When the 85-meter AKYACHT M/Y Victorious debuted at the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show, she turned heads with a shiny Bentley parked conspicuously on her helideck. While the luxe car was a temporary addition to the yacht, it was just a hint at the wealth of toys that this rugged explorer yacht is designed to carry on board. Exploration is built into every part of Victorious’s DNA, from her excellent seakeeping to expansive accommodations and generous provisioning to her enviable toy box, which includes a custom-built 12.5-meter power catamaran.
Voyaging the seas is also inherent in Victorious’s build captain Luca Mosca, whose father was a captain. “I am a captain son of a captain father, so I can say that yachting is in my DNA,” says Mosca. He recounts wonderful childhood memories of joining his father during school holidays on board yachts under his command.
The junior captain Mosca’s professional yachting career began when he was 20 years old, working seasonally on smaller boats as a solo crewmember. “Deckhand, engineer, steward, cook — I was covering all the ranks, but it was a great experience.” At 24, an opportunity came to work with his father on a 47-meter Benetti, a role he had for seven years. Despite working for his dad, there was no nepotism; he still had to prove himself, starting from deckhand and eventually being promoted to chief officer. Mosca has been a captain since 1994, celebrating his 28 years in April this year. He is from Sanremo, Italy — “just a few miles from the French border and beautiful Côte d’Azur, the mecca of yachting,” he says. But he’s currently based in Monaco and works on yachts all over the world.
In the last 15 years alone, he’s helmed some impressive vessels and been to some amazing places. He was captain of the 51-meter Mondomarine Tribù, traveling from Patagonia to Alaska, New Zealand and Tasmania, just to name a few. “We visited 34 different countries and spent almost two years in the Pacific Ocean.” After this, he captained a 45-meter Benetti M/Y More, a successful charter yacht based in the South of France; 56-meter Benetti M/Y Annaeva; 50-meter Heesen M/Y Hayken; 77-meter Amels M/Y Boadicea; 73-meter Nobiskrug M/Y Plan B; and finally his largest yacht yet, 85-meter AKYACHT M/Y Victorious.
Victorious herself had a rather circuitous, world-roaming path. Designed by Michael Leach, her story started nearly 15 years ago at Marco Yachts in Chile as a 77-meter explorer. When the build stalled, she was sold to Graeme Hart and sent to New Zealand where she spent two more years in build. Then in 2016, she was sold again, this time to her current owner, Turkish businessman, racing enthusiast, and experienced yacht owner Vural Ak. She arrived in Turkey to be finished at AKYACHT, a yard set up by Ak for the express purpose. Victorious was extended by six meters at her stern and also gained a two-meter bowsprit.
Capt. Mosca was introduced to the owner by Burgess and he joined as captain in May 2021, coming on board during the tail end of the build with a target of making it to Monaco for the show. “The shipyard and owner are very open to any advice, suggestion, and improvement,” says Mosca. “Despite the short lead time, together with my head of departments, we have been able to provide many inputs which the shipyard has promptly actioned. It has been a lot of teamwork for the shipyard, the crew, and Burgess, but I think that the outcome has been excellent.”
Victorious has a contemporary and casual interior by H2 Yacht Design that will appeal to charter guests, but there are still marks of her owner, such as the top deck gentlemen’s lounge (located where a sundeck would normally be) with a fireplace and humidor. “The incredible ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ on the sundeck is quite unique,” he says.
The yacht will be used for charter as well as by her owner and his family, so she can accommodate up to 24 guests when used privately. Each of the cabins is named after a different F1 racetrack, a nod to Ak’s business life — he runs the largest car rental company in Turkey and owns the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit, which is home to F1 in Turkey. Capt. Mosca’s favorite things about the yacht are her unusual layout — she also hosts a dedicated kid’s club on the main deck, huge wheelhouse, big tenders, and a vast array of water toys. He also appreciates that she’s a hearty vessel.
“Victorious has a strong nature — she is a true explorer,” says Capt. Mosca. “As a captain, I feel extremely confident and safe on Victorious. Even in bad weather, she is very stable and comfortable.” Her fuel capacity is 265,000 liters and she boasts a low fuel consumption of less than 200 liters/hour at 10 knots. She also has four Quantum stabilizers fins, which Mosca says he doesn’t even need in normal sea states.
Crew cabins are comfortable and big. “This is thanks to an intelligent owner’s choice, who is very experienced and perfectly knows that a happy crew makes a happy yacht,” says Capt. Mosca. “Like any explorer yacht, Victorious suits a sporty and adventurous crew, keen to sail worldwide, and to enjoy the sea.” In this vein, as a seasoned explorer and passionate captain, Mosca is a great example to his crew.
“After many years, I still love my job and I still think that ‘A bad day at sea [is] better than a good day at work [on land]’,” he says.
This article originally ran in the April 2022 issue of Dockwalk.