“I think of this boat like a new-born baby,” declares Michele Tecchia, owner of 60m M/Y Sarastar, as we sit at anchor in Port Hercules. And like most new parents, Tecchia is bursting with pride at his new arrival. Built by Mondomarine and delivered in 2017, Tecchia subsequently took the yacht to nearby Viareggio to continue working on the vessel as he still wasn’t 100 per cent happy with her. “We were in Viareggio with my team of engineers three times a week. We wanted to make sure that everything was working,” he recalls.
As a previous owner of a number of smaller vessels, Tecchia regrets that many of his fellow owners lack the enthusiasm he has for Sarastar (“there are very few people who are passionate about their boat”), explaining that he considers being a piece of art. He details the extraordinary lengths to which he and his team went to complete the interior, “I wanted something that other people don’t have. A lot of people [have] boats [that] are big but they don’t have onyx that you find in south Brazil or China. They don’t have first-class Carrara marble. They don’t go to the Stefano Ricci silk factory. They just take a 75m-80m boat, they put wood on the floor and that is it.”
Tecchia’s focus on the finest (and most unusual) materials is supported by his experienced team which includes two designers solely focused on researching and sourcing unique pieces. “We imported a lot of things from China and South America,” he says. “All the silk that is on the boat, even for the drapes, was handmade by Stefano Ricci; they cost a fortune! But if you want luxury, that is what you have to do.”
For Tecchia, the distinctive decoration and quality of his yacht’s interior is influenced by his personal use of the vessel. He believes that usage should be a motivating factor for how owners approach the design of their yacht. “It depends what you want,” says Tecchia. “Do you want it to be your boat, and to cover the expenses, [do] you occasionally charter? Or do you want a boat to [always] charter? In that case, you want something that is cheap and strong. Then, it’s a different story. If [owners] want to do business, you put [in] the cheap stuff ... or carpeting, which is even worse! I have seen it! Incredible! A 72m boat with carpets!”
“Do the right thing, try to do it in luxury. Isn’t that the idea with a boat? It’s the ultimate toy.”
Walking around the vessel, Tecchia’s ornate taste is apparent at every turn. Each guest room is furnished in a strikingly different shade, with all features – from the lampshades to the velvet backdrop – in complementary colours. “What is important is that I like the boat,” he says during the tour. “I am Italian, I have a particular taste. I am from Rome, I am used to beauty.”
With such a decorative interior, a multitude of rare materials and Tecchia’s penchant for shiny surfaces, he likes his crew to be dedicated to cleaning and maintaining every aspect of the yacht. “I have four people just washing the inside of the boat every day. At any moment, the boat is shining. If it’s winter, if it’s summer, it doesn’t matter.” This commitment to preservation is akin to an art aficionado who ensures their collection is kept to the highest of standards.
Although there have been a few updates since the summer – including making sure each door opens automatically, something he hadn’t considered before spending time on board – Tecchia is finally happy with the final product. “If something isn’t perfect, then we re-do it,” he says. “But now, Sarastar is perfection, there is nothing else that we can do.” The yacht is currently on the market with Burgess, although Tecchia admits that when it comes to designing a new one, he would find it hard to top his current vessel. “If I had to do another boat, I [now] have more experience, [but] I think it would be very difficult to do something better than this.”
So after his experiences on board other vessels and designing his own remarkable interior, does he have any advice for his fellow owners? “I tell my friends, who have just built a new boat, ‘Do the right thing, try to do it in luxury!’ Isn’t that the idea with a boat? It’s the ultimate toy.”
Whether she is his new-born baby, his piece of art or his ultimate toy, Sarastar is definitely a Tecchia masterpiece.
Images courtesy of Burgess.
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