A young American owner with a knack for design injected his own energy into a 33m Mangusta. Clare Mahon tours Dopamine...
Moving quickly and looking undeniably slinky while doing so is a Mangusta trademark, as this owner knows, having owned a Mangusta 94 Maxi Open before this. “I liked the solid construction and speed of the 94; we could cruise at 30 knots. But then I wanted a boat that was more of a ‘real yacht.’ I wanted the three decks, a nice big flybridge, a pool,” says the owner, who had looked at all sorts of boats around the 32- to 34-metre mark with five cabins before he came across a new launch from Mangusta.
“When the GranSport 33 came out, I was excited because you can drive this boat at 25 knots. I go to the Bahamas from Miami a lot, and in Europe, I want to be able to hop around the different ports. I knew Stefano Arlunno (president of Mangusta Yachts Americas), so I called him, and he showed it to me.”
He liked what he saw but had one stipulation before signing on the dotted line. Italian designer Alberto Mancini has worked with Mangusta on creating the GranSport 33’s alluring exterior and layout. This owner, however, wanted something more than a Mancini exterior.
“The Mancini-designed Oceano 42 Namasté was the first boat that attracted me to Mangusta. I’m a big fan of his, so I told Stefano I’d do it as long as I could have Alberto give me some of his undivided time.” No sooner said than done.
“I spent several days with Alberto, and we went really deep. I feel I’m a designer at heart. I love design; actually, I’m obsessed.”
For the interior style of his new yacht, one of his inspirations was another Mangusta production, the GranSport 54 El Leon. “There is nothing aboard El Leon that is a little weird or trendy. That’s the look I wanted for my yacht: modern but not trendy, and I wanted the interior to be inspired by yachting tradition. So that’s the angle Alberto and I came from.”Read More/ El Leon: On board the arrow-slim Mangusta GranSport 54 flagship
Mancini, for his part, enjoyed working with a dynamic and passionate owner. “He’s an informed and precise person who wanted a very personalised yacht,” Mancini says. “The direct contact we had helped us to develop ideas and find the path to a very elegant, sophisticated boat that’s very American in spirit.”
With guidance from Mancini and input from the owner, Mangusta went to work. The interior is a calm combination of light and dark wood veneers, furniture by Minotti and Fendi finished in natural leather tones and fabrics by Loro Piana, and crisp white linens in the cabins, with occasional touches of blues. The dining table is custom sized with a calacatta gold marble insert. Lamps by Ralph Lauren add homey touches in the main saloon and the suites. Mirrors and touches of stainless steel expand spaces visually.
Dopamine is a perfect example of how Mangusta can take a series yacht built in GRP but make it seem custom without changing fundamentals. However, materials, colours and placement of loose furniture can create very different ambiences on identical hulls, and the owner appreciated the designer’s special touch.
“Alberto is a brilliant, talented guy, and he made my vision come to fruition,” the owner says. “Every time I board the yacht, I can’t believe the level of detail. For example, I wanted the floor to have white stripes, and Alberto came up with the idea of using elm, a rare and expensive wood to use as a yacht’s flooring, but Mangusta did it,” the owner says. “Elm is the right wood here, with that touch of grey that works with the Makassar walls.
We went over every detail, down to the cut-glass lamps (by Ralph Lauren and Baccarat) in the guest cabins. Those are plain classy. In my opinion, you can’t say anything bad about cut glass, but it’s a modern version of cut glass, really cool.”
Another of the owner’s requests was a bit more of a challenge for the yard, as it involved raising the ceilings. “I’m as tall as an average NBA player, and I can only stand up straight in big yachts. [During my search] I boarded some significant yachts, but I couldn’t fit. You can’t have a level of your own boat that you can’t go to!”
So the shipyard created recesses in the ceiling for AC ducts and the wiring, allowing more headroom. In addition, the extra height in conjunction with floor-to-ceiling windows on the main deck create an exceptional sense of volume.
“My ceiling height is crazy for a 33 metre yacht. On Dopamine, I can stand in every room, go to the lower deck and talk with my guests. [This shipyard] worked with me, and it worked out great.”
He had some custom touches in mind for the exterior too. His is the open fly version of the 33, which also can be built with an enclosed bridge. “I was at a bar in Miami Beach where they have a frozen drinks machine that makes stuff like spiked slushies, and I thought that would be a great feature to have on Dopamine,” he says. “You can do Italian ice, frozen margaritas, you can even make soft-serve ice cream.”
The machine, undetected when not used, pops out of the marble bar. “It’s perfectly flush and even the grain of the marble matches because you don’t want to see the machine unless you want a frozen drink,” the owner says, revealing his eye for detail.” It may be seen on other Mangustas moving forward. “Maurizio Balducci [who runs the family-owned Overmarine Group] was like, ‘I have never considered this, I have never seen it,’ but later he said, ‘I love this, I want it on all my boats.’”
Another feature he points out was an idea Mancini implemented on other yachts – champagne buckets built into tabletops. “They’re one of my favourite features, not because I drink that much, but because they’re seamless; they close flush to the surface. I love inventive things like that.”
These kinds of details have been popular with guests too. Dopamine, available for charter via Ocean Independence, has done well on the charter market. “It’s the first time I’ve chartered a boat of mine, and I wasn’t thinking about the charter market when we were designing it, but people love it,” the owner says. “They love the pool on the foredeck, and, yes, they love the frozen drinks machine.”
The owner also had some unique input for the beach club area. “I wanted a shower here, but I like things clean and flush, so I didn’t want a pole sticking out with a showerhead on it. So, we built a rain showerhead into the transom so when it’s flipped up to give access to the beach club, it’s right in there, along with two speakers. It’s awesome,” he says.
“I like spearfishing, and now we have all of our fishing stuff set up with the Seabobs on a wall, all hidden by a curtain, so you don’t see inside the garage when the transom is open. It’s clean and classy.”
This self-described design nut also has a penchant for speed and appreciates what’s in the GranSport 33’s engine room: four Volvo Penta D13 engines driving as many 1350 IPS pods. The 33 series is the first Mangusta model to be equipped with the Volvo Penta IPS system. The shipyard has tightly fitted them inside a compact engine room, which leaves more space for guest accommodations, especially on the lower deck where four guest suites are located, as well as a garage that’s large enough to hold a four-metre Williams DieselJet 505 tender. The other advantages they offer, manoeuvrability and efficiency, are qualities this hands-on owner also enjoys.
“I have always loved being on the water. As a kid, I started out sailing a Sunfish, then moved to Hobie Cat, then I moved to motor,” he says. “I thought it was cool that the 33 has pod drives; it gets better fuel economy and a better ride.” Having helmed Dopamine himself, the owner is enthusiastic about its performance.
“It’s like a very fast, giant, five-bedroom sports car. The manoeuvrability is amazing; it turns on a dime like a front-wheel-drive car. It’s easy to dock because you have the joystick and you can do what you want to do,” he says. “The technology is incredible, and the draft is low, which is awesome because I want to take the boat to the Bahamas.”
Mangusta, which now has a permanent office in Miami Beach, Florida, is enjoying renewed success in the US and is doing well with this series. The first three hulls were ordered by American clients. Mancini, for his part, is happy to increase his visibility on this side of the Atlantic.
“The GranSport 33 has given me the chance to show off my qualities as a designer and has given Mangusta the occasion to show their qualities as a shipyard in an important market like America,” he says.
Being a designer at heart, the owner of Dopamine is already planning his next yacht. “We’re going to go even deeper because designing yachts is my favourite thing in the whole world,” he says. “The more I design yachts, the more I like it and the more I want to be able to do it, although it’s a full-time job; during a build I have three calls before I even go to work. But it’s such a creative enterprise, you’re creating a separate life away from your everyday existence and you can make it any way you want.”
Fast, deep, tall and sophisticated: we may not know what this owner’s next ‘real yacht’ will look like, but we can make an educated guess as to some of its most important prerequisites.
First published in the September US 2022 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.shop now