Boat International

ON BOARD WITH Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza

Francesca Thyssen-Bomemisza was bom to be an art collector and ocean activist. Her father, Baron Hans Heinrich, owned one of the world’s finest collections of art – his trove of treasures was surpassed only by Queen Elizabeth II, and Thyssen-Bornemisza recalls touring the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg in 1982, viewing Matisses and van Goghs in candlelit basements as her father negotiated an exhibition. He also kept a yacht in Monaco’s Port Hercules, so it comes as no surprise that Thyssen- Bomemisza followed suit in both respects once she reached adulthood.

Her own yachting odyssey began in Venice. “You probably know Johnny Pigozzi?” she asks at the start of our conversation, referring to the madcap collector of African and Japanese art. “He’s quite a legend. Anyway, he sailed Amazon Express to the Biennale.” This steel trawler was converted into a 67-metre expedition yacht in the Arsenale di Venezia, then redesigned by a young Espen Øino.

“Johnny said: The whole point of having a boat is to take it to the far ends of the world. And where you want to go is Greenland.” Thyssen- Bornemisza took a long lease on a 37-metre Vitters explorer

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