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5 questions with Perini Navi’s CEO on establishing the brand’s trademark innovations

Design Business
Written by
Laura Nicholls

As of today, Perini Navi counts 63 yachts on the water, 59 are sailing yachts and 4 are motor yachts - and together they make one of the most successful fleets of large bluewater cruisers in the world. Now with over 35 years in the business, Perini Navi has been perfecting the qualities that make a Perini Navi superyacht so special, especially now that they have merged with their motor yacht sub-brand, Picchiotti

Honing in on their past, present and future developments, SuperYacht Times sits down with Perini Navi’s Chairman and CEO - Lamberto Tacoli - ahead of the upcoming 2019 show season to discuss the trademark innovations that contribute to Perini Navi’s high-flying status.  Lamberto TacoliPhoto: Giovanni MalgariniPerini Navi is well-known for the innovations they have brought to the sailing yacht market. What, in your opinion, are the three most notable features and innovations of Perini?

I would say our reel captive winches, ability to incorporate higher levels of comfort aboard and the addition of the flybridge to sailing yachts. Perini Navi built its reputation first and foremost on its sail handling system, which was revolutionary when it was first introduced in the 1980s. The idea of sailing a 40-metre plus yacht directly from the helm station via electrically powered captive winches encountered some resistance in its early years, but today it has become the standard for all large sailing yachts.Perini Navi Argonaut motor yacht 83m exteriorPhoto: Perini NaviThe Perini Navi level of comfort on board was an innovation established in the 1980s when Fabio Perini came home after a long cruise around the Caribbean feeling that the yacht he had at the time wasn't comfortable or spacious enough, so he built his ideal yacht, and that’s how Perini Navi was born. Perini Navi was also the first to introduce the flybridge on sailing yachts, which is now another trademark of the shipyard that has been adopted by superyacht builders around the world.Perini Navi 76m Voyager designPhoto: Perini NaviThe evolution of Perini Navi and the transition into motor yachts must have brought with it new innovations for the brand. Can you give us examples and tell us more about how Perini keeps innovating?

When it comes to motor yachts, Perini Navi previously built them under the Picchiotti brand, but now we have united all of our products under the Perini Navi brand. Innovation has always been a key component for Perini Navi and we keep looking to the future with a strong sense of continuity. We have completely renewed our motor yacht range by developing the Argonaut line, designed in-house by our style and design team. For the Voyager line, we have continued our collaboration with Philippe Briand – with whom we have built the previous three Picchiotti motor yachts - and we started a new line with Zuccon International Projects called the Heritage line, which encases the bluewater ideals of Perini Navi in an innovative design package.Perin Navi 42m E-volution yacht in Yildiz, TurkeyPhoto: Perini NaviIn line with our commitment to environmental sustainability, we are introducing hybrid propulsion on both our motor and sailing yachts. The new jewel in our crown, the 25-metre motor yacht Eco-tender, has a sophisticated hybrid propulsion system that provides four operational modes for maximum flexibility. The 42-metre sailing yacht E-volution currently under construction in our shipyard in Viareggio is our first sailing yacht that can use hybrid propulsion. Our entire product range will be offered with hybrid propulsion.2018 Perini Navi Cup Day 3Photo: Merijn de Waard / SuperYacht TimesWe also keep improving our sail handling systems: just as an example, check how quickly the 60-metre sailing yacht Seven can set its sails, tack and gybe! This is all through an intuitive joystick command that allows the owner to take the helm and know that the entire yacht is under control.

We are also developing very interesting gigayacht projects with Falcon Rig technology to build what we are calling the Maltese Falcon of the future, which I hope we will be able to discuss very soon.60m Perini Navi sailing yacht Seven in SardiniaPhoto: SuperYacht TimesHow have you found managing the brand's new direction?

It still is an exciting challenge! I joined the company two years ago, right after Mr Perini had opened the share capital to a new investor, Fenix Srl (owned by the Tabacchi family, now the majority shareholder with 80% of the share capital). The key points I worked on were brand, people and product. I united the sailing and motor yacht businesses under the Perini Navi brand, building “one brand, one company." 

I found great talents within the company, so I created a new organisation that would allow both old and new employees to work together effectively. Last but not least, in two years we have completely renewed our sail and motor yacht ranges by proposing a contemporary re-interpretation of the Perini Navi tradition. The market has shown real interest in our motor yacht range and we are negotiating some important contracts, but I can’t disclose details for now.Perini Navi Eco-Tender launchPhoto: Perini NaviCan you share some stories on what has been most enjoyable, and most challenging about the brand's evolution?

When I first began working at Perini Navi, I approached the project with humility. The Perini Navi brand is larger than life, you have to respect it as it evolves and moves towards the future. The company needed a jolt of new energy, that is what I have brought to the table. Here at Perini, I have found true professionals who are very competent and have a real passion and drive: they want to see their company grow again after a rough period. I like to build a team, a strong and cohesive group that can reach its goals through hard work and dedication. Today we have six yachts in build and we have accomplished a lot. But we still have work to do, and rising to the challenge is the best part!Perini Navi Argonaut motor yacht 83m exteriorPhoto: Perini NaviWhat else can we expect from Perini Navi? Can you share your ideas on a five-year plan?

Sailing yachts were what established Perini Navi's reputation and so they have to remain our core business. Our goal is to hold on to our leadership in the sailing yacht sector and to widen our offering to the motor yacht sector as it is an area where I see great opportunity. 

Financially, this year's production value is close to €70 million, almost double last year's figure. Next year we expect to reach the break-even point and then we’ll be able to say that Perini Navi is back on top form.Perini Navi Argonaut motor yacht 83m exteriorPhoto: Perini NaviFor more information on Perini Navi and their new developments and innovations, contact the company directly by using the details below. 

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