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The rise of the compact sub-50m superyacht has given way to a new breed of superyacht owner. Burgess World speaks to Leni and Garth Mathews to find out how their 38.4m (126ft) super sleek Gulf Craft yacht delivers on every level.

Based on sample data, we can see that more clients are enquiring about yachts below 50m – in fact first quarter data from 2020-21 showed that enquiries increased by 28 percent, the year before saw an increase of 20 percent and 16 percent before that. There is a huge and growing appetite for this sector.

 

Speaking from their home in Australia, owners Leni and Garth Mathews reveal the design process behind the 38.4m (126ft) Gulf Craft ALTAVITA, one of the most popular compact charter yachts in the Mediterranean and also for sale with Burgess.
 

Whether, like Leni and Garth, you opt for a semi-custom new build, or choose an existing model, these compact superyachts offer everything from great deck space, rivalling that of a yacht twice as long, spacious cabins and a beautiful interior.

Burgess Yachts

When did you first decide that you wanted to build your own yacht?


Over the years we had many yachts in Australia, ranging all sizes. We spent so much time on the water we decided that we wanted to build a yacht that would tick off all of our wants. We built a SUNSEEKER 86 called ALTURRA (meaning HIGH SEAS in Italian) in Poole, UK, which was a fantastic experience. On completion of the build we had her shipped to South of France to begin what ended up being an amazing experience cruising to various locations on our own private luxury yacht. After cruising around these beautiful places we decided that we would like to build a larger yacht, which would be ALTAVITA (meaning HIGH LIFE in Italian), and get into the charter yacht business to offer others experiences like no other.

What were the factors that you considered when deciding where to build your yacht, and in which yard?


After we ticked the design and quality production of the yards we decided that location was important.  Having travelled to Poole, UK numerous times to supervise the construction of our Sunseeker we wanted something less arduous. Choosing Majesty Yachts, UAE was appealing as Dubai had beautiful resorts and also the travel time was manageable. We also had to consider the price and the value we were getting and also the quality had to be second to none. 

Was the size of your yacht important, if so, what was the thought process behind deciding on the customisable Majesty 125 model?

Size was very important. Most 40m yachts have full beam master cabins on the main deck, which ALTAVITA certainly has, with large windows that invite the ocean in and a spacious en suite with spa bath and walk in wardrobe. However, in researching other 40m yachts, we realised that the four lower guest cabins were often small and cramped with limited wardrobe and en suite space. The Majesty 125 series offered sumptuous accommodation in all four guest cabins, each with double wardrobing and their own generous en suites. Also the saloon, sky lounge and outdoor areas are very generously proportioned and allow us to create uncluttered spaces. We are particularly happy with the sky lounge outdoor dining and lounge area where up to 12 guests can dine and lounge in abundant comfort and space.

ALTAVITA was the sixth yacht in the Majesty 125 series but featured a number of 'first-time design and personalisation' features. Was this your influence on the build and if so, what was your inspiration behind the build?
 

Having looked around at various shipyards and their design options we found the internal/external volume of the Majesty 125 was extremely desirable. The exterior styling was sleek and the hull with its deep centre keel provided incredibly stable sea worthiness and this was before you turned the fin stabilisers on. Also being the sixth hull in the series we were comfortable that it was a proven design, however we found the interior styling to be very orientated to the middle eastern client. We had a series of meetings with the sales team and the design team including the CEO and were assured that all our design inputs would be encouraged and adopted.

The very first item we requested was to replace the lower guest cabin’s rather small and oval windows with the larger geometric windows which Gulf Craft readily agreed. Then we got started on the interiors and introduced the predominately local but talented design team headed up by Ranjit with an array of European finishes and styling. Many fabrics, tiles and veneers were flown into Dubai to be waiting for us on arrival of our next visit. No area of the interior was left untouched and after many long hours and days spent with Ranjit and his design team the interior of ALTAVITA was slowly formed into how she looks today.

Burgess Yachts

Burgess Yachts

Burgess Yachts

How long did the process take from the first phone call with Gulf Craft to the day you took ownership?

The process took a few years, from October 2016 to delivery in Cannes, France in October 2018.

 

How much time did you spend at the yard in the UAE and how did you find the whole build process?

During the build we travelled to the shipyard about 8-10 times and stayed in a hotel close to the yard in Ajman. The shipyard was very welcoming during each visit and took a lot of time going through each inspection of every stage of the build.
 

What are the benefits of choosing a highly customisable yacht over building one from scratch?

If you buy a yacht that is already highly customised you are buying someone else's ideas, this wasn't an option for us as we had already done that with our other boats in Australia and in doing so often bought other problems and headaches, however if you build your own yacht from scratch you get to choose everything that you want, down to the minute details, which is very rewarding and satisfying.
 

The Majesty 125 series is known for its sleek, sporty appeal and can achieve excellent top speeds. Was performance important to you?

We chose twin 1,902hp C32 ACERT Caterpillar engines for the efficient fuel consumption. As a result, under the sea trials, she achieved a fuel efficiency at 11 knots using 75 litres of fuel per hour per engine including generators. This was much better than we expected overall. If you need to pick up speed, under sea trials she achieved top speeds of 21 knots. We are very happy with the performance of the yacht in all conditions.

Which elements do you feel make her an excellent Mediterranean charter choice?



ALTAVITA has proved to be a very successful and popular charter yacht in the Mediterranean, which we knew would be the case early on due to her modern contemporary layouts and interiors, her huge outdoor entertaining decks, electronics, AV etc., which are very appealing to families. She has a lot of garage space for all the fun toys which guests just rave about.  

Most people comment on her superior deck spaces, and the feeling of a 'connection' with the sea that runs throughout the yacht, was this important to you and where do you spend most of your time when onboard?


The deck areas were extremely appealing for us as we spend a lot of time outside. This much deck space is usually found on much larger yachts which usually means it encroaches on other areas of the yacht but this is not the case on ALTAVITA, the saloon areas are large spilling out to the deck in all directions.  Having that sense of freedom and open wide spaces needs to be considered for a charter yacht. When you are catering up to 12 guests you want them to have a sense of privacy as well and space. Not being on top of each other and cramped in. We spend a lot of time on the spa deck, sun bathing and relaxing, the BBQ and bar area is comfortable as well as shaded. We also love the upper deck and sky lounge area as it opens up onto the large al fresco dining table where we do most of our dining. The upper deck is large and we have often celebrated our kids' birthdays and cocktail parties with our friends.

From your experience, what is the most important factor to consider when choosing and customising your yacht?

Choosing the right builder and knowing the team that you will be working with. Our experience with Gulf Craft was tremendous, we were guided and supported 100 percent of the way with the Australian Broker, Australian Superyachts who travelled with us to Ajman every single time. Also to know exactly what you want out of your yacht whether it be private or charter.

 

Would you have done anything differently?

We added many additional features when we were doing the specifications with the yard which we believed were necessary and as advised by our Australian Marine Surveyor. Some of the major ones are the passerelle, a 3 tonne capacity transformer, sewage treatment plant, ASEA transformer and many other modifications required to meet the very stringent charter class under the Cayman Islands flag. ALTAVITA was the first Gulf Craft to meet the standards of the Cayman Islands commercial yacht classification. We have annual reviews done by Cayman to maintain the classifications and ensures that the yacht is maintained to the highest quality standards and condition.

Creating such a spectacular yacht of her size and sharing that experience together was challenging - and fun! With dedication and persistence together we made our dream come true and we are now the extremely proud owners of ALTAVITA.

 


 

Burgess Yachts

Burgess Yachts

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