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24Isea& iIWINTER 2010 SELLING THE DREAM Laurent Perignonchats to Joe and Luciana Vittoria, the owners of Mirabella V, to get their take on sailing, selling, recessions and the ups and downs of the yacht industry J oe and Luciana Vittoria have been fervent sailors for decades, and both were heavily involved in the build of Mirabella V. As such, they have a unique insight on their latest yacht, as well as the superyacht industry in general. sea& itook the opportunity to conduct a double interview, asking both Vittorias the same questions independently. Their answers define them as much as they reflect their approach to Mirabella V. While Joe Vittoria is a man of vision and projects, his wife has a very hands-on approach to yachting matters. The combination of their personalities is undoubtedly what secured the successful execution of such a unique project, and also confirms why they are soon to celebrate 50 years of happy life together. Why the name Mirabella? Did you perhaps visit the Lorraine region in France and enjoy the fruit there? JV: It is more Italian than French. It loosely translates as " beautiful vision". LV: Mirabella means " beautiful sight" or " she looks beautiful" in Italian, and as we're of Italian origin we thought it was quite appropriate. There has been a Mirabella I, II, III and V. What happened to IV? LV: Joe didn't like the acronym IV, as it means intravenous. JV: I didn't think IV would look nice on the transom. What about Mirabella VI? JV: Who knows? mirabella V

WINTER 2010I sea& iI25 inprofile LV: We now have several grandchildern to look after, so maybe it's time for being old and wise. But then, I'm not sure when Joe will ever be that! Why sailing yachts? Would you ever consider a motor yacht project? JV: I worked at a local yacht club as a teenager and fell in love with the sport at an early age. Sailing is an activity shared with nature while, to me, motoring is transportation. LV: Motor yachts don't exist for us. As successful entrepreneurs, what are your views on the benefits of an owners' association, and the way things work in the yachting industry? JV: I think it would be useful to have such an association, especially when it comes to the charter business, but while it is a nice idea in theory I think, in reality, it would be quite difficult to bring several owners together. I've got nothing against established brokers, but there are many rogues out there who only think about their commission and who might try to sell you anything. LV: There are things that need to be reconsidered, like the advance provisional allowance ( APA). When rates are reduced in the current market, the APA reduces too, while the guests will still spend more or less the same amount of money as before. Having a straight percentage scale is not relevant. And there should be something in the MYBA contract about gratuity. The broker's commission could also be adapted to the duration of the charter. Why keep it at the same percentage when it's a longer period? There could be a tiered scale taking into account some sort of " volume discount". From an owner's perspective, what is good and bad in boom years, and what is good and bad in times of recession? JV: During the boom years, passion was discarded for profit with motor yachts being ordered and sold prior to delivery. Contraction is still happening and the market shrinking [ as at the time of the interview, November 2009]. Now, in bad times, such excesses have caused many of the suppliers in the industry to fail. It is now a buyers' market, so I suppose it's not the best situation when you're selling, as we are. But there could be good things to come out of it. LV: I believe it is the worst recession we've ever seen. And that's really not good for anyone. How do you think the yachting industry will evolve? For instance, what will the trends be businesswise? JV: I believe that we are still in the heart of the recession. Those who survive will come out stronger, that's for sure. With so many yachts on the brokerage market, several that are new, I'm not sure about who would build a new yacht today. We'll see things more clearly once the dust settles. However, looking at the way the travel business developed gives food for thought. Travel agents used to control the air travel business; now it's the airlines that control their business. Wholesale versus retail, charter brokers may have to rethink the environment they're in. LV: I don't think the recession will change much in terms of industry practices - only the prices are changing. Everyone is playing off one against the other, SPECIFICATIONS LENGTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75.2m ( 246' 9) BEAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14.8m ( 48' 6) DRAFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4m ( 13' 1) BUILDER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vosper Thornycroft YEAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2004 STATEROOMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 GUESTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 CREW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 especially on the charter market. But it could help prompt some evolution to business practices in the future. What about the evolution of the yachts, in both design and technology? LV: That's really my husband's call. JV: With the trend for environmental concern I tend to think that more people will look to sail given the difference in fuel consumption from a motor yacht to a sailing yacht. Admittedly, in recent times we have seen an effort in the industry and motor yachts are also becoming greener. Interesting technology, such as the use of photovoltaic cells, is emerging, but all of these still cost a lot of money and may not always be deemed worth it. What makes Mirabella V dear to your heart? What is it like sailing her? LV: When sailing on Mirabella V, all your troubles are forgotten. Of all the sailing experiences I've had in my life, I've never felt this as strongly as when I'm sailing her. She's unique and thrilling in all aspects. JV: She's a one- off project that will always be one of the highlights of my life. Sailing her is outstanding. The upwind performance is way beyond most other mega sailing yachts, and yet the creature comforts are of motor yacht proportions. Even motoring her is far more comfortable than an equivalent motor yacht. Guests have frequently commented that while on board, they don't feel any motion sickness for the first time in their sailing experience. If you were to do the same project again, what would you change? JV: I'd do it all the same but I would have drum winches - that's all. And I'd use composite rigging, as the technology has improved considerably since we built our mast. The final question: why are you selling? LV: Joe tends to lose interest once he's completed a project and has reached sailing fulfillment. Besides, she's been highly successful chartering, so we haven't had too many occasions to step on board for the past year. JV: I've had the greatest adventure in my life creating Mirabella V. I have sailed her extensively and enjoyed the thrill of her speed and comfort. There is no more I could gain from any new experience; and selling her will allow me to dream once again. n Mirabella V is for sale through CNI broker Georges Bourgoignie, assisted by Bill Sanderson, and can be chartered through your CNI charter broker.