Posted September 13, 2018 in Charter by Morgan Crowe

Hollywood’s love of British actors is well known; chisel-jawed and sophisticated, with dry wit and a cut-glass Oxford accent, they add charm and color to a host of films and television series. One of Britain’s most successful television exports is very far from this stereotype, however. His name is Jeremy Clarkson; his television Show “Top Gear” is known as the most-watched show…in the world. So great was Clarkson’s popularity that when he left the BBC, Amazon Prime outbid Netflix and every other bidder to secure a new show with him and his new production company. The show was to be called “The Grand Tour.”

As a British yacht broker with a great passion for producing documentary yacht presentation videos; I have been a fan of Clarkson for many years, so when his production company needed a yacht for “The Grand Tour” I was delighted that Fiona Maureso, Northrop & Johnson’s European Charter Retail Director, passed the enquiry on to me.

The brief was that Clarkson would need a large, spectacular superyacht from which to introduce Bugatti’s new supercar, the Chiron. He wanted a yacht that would ooze glamor, offer outstanding performance and be an imposing presence in the port of Saint-Tropez where the filming was to take place. One yacht stood out to me as the perfect candidate: a brand new, 165-foot Mangusta called DA VINCI. The yacht literally was launched the same week “The Grand Tour” contacted us. Northrop & Johnson was entrusted to market her for charter, and the owner and his team immediately recognized the opportunity to present DA VINCI to a huge international audience by allowing us to broker a deal with the TV production company.

With a total of 10,000 horsepower from four MTU 2000 series engines, DA VINCI certainly offered the kind of power that Clarkson was looking for. This is a new engine arrangement from Overmarine, which previously built this model with three MTU 4000 series engines. The more efficient engineering provides significantly greater fuel economy while barely affecting the performance; this makes DA VINCI one of the most desirable models on the charter market today. I experienced this performance during the summer when I filmed Northrop & Johnson’s promotional documentary video of the yacht, but I also experienced another aspect of DA VINCI that was to be essential on the day of filming and went on to make her such a successful and popular charter yacht: her crew.

Anyone who has enjoyed relaxing as a charter guest on a superyacht will know that good crew is as important as the yacht itself, & DA VINCI benefits from some of the best in the business.

Anyone who has enjoyed relaxing as a charter guest on a superyacht will know that good crew is as important as the yacht itself, and DA VINCI benefits from some of the best in the business. Carefully selected for their experience on board this specific model of yacht, every crewmember was a pleasure to work with and went above and beyond his or her duties to ensure that the promotional video was a success. This was no mean feat, especially considering the fact that our promotional video was fitted between critical days: the yacht being commissioned after launch and the first charter visit on board. Despite the long hours of filming and constant requests for the crew to dress tables, cook spectacular show plates and prepare DA VINCI’s armada of water toys for use, everybody worked tirelessly, happily and with pride. The filming of the television show “The Grand Tour” would be a walk in the park compared with this baptism of fire!

The interiors of this yacht also are worthy of note and add to the sense of glamor that Clarkson was looking for. Maxine Tissenbaum was commissioned to create a relaxing but sophisticated ambience; she made a wonderful job of it. A combination of rich marbles and exclusive materials generate a feeling of exclusivity that charter guests will revel in, making for a unique and unforgettable charter experience. DA VINCI has a total of five staterooms, including a sumptuous full-beam master stateroom; her spacious main deck salon is a tribute to Tissenbaum’s understanding of how to use prestigious materials to create a relaxing environment.

For “The Grand Tour,” Clarkson was to be filmed having breakfast on deck, and the producer was spoiled for choice during the pre-production walkthrough. From the secluded seating area on the bow next to the Jacuzzi tub to the shaded dining table on the flybridge, the Mangusta 165 seems to have endless deck space. Eventually the aft deck was chosen for the shoot, and Clarkson was filmed relaxing in one of the sumptuous arm chairs reading a newspaper with the stunning setting of Saint-Tropez behind him. The spacious aft deck of DA VINCI easily accommodated the entire film crew.

At Northrop & Johnson, we pride ourselves on finding the right yacht for the right client, whether that be for sale or charter. Matching DA VINCI with Jeremy Clarkson for “The Grand Tour” was a winning combination for all involved. The production company simply couldn’t have wished for a better yacht to film on, the yacht owner enjoyed incomparable promotion for his vessel and I finally got to meet the man who has inspired so many of my videos. For information on chartering DA VINCI, contact your preferred N&J Charter Broker.

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