Excellence in absentia

When it comes to prolific yacht owners, it’s pretty hard to top Neville Crichton. He is quick to point out that he has owned and raced numerous iconic Maxi yachts. His sailing plaudits also include first place finishes in the Fastnet, Sydney-Hobart and Transpac among other iconic offshore races. And now that he has bought and is in the process of refitting the classic J-Class yacht Rainbow to be ready to compete in 2024, it’s obvious his yacht racing interests are not confined to the newest technology.

He has also been a prolific yacht builder, who has commissioned more than 50 yachts during his decades-long sailing career. In addition to owning and skippering highly decorated racing yachts, he has also owned a series of large aluminum sailing and motor yachts designed by Ed Dubois and built by a company he founded in the 1980s, Alloy Yachts.

But that was then.

He bought his current yacht, the 49-metre Heesen Como (formerly Monaco Wolf), during the pandemic. In fact, he bought it sight unseen. “It was a good boat at a good price,” he says via Zoom from his Australia-based office. He bought it based on advice of a trusted friend, because he couldn’t actually go see the boat in person during the Covid lockdown.

Crichton is also quick to point out that he could tell by the photos that the boat’s older interior design was not up to his standards. And that’s when he called some other friends he trusted–Luca Boldrini and Francesca Muzio of FM Archittura in Milan.

“As you know, Neville is a very important yacht owner,” says Luca Boldrini. “We met a few years ago because he liked our style. And then he calls us during the worst part of the pandemic and says, ‘Guys, I really like to work with you on a boat. I trust you very much but I’m stuck in Australia so I cannot go to see the boat.

“Can you do me a favor? Can you go to take a look of the boat and let me know what you think? I can see from the photos that the interior is a little bit too flashy for me. I want you to tone it down and simplify it. But I want to make it more essential. I want to make it more modern. I want it to have a calming feeling.” Of course Boldrini said yes. “But you know, Neville has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to anticipating what he and just as importantly his potential yacht buyers want,” adds Francesca Muzio. “And that’s why we’ve loved  working with such an important yacht owner. I mean yes, it was a challenge because he pushed us beyond our vision. But it was worth it.

In the end, their redesigned interior has a soothing feel that was inspired by Luca and Francesca’s design work in Asia. “We did the refit very quickly,” says Francesca. “Because of course Neville wants everything to be done quickly. But we love how this has come out, because it brings the calming feeling of nature into the yacht.”

As you can see from what the interior looked like before the refit and after, the use of warm wood, calming colors and soft textures has created an entirely new experience throughout the yacht. The clever louvred wall panels not only soften the intrusion of the tender storage bays, they also make the main saloon more intimate as well. Add elegantly designed bespoke furniture, deep pile carpets and sophisticated lighting and voila, you get an entirely new yacht — during a pandemic, for an owner who never got to see it in person.

Being the trendsetter that he is, Neville knows that owners want yachts that make it easy to connect to nature. People want to own and enjoy yachts not only because of their style, but because of the lifestyle that well-designed superyachts make possible. And when it comes to the superyacht owner lifestyle, few have the vison that Neville Crichton has.

Words by Bill Springer





Mark Cavendish   Chief Commercial Officer

| Robert Drontmann   Sales Director

Heesen Yachts North America

Thom Conboy   Agent North-America, Mexico, Bahama's & Caribbean