When an owner names a yacht after his favorite white wine, and then insists on having the wine cellar next to his stateroom, that yacht gains instant cult status in the charter world. Vertige, the 164-foot Tankoa superyacht, takes its name from a Condrieu appellation in the Rhône Valley known for its rare perfumes, light acidity, subtle fruit taste, and hint of violet. Chartering in the Caribbean for this winter and the Mediterranean next summer, Vertige shares the wine’s eclectic qualities. The Francesco Paszkowski design has a breakthrough exterior, with larger and smarter social zones than any yacht of its size and an interior with unusual features like a VIP stateroom next to the master suite, two foldout balconies in the master, and a stern beach club converted into a full gym so guests can work out just a few feet from the ocean.
Vertige’s crew is also a standout in the charter world. On a charter in the Grenadines last Thanksgiving, captain Filippo Belli arranged for a treasure hunt, à la Pirates of the Caribbean, for the young guests onboard. Forget the plastic treasure box and cheap costumes: The captain buried a real wooden chest in a remote cove, created a series of maps for the children to follow, filled up a rum bottle with iced tea, and then had the crew dress up as pirates, with a mermaid mixed in to add an extra dimension to the Disney-like adventure.
The hunt was followed by a traditional Thanksgiving dinner by chef Ernesto Palij, whose menus range from filet mignon with a reduced red-wine sauce to local seafood and ceviche. A recent lunch for an onboard party in Antigua included Italian specialties like bottarga and truffle butter flown in from Sicily, along with jumbo shrimp and other seafood delicacies. The Argentine-trained chef experiments with local dishes from his international travels, but also has a stable of tried-and-true favorites.
Belli sees Vertige’s mission as one that will accommodate whatever charter dreams his clients want, including last-minute itinerary changes. Next summer, the yacht has been chartered for the Monaco Grand Prix, along with trips to Croatia, Greece, and Turkey. Charter guests choose their own itineraries.
Vertige’s advantage as a charter vessel comes through the elaborate social zones across its exterior. A favorite is the square-shaped enclave on the foredeck, with space for a dozen or more people. The unusually large space has tables, lounges, and up to 12 sunbeds. Canopies turn the area into an oasis cooled by ocean breezes. Most guests gravitate forward to this area, especially when the yacht is stern-to in a port like Antibes or Saint-Tropez, because it offers privacy from the docks. On the sundeck above is another gathering point, with five sunbeds forming a semicircle around a Jacuzzi. Typically, this area has an upper helm station under a hard top, but Paszkowski turned this prime real estate into the ultimate room with a view, placing the hard top and lounges farther back, with an open space at the rear for another exceptional water view over the stern. The owner wanted to always feel close to the ocean aboard Vertige, so Paszkowski accommodated with see-through glass bulwarks at the rear of the decks, unusually large terraces, and foldout terraces along the main deck that open outward to place guests directly above the water.
The 300-bottle wine “cellar” in the hallway between the main saloon and the master suite holds many of the owner’s favorite French and Italian vintages. He decided to place the cellar—a climate-controlled room with glass walls—near the master suite so he can grab a bottle at night without disturbing the crew. Charter guests can enjoy wine onboard, of course, just not from the owner’s private stock.
Even the master suite has private terraces on either side of the bedroom that, when opened, extend the full-beam suite to about 36 feet wide. They can be used as a breakfast nook or a platform for watching the stars overhead. The master is as elegant as one would expect, with its own walk-in closet and onyx-clad head. There is also a nice touch with the VIP stateroom adjoining it. “The owner often uses Vertige for business purposes,” says Tankoa’s Michel Karsenti. “He wants his clients to enjoy the suite and not feel like they’ve been relegated to a second-class stateroom on the deck below.” This unusual layout benefits Vertige’s charter guests, who can keep children nearby in the VIP stateroom.
Beyond Palij’s broad culinary range, Vertige’s interior dining room on the main deck and the upper-deck exterior dining table for 14 were designed to make memories. The formal dining is elegant but not stuffy, surrounded by teak floors and 1950s-inspired rosewood furniture that give the saloon a calming but formal presence. By contrast, the alfresco table is more for informal feasts or big get-togethers, where big platters of creative salads and fresh seafood are served family-style around the table. At the rear of this deck is a couch that can fit up to 20 people who want to enjoy the view after a fine meal.
Length: 164 feet
Cruising areas: Caribbean in winter; Eastern/Western Mediterranean in summer
Weekly Rates: From $250,000 per week
Highlights: Exceptional exterior social zones; full gym in the beach club; two foldout balconies in the master suite; VIP on same floor as master; crew willing to go above and beyond
Contact: Northrop & Johnson