“I play this game where if you can name a toy I don’t have, I’ll give you a euro. I’ve never given a euro to anyone.”We sail out of the marina to St Elmo Bay, flanked by the sand-coloured Medieval walled city and St John’s co-cathedral to one side and the baroque Fort Manoel – which took considerable bombardment in WWII – to the other, emerging in the Mediterranean and taking a northerly course for the sparsely populated Gozo Island. Captain Tripp puts the power down and the Amore Mio leaves a thick stripe of whitewater in its wake. Dutch yacht-builder Heesen turns 40 this year, and still specialises in speed and innovation. The first yacht it launched was 20m, and there have been another 170 since. Last year they built the world’s first hybrid-powered fast displacement yacht. ‘Yacht’ is, in fact, a Dutch word. It’s derived from ‘hunt’ – to hunt pirates, specifically – but these days it refers to pleasure craft, and Amore Mio fulfils the remit. It has a cinema and a plunge pool on board, but the things I’m most interested in are kept under the deck: a gorgeous six-metre Boesch mahogany tender, two 350bhp jet skis, four handheld Seabobs so you can motor across the ocean and down to the depths like a dolphin, a large inflatable slide that is hung from the top deck, and – most exciting of all – a flyboard. Read more: How a relationship break-up spurred this founder to build ‘Ebay for travel’ to help flog unwanted holidays Captain Tripp holds the title of Owner’s Representative, meaning he plays a key role in what materialises in the shipyard. He’ll advise clients who have the means but maybe not the time and expertise to chart a course through the lengthy and complex acquisitions and build process. Some boats are built to order, others on speculation; which means if someone wants a yacht right here, right now, they needn’t wait three years. That was the case with Amore Mio. Heesen is building nine yachts at any one time, and a third of those are on spec. It’s very strategic.
Part of the job is ensuring the yacht is crammed with every gadget imaginable. “This boat, in particular, is all about water toys,” says Tripp. “I play this game where if you can name a toy I don’t have, I’ll give you a euro. I’ve never given a euro to anyone.” As the Amore Mio isn’t for hire, and its owner is very busy, Captain Tripp and the crew have the boat to themselves most of the time and Tripp has become a highly skilled flyboard rider. The flyboard has two boots with bindings and waterjets on the bottom. The water is propelled through a long hose connected to one of the jet skis. It’s rather tricky to maintain balance, but I managed to rise a few metres from the surface for, well, at least a few seconds. This, and the actual sailing of the yacht, are Tripp’s favourite parts of the job, but it’s not all holiday. Superyacht owners are demanding people. To work here you need to be a constant concierge and a perfectionist. Also, things on boats are always breaking, technical problems need sorting, there’s accounting and budgeting, staffing, handling coast guards, customs and immigration, lots of paperwork and cheques to write. Overall, managing a 360 tonne £33m yacht is a lot of responsibility. “It’s coming at me from all angles. The driving is one per cent of the job,” he says. “Still, it sure beats working in a bank.
Rates from €250 (approx. £205) per room per night, including breakfast. To find out more and to book visit campbellgrayhotels.com or call 0800 8620 025