It’s rare that we’re wowed when we first step onboard a motoryacht, but this Benetti’s interior designer has a unique vision.
First Impression: Galaxy
Date toured: May 2009
I can remember quite vividly the first time I stepped aboard the 183-foot motoryacht Galaxy. It was 2005, the year that she launched from the Benetti shipyard in Italy. The exotic, light-colored woods that defined her interior décor left me literally breathless, as did her split-level master suite with sitting area and panoramic views. She was unique, gorgeously crafted, and ultimately luxurious.
She still is. I had the pleasure of spending an evening aboard for a seven-course tasting dinner (see photos from the CharterWave Daily Editor’s Blog), and I found the yacht looking just as impressive as she did four years ago. Unlike some top-dollar charter yachts whose interiors go from “contemporary” to “dated” faster than a fashion show, Galaxy remains beautifully modern, different, and divine.
Her features remain attractive for charter, as well. There is a glass elevator that accesses all decks, an enclosed and air-conditioned gym on the sundeck with floor-to-ceiling outdoor views, and multiple dining areas that make her an ideal choice for event charters. Once, at the Cannes Film Festival, the crew managed to serve 700 people over the course of four days. That’s the level at which this team functions. The charter operation is, in a word, impressive.
Capt. Dùghall macLachlainn, who is Scottish, has been a captain for 21 years and has 200,000 miles at sea. Chief Stewardess Poppie Vincent, who is married to macLachliann, is a Kiwi who has worked on boats for nearly eight years, including as a chef, putting to use her degree in nutrition and special diets. First Officer Tom Whitehead, who has spent 10 years in yachting, is from Zimbabwe and used to hunt crocodiles in Mozambique. Stewardess Peri St. John-Ives, a Kiwi, holds a level one certificate in Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation. Deckhand Murray Symons, also a Kiwi, was named the number one, under-25 New Zealand wakeboarder.
These are serious professionals with exceptional talents, which is why Galaxy has earned a reputation for offering not only charters of top quality, but also of varied experiences. Vincent, when she is not organizing the service onboard, is also a trained massage therapist. Whitehead, when he is not running things on the bridge, makes his own biltong (a type of cured meat). St. John-Ives, when she is not tending to guests, writes songs and works on her novel. If you enjoy even a hint of all that this charter crew can help you experience, you will come away with memories to last a lifetime.
Galaxy is part of the fleet at Camper & Nicholsons International. She takes 12 guests with 15 crew at a lowest weekly base rate of €255,000. Her summer cruising ground is the Mediterranean, and the crew are trying to talk the owner into moving the boat this winter to Thailand, Australian and New Zealand, instead of returning to the Caribbean.
Any reputable charter broker can give you an update on Galaxy’s current location or help you book a vacation onboard.—Kim Kavin
Previous First Impression review:
Date toured: December 2005
It’s not often that I’m surprised when stepping onboard a megayacht. Impressed, yes. Awed, occasionally. But surprised? Rarely. There are so few top interior designers in the world for megayachts these days that a lot of the boats simply look a heck of a lot alike on the inside. A different wood grain here, a different color fabric there, but usually an overall feel that’s not too dissimilar from what I’ve seen before.
All of which is why I had to stop for a moment and take a good look around after climbing onboard the new 184-foot Benetti Galaxy. I saw her at an industry-only charter yacht show in December 2005, about six months after her launch from the Italian shipyard, and her interior pretty much knocked the wind right out of me with its unusual beauty.
It was a sea of woodwork—but much lighter and rarer-looking than the cherry panels and mahogany moldings onboard most other motoryachts. I later learned the materials used to build Galaxy’s interior included European plane tree, eucalyptus, sycamore and burled maple. They practically shimmered with warmth under countless coats of craftsmen’s varnish.
I didn’t get a chance to chat with any crew members during my tour of the yacht, so I can’t speak to the level of service onboard, but I can say unequivocally that if you want to charter one of the season’s most surprisingly gorgeous motoryachts, Galaxy would be a good choice.
She’s part of the fleet at Camper & Nicholsons International, with a weekly base rate of about $250,000 for 12 guests, or about $26,000 per person with 25-percent expenses included.—Kim Kavin