The story starts in Montreal, where Danny first began sailing in his early twenties. Having played golf for many years he and a friend bought and fixed up an old and tired Lightning yacht and spent three months putting her in fair condition. “When we were finally seaworthy I discovered a great enjoyment in sailing. I wanted to learn more about the sport and the following year I wanted to get a better boat and get more into racing, so I became a dinghy sailor and gave up golfing,” he says. After moving to Hong Kong in the 1970s, where he is still based today, he continued sailing and progressively bought different boats, including a 72ft motoryacht. In early 2000 Monica and Danny bought a 30m Mangusta, which was the first Mondango. “Owning motoryachts was a product of a lifestyle in Hong Kong,” he tells us.
Monica and Danny Gold on board Mondango Two
Some years later, with Danny thinking of retiring, the couple were looking at acquiring another boat to keep in the Mediterranean. “We were looking at getting a larger motoryacht and along the way we saw some very nice sailboats,” says Danny. One of these was 37m Midnight (now Moonbird), which was moored right next to a motoryacht that they were viewing. “It was quite a change in our way of thinking and we subsequently decided to purchase a sailing yacht.” Although they had chartered sailing yachts in the past, the couple did an Atlantic crossing on board 109m Sea Cloud, to see whether long passages were right for them. “We enjoyed the crossing, it suited us both,” says Monica. The new course was set.
At that stage, building a new yacht was not a consideration, and the couple focused on used yachts of two to three years old. “I never wanted to build a boat,” says Danny. “I was of the opinion that it should be someone else’s headache.” Unable to find anything second-hand that they really liked, they started researching the new build market. After coming close to signing with another builder, they were at a Monaco Yacht Show and walked past the Dubois booth. “We didn’t know Ed Dubois, but I’d heard of him and wanted to talk to him and see what he had to say,” says Danny. Dubois met the couple in London the following day: “Within about 15 minutes he had convinced us that we wanted a Dubois,” laughs Danny.
Still open to second-hand options, the couple later made a tentative offer on the Dubois-designed Drumbeat, which did not work out. "Plan B was to start looking at various builders of large sailing yachts and we settled on Alloy Yachts,” explains Danny. “We liked what we saw and we were very comfortable with Tony Hambrook [managing director] and his team … a month later Tony came up to Hong Kong and signed a contract.” That was in 2006, and their 51.7m ketch Mondango Two launched in 2008.
Since her launch the couple have sailed more than 70,000nm on board Mondango Two. As they used the yacht more and more, they asked themselves what they would do differently if they were ever to build another yacht. “Some people love the build process but don’t like sailing, and some like sailing but don’t like the process of building. As it happens we love both,” says Monica. “So that’s how it started and one day Danny said, ‘Never mind the “what if”, let’s just build another boat.’”
With the decision made, they signed the order for the new 56.4m Mondango Three at Alloy in 2010, and later placed the smaller Mondango Two on the market. “We probably would have been more comfortable having sold Mondango Two before taking delivery of the new yacht,” concedes Danny. “But that’s the way the market is at the moment, so we’ll keep two boats until she sells, and charter them both out.”
The full interview with Monica and Danny Gold appears in Issue 10 of The Superyacht Owner.