November 27, 2003
The yacht Mirabella V was launched at the VT shipbuilding company’s shipyard at Woolston in the city of Southampton in southeastern England. With a length of more than 245 feet (74.7 meters) and a height of 290 feet (88.5 meters), Mirabella V is the largest single-masted yacht (sloop) ever built.
The designer of Mirabella V was Ronald John Holland, a naval architect who has specialized in the design of large sailing yachts. Mirabella V was built by VT specifically for Joseph Vittoria, who served as chairman and CEO of the Avis car rental company from 1987 to 1997 and helped facilitate that company’s acquisition by Hospitality Franchise Systems, Inc. Vittoria had Mirabella V created as part of his fleet of charter yachts, and he named her after previous vessels that he owned. Vittoria had developed a love for sailing while growing up in Long Island and working as a “launch boy” at a yacht club in the village of Sea Cliff on the western region of that island.
Hundreds of people lined up along the banks of River Itchen to watch the launch of Mirabella V. After Vittoria’s wife Luciana christened Mirabella V with a bottle of champagne, a hydraulic ram helped push the yacht down the wooden slipways and into the water.
“The event was historic in more ways than one,” reported Yachting World magazine. “Not only is Mirabella V the largest sloop in the world but it is the last vessel ever to be launched at VT’s Woolston yard, which has been sold and will shortly be demolished.” Phil Rood, VT’s press officer, told Yachting World that more than 600 ships had been launched at that location during the company’s 100-year existence. Rood also noted, “It seems fitting that the last vessel to go down the ways is the biggest of her type. It’s an historic moment.” Mirabella V remained a part of Vittoria’s fleet until 2013, when she was acquired by a new owner and renamed M5.
For more information on M5 (formerly Mirabella V), please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirabella_V
Additional information on this yacht’s 2003 launch is available at https://www.yachtingworld.com/mirabella-v/historic-launch-of-worlds-largest-sloop-mirabella-v-38969
Photo Credit: ArnoWinter (Creative Commons)