This is how the 1% live

2014-04-13 15:00

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A superbling yacht with four bedrooms plus crew quarters and two ­entertainment decks fitted with an electric braai left Cape Town for the Angolan capital of Luanda on Friday.

The brand new Fairline Squadron 65 yacht called Maria Victoria – which cost R26?million fresh out of the factory, without transport or mark-up costs – departed from the five-star One&Only in Cape Town as the sun set on Friday. It was berthed there for two weeks.

Behind the state of the art wheel, reclining on a plush leather Recaro seat, was Captain Beau Wrankmore, who launched his marine career at the Simon’s Town navy diving school in the 1970s.

Between drags on a cigarette, Wrankmore gushed while describing the Maria Victoria: “This is a beautiful boat, very well appointed, better than any other in this class. I’m looking forward to my year in Angola,” he said.

Wrankmore will deliver the yacht to its new owner, Angolan shipping fuel magnate Mauro Carvalho, and stay on for a year to captain the craft around west African shores.

City Press met Carvalho at a posh launch party for the new bling boat at One&Only last week.

Asked about his latest toy, Carvalho flushed with pleasure. “Oh yes, I am terribly excited,” he said. Guests who nibbled on goats’ cheese canapes at the bash included ANC stalwart Tony Yengeni.

The Maria Victoria was built in the UK and transported to Cape Town while suspended from a sling on a ship in a journey that took three weeks.

This is the latest in a fleet of opulent yacht sales to African countries through the up-market local brokering company Boating World, which has offices in Cape Town and Durban.

CEO Derrick Levy described South Africa as “the luxury doorway to Africa” – especially in the wake of burgeoning oil riches on the continent. Levy has sold five new Riviera ­luxury sports fishing boats and two Fairline yachts to Angolans in the past five years.

He was in Luanda for business earlier this year. “The Angolan market for luxury goods is very good. Their marinas are even better than ours. The Chinese are developing infrastructure in Luanda, which is attracting wealth and resources. The sea and beaches are world class, comparable to that of Rio de Janeiro,” he said.

Other recent deliveries include a brand new Fairline Targa 48 yacht to Malawi in ­October.

“The biggest problem when trucking boats overland into Africa is fitting them under bridges,” said Levy.

A recent sale to a local airline tycoon in Uganda proved challenging too.

“We sent a boat to Uganda. What a nightmare, it took five weeks. Crossing the borders involved so much paperwork and waiting,” he recalled.

Levy took City Press on a tour of the Maria Victoria. The yacht’s interior smells of leather. It has sand coloured granite kitchen tops and teak wooden floors – carpets would ­become soaked in the tropical humidity off the Angolan coast.

Overhead, a cabinet contains bone china crockery and lead crystal tumblers. The main bedroom overlooks the ocean through water-level windows with cedar-lined wardrobes and a glass-encased bathroom, complete with a silent electric flush toilet.

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