At Sea!


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There are countless ways of getting out onto the water at Porto Rotondo, including straightforward options like hiring a paddle boat from Angelo at Rudargia beach, and other decidedly more challenging tactics, like wangling an invitation to hop aboard the luxury yacht of some jet-set holidaymaker. It all depends on your approach to holidays. In any case, bear in mind that there are endless possibilities in between these extremes. To get out onto the sea you set off from Porto Rotondo Marina, which, like the adjacent Hotel Sporting, is owned by the Molinas family, proprietors of the cork production plant in Calangianus. The Marina is the jewel in the village’s crown thanks to its beautiful setting, exquisite attention to detail and excellent services. It is said to be one of the most expensive marinas in all of Europe…

However, if you consider the price range over twelve months, it actually costs less on average than Liguria, more than Santa Margherita Ligure at peak season, roughly the same as Portofino and certainly less than Monaco. Skippers point out that the quality of berths is unrivalled. The Porto Rotondo port authority, headed by director Giacomo Pileri, oversees the reception of all vessels, sending Gianni, Santino the boatswain, or other skilled personnel adroit at handling the mooring lines while qualified staff on shore take care of mooring…

As regards security, the port’s night watchman can communicate with all vessels via VHF channel and in summer, two security guards monitor all entrances 24/7. The largest berths in the marina can accommodate vessels up to 90 metres long, so it is only mega yachts that are left out in the bay at the mercy of the waves. Sailors generally also appreciate the amount of energy and water supplied, although with regards to water, during the peak summer season a natural decrease in flow is to be expected. There are three shower and bathroom facilities, with plans for expansion and renovation in the pipeline. You can marvel at the sight of the most magnificent boats in the world from the vantage point of the Marina, which has long been the preferred location for a pleasant stroll, but also from any corner, terrace or garden in Porto Rotondo, a natural amphitheatre that embraces the sea. From June onwards, the emerald green waters are graced by the coming and going of splendid sailing ships, including classic yachts like Mariette, a 1915 schooner that is fast and incredibly stylish, with a walnut-panelled saloon complete with fireplace!  Or Creole, which once belonged to shipping tycoon Niarchos and is often referred to as the “Gucci yacht”. This classic three-masted schooner measures sixty metres long and has a chequered past: it was built in 1925 by the English shipyard Camper and Nicholson, a hallowed name in nautical circles, for the American billionaire Alexander Cochran, who liked to spend fortunes on luxurious super-yachts.

The bay of Porto Rotondo is also the favourite berth of the legendary Orion, built in England for the British royal family in 1905 by the same shipyard that produced Creole, and so beautiful it is considered the Queen of the Mediterranean. Some days, you can catch a glimpse of the Croce del Sud sailing from Cala di Volpe towards the village. This 42-metre three-masted schooner with a sail area of 886 square metres and a steel hull was built in the Thirties by Istrian shipyard Martinolich and is now owned by the Mentasti family, former owners of San Pellegrino. While classic sailing yachts leave many dreamy-eyed, in Porto Rotondo there is also plenty of admiration for the sailing yachts by Cesarino Sangermani, the Lavagna shipyard that builds these Rolls Royces of the sea, owned by the wealthiest Italian and European families. For example Cigno Nero, owned by Osvaldo Cardin, has a permanent mooring in the port, as has Emi; Naly, too, owned by Armando Testa, calls these waters home …even the British are envious of the beauty and technology synonymous with “Sangermani” craft. Finnish shipyard Nautor’s Swan is present in the emerald waters of Gallura with Berenice, owned by Stefano and Massimiliano Giusti, Jeroboan owned by Vittorio Codecasa, and Antares owned by Paolo Crosetto, which docks at berth 54, to name just a few. The undisputed highlight of the season is in September at Porto Cervo, which hosts the Rolex-sponsored Swann Cup from 11th to 18th. Meanwhile, the sight of Vertigo sailing by brings a hushed awe, so impressive is the 67.2-metre long sailing super-yacht, the largest ever built in the southern hemisphere (by New Zealand’s Alloy shipyard). You cannot help but think of Sophia Loren or Elisabeth Taylor when you catch a glimpse of the Istranka, as they were among the illustrious guests to grace the decks of this yacht, which once belonged to the President of Yugoslavia, Tito, and is now owned by Nerio Alessandri, founder and owner of Technogym.

Text by N.T