“This boat does not look like she’s 25 years old,” says Captain Joe Gallegos proudly of 48.15 metre Gitana. Delivered by Feadship in 1997 to a design by Guido De Groot, Captain Gallegos attests that Gitana’s original forward-thinking styling, combined with the recent completion of an extensive refit project, has resulted in a yacht that has aged impeccably.
“Gitana doesn’t have that traditional look,” says Captain Gallegos, who’s been at the helm on and off since she was first launched. “She has very modern lines for a 1990s Feadship – she looks like anything designed in the last five years,” he says. And one of her greatest selling points, according to Gitana’s broker, Northrop & Johnson’s Hank Halsted, is that “she comes with great bones.”
Gitana’s current owner purchased the vessel in 2019, right before the world went into lockdown. “If ever timing was a beautiful thing, it was then,” says Halsted. “The owner and his wife locked down on the boat, in the Caribbean and then along the East Coast of the US,” he recounts.
But while Gitana served well as a floating oasis during the pandemic, the owner ultimately prefers cruising under sail – and has already bought a new sailing boat. “They wanted to try a powered yacht, but the owner is a ‘doer’ – if he can’t have the wind in his face he won’t be happy,” Halsted explains. Gitana first entered the market in August 2021, but the owner took her off briefly to undergo a refit when he realised that it made more sense “selling the yacht the way it needs to be,” according to Captain Gallegos.
Gitana’s clean lines and severely raked bow, together with a John Munford interior finished in madrona burl and anigre wood, artfully bridges the gap between classic Feadship style and modern trends for “freeboard” superyachts. So when it came to refitting Gitana for the sales market, a significant redecoration or redesign was not called for. The project may have taken more than half a year at a cost of €3.4 million, but, as Captain Gallegos points out, “most of the refit you won’t even see at first look – it’s all in the details."
The most significant portion of the refit was the repainting. While docked at Feadship’s Makkum facilities, Gitana’s surfaces above and below the waterline were completely sandblasted back to bare steel. Her exteriors from masthead to waterline were coated with a state-of-the-art, premium Alexseal polyurethane paint job with a gloss enhancer added for an extra eye-catching finish. Her hull was also faired, undercoated and finished with a fresh lick of antifouling paint. Then, works continued with mechanical and technical overhauls as well as a 25 year Lloyds-class survey.
“We started with the repaint and then we worked through the rest of the boat,” explains Captain Gallegos. “Everything worked when we went into refit, but some things needed an upgrade.”
Alongside having her teak decks replaced, a major component of the refit included having the yacht’s running gear refurbished. The engines, bow thrusters and generators, which had powered Gitana through extensive globe-trotting cruises, were completely rebuilt, as were the stabilising and steering systems together with a rewiring of the wings stations.
Over the last two decades, Gitana’s twin diesel Caterpillar engines had seen her cruise from French Polynesia to Alaska and were yet well-preserved, thanks to Captain Gallegos’ careful use. “When I was on board, we never pushed this boat. We ran it at eight or nine knots, so the engines are still in perfect shape."
She’s never been a boat that’s been tied to the dock, her captain explains. “At one point she spent up to 21 unbroken days away from the shore while in South America, and she’s been through a hurricane or two, with six metre seas and we didn’t break a thing.” This boat was meant to go places.
The refit, which was completed in May 2022, saw a number of other on board systems rewired and replaced, including the plumbing and equipment for fire and safety with the addition of new life rafts. The project was topped off with a successful 25 year Lloyds-class survey confirming her flawless condition. “The 25 year is the toughest survey that Lloyds does on a boat. The Lloyds surveyor was mighty pleased, and he was a tough surveyor,” boasts the captain.
Gitana’s guest spaces, however, remain largely unchanged throughout the interior. Highlights include the full-beam master suite on the main deck, complete with a private lounge and study space as well as an en-suite with an elevated hot tub situated beneath a skylight and surrounded by a striking mural for an atmospheric place to unwind. Elsewhere, another four cabins accommodate guests together with what the Captain describes as “luxurious” quarters for 10 members of crew.
A light and airy saloon, punctuated by pops of colourful, Caribbean-inspired fabrics and artwork, features a lounge and library space as well as formal dining for 12 guests. “Munford was so ahead of his time on this interior,” says Captain Gallegos, noting that it shows a balanced combination of “not all glass, but not all dark woods either.”
Up on the sundeck, Gitana offers a protected gym space and an upgraded hot tub as well as sunpads and a barbecue grill for the chef to cook up al fresco meals enjoyed across her various outdoor socialising spaces. There’s also storage for a pair of tenders as well as a dedicated dive shop – a hint of her current owner’s passion for water sports and exploration.
There may not, therefore, be a dramatic before and after comparison to show for Gitana’s refit, but the technical elements that have been finessed by Feadship over the last half-year are far more important for the overall condition of the yacht. “Every boat looks good from 30 metres away, it’s when you look up close that you see the difference,” stresses the captain.
With ever-increasing waiting times for new build projects, Gitana offers a ready-to-go superyacht in mint condition and yet with proven capabilities. “In my heart of hearts, I hope that her new owner will be another ‘doer’," says Halsted. "Gitana needs an experienced owner who knows how to travel and is willing to go places.”
Gitana is listed for sale with Northrop & Johnson, asking €16,500,000.