One boat is never like the other. From 24 metres onwards it may be called a superyacht. This is a privilege which normally costs the owner more than most mere mortals can earn in a lifetime (purchase, mooring and yearly maintenance). According to an estimate of the international nautical market, there are nowadays around 8,000 of these superyachts cruising the seas.
The stately 26-metre motor yacht ‘Cento by Excalibur’, moored in Palma’s Real Club Náutico, forms part of this Champions League. The owners are the Swedish couple Mia and Lennart Pihl. “We spend around eight weeks a year on board,” says Lennart, who is actually retired. Here, you have to stress the word ‘actually’ though. The company he founded 25 years ago, which specializes in leasing and sales of helicopters worldwide, has now been run by his son for the past few years. “I am always there if he needs me though,” says the friendly Swede, winking at me. In reality this means that he is still part of the business.
With the ‘Cento by Excalibur’ Mia and Lennart Pihl fulfilled a dream. “For us, this yacht is a piece of luxury which we allow ourselves after a work-filled life,” Mia explains, without sounding presumptuous. Two or three times a year they escape from the colder climate of their home town Gothenburg and enjoy the sunshine and the sea of Mallorca. “The boat is our holiday home. Discrete and extremely comfortable,” Mia gushes.
In fact, the yacht resembles a floating villa with three convenient double rooms, a large living and eating area, as well as a flybridge-lounge with wet-bar and barbecue corner. In addition, there is a four-member crew on board – the captain, a deckhand officer, a stewardess, and a cook – which takes care of providing all possible comforts. “We get spoiled 24/7 here,” Mia claims.
Neither of the owners is allowed to tidy, make the beds, or prepare a meal while they are on the boat. “Our crew doesn’t let us do anything,” Lennart says smiling. This almost caused a problem before. “During a longer trip on the boat, after a few days my wife came to me and asked me if we could go home,” Lennart remembers. “I looked at her rather surprised and asked her what it was that she did not like on board. Her answer was: ‘Well, I am not allowed to do any household duties here’.” An anecdote which shows that these superyacht owners are actually very down-to-earth people. “We do not have servants in Gothenburg. Why should we?” Mia says.
Her husband would love to be at the controls of the ‘Cento by Excalibur’ himself but most of the time the actual captain is at the helm. A 26-metre long luxury yacht is just not that easy to manoeuvre, although both Lennart and Mia possess sufficient nautical skills and experience on the open water. “In the past we have owned smaller motor and sailing boats and used to go on long cruises in European waters,” Lennart says. One of their biggest adventures was a sailing trip from Sweden to France; without a crew, of course.
The couple does not use the floating luxury apartment on Mallorca all by themselves. “We always invite family members or friends to join us on board during our Mallorca holidays. The island is simply beautiful and there are so many dreamlike bays and anchorages to discover. A true paradise,” Mia raves.
In order to cover some of the high costs of mooring, maintenance and crew, the Pihl couple charters out their boat several weeks of the year. “In high season we find it too hot on the island. We don’t mind renting out the boat to others then and are actually happy when the guests are enjoying themselves aboard our yacht,” Lennart says.