Mirabella V, the largest sloop in the world, is visiting Penobscot Bay this week, anchoring outside harbors with chain descending deep into the water to secure its heft.

The name means “admirable, beautiful” in Italian, but in Penobscot Bay, it is mainly striking, as its length, beam and mast height fill the channel off of Curtis Island, east of Camden Harbor.

Several Waldo County residents spotted the boat in the vicinity of Bayside, in Northport, earlier in the week.

Since its launch in 2003, Mirabella V sailed primarily in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, and was chartered out at a rate of $250,000 per week. It was sold, however, in June to a private owner, who, according to press releases, intended a major refit for the boat, extensive cruising, and perhaps to once again charter the vessel. The captain, Rocka Romcke, and crew was expected to remain with the yacht.

Mirabella V’s distinction is its size and construction. At the time of its launch, in November 2003 at VT (formerly Vosper Thornycroft) Shipbuilding in Southampton, England, the yacht was the largest composite-built vessel in the world. The 245-foot sloop bears a 300-foot-tall hollow carbon epoxy mast, which supports some 36,600 square feet of sail.

In 2003, at the height of megayacht construction around the world, the sloop “extended the boundaries of yacht building technology, both in terms of composite construction and other elements such as the mast and drop keel,” said a press release from the owners of the yacht. “These have presented specific challenges which have required VT to carry out detailed research and development to find solutions.”

At the time, and for the first six years of the vessel’s existence, the Mirabella V was owned by Joseph Vittoria, the former CEO of both Hertz and Avis. He commissioned the $50 million superyacht to be a commercial charter vessel and to complete a boyhood dream.

On the North Shore of Long Island, where Vittoria grew up working Saturdays at the yacht club, multi-mast ketches were a rarity, the 2005 press release said. He also owns two smaller yachts, the Mirabella, 131 feet, and Mirabella III, 137 feet.

VT shipyard worked with composite specialists High Modulus, designer Ron Holland, classification society Det Norske Veritas and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to build the boat, which took two years.

Performance was key to the yacht’s design, with the expectation that it sail at 20 knots.

Mirabella details
Length overall: 75.22m (247 feet)
Beam: 14.80m (48.5 feet)
Draught (keel up): 4.0m (13 feet)
Draught (keel fully down): 10.0m (33 feet)
Displacement: 765 tons
Mast height: 88.5m (292 feet)
Maximum continuous speed: 16 knots
Electrical generators (main): 2 x 200kW
Emergency generator: 1 x 80 kW
Main sail: 16,670 feet
Genoa jib: 17,730 feet
Working jib: 8,915 feet
Staysail: 3,445 feet

Mirabella V toys
29-foot Hinckley with 400hp engine
21-foot Castoldi with 240hp engine
17-foot Ribtec with 125hp engine
Also, two SeaDoo Waverunners 155hp; four Laser sailing dinghies; two Mistral windsurfers; two Mirabella V remote control replica sailing models; compressor and diving equipment for six people (certified divers only); waterskis (for adults and children); wakeboard; kneeboard; rowing skull; two-man kayak; inflatable trampoline; towable donut; and snorkeling gear.

Mirabella tenders
One new DL 20-foot Caribe with 115hp Evinrude outboard, and one new 14-foot Caribe with 25hp Mercury.

Beside size, luxury is the boat’s attraction, designed to carry 12 passengers in accommodations that include a 600-bottle wine cellar, a swimming pool, and an outdoor cinema. The boat carries in its hull small yachts, remote-controlled replicas of the Mirabella V, jet skis, and a 29-foot motor launch.

“Obviously the charter guests will be in the upper level financially,” said Vittoria, when the boat was launched. “Many will be sailors but most will want the experience of just being on the boat. To be able to move through the water at 20 knots without the noise and vibration of engines will be a unique and glorious experience.”

Lynda Clancy can be reached at 236-8511, ext. 304, or lclancy@villagesoup.com.