During the 2015 Superyacht Cup, TSO.com raced on board the classically styled 30.6m yacht Gaia and had the chance to speak to owner-helm Kristoffer Melinder. Being his first superyacht, Melinder explains his allure to the boat two years ago and how he is enjoying his ownership experience thus far.


Kristoffer Melinder, owner of Gaia

“I have always had a love for wooden boats and since I am from Stockholm I love the classical design of the square rig cruisers built for the Swedish archipelago, which are very beautiful boats,” Melinder tells me. “But unfortunately they are not very seaworthy boats outside of the protected archipelagos. I wanted something that was very similar in looks to the square rig cruisers but obviously bigger and more powerful.”


"Gaia is a project; we started with a beautiful boat and we have spent two years now trying to improve her performance without taking anything away from her in terms of comfort."



This is when Melinder discovered UK-based builder Spirit Yachts, who build yachts inspired by square rig sailing, and led him to the purchase of his first big yacht; Gaia. “I have a 62ft boat at home in Sweden, but it is much smaller and a completely different boat to sail,” he says. “It was definitely a big step – the first time I sailed Gaia was on the Solent in the UK. It was quite a windy day and I took the wheel and after five minutes asked someone else to takeover – it was just too much. But now, after two years, I am used to it and very happy.”

After taking on a significant refit following his purchase, Melinder has enjoyed every aspect of superyacht owner ship. I have absolutely enjoyed the experience of getting into it and seeing what you can do with the boat,” he explains. “Gaia is a project; we started with a beautiful boat and we have spent two years now trying to improve her performance without taking anything away from her in terms of comfort, and she is still a very comfortable cruising boat.”


Gaia at the 2015 Superyacht Cup

Developing Gaia’s performance has been a very important aspect for Melinder, who is keen to maintain a busy racing programme on board. “Regattas turn owning a yacht into a different thing,” he explains. “Cruising is fantastic with the kids, but then you have regattas where you can do proper sailing. When we go cruising we may put up the sails but we do it very gently so I definitely enjoy racing.”

In terms of future plans, Melinder admits he is open to progressing in the industry. “It has only been two years but coming to events like [the Superyacht Cup] is very inspiring,” he smiles. “You see boats like Inoui and Win Win, which are very different boats, but being overtaken by them around the course obviously gets you thinking about what to do going forward. Having said that I really like the classic look so let’s see, these are obviously long projects and I wouldn’t abandon Gaia for the next few years.”