and fitted by Feadship. If you’re doing this kind of work, my advice is simple: don’t do half a job. Hire the right people and do it properly.
Have you kept her true to her age, or does she carry a modern interior?
I kept the original details, but added a modern twist here and there. One of them is the spa pool, which obviously isn’t original. It sits just to the side of the funnel. It’s on the upper aft deck, which is my favourite spot on board.
How much time have you managed to spend on board this season?
We started the season late, but we’ve been on board now for four weeks, cruising around Mallorca and the South of France. Right now we’re in Monaco but we’ll head out soon for Portofino, Cinque Terre and ultimately Rome.
Our favourite place to cruise is Greece, but we’ve never been further east to Turkey. So that’s the plan for 2024.
First published in the October 2023 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.