First Impression: Mondango
Date toured: May 2009
Mondango is a 169-foot sailing yacht that launched from the Alloy yard in New Zealand in September 2008. The owners immediately got onboard, even before the finishing details were completed, and sailed with the crew from New Zealand to Antigua. They used their boat all winter in the Caribbean, then sailed with the crew to the Mediterranean for the summer 2009 season. The boat had her first four weeks of summer charters on the calendar at the time of my tour, and the crew were expecting additional owner use—meaning Mondango will be an exclusive, hard-to-book boat for at least her first year on the international charter market.
She’s certainly worth trying to get aboard, though, based on what I saw. The interior is contemporary Asian with lots of interesting textures and fabrics, a result of the owner’s background. Throughout the décor is the Japanese symbol that means “hand,” which seems odd until you learn that the owner worked in textiles. As chief engineer A.J. Browne explained it to me, the owner got hold of leftover car upholstery leather and turned the pieces into a line of gloves that were made in Hong Kong. “They basically paid for the boat,” Browne said.
Some of the gorgeous details you’ll find onboard include dark chocolate leather trim on Mondango’s walls as well as on stair rails, door handles, and blinds, plush carpeting with carved-out designs that almost felt like a massage to my bare feet, walls made of papier-mâché art, and other walls covered in suede.
The most interesting feature for charter, I must say, are the toilets—some of which are about as high-tech as toilets get. The one in the master cabin is a remote-controlled model from U.K.-based Geberit. You pop the remote control out of the side, like a digital camera’s memory card, and use the buttons to adjust the direction of water sprayers, adjust the sprayed water’s temperature, or activate a blow dryer. There’s an automatic fan that begins to extract smells the moment you sit on the seat, and you wave your hand before an infrared sensor to flush. No need to touch anything other than the toilet paper, if you choose to use it at all.
Which means, of course, that your hands will be clean come dinnertime—which is good, because the food I saw Belgian chef Odile Ploudier preparing in the galley sure looked good. She specializes in Mediterranean cuisine and likes to cook fish and seafood. “I also easily adapt to countries we visit, to the local produce,” she told me. “I explore a lot of things, enjoy fresh herbs and spices, and like to make sorbets and yogurt ice creams.” That type of creativity, no doubt, is what helped Ploudier win the best chef award at the 2002 charter yacht show in Antigua.
Mondango is part of the Edmiston & Company fleet. She takes 10 guests with nine or 10 crew at a lowest weekly base rate of €185,000. Any reputable charter broker can tell you more.—Kim Kavin