Oasis at Sea: An Interview with Rafael Nadal

When tennis legend Rafael Nadal leaves the court, he heads to sea on board his Monte Carlo Yachts 76.

October 29, 2017
Rafael Nadal
The MCY 76 is set up for comfortable cruising, but she has some pep in her step when desired. With twin 1,400 hp MAN diesels, she can hit 31 knots. (Left) This elite athlete’s MCY 76 offers a place to reset and relax after the intensity of a season’s battles on the court. (Right) Massimo Ferrari

Yachting recently talked with tennis great Rafael Nadal about his passion for cruising and being on the water, in addition to his most recent purchase: a Monte Carlo Yachts 76. A longtime yachtsman, Nadal gave us an inside look at how he spends his downtime, his thoughts on the new yacht, and some of his favorite must-see destinations when cruising his go-to haunts.

Rafael Nadal, Monte Carlo Yacht
Rafael Nadal’s Monte Carlo Yachts 76 calls Mallorca, Spain, home, but his cruising plans include Croatia, Greece and beyond. Massimo Ferrari

Q: How did you get your start in boating? Were you introduced to it at a young age, or did you discover it on your own? And how has your passion for the ­water evolved over the years?

A: “I have always had the chance to be in contact with water. It’s true that I come from a beautiful island like Mallorca and, at the same time, I have always lived here between Manacor and Porto Cristo, and I have been always close to the sea. My father, ever since I was a kid, had a small boat, and I always loved to go out with the boat and diving, doing many things on the sea. I always loved the spirit of adventure because, when you have a boat, you feel free, you can go to different places, you feel free to move around, so it’s an unbelievable feeling. I always wanted a boat and dreamed about having a boat.”


Q: What draws you to this lifestyle?

A: “For me, today, the sea is what really gives me the possibilities to relax. To me, being on board the MCY 76 gives me the chance to get away when I want to get away, you know. I am from an island, from a small village, and when I am here, I am relaxed. I have the boat just one minute from my house by car, so in any moment I feel free to say, ‘OK, I’ll go and come back tomorrow,’ and that gives me the possibility to relax, and I feel free to do it, if the sea conditions allow me to, of course. I love to be with people but, at the same time, it gives me the chance to get away and to be with myself, or only with the people that I want to be with, every time I need to. That’s something very important with my lifestyle today. I love the sea, and I think I could live on the sea, so maybe in the future I will spend more time on board. It’s something I like as a lifestyle and that I love.”

Q: What are some of your earlier vessels, and how have they influenced choosing your current yacht?


A: “I had a boat, well … we had a Riviera, for fishing, and we still own it. We use it for fishing or even sunbathing. My father uses it very often. Before the MCY 76, I had a Princess V62 too. I enjoyed the boat, but this is another step, and I really love this one. I am a person who analyzes a lot before making important decisions, so the previous yacht, in some way, helped me to choose the new one. When you live on board, you know what you need or what you like, where you like to be, what will be good for you. I have been looking around a lot, thinking a lot about the boat. I have a huge passion for boats, so I always had a clear idea about the kind of boat I wanted, about the spaces I need. I have always known this very well because I have seen hundreds of boats and I know what works for me.”


Monte Carlo Yachts has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. The Italian yacht builder, part of Group Beneteau, was formed in 2008, at the beginning of the economic downturn (a bold time to launch a new yacht-building venture). The builder worked with noted design studio Nuvolari Lenard to create a line of yachts with global appeal. The plan worked. In less than seven years, since it launched the MCY 76, the company has expanded to a seven-model lineup ranging from 65 to 105 feet in length. The latest is the MCY 96.

Q: Could you tell us about your MCY 76? How did you find out about the brand?


A: “Well, I saw the MCY 76 almost three years ago when I went to the Cannes boat show. That was the first time I saw the yacht, and I really paid a lot of attention to it. It was different from the rest of the yachts. At that time, it was not my moment to have a boat yet, but it stayed in my mind, you know, and then two years ago, when I came back, I was really looking for a boat. I love boats, I always look to a lot of things about boats and a lot of brands. I knew I needed a yacht between 62 and 80 feet because that’s the maximum that can fit here in Porto Cristo, and I wanted my boat here. After visiting a lot of different yachts, the Monte Carlo Yachts 76, personally for what I need and the kind of life I like to have on board, was the perfect one.”

Q: What made you decide this was the right builder, and yacht, for you?

A: “I didn’t have any experience of Monte Carlo Yachts before. Of course, I like the design of the boat. I think it’s different compared to the other yachts because it combines aggressive lines with more ­classic ones. There is ­something new, and I really like that. I think it’s a boat with a lot of energy but, at the same time, with a lot of comfort. I like modern things, but I don’t like things that, to be modern, then lose comfort. I like easy things. This boat makes me happy; since I am on board, I feel that things are easy. At the same time, the space was a key factor. I found the perfect combination with this MCY 76, that’s why I decided.”


Q: What are some of your favorite features on your yacht and why?

A: “At the end of the day, it is about everything. The hull is important to feel comfortable and safe when you are navigating but, at the same time, it is also important the boat does not create problems. A yacht is a complex thing and there are a lot of electronics inside. So it’s important to find easy solutions for the problems that every boat has because all boats may have some small things, and it’s important to have easy solutions for these. When you are on board, you don’t want to lose days because ­something has happened. So, it’s important to find a boat with clear and easy solutions. And then, for sure, the design is important for me too. Even if I pay more attention to comfort and safety rather than the design, obviously you want to have a boat that satisfies and makes you happy because you think it is beautiful. That’s why I have this boat, because I thought this is the best for me now. Personally, I love the boat, the style, and I love the comfort she provides. The use of space is different, the space is unbelievable, there is space at the front, great space at the back. It’s true that here, in the main salon, there are no separate places and everything is more open, you know. Not, for example, like on all the boats where there is a living area and then a closed galley, and then the captain’s main helm separated one from the other. I like the fact that it’s more open because I can see in front. I feel like it’s bigger, you know, I feel like everything is easy to use. I personalized the back part of the main salon a little bit, and I really like it a lot. I feel that I have everything. I think the space at the back in the aft cockpit is also great; I feel the back area is much bigger than on most of the yachts in the same category. That’s so important for me. I like the fact that I can have a nice flybridge too; not a lot of boats of this size have a nice flybridge. None have the front part like this one, the bow lounge area. I love the exterior life, of course, but at the same time, I like the interior life because it’s almost a house for me. Even if I am staying here in Porto Cristo, I sometimes come on board and live here, so I like to be on the sofa and watching TV in comfort. I have two TVs, so when there are people inside, you know, we can watch football and we can watch in parallel what we really want to see. With the home cinema and two TVs, it is unbelievable for me. There can be 10 people inside the boat, and I feel there are so many different areas to be. You feel that you have enough space, like on a much larger yacht.”

“I would like to discover all the Mediterranean, to take the boat and go to Croatia, to Greece, to Turkey. For sure, Sardinia and Corsica too.”

Rafael Nadal,  owner, MCY 76

Q: Do you have any short- or long-term plans for how you will use your MCY 76? Are you ­planning any extended cruising? Any must-see destinations in mind? And if so, why those ports of call?

A: “I normally stay between Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Cabrera, all around the Balearic Islands. There are also a few other places that I want to know. I would like to discover all the Mediterranean, to take the boat and go to Croatia, to Greece, to Turkey. For sure, Sardinia and Corsica too. Discover the Mediterranean is one of the things I’m focused on, one of the goals that I have in the next couple of years when I will have the chance. Today, it’s not possible. It is too important for me to keep doing well the things that I am doing and be professional today, but it’s something that I really want to do in the future. Go out with the boat and be there for two months, getting familiar with all the Mediterranean. That’s the first step, and then I would love to be to the Caribbean with the boat. I think it is a great place to be because there are a lot of islands close to each other, and you don’t need to cruise for days to reach them. It’s something that I really want to do.”

Q: With your rigorous travel and work schedule, where’s your favorite place to be on the water when you have downtime, and why?

A: “I love to be here in ­Mallorca. I love to come back and to be with my friends, my family, all the people that I really love. I mean, it is something very ­important to maintain close to me. Actually, my yacht is one of the places where I spend more time when I am in Mallorca. At the same time, it is so important to have the boat always waiting for me, even if I don’t use it every time. It is so important to know I can use it every time that I need it. This is something that makes me happy and helps me to enjoy and to distract myself when I need it. In Mallorca, I think there are two different kind of places; it’s a combination, because on the west side we have the back of the mountains, Serra de Tramuntana, which is amazing, amazingly beautiful, but it’s true that there are not many beaches. It’s different … the views are different. On this side of the island where we are now, the east side, there are a lot of beaches; it’s flatter. I like both things. You know, the mountains are unbelievable because you see them falling into the sea — it’s amazing. At the same time, here we have a lot of beaches and nice places that I can go away to. We can swim in clear water, 100 percent crystal clear everywhere. I love, you know, both sides.”

Q:Having recently gone through the yacht-purchase process, what advice would you give to a *Yachting reader who is looking to buy a new yacht of his own?*

A: “At the end of the day, for me, the most important aspect is the passion, you know. I believe that if you really want to buy a boat, it’s because you want to spend time on board, so you need to be in love with the yacht. The only advice that I can give is: Before buying, you need to visit a lot of yards. Because, when you see a lot of different yards, you can compare things, then you can make the right decision.”


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