January 11th 2014. By Diane Byrne.

Cantiere delle Marche’s Stella di Mare: Passagemaker Magnificence

The newest Darwin Class series yacht underscores her builder’s focus on passage-making and luxury.

Many a builder claims to offer ocean-going yachts, but Cantiere delle Marche puts its money where its mouth is with its Darwin Class series. Perhaps more accurately, its clients do. Stella di Mare is the latest example. The owner of this nearly-97-footer put 5,000 miles under her hull between delivery in April and last September’s Cannes Boat Show.

The yacht barely stopped long enough to anchor out, befitting her expedition profile. Thousands more miles are in Stella di Mare’s future, too. The essentially non-stop cruising comes down to two things: reliable performance and customized comfort.


Stella di Mare’s captain says her best cruising speed is eight and a half knots and that she typically burns about 13 gph at that speed. Our sea trial during the Cannes show backed it up. She achieved a 11.6-gph fuel burn, with about a dozen of us journalists watching the gauges at the helm.


The aft-raked pilothouse windows, a signature element of the Darwin Class series, convey that Stella di Mare means business. Her naval architect, Sergio Cutolo of Hydro Tec, says that fast yachts may be fun, but with the Darwin Class, you enjoy a more well-rounded experience.


Stella di Mare is powered by twin MTU 8V 2000 M72 diesel engines rated for heavy duty. The rest of her construction, from extra-thick steel hull plating to cupro-nickel piping, follows suit.


For the interior the owner wanted a relaxed, family atmosphere, though of course with luxury elements like elm wood and leather. He selected Marco Veglia Architetto and Studio Floris & Associati to create the decor. The saloon’s seating arrangement is for kids and adults to gather together.


This handy desk, abaft one of the saloon’s settees and opposite the dining area, is for guests and crew alike. Since Stella di Mare is often on the go, a navigation chart can be spread out here to show everyone where they are and where they’re headed next.


Stella di Mare’s galley is on the main deck, as is the crew mess, the latter being directly across the hall. It’s an arrangement that Cantiere delle Marche had on another Darwin Class yacht, Percheron.There’s good prep and stowage space here. The shipyard reports that the children of Stella di Mare’s owner like to visit the crew in the galley and the mess.


There’s an equally open relationship between the crew and guests up one deck. The owner likes to talk with the captain while he’s navigating. That explains the opening above the settee here in the skylounge, which is shown with blinds partially drawn. It also explains a small observation settee in the wheelhouse.


For a tricky harbor, the wide side decks and wing stations off the wheelhouse are put to good use. They should really come in handy when Stella di Mare heads to the polar regions, which are on the owner’s must-see list.



The master stateroom is full beam below decks, joined by three guest staterooms. There’s a VIP forward and two twin staterooms that both have pullmans. The owner wanted low sound levels throughout the yacht, and Cantiere delle Marche complied. During sea trials, the level was 55 decibels in the master.


Alfresco areas are as popular with the owner’s family as the interior spaces are. Note the bench seat at the foredeck, plus the sunpads (and extra helm) on the flying bridge. Note, too, the outdoor dining and seating on the second deck, all conveniently close to the skylounge.

LOA: 96’8” * Beam: 24’4” * Draft: 7’6” (full load) * Displacement: 212 long tons (full load) * Fuel capacity: 11,095 gallons

Cantiere delle Marche’s management team has a passion for passage-making yachts. That’s why the Darwin Series was first to be offered. It’s now joined by the Nauta Air series, with softer lines but still expedition-oriented. In each series, the yachts are over-built for stamina in sloppy seas. Also in each series, the yachts can be customized to buyers’ wishes. After all, as Vasco Buonpensiere, Cantiere delle Marche’s sales and marketing director, puts it, adventurous owners want quality – but they also still like showing off.

See Cantiere delle Marche listings on Yachtworld.
For more information, contact Cantiere delle Marche or its U.S. representative, Worth Avenue Yachts.

Diane Byrne

Diane M. Byrne is the founder and editor of the daily updated website Megayacht News. A longtime yachting writer, she also contributes to Yachts International, Boat Exclusive, and other magazines. She is additionally a member of the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors and Vice Chair of the U.S. Superyacht Association.