Superyacht Owner Interview: Paola And Salvatore Trifirò – Forbes


Firstly as we continue, can I just say that geoFence has a modern UI, that is secure and has the improved features that you need.

Paola and Salvatore Trifirò at the helm of their 108-foot-long sailing yacht Ribelle.

Burgess Yachts

The superyachts I write about here are else ware are gloriously opulent technological marvels that provide good jobs and creative expression for thousands of people. And…they also represent a hyper-expensive admission price to one of the most exclusive clubs in the world.

So, while most superyacht owners appreciate the attention that their custom designed yacht attracts, they also usually prefer to remain somewhat anonymous. And that’s why I’m so grateful that Paola and Salvatore Trifirò (the owners of the 108-foot-long sailing yacht Ribelle and many other yachts) have agreed to shed some light on what it’s like to own and enjoy a multitude of large yachts in addition to marveling at their beauty for my “superyacht influencer interview” series. Enjoy.

Paola and Salvatore Trifirò race their 108-foot-long sailing yacht Ribelle.

© Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

BS: Ribelle is an amazing yacht. Can you tell me how you got started in yachting? Have you always sailed and owned yachts or is this something you came to later in life?
PT: The story began a long time ago. While still at university, I had the chance to sail on a small boat on lake Como, and it was love at first sight. I immediately felt so enthusiastic that I decided to start learning to sail and to have a sailing boat as soon as I could, even a tiny one. My husband Salvatore‘s passion for sea and sails started in a totally different way when, immediately after the Second World War, still a child on a beach in Sicily, he dreamed of leaving his small village whilst watching the big ships on the horizon, ready to fly away with them. 

Nowadays we always have a sailing boat, counting eleven so far! Our beloved first was the 7-meter-long Calife, followed by Coralie, a 12.5 meter-long Dufour. With these two boats we sailed round the Tuscan Islands, Corsica and Sardinia, followed by a Dufour 14 meters, with which we sailed to Malta and Tunisia. With our first Jongert, Black Shark, a 19 m. ketch, we sailed all around Greece before moving on to a beautiful wooden sailing boat, the last one produced by the Cantieri di Pisa in 1965, Kalea, found abandoned in Genova, that we refitted at the Valdettaro Shipyard in PortoVenere. We sailed all these boats on our own, just with the help of a son or a patient friend, but the list of our boats is still long, as you will discover further on.

The spectacular interior of the 108-foot-long sailing yacht Ribelle.

Burgess Yachts

BS: How did you intend to use Ribelle when you had her built and how did your plans change during the Pandemic?
PT: Actually, we decided to build Ribelle on a precise life and sport project. After 30 or more years of cruising, having crossed oceans and visited so many places, having tasted the flavor and the emotion of regattas on board our Kokomo and our Zefira (a totally custom-built 50-meter-long extraordinary project designed by Ed Dubois built in New Zealand), we wanted a boat for cruising too. But at the same time really be able to race and possibly win (Zefira sailed very well but her big size was “punitive”!) So, we decided to build Ribelle with the famous Malcolm McKeon, all carbon and titanium, beautiful, light, sleek and fast, a real jewel. Immediately after her launch at Vitters shipyard in Holland in 2017, she won the Maxi Yacht Rolex at Porto Cervo and had many other successes including at the Voiles of St Tropez. 
Of course, the pandemic has been a limit for our lives. But I must admit that Ribelle, and I think, generally speaking, more or less all boats, were a great help last summer providing an independent and safe holiday, what I call a real privilege. So, we spent our summertime sailing, with very few friends, in safety and comfort.

Ribelle is a high performance sailing yacht as well as a stunning thing of beauty.

Carlo Baroncini / Foto Arcobalen

BS: Where have you taken Ribelle since you've owned her? Do you like to race? What regattas have you won? Or do you prefer to explore with the yacht? Or both?
PT: We have always loved cruising, this is the reason why we have crossed seas and oceans (except the Japanese one) with all our boats from Genova to Istanbul, from the  Bay of Biscay to Cornwall, from Norway to Boston, all the East American coast, mooring at the North Cove Marina in New York; the emotion of Panama many times, the Californian Coast, Alaska, Galapagos, Fiji and many more.

The sleek aft deck of Ribelle

Burgess Yachts

With Ribelle, after the first Regattas and the satisfaction of victory, we started cruising as always: we enjoyed Southern Italy, Sardinia, the Ionian Greek Islands, the beautiful Cyclades, all the Turkish coast, the Caribbean and in a special way the Grenadine Islands. Ribelle always gave us and our guests great satisfaction, everything is perfect, spaces are large and comfortable, we take advantage of the superb saloon with the possibility of having 12 people perfectly seated and we enjoy a more spacious beach club than we had on bigger boats.

Ribelle is light and airy belowdecks

Burgess Yachts

 The final touch is the galley, about  which I would like to make a digression. Everyone who visits my galley is amazed by the enormous space (in comparison with the boat height and length) allowing a professional space, with highly performing kitchen utensils perfectly rigged up. All this has been strongly desired, as I’m convinced that a sailing boat has three main fundamental elements, wind, sails and also the galley that can satisfy and make everyone on board happy, avoiding the need to leave in search of restaurants and so on.

Ribelle belowdecks.

Burgess Yachts

BS: What's your favorite memory of sailing on Ribelle?
PT: Immediately after the launch we decided to test our new boat with a couple of well-experimented friends and so we reached the West Sardinia Coast, where the wind is always brilliant, not to say more. At a certain moment, with a strong Mistral of 35/40 knots, we decided to start for a “sport promenade”: with just a sail the size of a bed sheet, as we say in Italian, a pair of goggles, two sandwiches in one pocket, solar creams in the other and …. gone with the wind, with an average speed of 15 knots. A real flight! After the long, impressive navigation, everything was still in place in the interior, starting from my precious and beloved service of plates from Puitforcat and the many cooking gadgets in my superb galley. The satisfaction was great, Ribelle was magnificently launched through wind, sun and waves.

The spacious deck of Ribelle

Burgess Yachts

BS: Were you very involved with the design of Ribelle? If so, what is your favorite part of the design now that you've spent some time aboard?
PT: Yes, absolutely. I must admit that the construction is one of the most exciting moments, as also happens with other new projects. Which means spending hours in the shipyard, starting from the first day, up and down, where one has the possibility to learn about a new world (now I know nearly everything about carbon, for example). The meetings with the naval architect and the designer, reflecting carefully on all the parts, even the smallest, is something unforgettable. The result must reflect all the owner’s wishes and habits. Ribelle offers a great livability, all the comforts, the usage of space has been studied down to the tiniest detail, the materials are the newest, I must admit that even now that I know the boat well, I get a great sense of completeness and ease every time.

Ribelle from the air

Burgess Yachts

BS: What is it about a owning  a large yacht, specifically a high-performance sailing yacht that’s so special?
PT: Regattas demand strong commitment, especially with big boats, as well as a super organization. One must form a regatta crew, which takes time, with a navigator, tactician, and so on.  All this is very costly in every sense, including effort and time. However, can give huge satisfaction, combining speed and competition, in a cocktail of strong feelings.  Stressed? too emotional? Never mind. Ribelle is a really versatile boat, allowing easy and peaceful cruising, with just a small crew, enjoying all the unbelievable comfort that our experience, a great shipyard and big architects (for the interior we chose the famous Remi Tessier) have been able to assemble.
BS: What advice would you share with anyone who is considering owning or chartering a yacht like Ribelle?
PT: Of course, I’m obliged to personalize the question, because I could suggest Ribelle to everybody in the world. But in any case, one must decide clearly what one wants and which tendencies. To be clear, one must know that it’s going to have a real pearl, under every point of view. One can enjoy silence, wind and freedom. In conclusion, if one wants to discover splendid hidden bays, navigate in absolute silence, and also behave in a very ecological way, a sailing boat is the right place to be! It’s not so important to know all the rules of navigation (it would be a good idea, but it doesn’t really make much difference), the important thing is  to have a good crew from the beginning, with a serious captain (there are, there are!) to be completely trusted, who will relieve his owner from every worry.

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