Charter brokers see it all the time: clients looking for new and different experiences. For those of you wishing to slow down a while aboard a charmingly unusual megayacht, Ariete Primo is worth consideration. The 44.2-meter (145-foot) yacht is a former tugboat now centrally managed by Floating Life and available in the Med nearly year-round through that office or your favorite charter broker.
The yacht has quite a story to tell. Built in 1967 (see below), and christened with the same name as she bears now, she was intended to take on some of the toughest jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. That ruggedness is among the reasons why an Italian gentleman named Franco Polti began searching for a tug to refit as a motoryacht earlier this decade. (Polti, by the way, is the head of an eponymous business that is the main manufacturer of steam-cleaning household appliances in Europe.) The problem was, most of the vessels available were in the 30- to 35-meter (98- to 115-foot) range, smaller than he wanted. But upon seeing Ariete Primo in a shipyard in 2004, he fell in love.
He recognized he had a challenge on his hands, too, one that would take two years to complete. Among the changes: adapting the ballast compartments to gain more living area; replacing the iron decks with aluminum ones that could also handle helicopter touch-and-go operations; and restructuring the small crew cabins to make spacious guest staterooms. Ariete Primo features a décor reminiscent of old English homes, with warm woodwork, yet with a twist: a tiled spa with aromatherapy and a hammam (Turkish bath).
Naval architect Massimo Gregori Grgic and his Yankee Delta Studio team, along with interior designer Sergio Allori, struck a careful balance between incorporating luxury features like these while preserving the character of the vessel. That’s why you can still see fire-fighting equipment, huge lookout lights, the original 2,700-hp engines aboard. Also preserved was the “Panama Eye,” an oval window used by a crewmember assisting the captain with navigating while passing through the Panama Canal.
Charter guests within the past year have represented various nationalities, from Canadian to Russian and Italian. An American film studio even chartered her during the Cannes Film Festival.
Rates are €110,000 during low season (about $150,000) and €120,000 for high season ($163,500).