Lady Michelle Yacht: Behind The Scenes
The Lady Michelle yacht became famous on the show Below Deck: Mediterranean season 6 where it was featured prominently. It’s worth noting that the Lady Michelle has since been renamed and is actually called the Next Chapter now. However, most people still know her as the Lady Michelle because of her time on the TV show.
The yacht features naval architecture and was built by Italian yacht maker Benetti with design work done by Stefano Natucci and delivered back in 2003. She features a steel hull over an aluminum superstructure. It was refitted in 2022 and that was when the name was changed as well.
Who Owns The Lady Michelle Yacht?
In 2003 the Lady Michelle was purchased by entrepreneur Mike Fernandez. He maintained ownership of the yacht even during its time on the show Below Deck. However, in 2022 the yacht was sold to a company called 1 Ocean Yachts. They are a yacht brokerage firm that also does yacht charter management and the Lady Michelle was renamed to the Next Chapter and added to their charter fleet.
How Big is the Lady Michelle/Next Chapter Yacht?
The Lady Michelle is by no means the biggest yacht in the world but it’s still a good sized vessel at 180.5 feet in length. According to the yacht specifications she features a 34 foot beam and her gross tonnage is 909 GT.
How Much Did the Lady Michelle Yacht Cost?
It’s believed that when the Lady Michelle sold in 2022 and was renamed the Next Chapter she sold for $18,950,000. That was the last published asking price for the yacht. Some sources claim that her initial price in 2003 was about $25 million. The annual cost to keep the yacht running is around $2 million.
Can You Charter the Lady Michelle Yacht?
The Next Chapter/Lady Michelle is available for charter. The current price for a Lady Michelle yacht charter is about $325,000 per week. This number can change based on time of year and demand, however. Because the yacht is one of the more well known in the world thanks to its appearance on the show, it does tend to be popular.
How Fast is the Lady Michelle Yacht and What Engines Does She Have?
The Next Chapter uses a set of Caterpillar 3512 Diesel engines. Her cruising speed is about 14 knots with a top speed of 16 knots. She has a range of about 3,000 nautical miles at cruising speed.
What’s the Interior of the Motor Yacht Lady Michelle Like?
While the yacht was featured on Below Deck as we said and there was plenty of time for people to get a look at the interior and exterior, not all of that is applicable anymore. The refit of 2022 and subsequent sale to make it a charter yacht included a lot of changes to the overall look of the yacht. So if you think you know the Lady Michelle you may not, and the fact it’s called the Next Chapter now is symbolic of that. But, fortunately, the fact it is a charter now means the company wants you to know all of the features and amenities it has to offer, so we have a pretty good idea of the interior and how everything looks.
As we said before, the interior and exterior were managed by Italian designer Stefano Natucci. As a charter vessel she has six cabins that can offer room for up to 12 guests. This includes 1 Master suite, 1 VIP cabin, 2 Double cabins, and 2 Twin cabins. There are also 14 crew on board to help make everyone’s time more enjoyable.
The owner’s suite is also a split level to offer more space and views of the ocean. It features his and hers ensuite washroom facilities and offers a panoramic view of the ocean from the observation lounge. There’s also a private study
When it comes to sleeping, guests enjoy a range of accommodations from the most luxurious with a king sized bed in the Master suite, to 3 queen sized in the VIP and doubles and then 4 singles and 1 pullman for those who are more inclined to rough it a little on a luxury yacht.
The interior was given traditional styling. This includes a lot of glossy wood finishes for a clean, shiny appearance. The color scheme is old school nautical blue and white for all the soft finishes like upholstery and pillows and so on. This, of course, matches the exterior paint on the hull.
Being a charter, the company in charge has packed the Next Chapter to the brim with all kinds of great features. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts.
Features and Amenities
Like any good luxury yacht, the Next Chapter has a wide range of activities, comforts and indulgences available for those who charter her. She also features a range of water toys that is a little more extensive than you may find on similar yachts. These include:
- A full gym with the latest equipment that is enclosed on the sundeck
- Deck Jacuzzi
- An open air cinema on deck for movie nights
- A saloon for socializing and enjoying drinks
- An elevator to move between the yacht’s four decks
- Two SeaDoo Spark Trixx WaveRunners
- The deck has an al fresco dining area
- Two seabobs
- Two Kayaks,
- Fishing equipment
- Snorkeling gear
- A Flyboard
- Two stand-up paddle boards
- Three tenders including a 45 foot Yamaha Seahunter Tournament Tender
- There’s an exterior bar on deck as well as a BBQ for drinks and entertaining under the sun or stars
- A swim platform
What Happened with the Lady Michelle Yacht Drug Bust?
Being on the show Below Deck was not the Lady Michelle’s only brush with fame. Back in 2017 a boat of the same name also made international headlines after it was involved in a sizable drug deal. The boat, flagged as a fishing vessel, was discovered off the coast of South America with a remarkable 4.2 tonnes of cocaine on board. The street value at the time was pegged at about $125 million.
While this boat was seized by both the US and the National Crime Agency, it was an unfortunate mix up with names that got the Lady Michelle yacht involved. This may also be part of the reason the newest owners changed the name, so as to distance themselves from what was, at the time, the largest drug seizure since 1999. You can imagine people who own the boat not wanting anyone to Google a potential charter and discover it was used as a boat to smuggle drugs, even though it was just a case of mistaken identity because they had the same name.
The Lady Michelle that had possession of the drugs was a 70 foot fishing vessel based out of St. Vincent and Grenadines.
The Bottom Line
The Lady Michelle was built in the year 2003 for entrepreneur and philanthropist Mike Fernandez. It was featured on the sixth season of the show Below Deck: Mediterranean which gave the vessel some international attention. However, after it was sold in 2022 for about $18, 950,000 the vessel was retrofitted and also renamed the Next Chapter.
The Next Chapter is just about 180 feet in length and has a top speed of 16 knots. It’s available for charter at a cost of around $325,000 per week and has accommodations for a total of 12 guests. It features a number of luxury amenities and a lot of toys for those on board.