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VAVA II Yacht – Glamorous $150 Million Superyacht

Built in the United Kingdom and delivered in 2012, VAVA II yacht is an impressive creation by Devonport. She is one of only 34 yachts in her size range.

VAVA II yacht interior

The interior of the VAVA II was designed by Rémi Tessier, a designer who favours simplicity and functionality.

Inside the yacht you can find a beauty salon, a gym, a beach club, an elevator, and to top it all off – air conditioning.

Not much is known about her interior, having mostly been seen by those fortunate enough to visit VAVA II.

There are not many pictures available, but if it’s anything like the gorgeous exterior, it’s surely a sight to behold.

image 10


VAVA II yacht is 96 meters long (315 ft), has a beam of 17,3 meters (56,9 ft), and a 4,8 meter (15,9 ft) draft. She can reach a top speed of 19 knots, and a cruising speed of 15 knots.

The twin diesel MTU (16V 4000 M70) 2,333hp engines that power her, make it possible for her to reach those 19 knots.

She has a reach of more than 4500 nautical miles, and anchor stabilizers make VAVA II comfortable to be on. She has the capacity to keep up to 36 guests, and up to 34 crew.


The Vava II yacht has a steel hull and aluminum superstructure, and the exterior is designed by Redman Whiteley Dixon. She has four large tender garage aft and a pool with varying depth levels.

There are a total of six decks and is built like a small ship. A helicopter landing pad is also one of the many features of this yacht.

Her mostly white exterior shows off all the details in her designs, along with the sleek lines and impressive size.

Inspired by naval design, she has smooth curves and decks stacked neatly, with an overall balanced look.

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Sighted in Barcelona: “Vava II” the superyacht owned by Ernesto Bertarelli

We saw the superyacht “vava ii” in the port of barcelona, the 96 metre vessel belongs to ernesto bertarelli.

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ernesto bertarelli yacht

Topics: Ernesto Bertarelli , Vava II

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ernesto bertarelli yacht

In conversation with: Ernesto Bertarelli

Whatever the outcome, the 37th edition of the America’s Cup will go down in history as the one that saw Alinghi return to the scene, this time as a challenger. The announcement had been in the air for some time but the official announcement came at the end of 2021, 11 years after that edition in which the Swiss team competed against Oracle Team USA.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Bertarelli’s presence in the America’s Cup has been expected for years and in itself is not news. But it is also thanks to him that the process of transformation has been set in motion, giving a significant boost to the competition. In my opinion, there is a subtle thread linking Alinghi 5, the 90-foot catamaran with which Bertarelli tried in vain to defend the America’s Cup in 2010, to today’s AC 75. It could be argued that foils were not yet on the horizon at that time, but the experience gained in that edition certainly broadened the boundaries of imagination, allowing the seed to be planted for the birth of a new generation of multihulls, the AC 72, the protagonists of the 2013 edition in San Francisco.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

And today, the Alinghi/Red Bull Racing partnership looks promising, not least because of their triumph at the last Formula One World Championship. But Bertarelli has not been idle before entering the America’s Cup arena again. On the contrary, as he tells us in this exclusive interview, not only did he continue racing but he even created the TF35s, a class of latest-generation foil catamarans. Yes, because performance is one of the cornerstones of Bertarelli’s vision of sailing.  

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Where did you get idea for the TF35 class? It all sprang from the experience we had built up with the D35 (Decision 35 catamaran class, ed.’s note). After 16 years of racing those boats, it was time for a change. The arrival of foils accelerated that decision. So we got together with some friends who had already been racing the D35 and decided to go for something more advanced. I think we have achieved what we set out to do. The TF35 is compact with a manageable budget. It is also unique in terms of performance like the F50s and AC75s which even foil upwind. Results-wise, it also proved its worth by winning complex races with very light breezes like the Bol d’Or. 

ernesto bertarelli yacht

From a design perspective, how did you develop the TF35 formula?  The general concept is the result of our vision. Once the platform was defined, I decided to go to very highly skilled professionals, some of whom, like Luc du Bois and Dirk Kramers, had America’s Cup experience from the Alinghi days. 

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Does your involvement in sailing also extend to trying to get young people involved in the sport?  I would say that has been a very natural process. After Alinghi’s victory in the America’s Cup, sailing became very popular in Switzerland. Now after over 20 years, Switzerland has a new generation of superb sailors, thanks in part to our involvement in competitive sailing. 

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Do you feel the arrival of foils is playing a central role in piquing the interest of the younger generations?  Without a doubt, Anyone under 30 is now looking to foils. It couldn’t really have been any other way. They grew up sailing Moths rather than Lasers. Once you have experienced the feeling of sailing on a foiling boat, it is hard to go back. They are beginning to dominate. 

ernesto bertarelli yacht

The 2024 Paris Olympics, for instance, will bring the debut of the iqFoils (foiling windsurf boards). What do you think of this?  Very simple. It’s a one-way street. The performances are unique. Speed is a pivotal factor always: that applies to sailing and other sports. Just look at the progress there has been of late in skiing to make it even more exhilarating in terms of performance. My son wanted to try out the foiling windsurf boards the second he had a chance. They deliver unparalleled emotions: an adrenaline-fuelled experience with not just speed playing a central role – you also get the experience of flying. 

ernesto bertarelli yacht

What were you most struck by in the AC75s? I liked virtually everything about the last edition. I have to admit I was wrong about the class at the outset. Contrary to what I thought, they proved very competitive and the racing was really exciting. The only issue perhaps was that there wasn’t enough time to fully appreciate them.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

You were the first to turn the America’s Cup into a sporting event capable of grabbing the public’s attention. The Valencia editions are still a fine example of that. So would it be possible to bring the America’s Cup back to that level?  Certainly. In fact, as much as possible has to be done to hold the public’s attention between one edition and the next. Aside from media-related benefits, the other significant aspect is that a racing circuit between Cups helps teams grow their competitiveness. The Valencia editions were memorable in terms of the audience because they were so close-fought. I don’t understand why Luna Rossa isn’t pushing things to get back on the water. They were only at a small disadvantage in terms of speed compared the Kiwis which I am convinced they could bridge if they kept training. 

ernesto bertarelli yacht

From the T35s to the AC75s: if you want to win a high level race today, do you need to take many other aspects into account aside from the quality of the crew?  Sailing has evolved so fast that the boats themselves have become more complex to handle and steer. Just like Formula 1 and Moto GP. Factors such as electronics, hydraulics, foiling control systems and the boat set-up more generally, all come into play. Then when you are on the water, the human factor is still pivotal but it is not the only one. Even the way the teams race has changed. The boats are much faster and, as a result, so are the decisions you have to take. It is a bit like comparing 1970s football games with today’s. They seem to be played at completely different speeds. And just like in modern football, we no longer just have the Regista (ed.’s note: a midfielder that sits back and controls the tempo and flow of the game) dictating the rules and making the difference. The most successful teams are the ones with the best resources in every department. Just as happens aboard. And this makes the game much more interesting. 

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Speaking of time, how do you perceive it when you are racing?  Time is everything. If you aren’t focused on the chronometer at the start, you can really comprise the result. But when I am actually racing, I go into another dimension that means I step out of time. Speed, concentration, adrenaline and emotions all expand your perception endlessly. 

ernesto bertarelli yacht

What was your sweetest victory?  The very last race at Valencia in 2007 against New Zealand. It is still a unique and unforgettable moment in time. 

ernesto bertarelli yacht

What is your favourite seafaring memory or experience? There are so many, to be honest. For the last 20 years, I have been spending at least three months at sea. I can’t live without it. Even now, if I stop to think about it, the memories of my experience Papua New Guinea come flooding back – we didn’t see as much as another boat there for an entire month. And then the three weeks I spent in Antarctica when I saw at first-hand how many shades of blue there are in nature. 

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Ernesto Bertarelli: Neue Motoryacht “Vava II”, Alinghi Kat verschenkt

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Erste Schwimmversuche der neuen "Vava II" von Ernesto Bertarelli in Plymouth. © Devonport Yachts

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11 Kommentare zu „Ernesto Bertarelli: Neue Motoryacht “Vava II”, Alinghi Kat verschenkt“


“Vava” ist nicht die erste große Motoryacht für EB. Ende 80er hatte er sich die 22m MY “Alalunga” bauen lassen. Damals eine sensationelle Carbon/Kevlar Konstruktion, für die Verbundwerkstoff Experten für Engineering und Ausführung von EB zusammen getrommelt wurden. Die Yacht entstand in Zusammenarbeit von Decision und Cantiere Navale, Santa Margherita in Ligurien, wo sie endmontiert wurde. Das Schiff machte damals 35kn Cruising Speed, was für eine Yacht dieser Größe noch sehr ungewöhnlich war. Ausführliche Artikel darüber erschienen in HorsLigne Sept. bis Dez 1991.


Ich find das gut! Das kurbelt die Wirtschaft an und das Geld kommt unter die Leute. Besser als es an der Börse zu verplempern.


115 Mille für nur 96 Meter? Da hat er sich ja schön übers Ohr hauen lassen.


Stimmt, wie konnte er nur. Bei HaBaJe hätte er für den Kapitaleinsatz ein vielfaches an Kojen und Stehklos geliefert bekommen. Gerade im amerikanischen Chartermarkt lässt sich das Boot so nicht mehr als Truppentransporter anmieten. Wenn man bedenkt, dass sein Vermögen von früher 10 Mrd. auf jetzt “nur” noch 7,8 Mrd. EUR geschrumpft sein soll, scheinen sich solche Fehler wohl zu häufen.

Wir hier im Forum hätten das natürlich viel besser gemacht … ;-))


Lasst uns mal ein bischen sammeln, dann können wir Ellison auch so einen WK1-Retro Panzerkreuzer schenken und dann sind wir sie alle beide endlich los. Vielleicht lassen sie sich ja auch zu einem Seeschlacht-Matchrace animieren, was das Problem dann endgültig löst.


Für Larry ist die Vava doch nur ein Spielzeug. Er hat schon seit Jahren diese Spritschleuder hier:



…Larry hat die Rising Sun schon vor längerem verkauft. Erst 50% und 2010 dann das ganze Schiff.

…inzwischen hat Larry einen downsize auf 88m betrieben: http://eyc.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=362&Itemid=1


… und wie gut, daß wir nicht das Problem haben, mit einem so grausamen Panzerkreutzer rumfahren zu müssen…


Auf dem Pott ist aber auch 1. mehr Platz für Bikini-Ischen und 2. finden die einen warmen Pool auch besser als kalte Gischt. Und was ein echter Stecker ist, das kann Herr Bertarelli denen auch darauf vorführen…


und dazu: was macht eigentlich Frau Bertarelli…. ??

@Ketzer das mit dem Stecker: Georg aus Steffis Frühstücksbistro würde jetzt sagen: schön gesehen Udo…

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Ernesto Bertarelli, between yachting and biotechnology

By Noah Miller

Published on May 6, 2015

Ernesto Bertarelli was born in Rome on the 22nd of September 1965 as the son of Fabio and Maria Iris Bertarelli. Four years after his birth he had a sister called Dona Bertarelli.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

The father worked for the Serono pharmaceutical company that was developing the hormonal fertility drug called Pergonal. He acquired shares in the company and by the early 1970s he was in control of it, renaming it as Ares-Serono. He decided to change residence in Geneva in 1977 and moved the company as well.

The first test-tube baby would be born with the use of Pergonal a year later and this propelled the company into celebrity, selling shares at the Swiss stock exchange in an initial public offering made in 1987.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

In the meantime Ernesto was studying at the Babson College which he graduated in 1989, after which he went to the Harvard Business School, receiving his MBA in 1993. Three years later he would be appointed as the CEO of Ares-Serono and during the same year the company releases Gonal-F, a synthetic infertility drug replacing Pergonal.

While in a holiday in Italy in 1997, Bertarelli met Kristy Roper, who was Miss UK in 1988 and was currently working as a songwriter, starting a relationship and getting married in 2000. They have three children together and currently live in Gstaad, Switzerland. Kristy is considered the richest woman in Britain after she became Mrs. Bertarelli.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

At this time the father of Ernesto was ill with cancer and thus he gave up leadership to his son. He died in 1998 and the ownership went to Ernesto and Dona who changed the focus of the company from pharmaceuticals to biotechnology and thus made it triple its revenues by 2006.

He described his work at the time thus: “2005 was a year of continued growth and business expansion. Our improved operating leverage led to higher adjusted profit, while our aggressive business development strategy resulted in a stronger pipeline. During 2006, we will maintain our focus on maximizing the potential of our marketed products, the efficiency of our business operations and the advancement of our most promising clinical programs.”

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Aside from the hormones discovered by the company for the treatment of female infertility, they also made improvements to the treatments of multiple sclerosis (Rebif) and growth hormone deficiency (Saizen).

Additional shares were sold to the New York Stock Exchange in 2000 and in September 2006 the 64.5 percent stake in the company held by the Bertarelli family was sold to Merck KgaA in Germany for the sum of $8.6 billion, leading to the creation of the new Merck-Serono company.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

When they gave up leading the company, the brother and sister focused their attention on the newly founded Bertarelli Foundation which is concerned with marine conservation and research of the life sciences in general.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Another point of interest is the Waypoint Capital group which is a business enterprise for the managers and advisers of their funds and investments among which are included the Kedge Capital investment management firm in Jersey, the Northill Capital asset management business in London and Ares Life Sciences which makes investments in the fields of medical technology, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Ernesto is an avid yachting enthusiast and in 2000 he founded the Team Alinghi yachting syndicate that won the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2003 as well as the America’s Cup. This was the first time a team won the trophy on the first attempt and the cup went to Europe for the first time with this victory. The sailors in the team came from different countries, Bertarelli being the only Swiss in the team and he served as navigator.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

The success of the team led to an award from the French President Jacques Chirac who awarded Bertarelli with the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur title in 2003. He also received the Cavaliere di Gran Croce title from President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. They defended the title in 2007 when Ernesto was an afterguard runner and grinder, managing to beat Team New Zealand. Another race was organized after many legal disputes in 2010 in Valencia, Spain and with Bertarelli as the primary helmsman they lost the race against the USA 17 challenger.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

In the meantime Ernesto ordered a new yacht from Appledore Shipbuilders which had the Project55 hull and was launched in December 2008 with the name Vava II (his former ship was entitled Vava). Described as the longest, largest and most sophisticated private yacht ever built in Britain, the vessel was worth $100 million and had a length of 96 meters.

Ernesto isn’t the only sailor in the family, since his sister Dona also loves the sport and competed in an international women’s team on Lake Geneva. With a catamaran called Ladycat she won the Bol d’Or Mirabaud race in 2010 and she created the Spindrift sailing team the next year.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

In May 2013 a consortium was formed with Bertarelli as leader, Hansjorg Wyss, University of Geneva and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne which bought the Merck Serono site in Geneva and created the Campus Biotech which wants to be a center of “excellence in the fields of healthcare, biotechnology and life sciences.” The campus became the core of a new neuroscience valley in Switzerland that held researches in the Human Brain Project and the Blue Brain Project.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Between his sailing passion, his work at Waypoint Capital and his family life he is concerned about philanthropic endeavors, although his sister is the one mainly in charge with their foundation. The foundation merged in the FABER foundation and then a new Bertarelli Foundation was created to focus on the fields of charity, health, sciences, sport or culture with important projects being developed such as the sponsoring of the Center for Neuroprosthetics, the creation of the largest marine reserve in Chagos with the aid of the British government, the Swiss Sailing Grants and the Henna Pre-School in South Africa.

For his interest in sea life Bertarelli was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Marine Sciences in 2013 from the Plymouth University. Today his net worth is estimated at $8.8 billion according to Forbes and doesn’t have plans to stop since “it is clear we cannot stand still” as he put it.

ernesto bertarelli yacht

About Noah Miller

Noah is a professional journalist who has been specializing in the jewelry and watches industry since the early 2010s. He’s been contributing to Luxatic for more than eight years now, and he's also a contributor to well known publications like GQ, Esquire or Town & Country, and many watch and jewelry blogs. Learn more about Luxatic's Editorial Process .

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One superyacht owner's mission to save the seas

Ernesto Bertarelli’s family established the Bertarelli Foundation to provide crucial support for innovative science. Claire Wrathall talks to the philanthropist about his desire to save the oceans by building bridges

At the centre of the reception area of Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist Ernesto Bertarelli’s London office stands a large mirror-finish stainless-steel globe. Created by the yacht designer Rémi Tessier , who also designed the interior of Bertarelli’s 96-metre superyacht, Vava II , it is a striking piece, the subject appropriate to a citizen of the world. But look closely and you’ll see that the oceans are picked out in relief and stand proud of the land: a warning, perhaps, that our planet is in trouble. Sea levels are rising and, as an aide notes as we pass en route to his office, in Bertarelli’s view, the oceans especially are urgently in need of protection. And the best way to effect that is through knowledge.

“I have always had an afinity with the ocean,” Bertarelli tells me. “I had my genealogy explored recently and it confirmed that, as I thought, I’m very much from around the Mediterranean . So it must be in my genes. I’ve never lived away from water. We had a house in Switzerland in the hills but, for me, it did not feel right and we had to move to a new house by the side of the lake. I need to be near water!”

Born in Rome in 1965, Bertarelli’s family moved from Italy to Switzerland when he was seven, and he learned to sail on Lake Geneva and on holidays in Porto Ercole. “I was given a boat before I got a moped,” he recalls. “I was about 12, 14 maybe, and freedom in my teenage years came from the water, not the road. I was at liberty to take the boat and go exploring. Parents seemed to give children a lot more freedom then than we are able to do these days.”

He became an accomplished sailor and went on to found – and compete as a member of – his Alinghi team, which won the America’s Cup for Switzerland in Auckland in 2003 (with Bertarelli as navigator) and defended it in Valencia in 2007 (as an afterguard, runner trimmer and grinder).

But it was as a diver and frustrated fisherman that he really came to realise the plight of the oceans. Returning to the places he’d spent holidays in his youth – “Elba, Giglio, Ponza and the Argentario peninsula” – it struck him that marine life was becoming depleted and he “started to comprehend” how “drastically, the Mediterranean was changing for the worse”. Thankfully he was not the only one to reflect on this and “groups and governments along the Mediterranean made the same realisation and now there are many initiatives in place to reverse this long decline; many, I’m pleased to say, led by Italy.”

His songwriter wife, Kirsty, who co-authored All Saints’ 2000 international hit Black Coffee, helps to inspire the family’s philanthropy and has spoken of a memorable dive they did together early in their relationship off the coast of Baja California in the Sea of Cortez . A decade later they returned to exactly the same place, hoping to repeat the experience. “But when we got in the water there was nothing,” she said in an interview earlier this year. “Everything we’d seen before had gone. That’s when I knew we had to do something.”

Hence the philanthropic work of the Bertarelli Foundation, which supports a range of causes, not least ocean science. “You learn a sense of responsibility on the water,” he continues. “You have to look after not only yourself, but also others – whether they’re people or places or living creatures. Maybe that sense of personal responsibility was born of being at sea.”

Over the past decade the foundation, led also by his sister, Dona Bertarelli, has been instrumental in creating nearly 2.4 million square kilometres of marine-protected areas in the South Pacific (around Easter Island, Pitcairn, French Polynesia and, most recently, New Caledonia), the Caribbean and perhaps most importantly, the Indian Ocean. Covering an area of 640,000 square kilometres, the British Indian Ocean Territory includes the 58 mostly uninhabited islands of the Chagos Archipelago, and contains more than 220 species of coral and at least 784 species of fish – from Nemo-like striped clownfish to species of shark, tuna, marlin and sailfish, whose populations have been depleted by intensive fishing across the Indian Ocean.

In 2010 the foundation, along with others, advocated for its designation as a reserve and “no-take” Marine Protected Area where fishing is prohibited. Working with the British government, the foundation identified an opportunity to fund a boat to patrol the reserve and also invest in trialling new technologies to monitor and enforce the reserve more efficiently and economically. Since then, dozens of illegal fishing vessels have been apprehended by the British administration, which acts as an important warning to other fishing boats tempted to fish illegally in the reserve’s waters.

While access to the territory is strictly limited, Bertarelli has taken part in scientific expeditions there on Vava II , the Devonport-built yacht, which he took delivery of in 2012 and which has been deployed for three research expeditions by scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and other research universities from around the world. While there aren’t, he says, purpose-built laboratory facilities on board, there is sufficient space to set them up when needed. “My wife and I had had a romantic idea that we would raise our three children at sea, so we planned a school room . It’s easily turned into a floating laboratory and the deck space can accommodate the scientists’ equipment.”

Bertarelli has supported numerous research projects into shark tracking, seabird ecology and coral reefs, both in the Chagos Archipelago and beyond. And in 2017 the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science was formally enshrined, an initiative that within its first full year already attracted 63 scientists from more than 20 institutions in seven countries. Its object is not just to support research but to encourage scientists to share research and work collaboratively.

“What’s particularly novel about the programme is the interdisciplinary nature of it,” says its director, Professor Heather Koldewey of ZSL. “We’re teaming up seabird ecologists with coral-reef scientists; people who tag and track sharks around the world with oceanographers; people who are interested in the deepest ocean with those who work in the shallow waters and terrestrial ecologists working on islands. By considering this whole system and how its constituent parts interact with each other, by combining disciplines that often work in discrete silos, we’re able to find new ways of looking at the ocean and new ways of doing things.”

In essence, the programme brings different groups of scientists together to tackle problems with their own particular expertise. “Many of these scientists would not be working together if it was not for our programme,” says Bertarelli. This ‘knocking heads together’ approach, which fuses expertise from many disciplines, has “proposed answers which would not have been imaginable if we hadn’t fostered these new collaborations”.

“This is pretty much the end of the era when scientists and academics competed by building walls and trenches,” says Bertarelli. “People still compete of course, probably harder than ever, but now it’s about who can build the best bridges. Who can connect to the best labs, the best institutions and the best departments. Academia isn’t less competitive; it’s potentially more competitive. But the way people compete is collaborative and more focused on team-building, which suits my approach.”

He talks excitedly about two recent projects in the Chagos Archipelago, both the subject of presentations at last year’s inaugural Bertarelli Foundation Marine Science Symposium at the Royal Geographical Society in London last September. One, by Professor Nick Graham, chair in marine ecology at Lancaster University, established the deleterious effect of rats on coral colonies. That’s right: land-dwelling rodents cause havoc on coral reefs.

Put simply, rats cause seabird populations to die out by eating their eggs. If seabirds, which feed on fish out in the open ocean, stop nesting on an island because of the rats, there will cease to be guano, nutrients from which seep back into the ocean thereby providing nutrients to the coral. Fish have also been observed to grow faster and larger near islands with lots of seabirds and no rats. By comparing the reefs around six islands with rat populations and six that had never been invaded, it was possible to demonstrate that if rats can be eradicated, ocean life will flourish.

“That was a really striking experiment,” Bertarelli says. “It would have been very difficult to do it so thoroughly anywhere else in the world.” (The comprehensive research was based on findings from a dozen uninhabited tropical islands, six with rat populations, and six without.) But in the Chagos Archipelago, where the closest continental land mass is the southern tip of India 1,500 kilometres away, “you have a unique situation. That’s why I think the territory is such an important place for the planet.”

He becomes yet more animated when he describes research by the University of Plymouth’s Dr Phil Hosegood, an oceanographer concerned with the physics rather than the biology of the oceans and how internal wave dynamics attract silvertip sharks. “People who spend time on the ocean and go fishing have always known that you find more life around seamounts,” says Bertarelli. “But nobody really knows why.”

Thanks to two fieldwork expeditions to the Chagos Archipelago, which has about 300 seamounts, Hosegood was able to establish that it is wave patterns that cause fish to congregate over a particular rock formation called Sandes Seamount. As Bertarelli encapsulates it, “The tide creates a suction mechanism like a syringe that drives the cooler, deeper, nutrient-rich water up over the seamount summit as it flushes up and down.” These currents stir up the water, causing the fish living over the seamount to school, attracting predators that are able to hunt easily among the dense patches of fish. “I thought that was fantastic,” he says. “It was so profound. It had not occurred to me – but perhaps we had not asked the right question before. There’s a lot of that in science. More and more I’m seeing that in scientific discovery, something that seems obvious turns out not to be.”

Not every scientist involved in the Bertarelli Programme is a professor – or, at least, not yet. “What’s particularly exciting is that many of these scientists are at an early stage in their careers,” says Koldewey. “We have 12 PhD students and five Master’s students already in the programme. So not only are we delivering world-class science, we’re also training the next generation of marine scientists.”

This is another subject close to Bertarelli’s heart. “It’s possible that the very rigid hierarchy that exists in academia can hinder youthful ability. As a young, smart PhD, you can get out of academia and create a company which will hopefully be as successful as Google or Facebook – but we don’t want all the smartest people to become entrepreneurs. We need some to stay working in academia, pushing the boundaries of our understanding.”

Education is not, he stresses, just what goes on in universities. “I spend almost three months of the year sailing somewhere in the world and wherever I go I think it’s very important to spend time with local people. Wherever my family has been, I’ve found that people who live by the ocean have a great affinity for visitors – perhaps because the ocean has always been our greatest means of transport and exchange. We once spent almost a year in Indonesia , and it was easy and really interesting to engage with local communities. We found out how their fisheries were doing, how they spent their time, what their concerns were.” That way, too, he says, it’s possible to highlight certain behaviours – the discarding of fishing nets, for example – and explain “gently” how they are problematic and how they might change or adapt. “It’s really a lot more fun to engage with the places you visit and to understand how people live their lives. I think philanthropy has to be personal, and our family’s approach is to always make it so.”

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America's Cup Hall of Fame Inductees

ernesto bertarelli yacht

Induction Class of 2016

Ernesto Bertarelli


As founder, owner, and crewmember of the first Cup boats from Switzerland, all named Alinghi, Bertarelli won the America’s Cup in Auckland, New Zealand in 2003, and defended it successfully in Valencia, Spain in 2007. In 2010 at Valencia, in the first Cup match between two multihulls, Alinghi’s winning streak came to end. Bertarelli sailed aboard his Cup yachts continuing the Cup tradition of owner-sailors that have included Harold Vanderbilt, T.O.M. Sopwith, and Ted Turner. Bertarelli competed in all the races in the 31st, 32nd, and 33rd America’s Cup matches in several roles, including navigator, afterguard member, backstay trimmer, and, in 2010, as helmsman. Bertarelli’s vision for the America’s Cup clearly broke boundaries. The first Cup winner from continental Europe, he took the Cup back to Europe and produced the 32nd America’s Cup in Valencia, which was among the most successful events in the competition’s post-war history. That event hosted more challengers than any other, Fremantle excepted. Bertarelli also organized the first Acts (now called the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series), a series of regattas for the challengers and the defender which toured venues in Europe. The 33rd Match in 2010, beset by legal challenges, was eventually decided on the water by gigantic multihulls, the fastest Cup yachts ever built up to that time, with the Alinghi team losing the Cup to BMW Oracle Racing. Alongside his achievements in other highly competitive circuits, Ernesto Bertarelli shows a depth of ability to build talented teams and a remarkable determination to win. He has created a new winning tradition in Swiss sailing and has both inspired and invested in the next generation of his nation’s sailors.

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Just Try to Keep Leonardo DiCaprio Off a Yacht, I Dare You

ernesto bertarelli yacht

By Kenzie Bryant

Image may contain Human Person Vehicle Transportation Yacht Aircraft Airplane and Leonardo DiCaprio

Did you have a nice little New Year’s holiday? Did you watch the whole of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City in one big gulp? Maybe you drove somewhere new since flying is so complicated these days. Off to a ski resort a few hours north as the interstate flies, hm? Spent a couple precious hours on this earth drying out cold, wet socks from the last run down the mountain, maybe? Well, that all sounds lovely, but unfortunately for mere mortals everywhere, it will never be as lovely as what Leonardo DiCaprio is up to. 

Leonardo DiCaprio! He of the movies fame. You know, Titanic. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Catch Me If You Can. The Revenant. Most recently, the Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up . This guy, would you believe it, was on a yacht. Of course you believe it. This guy loves yachts . The man simply cannot get enough of them. He is like an oenophile, traversing the lands, grabbing up whatever fermented grapes Dionysus has left us down here. Like, if there is a rare and elegant wine, he’s tried it or wants to try it—but with yachts. 

So this week he’s been chartering Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli ’s yacht, which is called Vava II, in St. Barts. The Vava II has its own Wikipedia page . It’s reported to cost $150 million and sleep about 50 guests and crew members, and frankly, that’s a lot for a boat! Those things are on water! 

Friend and capo of the fabled Pussy Posse Lukas Haas was there, as was DiCaprio’s girlfriend, 24-year-old Camila Morrone. Per the Daily Mail , they even went shopping with the editor in chief of British Vogue, Edward Enninful, which I imagine is something like shooting hoops with LeBron James.  

Before all the shopping and the lounging on deck chairs with Haas and the strolling around St. Barts, DiCaprio celebrated New Year’s on the island alongside Jeff Bezos and partner Lauren Sanchez, Drake, and yacht owner himself Bertarelli. It is where this historic photo was taken.

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Anyway, hope those socks dried out okay. 

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America's Cup : Bertarelli bricht sein Schweigen

Tatjana Pokorny

 ·  12.04.2015

America's Cup: Bertarelli bricht sein Schweigen

Der zweimalige America's-Cup-Gewinner Ernesto Bertarelli bricht sein Schweigen. Lange hat sich der Schweizer das Treiben der aktuellen Cup-Verantwortlichen, die sein Team Alinghi 2010 in einem gerichtlich erzwungenen ungleichen Exklusiv-Match besiegt und aus dem Wettbewerb gedrängt hatten, von der Seitenlinie angeschaut. Doch nun ist Bertarelli es offenbar leid. In einem Kommentar greift er die amerikanischen Cup-Verteidiger an. Er ist damit nicht allein, denn immer mehr Experten holen zum Verbalschlag gegen das Team von Larry Ellison aus, das die wichtigste Regatta des internationalen Segelsports seit geraumer Zeit nach Lust und Laune zu verbiegen scheint.

Bertarellis Original-Kommentar ist auf der Facebook-Seite von LX Sailing zu lesen – hier bei YACHT online in der Übersetzung:

"Der AC 48 ist ein interessantes Boot, aber die Meldekosten für den AC sind inzwischen höher als die der Boote! Es ist einfach schade, dass die Organisatoren keine klaren und transparenten Regeln aufstellen können. Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob sie es so beabsichtigen, doch die Art und Weise ihrer Organisation ist ziemlich obskur. Heute wollen sie es auf kleinere Boote umdrehen, morgen werden sie vielleicht das Gegenteil tun.

Ich bin erstaunt, dass sie es geschafft haben, Patrizio Bertelli zu verärgern, der im modernen America's Cup eine so wichtige Rolle gespielt hat. Es beweist, dass wir mit unserem Rückzug vom America's Cup recht hatten. Bertelli hat viele zig Millionen ausgegeben, um ein neues Boot zu entwickeln, und plötzlich sagen sie ihm, dass er das alles grundlos getan hat.

  Lange ist es her: Larry Ellison (r.) und Ernesto Bertarelli im Gespräch

Ich liebe den America's Cup. Ich habe ihn gewonnen. Und er wird für immer ein Teil von mir sein. Also verfolge ich das Geschehen natürlich. Aber es ist enttäuschend zu sehen, was da passiert. Man bedenke nur die Tatsache, dass sie sich dazu entschieden haben, die Regeln der Isaf nicht anzuerkennen. Damit ist die Tür für jede Art von Ärger weit geöffnet. Das ist sehr enttäuschend.

Es muss einen anständigen Verteidiger und einen anständigen Herausforderer geben. Das ist die Grundlage des America's Cup: zwei Yacht-Clubs, die sich gegenseitig herausfordern und – zusammen – über die Regeln der Veranstaltung entscheiden. Dennoch hat der Verteidiger in den vergangenen beiden Auflagen einen Herausforderer gewählt, der sich wenig später zurückgezogen und die Kontrolle allein dem Verteidiger überlassen hat. Deswegen stelle ich die Frage: Können wir das immer noch America's Cup nennen, wenn die Grundregeln der Veranstaltung nicht mehr befolgt werden?

  Ernesto Bertarelli hebt den America's Cup als stolzer Sieger in den Himmel über Auckland. Hier gewann er den Cup 2003 zum ersten Mal

Wenn ich der Verteidiger wäre, würde ich die stärksten Teams – das Emirates Team New Zealand oder die Luna Rossa Challenge – bitten, der Challenger of Record zu werden. Heute sagen Leute wie Bruno Troublé, dass es ein Strandevent geworden ist, der nach Pommes riecht. Das ist seine Meinung, doch wenn einer wie er so etwas sagt, dann bedeutet es, dass ein Problem vorliegt.

Ich bin froh, dass ich nicht an Patrizio Bertellis Stelle bin. Ich hatte meinen Anteil an Rückschlägen, doch inzwischen ist das Kapitel für mich beendet. Meine Geschichte mit dem America's Cup hat 2010 geendet. Sie mag eines Tages wieder beginnen. Beispielsweise, wenn die Kiwis den Cup gewinnen und faire Regeln etablieren. Aber heute nicht!"

Meistgelesen in der Rubrik Regatta

ernesto bertarelli yacht


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  4. The 96-meter yacht VAVA II in Gibraltar (owned by Ernesto Bertarelli)

    ernesto bertarelli yacht

  5. VAVA II Yacht • Ernesto Bertarelli $150 Million Superyacht

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  6. VAVA II Yacht • Ernesto Bertarelli $150 Million Superyacht

    ernesto bertarelli yacht


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  5. Vava II Superyacht (Devonport)

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  23. America's Cup: Bertarelli bricht sein Schweigen

    Der zweimalige America's-Cup-Gewinner Ernesto Bertarelli bricht sein Schweigen. Lange hat sich der Schweizer das Treiben der aktuellen Cup-Verantwortlichen, die sein Team Alinghi 2010 in einem gerichtlich erzwungenen ungleichen Exklusiv-Match besiegt und aus dem Wettbewerb gedrängt hatten, von der Seitenlinie angeschaut. Doch nun ist ...