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In memoriam: Joseph Vincent Vittoria

Written by
Parisa Hashempour

On 18 January 18, Joseph Vincent Vittoria passed away at the age of 85 following a long battle against leukemia. Despite precautions, he caught COVID-19 and passed away not long after, surrounded by loved ones at home.  

Joseph Vittoria on MirabellaPhoto: Justin Ratcliffe / SuperYacht Times

Vittoria was a Knight of Malta, a Freeman of the City of London and esteemed owner of the Mirabella shipyard. He grew up in Sea Cliff in the US, “where he developed a passion for sailing and was always available to the local yacht club's members to crew their boats,” said his son Joseph Vittoria in his obituary. 

He went on to explain: “During their [the family’s] time in England, Joe renewed his relationship with sailing by buying a series of Camper Nicholson sailing yachts. The family enjoyed memorable sailing trips together in the Italian Mediterranean.” After years working in automation and air travel, Vittoria turned his eyes to the seas, ultimately developing the Mirabella line of sailing yachts. M5 yacht sailingPhoto: Giuliano SargentiniAt around 40-metres, the yachts were the biggest sloops in the world at the time. He went on to build the Mirabella V, launched in 2004. Coming in at 78-metres, the now-named M5 is the yacht that lives on as his legacy. Dwarfing everything that had come before, M5 is still one of the biggest sloops 16 years later. Today, it is still the sailing yacht with the tallest single mast. 

“Joe was very generous with his time and ready to help almost anyone who asked, especially if it involved something that people said: ‘couldn't be done.’ Indeed, Joe was always a dreamer, and the combination of affection, intellect and vision is what made him so special.” 

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