Vespucci classic superyacht

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Vespucci: On board Carlo Riva’s 1970s superyacht with owner Miene Gillion

22 November 2021• Written by Grace Trofa


Motor Yacht


CRN ·  30.5 m ·  1978

The owner of 30.5 metre charter yacht Vespucci, Miene Gillion, talks about life on board the classic superyacht and how it all began...

"It all started about six years ago when my husband wanted to buy the racing yacht Moonbeam III. He competes in regattas like Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez and had raced on board Moonbeam IV. I thought, “Oh my God, this is a problem.” We had young children at the time and it would be too much work. We would need a sizable crew and I get seasick on sailing yachts. But he would be so sad, so I had to find a substitute.

Read More/Vespucci: Inside the refit of Carlo Riva’s 1970s motor yacht
The family enjoys time aboard Vespucci.
All images courtesy of Guillaume Plisson.

I called brokers and told them they must find a boat for me because otherwise my husband will buy a boat I don’t like at all! It had to be a vintage boat, as we are collectors of art and vintage furniture and are into all that stuff.

Vespucci is a displacement yacht built by CRN for Carlo Riva originally delivered in 1978.

When we went to see Vespucci, my husband suddenly remembered seeing a model of her in the Riva showroom in Monaco as a boy. He has been a Riva fan for ages; his grandparents had owned several Riva Aquaramas. He immediately decided this was the boat for us, so we were all happy.

Belgian owner Miene Gillion enjoys sailing around the Mediterranean with her family.

Carlo Riva designed everything – the furniture, the lamps, the switches and doorknobs... It’s a work of art. When you step on board, you immediately feel its soul. But it was not in such good shape, so we did a big refit, keeping the furniture and such.

It is the details that make all the difference – for me, it is important that everything on the boat matches. I have a book for the crew of preferred table settings and flower arrangements. Luckily, we have a nice crew with a fantastic chef who prepares healthy food. I eat everything and I do have a piece of chocolate every day after lunch – I am Belgian, after all!

Gillion's husband enjoys participating in regattas.

like the South of France in spring, and Corsica, Sardinia or Capri in summer, and I love Portofino in the fall. Our most fabulous experience happened two years ago in the bay of Saint-Tropez. There was a lonely dolphin, most likely rejected by a group that was hanging around in the bay, and early one morning, my husband said, “I think that dolphin is around the boat.” He jumped in the water and for more than an hour he swam and played with it. The dolphin was jumping, so happy to have some companionship. It was one of the most beautiful experiences we’ve had.

The South of France, Corsica, Capri and Sardinia are all favorite cruising spots.

Life is good on boats. When we are with friends, we often end the evening with dancing on the deck – we just go with the flow. When the sun goes down and the sea is calm, it is nice to sit on the large bench we have at the front of the boat and just have a drink. It makes you feel like you are at one with the sea – and, fortunately for me, I don’t get seasick on this boat." 

This feature is taken from the September 2021 issue of BOAT International US. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

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