The Cursed Creole Gucci Yacht
A haunted yacht sinks the Gucci dynasty.
If you’ve read the incredible book “The House of Gucci,” by Sarah Gay Forden (yes, it’s the one that the 2021 movie starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver was based on), you might recall the stunning, 200 foot wooden yacht that Mauritzio Gucci bought and remodeled at the height of his control over the Gucci Brand…this boat, called the creole, was notoriously cursed and with it, brought about death, destruction, and ghosts? Today, we’re talking about the creole, and it’s curse that spanned millionaires and generations.
Built in 1927, its first owner was all american millionaire, yale alum, and industrialist Alexander Cochran. Christened the Vira, it was the largest wooden sailing yacht ever constructed. In the words of veteran photographer Gilles Martin-Raget, the boat was “outside all the norms of size, aesthetics and history”. And it would continue to be, without its maker at the hem. Why? Because with all its grandeur and glamour, Cochran didn’t have time to enjoy the yacht- he died suddenly of cancer in 1929.
His heirs sold the boat to a man named Maurice Pope, a British yachtsman who renamed his new purchase the Creole after a particularly delicious dessert invented by his personal chef. The ship’s name change was not a good move- if you’re familiar with ships or sailing culture (I’m not, and even I knew this was probably not kosher) sailors think that renaming ships is very very bad luck. The origins of this go back to Greek and Italian folklore, saying that When a boat is christened its name goes into the Ledger of the Deep, an old book of ships owned by Poseidon himself. When a boat is renamed, Poseidon is insulted and yes, the ship’s owners pay dearly for their name swapping hubris. BUt nothing happens like that to the creole, the rest of the owners live peaceful and uneventful lives. JUST KIDDING, of course they don’t.
In 1937 the creole was bought by financier Sir Connop Guthrie, who had just been made a baronet. Guthrie was a dedicated sailor who restored Creole’s rig and keel and raced her successfully until the Second World War, the British government requisitioned the Creole as a mine-hunting ship they named the Magic Circle (yes, another name change. Yikes). In 1953, The boat was purchased by Greek billionaire and playboy Stavros Knee-arch-os. Restoring the war-torn Creole to its pristine condition, Knee-arch-os made an addition- an upper deck cabin, as he refused to sleep below deck for fear of drowning.
Knee-archos loved the creole, until two tragedies struck.In May 1970, the creole was docked on Knee-archo’s private island, Spetsopoula, in the Aegean. With Knee arch os was his wife, Eugenia Livanos and her sister, Christina. What happened that night was disputed, but the official version is that Eugenia killed herself with an overdose of barbiturates. At a post mortem on the mainland, the pathologist reported severe bruising on Eugenia’s body and the investigation began. Knee-arch-os was cleared but a witness says Eugenia had caught Knee-arch-os trying to force himself upon her sister, and a violent fight broke out.
Soon after, Knee Archos went on to marry Eugenia’s sister (yes the one who was there) Christina Livanos. In 1974, she ALSO overdosed and died.
Heartbroken, Niarchos swore to never set foot on the Creole again, selling his once pride and joy to the Danish navy in 1977. The Danes put the ship to use…it was repurposed in the late 70s as a floating rehab clinic. Not joking.
Enter Maurizio Gucci who In 1982, buys the creole on a massive spending spree. His then wife, Patrizia Gucci used psychics and healers near constantly, and was immediately suspicious of the boat. She told her husband that there was a negative aura lingering around it,, which was not great news for Maurizio who set in motion a multi-million dollar restoration on the boat.
Not to stop the spending train, Mauritzio docked the Creole at Italy’s La Spezia shipyard, and had a psychic come exorcise any spiritual riffraff. Accompanied by Maurizio, Patritzia, and two crewmen, the psychic-named Frida- boarded the ship.
Sarah Gay Forden, sets the scene saying, At first, Frida walked about the ship in a trance. Finally, the five came to an open corridor. “Open the door, open the door,” she cried. As far as the ghost hunting party could see, there was no door, just a hallway. Then a dark look came across the face of one of the crewmen. Before Maurizio’s recent renovations, there HAD been a door right in that exact spot.
How did Frida know a door had been there? The psychic then strolled towards a nearby kitchen. She demanded to be left alone. This puzzled the group. Until one of the crewmen explained. This had been the kitchen where Eugenia’s body was found.
At this moment a gust of cold wind ran past them. Frida informed Maurizio, Patrizia and the crew the exorcism was complete. “It’s all over,” Frida said, “There are no more evil spirits on the Creole. Eugenia’s ghost promised me that from now on, she will protect the Creole and its crew.”
And then everything was fine. NO! Of course it wasnt! Maruzio Gucci was charged with tax fraud, money laundering and illegally acquired funds that were of course used to buy and refurbish the Creole. Maurizio was later acquitted but in massive debt. In 1993, Maurizio sold his share in Gucci, the last family member of the company his grandfather started back in 1921. The buy out was a not so modest 170 million dollars, so Gucci kept the Creole and a couple years later, Maritzio gucci was killed mafia style by his vengeful ex wife Patrizia.
Maurizio’s daughters Allegra and Alessandra inherited the Creole and maintain her to this day. The Gucci sisters say the Creole keeps their father’s memory alive, but a curse? No comment on that.