Sailing photos by Rick Tomlinson and Interior & Deck photos by Thierry Ameller
The 55 metre classic ketch Marie got great reviews at the Monaco Yacht Show. Mr. Louis Hamming, Director Vitters Shipyard: "A yacht like Marie is more than the sum of the components. It is our profession to bring together and guide all the expertise to prove that her classic lines combine perfectly with modern performance. It is this dialogue that creates the success of our yachts.”
Marie has a classic profile that belies a modern underwater hull – an evolution and lighter version of an award-winning ketch designed and built by the same Vitters/Hoek/MCM team five years ago. She is not a sistership, despite sharing the same hull shape, but is her own brand.
Her lightweight black, carbon-fibre rig from Southern Spars, supported by Future Fibres PBO rigging, sports an in-boom, roller-reefing system for both mainsail and mizzen. The interior is very light (in both structure and colour) contributing to significant improvements in speed and righting moment. The powerful black, aluminium hull, built to ABS and MCA, quickly accelerates to up to 17+ knots in 20 knots breeze. Her true potential is yet to be unleashed in the Caribbean trade winds.
Marie’s interior was built around a baby (self-playing if required) Steinway grand piano that was installed in the lower saloon before the deckhouse ‘soft patch’ was closed...
The main deckhouse extends well forward of the upper deckhouse saloon giving plenty of daylight right through to the lower saloon and creating an enormous space effect. Her owners intend using the boat for performances and the design brief was to create an atmosphere inside where a large audience can enjoy the singing and piano.
The contemporary interior has Anigre wood panels and is complemented by antique cannon, armour and maritime fine art.
The owner’s family office, which operates the vessel, has a large collection of armour and firearms, including two restored P51 Mustangs dating from 1945. The cannon in the deckhouse saloon was the one that fired the last shot of the American War aboard a riverboat in 1865.
Two twin guest cabins flank the corridor leading to the master cabin aft (there is also a VIP double forward, opposite the formal dining room).
The master can also be entered via its own spacious, private deck saloon-cum-office – itself with direct access to and from the owner’s aft cockpit. Do wait for an invitation though as it is protected from ‘unwanted guests’ by a pair of working cannon (made in Paris in 1796 and acquired by the British East India Company)!
A steam room in ‘his’ bathroom and a bath(tub) in ‘her’ bathroom are enticing after a hard day under the Caribbean sun…
Twin wheels, with different levels of gearing for ‘feel’, are positioned forward of the owner’s deckhouse at the rear of the spacious main guest cockpit, protected by a permanent bimini top (with overhead windows to view the 1,445 square metres / 15,548 square feet of North Sails). This is the favourite place to congregate for an informal dinner party at anchor – but the dining room below, seating ten, with its antique-mirrored skylight and 19th Century silver tableware is appealing too, especially if looking to impress or for privacy.
Guests can find plenty of cosy spots to relax, from the comfortable benches outboard of the cockpit to the expansive teak foredeck and, of course, in the airy deckhouse bar seating area, with panoramic views, or the plush lower saloon.
Tenders don’t come with more style than Marie’s: “Marietta” a classic captain’s launch, based on a 1910 Mylne design can be sailed or run for 31 nautical miles on her clean electric motor (charged via the mothership’s generators). Meanwhile the Pascoe tender can whisk guests ashore at 35-40 knots.
Marie’s long profile has a strong sheer line and low freeboard, allowing for the sensation of speed as well as drawing admiring glances. Andre Hoek says “She was extensively optimized to also race in the Spirit of Tradition Class races in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. The righting moment has been vastly improved by using composite standing rigging. The sailing systems are built with furling booms for ease of handling”.
Traditional looks, combined with a bright and airy interior, with finishes specified by David Easton, assure her appeal will hold for decades. Her mainmast benefits from a two-person crow’s nest that ascends guests up over a dizzying 37.5 metres (123’). Take the restored Nikos antique maritime binoculars aloft and look at your boundaries, values and problems from a new perspective – enjoying ‘Marie space and time’. Perhaps order a 21-gun salute and a fly-past of the pair of the P51 Mustangs (not included in the charter package)!
Builders – Vitters Shipyard
Owner’s construction managers – MCM
Designer (exterior & interior) & naval architect – Hoek Design
Interior designer & decorator – David Easton
Interior fitters – De Ruiter
Brokers / charter agents – Fraser Yachts