158 Tus­cany to the Sea

Robb Report Singapore - - Contents - By SA­MAN­THA BROOKS Pho­tog­ra­phy by STU­ART PEARCE AND STE­FANO SCATA

Con­sider spend­ing your next culi­nary trip on Sa­tori, a new lux­ury sail­ing yacht that will keep you oc­cu­pied with a myr­iad of gas­tro­nom­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences

on board.

The newly launched sail­ing yacht Sa­tori brings the bril­liance of Borgo Santo Pi­etro to the Mediter­ranean.

Our one hes­i­ta­tion about head­ing to shore early is that we’ll miss a fi­nal meal by An­drea Mat­tei, the chef who took a break from his post at Borgo Santo Pi­etro to join us on board. Claus as­sures us, how­ever, that in­stead we’ll find a lovely place for a late-af­ter­noon lunch along the Tus­can coast. A half hour later, as we reach the har­bour, the Tyrrhe­nian Sea be­gins to white­cap and swell, just as he pre­dicted.

Sail­ing since he was a four-year-old grow­ing up in Copen­hagen, Den­mark, Claus has spent five decades nav­i­gat­ing the seas. Jeanette, who also hails from Den­mark, is not par­tic­u­larly fond of the pur­suit, but she does share Claus’s affin­ity for Italy — a mu­tual pas­sion that works to the ben­e­fit of their guests on land and at sea.

In­deed, even af­ter a col­lege se­mes­ter spent in Siena and nearly a dozen trips to Italy since, I have never once heard of Fol­lonica, the town where we’ve stopped for lunch. The charm­ing sea­side vil­lage — which claims the widest ex­panse of beach in all of Tus­cany — is home to a hid­den gem of a restau­rant, Oasi, which we en­ter mo­ments be­fore the kitchen closes af­ter lunch.

As the only peo­ple din­ing, we quickly de­cide on three cour­ses of crudo and house-made pasta with truf­fles and clams. The first two cour­ses are divine. Claus in­quires about the chef’s back­ground from our server (who is also the chef’s wife), and when it is re­vealed that the Thot­trups own La Bot­tega del Buon Caf­fee in Florence, the meal rises to new heights. Per­haps the

It’s our fi­nal morn­ing aboard Sa­tori, a newly launched 41.5m sail­ing yacht, and own­ers Claus and Jeanette Thot­trup are apol­o­gis­ing for the weather — a per­fectly balmy 24 de­grees and sunny. “We’ve had such calm weather all sum­mer, but winds are sup­posed to pick up in a bit,” says Claus, who, along with his wife, also owns the Borgo Santo Pi­etro re­sort in Tus­cany. “If we leave by 11 am, we will miss them, but if we wait un­til 1, I’m afraid it might be un­com­fort­ably choppy.”

chef is hop­ing that the Thot­trups will el­e­vate his ca­reer as they did that of La Bot­tega’s Miche­lin-starred An­tonello Sardi, who started out as a dish­washer. By the end of our eight-course, three-hour lunch, the cou­ple is strongly con­sid­er­ing it.

The Thot­trups’ love of au­then­tic Ital­ian cre­ations is most ev­i­dent at Borgo Santo Pi­etro, their 81-hectare re­sort lo­cated about 70 min­utes south of Florence. “When we bought Borgo in 2001, it was orig­i­nally go­ing to be a coun­try home for us,” says Jeanette. “But as we were go­ing through the ren­o­va­tion process, it was such an un­der­tak­ing, I didn’t think it made sense to keep it just for us. We fell in love with the re­gion and it was some­thing we wanted to share.”

Ten years later, the 13th-cen­tury es­tate thrives with 20 rooms, a ten­nis court, a spa, two restau­rants (Meo Modo is a des­ti­na­tion in its own right for chef Mat­tei’s farm-toplate fare), or­ganic gar­dens and 300 sheep that pro­duce milk for the pecorino cheese. Jeanette has spent the last four years de­vel­op­ing a skincare line, Seed to Skin,

“The last thing we wanted was for peo­ple to have to spend all their time be­low decks.”

Jeanette Thot­trup

for which all the in­gre­di­ents are ei­ther grown on-site or hand­sourced by the Borgo team. The Thot­trups have also planted vine­yards and even­tu­ally plan to make their own wine. But it is the launch of Sa­tori — an ex­ten­sion of the Tus­cany prop­erty fea­tur­ing much of the same ser­vice, food and prod­ucts — that has per­haps been their big­gest labour of love yet.

Claus says that the sail­ing yacht — which was built over the course of three years in a Turk­ish ship­yard de­vel­oped ex­pressly for that pur­pose — is some­where be­tween a tra­di­tional Turk­ish gulet and a schooner. Jeanette, mean­while, stresses that it rep­re­sents a mod­ern con­cept with am­ple deck space di­vided into dif­fer­ent ar­eas. “So of­ten you see sail­boats with all of the deck space crammed in the back,” she says. “The last thing we wanted was for peo­ple to have to spend all their time be­low decks, so we made the lay­out up top com­pletely unique.”

The spa­cious fore­deck in­cludes a trio of lounge beds. At night, ad­di­tional lounge chairs are brought out and the space trans­forms into an out­door cin­ema.

The main deck com­prises a din­ing ta­ble for 12, placed just be­yond the open kitchen. “We wanted our guests to in­ter­act with the chefs and see the food be­ing pre­pared. It’s such an in­te­gral part of the ex­pe­ri­ence and we wanted it to be more im­mer­sive,” says Jeanette, who adds that cook­ing lessons will also be of­fered. “It’s the op­po­site of a mo­tor­boat, where you sit on top of the deck and ev­ery­thing is hap­pen­ing un­der­neath.” An en­closed liv­ing room with plush so­fas and a li­brary fol­lows, while the aft deck fea­tures a bar, daybeds, and ad­di­tional so­fas and lounge chairs.

While Sa­tori’s lay­out might be mod­ern, the yacht’s aes­thetic is de­cid­edly vin­tage. The chairs in the din­ing room are the same ones found at Harry’s Bar in Venice, and the sil­ver cham­pagne cool­ers are from the Ital­ian navy, circa 1920. Pho­tos from Greek pho­tog­ra­phers of the 1920s and 1930s cap­ture marine life, fish­er­men and sponge divers.

Sa­tori ac­com­mo­dates up to eight pas­sen­gers in three nearly iden­ti­cal state­rooms, plus a mas­ter suite that spans the width of the ship. A spa suite can con­vert to a queen-sized state­room to host two ad­di­tional guests, but oth­er­wise it func­tions as a treat­ment room with a mas­sage ta­ble and en suite bath­room. “The point of the ship was to make a real ho­tel on the sea,” Claus says. “Most of the time, with sail­ing, you ei­ther get a rugged ship de­signed for rac­ing that is ter­ri­bly un­com­fort­able or a com­fort­able ship that isn’t re­ally equipped for ac­tual sail­ing. We’re com­bin­ing the best of both worlds, and the re­sult is stream­lined, el­e­gant and aero­dy­namic.”

Per­haps most en­tic­ing is the Thot­trups’ ded­i­ca­tion to cre­at­ing the best pos­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence for their guests. “We’ve spent the last year cre­at­ing care­fully cu­rated itin­er­ar­ies in and around Italy, which we’ll ad­just as we can to ac­com­mo­date in­di­vid­ual guests’ needs and weather con­cerns,” Claus says. “One of my favourites starts in Amalfi and goes to Capri and then to a lot of lesser-known places like

Pal­marola — a small un­in­hab­ited is­land full of grot­toes and turquoise la­goons and named the most beau­ti­ful is­land in the Med by Jac­ques Cousteau.”

Our group had orig­i­nally boarded Sa­tori at the ma­rina in Por­tiglioni, about 45 min­utes south of Borgo Santo Pi­etro. It was late sum­mer, so there was no short­age of pres­ti­gious mo­tor yachts mak­ing their way through the Med — but Sa­tori still stood out.

We headed for Elba, an­chor­ing just in time to catch the last of the sun as we made use of the ship’s Se­abobs, pad­dle­boards and wake­boards. Af­ter ex­plor­ing the is­land, we ar­rived back on board for din­ner. The for­mal din­ing ta­ble and hand­picked place set­tings were el­e­gant, but the mood was in­for­mal as we in­ter­acted with the chef and crew while they pre­pared and served each course. At meal’s end, Claus sug­gested an­other glass of wine on the fore­deck, which had been trans­formed into a cin­e­matic space. “Be care­ful though with the glasses,” he warned. “It’s in­evitable you’ll fall asleep on the lounge chairs be­fore the movie ends.”

Sure enough, I could feel my empty glass start to slip be­tween my fin­gers as I drifted off, de­light­fully ex­hausted af­ter a beau­ti­ful day aboard Sa­tori.

“We wanted our guests to in­ter­act with the chefs and see the food be­ing pre­pared.”

Jeanette Thot­trup

From top: the aft deck is one of sev­eral loung­ing ar­eas on Sa­tori; an ob­ser­va­tionkitchen is ad­ja­cent to the main din­ing area. Fac­ing page: in­te­rior spaces em­pha­sise theout­doors.

From top: the yacht’s wine cel­lar holds250 bot­tles; pas­sen­gers can take classes with the yacht’s chefs. Fac­ing page:once the sun sets, the fore­deck can con­vert to a cin­ema; vin­tage ac­cents pair with mod­ern com­fortsthrough­out.

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