Cantieri di Pisa is an Italian shipyard with a dynasty that spans the best part of a century. Despite being founded in 1945 in Limite sull’Arno to build and repair smaller yachts, by 1956 the yard was moved to Darsena Pisana as it had started signing projects too large for its facility. The shipyard has had an illustrious history, delivering more than 700 yachts – the largest of which being the 43.6-metre Cap de Quers. The 27.43-metre Nasima was the yard’s last build, and following her delivery in 2012 the yard closed and was finally sold. The shipyard was bought 18 months ago and is back in business, with a fleet of new projects under its new leadership. SuperYacht Times sat down with CEO Marco Massabò to hear all about it.What is your background prior to Cantieri di Pisa? Yachts have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My father was a wood master and started working at a shipyard in Imperia, Italy, 70 years ago. I love boats and have professionally sailed for many years, competing from the Optimist to the Maxi yacht regattas – I’ve had a long collaboration with North Sails. In 1992 I met Luca Bassani, founder of Wally, and worked alongside him for 20 years. The brand was missing a refit yard in Italy, so I bought and founded one (WS Shipyard) in Savona. It's been very successful. I then moved into consultancy around 2010, working with clients both in yachting and shipping. I was working with some major players – it was a nice life. But around a year and a half ago, Enrico Gennasio (president and owner of the Alfagomma group) told me he was going to buy Cantieri di Pisa, asking if I wanted to work with him. A great opportunity. I immediately got to work, spending time with naval architects and exterior designers, dreaming up the best yachts we can bring to market. The shipyard had great energy, and a number of great international designers came to visit us. Cantieri di Pisa is back building yachts. Do these new models reflect a new vision? Cantieri di Pisa is an iconic brand. We’re not here to change the rules, we want to rewrite them. The yachts that we’ve started to build are different from what Cantieri di Pisa traditionally did. But we also want to be different from our competitors. Rather than starting from aesthetics, our primary interest is weight. We want to save as much weight as possible, to build and deliver some of the lightest yachts on the market. Cantieri di Pisa yachts are fast, agile, and incredibly sleek and all have shallow drafts. The 25m 80 Veloce – the first Cantieri di Pisa yacht since 2012 – is scheduled for delivery this year. Can you say a few words about her? The 80 Veloce is our first yacht. We wanted to build something that embodies our new philosophy – and she’s crazy fast! She’ll be equipped with three 2,000 horsepower V12 MAN engines that deliver a top speed in excess of 60 knots. The series has been well received and we already have clients signed for the second and third hull. She’s not for everyone though – which is why we’re about to present a Gran Turismo edition to the market. The 80 GT is based on the same lightweight hull yet with a more family-focused design. She’ll also be equipped with two engines, not three. Cantieri di Pisa also presented the new Akhir series. Has this model line been well received and are you considering building on speculation? The Akhir series is a new design for Cantieri di Pisa which is offered in three sizes: a 31-metre, a 37-metre and a 42-metre flagship. Much like the 80 Veloce the idea is to keep the weight down as much as possible. The series has a contemporary design and we’re in talks about whether to build the first unit on speculation – it might happen, but I can’t confirm either way at this moment in time. Why is weight such an important topic for Cantieri di Pisa? Any sailor will tell you the importance of weight – they just will. I’ve personally sailed around the world on some of the world’s most important and fastest boats, and every time their core attribute was weight. However, shipyards and designers rarely consider weight early on when they’re planning a new project. Cantieri di Pisa does things differently, it’s my absolute credo. Choosing to build light implies a commitment to delivering yachts with shallow drafts. How else are you trying to maximise this across all your series? We’ll equip both the 80 Veloce and Gran Turismo series with waterjets. Waterjets are the safest way to arrive at high speeds and they can go in really shallow waters. And to overcome issues of sucking up sand (a particular issue in Miami), we’ve added a special sea chest. It's a simple, not crazy innovation. Coming from Wally, I of course have taken inspiration from their model lines and I especially like what they’ve done with the Wally 118 Power – the James Bond yacht. But I’ve also listened closely to my friend and naval architect, Marco Arnaboldi, who designed many fast boats, including the CDP80 veloce. He’s one of the best in the world when it comes to waterjet technology. We decided to follow him on our design – there isn’t anyone better! An automotive designer and America’s Cup engineer collaborating on your designs. How did this come about? It’s simple. We want speed and performance, so why not bring in the best? A typical motor yacht goes around 18 to 20 knots, yet a high-performance America’s Cup sailing yacht reaches speeds of up to 40 knots – it’s a big difference, even if you factor out the foils. At Cantieri di Pisa we want to use this knowledge to study the possibilities of reducing as much drag as possible with our yachts. For the past 18 months, Cantieri di Pisa has focused exclusively on refits. Why? We weren’t ready for new builds until now, we needed to establish ourselves. When we took over Cantieri di Pisa, it hadn’t been operating for 10 years. We invested around €1.5 million to renovate the facilities and in the past 18 months, we have worked on 27 yachts, which brings a good level of return for the business: building capital and our reputation. Working as a refit yard has also put us in direct communication with many captains, which is great for our Research & Development. For the past 18 months, we’ve been learning the trouble points and how to build a perfect yacht, designed for the captain. We’ve continued to invest and we’ll soon announce a new facility.
Latest Update Wed 08 Mar 2023 | 13:30