Mirabella V

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Mirabella V at Rinia.jpg
M5 at Rineia, Cyclades in 2008
Isle of Man
Name: M5 (ex-Mirabella V)
Port of registry: Isle of Man
Builder: VT Shipbuilding, Woolston, Hampshire, England
Yard number: 4322
Launched: 27 November 2003
Completed: May 2004
Refit: 2012
Identification: IMO number: 8979374
Notes: Largest single-masted yacht ever built
General characteristics
Type: Super yacht
Length: 75.2 m (247 ft)
Beam: 14.82 m (48.6 ft)
Height: 88.5 m (290 ft)
Draught: 10 m (33 ft) Maximum, 4 m (13 ft) Minimal
Installed power: 2 x 1,066 brake horsepower (795 kW)
Propulsion: MTU 12V 2000 M70
Sail plan: Sloop-rigged
Speed: 14.5 knots (26.9 km/h; 16.7 mph)
Range: 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km; 3,500 mi)
Crew: 16 crew

M5 is a sloop-rigged super yacht launched in 2003 as Mirabella V. At an estimated cost of over US$50 million, she is the largest single-masted yacht ever built.


M5 was built as part of a fleet of super-yachts initially owned by former Chairman and CEO of the Avis car rental company, Joseph Vittoria, and used for luxury private charters. All the Mirabellas, including M5, were subsequently sold and are now owned and operated by others, the Vittoria family has no connection with them any longer. M5 is no longer available for charter under her new ownership.

Vittoria grew up on Long Island and worked as a "launch boy" at a yacht club in Sea Cliff, New York, where he developed a love for sailing. Two of his sisters married sailors who helped him learn and continue his enjoyment of sailing. Vittoria lived in Greenwich, Connecticut from 1980 to 1991 and still has a home and membership in the Belle Haven Club, there, although he and his wife, Luciana, later moved to Palm Beach, Florida.[1] Vittoria made his fortune helping organise the buyout and resale of Avis in the 1980s.[2]


The owner's specifications called for a yacht which would combine fast sailing with the sort of luxury previously available only in motoryachts.[3]

"We can go out on conditions power boats don't want to go out in," Vittoria said in 2010. A few years previously, he said, "we were doing 19-plus knots in 8- to 12- foot seas off Monaco."[1]

To achieve this, the design called for a leisure space maximizing single-mast sloop rig, composite construction, and the exceptional performance of over 20 knots (37 km/h) to windward under sail.

A final demand was that the yacht be able to use the harbour at Palm Beach, Florida. This required the use of a lifting keel to reduce draft.[4]

M5 was designed by Irish-based, New Zealand-born yacht-designer Ron Holland. Technical aspects of the composite construction of hull and rig were supervised by the Hamble-based firm High Modulus Europe Ltd, a subsidiary of a New Zealand company.

Technical challenges[edit]

Use of composites[edit]

While vessels of M5's size are typically made from steel or aluminium, a composite structure was chosen for her to achieve three goals:

  • speedy construction
  • reduced maintenance (like aluminium, composite materials do not require regular repainting to inhibit corrosion)
  • improved thermal and acoustic insulation.[5]

Unprecedented rig[edit]

Historically, yachts over about 25 metres (82 ft) long were typically built with more than one mast in order to divide a vessel's sail area into smaller and more-easily handled units. Today's technologies have improved reliability of both larger sails and spars and simplified their handling, allowing M5 to be constructed with the largest mast and largest jib of any sailing craft ever built.

One of the design challenges for the vessel was finding ropes strong enough to pull the sails in, Vittoria said.[1]


M5 was constructed at the former BVT Surface Fleet, (formerly VT Shipbuilding and before that Vosper Thornycroft), yard at Woolston, Hampshire, England. Luciana Vittoria specified the interior styling.[6]

Interesting facts about size[edit]

  • More than twice the length of the massive J-class yachts of the 1930s, she is large enough for a double-decker bus to drive inside the hull without protruding out the top.[5]
  • Her mast extends 88.5 metres (292 ft) above the waterline, almost twice the height of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London. The compression load at the base of the mast is over 440 tonnes.
  • She exceeds Nelson's 104-gun flagship HMS Victory in length (75.2m / 294 ft 8 in vs. 69.34m / 227 ft 6 in) and draft (10.09 m / 32 ft 10 in vs. 8.76 m / 28 ft 9 in) but is somewhat narrower in beam (14.82 m / 48 ft 7 in vs. 15.80 m / 51 ft 10 in) and considerably lighter in displacement (740 tonnes / 816 tons vs. 3,556 tonnes / 3,500 tons), and also has a smaller sail area (3,380 m² / 36,490 sq ft vs. 5,440 m² / 58,590 sq ft).
  • With her keel fully lowered, M5's draught of 10 m (32 ft 10 in) is a few inches more than the 70,000 tonne ocean liner QE2.
  • With a beam of 14.80 metres, M5 is wider than a Royal Navy Type 42 destroyer
  • She cannot pass under any bridge she can navigate to (there are bridges high enough e.g. Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado, but these are over rivers or over land), which includes the Centennial Bridge over the Panama Canal (80 m).[7]
  • Her UPS (Genoa) is the largest sail in the world (1,833 m² / 19,730 sq ft), excluding spinnakers.
Metric Imperial
LOA 75.22 m 246 ft 8 in
LWL (full load) 61 m 200'
Beam 14.82 m 48 ft 7 in
Draught (keel up) 4 m 12 ft 8 in
Draught (keel down) 10 m 32 ft 10 in
Lifting Keel 150 tonnes 165 tons (US)
Displacement (full load) 765 tonnes 816 tons (US)
Mast Height (above waterline) 88.5 metres 292 feet
Sail area (mainsail+working jib) 2385 m² 25,675 sq ft
Sail area (mainsail+reacher) 3380 m² 36,490 sq ft
Main engines (2): power at 2100 rpm 795 kW 2 x 1,066 bhp


The boat has a master suite on the main deck and six cabins for as many as 12 guests. The boat's lazarette, similar to a garage, has a 29-foot (8.8 m)-long tender for transporting guests to shore. Also on the boat are Lasers, jet skis, ski boats, kayaks and three remote-controlled models of M5. On the yacht's deck, near the bow, there are swimming pools that are also used as storage for two launches.[1]


Launched on November 27, 2003, M5's mast was stepped in Southampton Empress Dock on December 30, 2003.[8] She was sailed for the first time off Portsmouth on April 14, 2004.

Operation and financing[edit]

Vittoria said in 2010 that he lets the boat for charter for up to US$420,000 a week, and the boat is usually chartered for about 12 weeks a year. In 2005, he said the boat's operating budget was met if it were chartered for 14 weeks. The yacht has a crew of 16. It is no longer for charter.[1]


After an accident in the south of France in 2004, she was repaired in Portsmouth.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e MacEachern, Frank, "Indulging a love of sailing: World's largest single-masted yacht anchored in Greenwich Harbor", news article, p A3, The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut
  2. ^ Super-Sloop, Yachting World
  3. ^ Ron Holland Design: Mirabella V
  4. ^ Mirabella V: meeting a superstar (BYM Nes)
  5. ^ a b Reinforcedplastics.com: Engineering a composite hyperyacht
  6. ^ http://www.mirabellayachts.com/press/index.php?article=16
  7. ^ Boot.de: Mirabella V - the largest sailing sloop ever
  8. ^ Yachting World: Historic launch of world's largest sloop, Mirabella V

External links[edit]