All Decked Out

They said it couldn't be done, but the Mirabella V proves you can charter a yacht—and sailboat, too.

The superyacht, it would appear, is the luxury power toy du jour. To be frank, these are the vessels that separate the truly rich from the sometimes, sort of, nearly rich. Not to say that there aren't those who prefer outings a bit more old-fashioned and au naturel. For them it's about the simple majesty and motor-free quietude of a sail on the high seas, perhaps off Costa Smeralda or St. Barths. And for those who prefer a dash of the latter plus the punch of the former? The barely year-old Mirabella V—which Guinness World Records now cites as the longest sloop in the world, with the tallest mast and largest sail—serves as superyacht and power sailboat in one.

Launched as a charter rental last May, the Mirabella V is 100 percent the vision of its owner, Joe Vittoria, the 70-year-old former CEO of Avis, whose slogan is, most famously, "We try harder."

A massive feat of nautical engineering, the Ron Holland-designed boat, which this writer sailed last summer, cost $50 million and took three years to build. It is an impeccable example of 21st-century luxury. With six bedrooms, including the spacious master suite, the Mirabella V can sleep up to 12. She also comes with her own staff, most of them culled from the owner's two other popular charter boats, the Mirabella and the Mirabella III.

For Vittoria, the Med is the sea of choice—his wife, Luciana, who decorated and accessorized the interior, is from Naples—though the boat can be sailed from almost any port. The decor is modern and smart (if conservative), from the custom-embroidered linens to the occasional Georgian chest of drawers. But this boat certainly has the requisite bells and whistles—take the inlaid-wood closet doors handcrafted by Viscount David Linley and the enormous television that emerges from the upper deck for screenings after sundown.

There's a grandeur, to be sure, but also a surprising intimacy. The rooms and decks are human in scale; nothing overwhelms or intimidates—at least on board. Still, along Italy's Amalfi Coast last summer, fishermen and sailors alike dropped whatever they were doing to focus eyes/binoculars/telescopes on the world's largest single-masted yacht. And it's no wonder. The Mirabella V is not your everyday sight, even in these glamorous waters.

$ Charters, which run $300,000 per week, are handled by Jacqui Beadon Yachts, 33-4/93-01-86-71;

$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.