Capt. Nathan Milicich is a Kiwi who grew up in Northland near the Bay of Islands and, as a boy, he spent a lot of time in, on, or near the water — fishing, diving, and sailing. When he finished school, he wasn’t sure what to do with his life so he took a gap year and found a job in a shipyard. “We were building the 50-meter superyacht M/Y Flinders and the crew explained all the great things about yachting, so in the end, my gap year turned into a trip overseas to find a job on a yacht,” he says. “Eighteen years later, it’s been a long gap year!”
Milicich started out as deck crew on smaller boats. “I always took the weird cruising area jobs because a captain once told me if I wanted to travel, I should avoid the milk-run yachts,” he says. “I worked my way up for a few years, and even tried the engineering route. Nine years ago, I came to work for my current family as mate on a 40 meter and worked through my courses and progressed with them to captain on board on M/Y Moonstone.”
This 60-meter 1,015 GT teak-decked, steel-hulled yacht with an aluminum superstructure was launched by Amels in July 2021. She is one of three Limited Edition 200 models designed by Tim Heywood. This is the first Amels interior design project for Ancona-based designer Laura Pomponi and her studio, Luxury Projects. Moonstone is a finalist in the BOAT Design Innovation Awards 2022. With a top speed of 15.5 knots, at cruise speed she has a range of 4,500 nautical miles.
The yacht project began as a speculative build for the yard and so the interior was designed to appeal to a wide (potential) clientele: Inside, simple architectural lines are combined with contrasting materials and extensive use of light, with full-height windows in the owner’s suite and office. The overall objective was to create an ambiance of homey elegance.
“We came into the build project late,” explains the captain. “After completing a world tour on their last vessel, the owners felt it was a good time to move up (in yacht size), and this project was available, suited their needs, and had a good pedigree.”
This was Milicich’s first new-build project, so he admits it was a learning curve with every step further complicated by COVID-19 restrictions. “But we had the right people supporting us and we feel the project come together well.” He particularly enjoyed the sea trials, putting the vessel into some interesting maneuvers and seeing how she performed. “I really enjoyed seeing the project come together and sailing away with a new boat,” he says.
Capt. Milicich hopes very much to be involved in a future Amels build where he has the chance to join the project early in the process and contribute with modifications to the plans. “It would be great to be there from the start and finetune the vessel to every detail of the owners’ and family’s needs and seeing that dream come to reality,” he says. “It’s the sound levels and the capabilities it gives us that impress me most about this yacht. I do think it would have been nice to have a bit more time and gone over a few of the finer details more closely, such as power point positions, outlets, etc.”
M/Y Moonstone and her 12 crew headed across the Atlantic to explore the Caribbean and Americas during the winter of 2021/2022 and Capt. Milicich plans to continue heading for the “weird” cruise areas and finding the amazing places.
This article originally ran in the July 2022 issue of Dockwalk.