Perini Navi | The double life of the yard between shipbuilding and regattas

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ast week was an important moment for the life of the Italian yard Perini Navi: while the Viareggio facility in Italy saw the hull of the first S/Y 42m E-volution arriving from Turkey to start construction, on the other side of the world Perini Navi was involved in all the events that animate the St. Barths Bucket Regatta, the regatta of the regattas, a non-commercial sailing event, open to members only by invitation. On its 32nd outing, the event took place in the crystalline waters around the island of St. Barthélémy between March 21 and 24, 2019. The St. Barths Bucket Regatta is one of the most important and exclusive events for larger sailing yachts on the world calendar.

Hull n. 1 of S/Y 42m E-volution

The world of sailing – of maxi sailing yachts – is a very high and restricted market niche, both a club – open to a few – as much as an elite – only opened to the highest class of society. Unlike the world of motorboats, sailing yachts are boats with a double life: you can spend holidays with your family and friends sailing wherever you like and then race with special racing teams, chosen ad hoc, during the annual rendezvous, such as the Bucket in St Barth. This year Perini Navi participated with four boats: Aquarius, Rosehearty, Seahawk and Perseus ^ 3.

Some images by Superyacht Digest on board S/Y Aquarius: “Feel the competition”

As per tradition, Perini Navi opened the doors of “Casa Perini” to their friends and guests, offering the sophisticated cuisine of the Michelin-starred chef from the famous “Da Vittorio” restaurant. Casa Perini also hosted the opening and closing evenings of the St. Barths Bucket.

View of Gustavia Port from “Casa Perini”

Four Perini Navi took part in the the 32nd edition of the St. Barths Bucket Regatta 2019. A total of 36 yachts participated in the three days of racing, whose race rules and ratings comply with SYRA (Superyacht Racing Association) and ORCsy criteria. The participating yachts were divided into five classes: Les Gazelles, Les Elegantes, Les Mademoiselles, Les Femmes, Les Grand Dames, and Les Voiles Blanches (Corinthian Spirit class). The overall winner position went to S/Y Hetairos (Baltic Yachts).

Paul Pierre Cayard was on board S/Y Rosehearty

Also brought to the stage for special awards was the crew of S/Y Rosehearty, winner of Grand Dames class, which also won the Perini Navi Cup presented by Perini Navi’s Edoardo Tabacchi for the best Perini Navi yacht competing.

As steward of the event with Royal Huisman, Vitters and Rybovich, Perini Navi saw its own burgee defended at sea by Aquarius (46m), Rosehearty (56m), Perseus^3 (60m) and Seahawk (60m). At the event, another 3 Perini sailing yachts were present to follow the regatta: S/Y Panthalassa, S/Y Blush and S/Y Bayesian.

Superyacht Digest has had the honor of participating as a guest media in the St Barth regatta together with Perini Navi. We therefore took the opportunity to collect some comments from the top management present at the event.

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Lamberto Tacoli, Chairman and CEO, Perini Navi

Q: This is the first of two units sold in the 42m E-volution series. What can we say about this result? Is the investment on the brand and on the product starting to pay off?

LT: We can undoubtedly talk about a real success. I say this objectively. Until today the company has never focused on boats measuring less than 60 meters, the traditional range in which it has consolidated the brand. It was not easy, we worked a lot on our projects and our efforts are giving excellent results, paving the way to new great opportunities for the future. What makes our boats unique is the work done on the product, we are the only ones to design boats, to propose models to the customers. Our projects are inspired by the yard’s philosophy, our lines preserve its historicity and identity and are immediately recognizable. And certainly a great job has been done for the renewal of the brand. To give it new vitality. And the owners have understood this and caught it in a timely manner. When we took over Perini Navi, we looked at the market and tried to find a gap to fill, and so Perini from “project” has become “product”. We worked to ensure that in the 40-50m range Perini could be able to offer projects and that these ones were signed by an important name such as Reichel/Pugh.

Q: Today, seven constructions are underway for the Perini Navi brand. 3 E-volution sailboats, 1 Classic sailboat, 2 Voyager motor boats over 50m and the little one of 25 meters. How are owners different between sail and motor?

LT: I believe that Perini must continue to represent an icon in the world of sailing yachts. But, with a renewed range of products. As to the motoryachts, they share the same characteristics as the  sailing boats, those features which created the Perini DNA. I mean, seriousness, quality and technological aspects. Grace E, for example, made the history of the shipyard, representing also a milestone in nautical history, like every other sailing boat by Perini. No doubt, this is a very important moment for us. We are very confident, but we want to do more. We aim at positioning Perini in the market as a reference brand where owners can build their projects starting from a white paper; we want to create our projects together with the owner and to make Perini become the home where to build your own ship.

Q: Edoardo Tabacchi, you are following the re-launch, the development of the yard and the life of the brand on the market very closely and daily. Beyond the first positive results achieved, what is the experience that you have gathered up to now from your acquisition of two years ago?

ET: The most beautiful experience to date concerns the relationship “company-customer-captain-crew”: we are able to develop such a close and close-knit relationship that almost creates a family idea. This is a term that encompasses all the values ​​we want to convey. As you can see also here in St Barth, we are organizing all our events inside a Villa, “Casa Perini”, inviting here friends and guests every evening after the regatta to share convivial moments and the stories behind this sporting event. We could have opted for evenings in more formal locations, such as large hotels, instead we have preferred to find ourselves all in a more relaxed environment, where everyone could feel at home, together with the pleasure of the table and some good music. For us this is a way of expressing our Italian lifestyle, we want to offer the best of our country through warm hospitality and good food.

Q: I am sure that if I asked you if today you would make the same investment again, you would say yes. So I ask you, is there any aspect about the life of the yard that you didn’t know and you’re now discovering?

ET: To be honest, there are no aspects that I have not expected to find. We were – we are aware – that when you decide for new investments, you cannot predict everything. The situation has always been very clear to us: the yard has to re-start and our goal was to re-launch the brand, positioning it up to the highest level of the market. So the difficulties we faced initially has been considered since the beginning, and after two years of hard work, which included the study of new products and the new corporate image – we are very proud of the positive boost we could give to the yard and very satisfied with the achievements.

Q: The shareholder is often only an investor, but I have the feeling that you are taking part in the life of the yard with an entrepreneurial approach, participating in all the events and boat shows. Is it correct?

ET: When I considered Perini as a new investment, I was not pushed by the same logic that usually belongs to an investment fund. The approach was entrepreneurial. I have just identified a company that reflected my way of being very much, my lifestyle and passions. Being able to closely monitor the life of the company and give directions on the way to go and on the future, allows all the management to move with more agility, we are always in touch, on every aspect. I love this job very much, this sector really fascinates me. I want to give to the company the best of myself. For me this is the only way to work and to deal with investments. The company and the market benefit from this approach: they know that they can rely on a shareholder able to be a reference every day, able to guide the projects according to a precise vision, able to trace the route to the goals we want to achieve.

Franco Romani, Style and Design Director, Perini Navi

Q: How has the yard evolved under the new ownership?

FR: We have to talk about two completely different historical moments. Perini was founded with the desire to put in the market a completely new – revolutionary – product. The yard gave himself a name, a brand and created a product that could represent a new way of sailing; then, but even today it is so, it was said “I buy myself a Perini” instead of simply “I buy myself a sailboat”. Perini was elegance above all. Then over time we also worked on performances. Today the yard lives a new life, has a strategic industrial vision and drive, while retaining its original features. We are working on different product lines, both sailing and motor, aiming to offer the highest quality on design and performance.

Q: There is someone who considers Perini boats as motor boats with sail. What do you feel to say about it?

FR: It is true, once it was so. We built steel boats because performance was not the priority. The aim was to create boats that were true ladies of the sea, elegance and beauty was what we had to express. Today, however, this is no longer the case, Perini has evolved along with owners who have required elegance over time, but also very high levels of performance and technology.

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Perini Navi is currently the shipyard with the highest number of sailing megayachts under construction and this new 42m is the first hull of the E-volution series, created by Perini Navi’s in-house designers in collaboration with renowned American performance yacht specialists Reichel / Pugh. This new build, sold to an European owner, will be delivered in summer 2020. For the interiors the owners chose Arch. Marco Costanzi, a name and a talent in the development of houses and showrooms projects, but at his debut in the yachting world.

As the first hull in a new line, the 42m performance cruising yacht represents the beginning of an exciting new era for Perini Navi. And a second hull has already been sold. Sloop-rigged, it is built from aluminium with a carbon-fibre mast, boom and rigging. In terms of aesthetics, the crisp exterior styling by Franco Romani, Perini Navi’s Style & Design Director, breaks with tradition, while the terraced aft deck introduces more space and improves functionality in addition to bringing guests into closer contact with the water.

The naval architecture and sail plan by Reichel/Pugh offer the ideal compromise between cruising comfort and performance. Equipped with a lifting keel, the yacht will be powerful and easy to handle.

Through this construction, Perini Navi also embraces the theme of eco-sustainability and protection of the marine environment: the 42m E-volution is the first sailing yacht by Perini Navi with hybrid propulsion. The yacht uses an eco-friendly e-motor to offset the use of the main diesel engine. The diesel-electric drivetrain delivers silent cruising and a range of 3,000 nautical miles at nine knots, in diesel mode.

Perini Navi currently has the largest number of over-40m sailing superyachts in build in the world. Its production plans span seven yachts, four sailing and three motor (42m E-volution sailing yacht; 42m  E-volution GTS sailing yacht; 47m E-volution sailing yacht; 60m Classic sailing yacht; 53m Voyager motoryacht; 56m Voyager motoryacht; 25m Eco-tender motoryacht, recently launched).