‘The Tinkoff Collection started about six years ago,’ Dasha tells us. The venture, which initially began with the family building a ski chalet in Val Thorens, has grown with the addition of a bespoke luxury rental in each of the family’s favourite destinations - including a Mexican villa in Cabo San Lucas and a Tuscan palazzo in Forte dei Marmi.
‘As a family we’re very active, we love to do extreme sports. We found that often when we went on holiday somewhere remote, with extreme sports and activities on offer, the accommodation was a little bit lacking. The perfect example is the place in Astrakhan in Russia.’
Each of the Tinkoff Collection homes sleeps between 12 to 16 people comfortably, complete with spa, pool and gym facilities. The idea, Dasha explains, is for holiday goers to enjoy the very best in comfort and privacy afforded by renting a home instead of a hotel. Now with the addition of the luxury explorer boat, this philosophy has been given new life.
‘Normally when you go to places like Kamchatka, where it’s not catered for any kind of luxury, you stay in a tiny cabin in the middle of the woods with no WiFi or anything. So having the boat and being able to go out, have a crazy day of heliskiing then come back and stay in the height of luxury, that’s a really great thing.’
La Datcha is currently completing her safety video in Turkey, Dasha tells us, but the Tinkov family will be the first to stay onboard overnight in an upcoming trip to the Seychelles.
We asked Dasha how La Datcha compares to previous luxury explorer yachting experiences she and her family have enjoyed. ‘Last winter we went to Greenland on an explorer, which was amazing,’ Dasha says. ‘However, the viewing platform on that boat was outside, so if we wanted to go out and see the polar bears it was absolutely freezing. We wanted to make sure ours on La Datcha was inside, with comfortable seating and all the rest.’
‘I would also say the standard on La Datcha is the best of the best. Every room has a TV, sometimes even two and a third in the bathroom. Her entertainment systems are Bang & Olufsen, her furnishings are all Baxter and Promemoria which is the world’s most expensive furniture.’
With such a high cost venture of course comes a great emotional investment. Oleg Tinkov was ‘very hands on’ even down to the most intricate detail on La Datcha, Dasha explains. ‘My dad was very particular even down to the duvet covers. We treat our properties the same; they’re very personal projects and we spend a lot of time in them, so we want to make sure it’s everything we love to the highest standards.’
And the great care paid to the project has certainly paid off. La Datcha has already generated a huge amount of charter interest, particularly to the island of Madagascar where very few boats can access and luxury accommodation is virtually nonexistent.
‘Because it takes so long to get there, very few yachts will go for a week’s charter,’ Dasha goes on, pointing to the benefits of La Datcha’s unique business model. ‘But with La Datcha, you book the week you want based on the destination, so you have to adapt to the itinerary of the boat.’
There is much room for flexibility within those destinations though. With two helicopters, a submarine, a large rescue boat and four jet skis, guests onboard La Datcha will never be wanting for toys on which to explore the local area.
We were interested to know whether La Datcha’s 25 crew members had been specially trained to prepare them for her wild itinerary. Dasha relayed a message sent to the family from the boat’s captain:
‘The crew onboard La Datcha have been handpicked from a number of specialist programs… We are all trained professionals who have dedicated our careers to this industry however in addition to what would be seen on a normal white yacht, the deck officers are polar code trained and certified to navigate in both the South and North Pole region, with particular reference to ice navigation.’
La Datcha will also be staffed by two diving instructors trained to operate ‘The Triton’ (a three-man submarine), a paramedic and a nurse, as well as coming equipped with her own ICD Compressing Chamber in case of any diving emergencies.
‘If you are somewhere like Kamchatka or Madagascar, getting to the closest hospital might sometimes take hours, so it was very important to have all the necessities onboard.’
The crew experience plays an extremely large role, even on a charter as unique as La Datcha’s. ‘We generally stay onboard to eat. There are so many zones to eat, and the crew will lay each table differently every evening, so it feels like you’re going to a new restaurant every night.’
Dasha goes on, ‘When you’re out in these destinations, local fishermen will often come up and sell the catch of the day. So you want to make sure the chef knows how to cook that, what it’s best paired with, etc. Our chefs are amazing at that.’
There is much to be said for the combination of luxury accommodation with high-octane destinations, but a truly unforgettable charter experience is found in the details. With this in mind, the latest addition to the Tinkoff Collection is sure to prove a resounding success.