Stella di Mare: On board CBI Navi's autonomous explorer
by Clare Mahon
Autonomy is everything aboard explorer yachts – which is why CBI Navi’s recently launched 40 metre Stella di Mare has wine storage for 800 bottles, five cubic metres of refrigerated space and freezers that are almost as large. For the yacht’s Italian owners, it doesn’t matter where in the world they are or how far from land, a good meal and a fine bottle of wine are non-negotiable.
Stella di Mare was designed for a close-knit family whose ages range from 7.5 to 75. For them, sharing a love for the sea has always been part of family life. “I grew up navigating with my father so I know that there is nothing like the bonds that are created at sea,” says the owner’s son. “We commissioned Stella di Mare, our largest yacht to date, because the family is growing and we wanted a real go-anywhere yacht with enough space so that all three generations can explore the world together.”
Stella di Mare is this family’s second explorer designed with Hydro Tec, the first being a Cantiere delle Marche-built Darwin Class 96’. Naval architect and marine engineer Sergio Cutolo, Hydro Tec’s founder, enjoyed working with a repeat client: “Usually we work with owners who are moving from planing yachts to explorers. This owner already had an explorer and one that we designed to boot, so our conversations went to a different level: not broad lines like fuel consumption and speed, but details like where the wine cellar should be located and how the workbench should be set up.”
“We wanted a yacht with substance and real value, not flash and fashion,” continues the owner’s son. “Since we intend to keep this yacht for years we asked Umberto Fossati, our interior architect, to use materials that would improve with age.” Fossati chose classic woods like walnut, mahogany and wenge, and leather in beige and chocolate brown tones. He used burnished bronze for everything from bathroom fixtures to details in the furnishings to create a sense of unity.
While the yacht’s look is tastefully restrained and classically nautical, it wasn’t easy to design for an extended family. “Each generation of family brought a different set of needs to the project,” says Fossati. “The patriarch, a real bon vivant, wanted plenty of wine and food storage space and some private areas too. His son wanted space to do business aboard and the youngest generation, a burgeoning crew of four, needed safe and easy water access and lots of storage for toys and sports equipment. All of these needs had to be accommodated aboard a strong and durable yacht that the family wants to use as a second home.”
The main deck aft has a dining area under the overhang that can be enclosed with panels that are hidden in the fashion plates. The saloon has a large sitting area with L-shaped couches placed port and starboard and a dining area with a rectangular walnut table that can also be used for meetings. Behind the table a hand-painted map of the world by globemakers Bellerby and Co is flanked by a pair of wall sconces in Venetian glass by Barovier e Toso. “This saloon can be used for business, entertaining or by the family,” says Fossati, “but the owners also wanted a breakfast room for more casual meals,” he says opening a door that leads to the galley and pointing out a cosy and bright corner with a square table and banquettes.
The patriarch and his wife enjoy a full-beam cabin forward on the main deck with a spacious en suite while his son and grandchildren have their own en suite cabins on the lower deck, one with a double bed for the parents and one with Pullman beds for the children. The children’s cabin is an explosion of colour with a wall papered with their favourite cartoon characters: in case there is also an explosion of playful noise the hallway leading to these two cabins can be closed off to make this area a self-contained family unit separate from the other guest cabins.
The upper deck has a spacious aft area for stowing the tender or lounging in the sun when it’s launched. A sliding door leads to a saloon with U-shaped couches upholstered in blue and white. “The owners wanted the television to be an aggregator, so the only TV screen to be found in the guest areas is here,” says Fossati, pointing out a curved Samsung screen. A large globe by Bellerby and Co is built in to the starboard side bookshelves.
The sundeck can be set up with sunbeds and has gym equipment under the hardtop. On top of an outdoor helm station, there is also a grill and dining area. A flight of stairs leads up the mast to a modern version of a crow’s nest, ideal for scouting out the surroundings.
Since the owners plan on cruising for extended periods of time, crew workflow patterns were carefully considered. The crew quarters, with three double cabins and a comfortable mess, are forward on the lower deck and Hydro Tec designed a tank deck crawlspace that can be used to access refrigerators and dry storage while also providing easy access to a large part of the yacht’s plumbing and wiring.