With a heritage spanning back to 1954, the Genoa-based builder Otam Yachts has a story worth telling. Beginning as one of the first maintenance yards in the northwest Italian region of Liguria, Otam’s name is an acronym for ‘Organizzazione Tigullio Assistenza Motoscafi’ - or ‘Tigullio Motorboat Assistance Organisation’.Photo: Alberto CocchiIn its later years, Otam kick started its own manufacturing with fifteen wooden custom projects complete with triple planking (many of which are still on the water today) before launching into the production of the popular Otam 45’ and 55’ vessels in the 1980s.
Fast forward to 2021, and Otam remains a small but punchy company, with 32 employees and an impressive total of 100 yachts under its belt: boats that are known for marrying together top performance, impressive fuel efficiency and high customisation – with its custom range spanning between 45’ and 130’ (13 to just below 40 metres). Ahead of this year’s hotly-anticipated boat show season, we catch up with Otam’s sales director, Matteo Belardinelli, to discover the latest from the Italian builder, and what they’ve got in the pipeline for the coming months.
First off, what has been the impact of Covid-19 on Otam?
We have been both lucky and sufficiently skilled enough to not have been too badly affected by Covid. We successfully delivered three different units on time, all of which were one-off projects and prototypes, which was quite the challenge. We spent 1,000 hours in the car going and taking delivery of the goods ourselves, rather than waiting for the suppliers or the shipping companies to deliver all of the parts to us, so we did have to add in this extra effort to ensure our delivery times were not affected. Aside from this, we have not been too heavily impacted by Covid, although it has obviously been a challenging time for everyonePhoto: Alberto Cocchi
- Otam Yachts present Otam Custom Range 115
- Otam’s high-speed 80HT Attitude yacht delivered
- Inside the new custom Otam 85 GTS performance yacht
Describe the typical Otam yacht buyer
There is no typical client. We have clients ranging in age between 35 and 40, between 50 and 60 and, believe it or not, we also have a large proportion of clients who are over 70 years old. All of them come to us for different reasons, but the link connecting them is that our typical client isn’t looking for a serial product.
Our clients are looking to approach a medium-sized yacht with the same level of freedom in customisation that you’d normally have on a mega yacht construction, and our boats are often used as chase boats for larger vessels. Large, serial production drives you through certain processes and that’s not us: we are craftspeople. It is the opposite side of the medal, even though we are in the same market, we consider ourselves to be artisans first and foremost. Photo: Alberto CocchiDue to make her debut at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival, what is it that makes the 70HT stand out from previous models?
Our previous models were designed 20 years ago and the main driver for our new models is that they are iconic and immediately recognisable – we don’t follow market trends or styles. The most interesting and difficult aspect of designing a yacht for Otam is that the new products need to carry our same distinctive style and DNA. Photo: Alberto CocchiPlus, when you design a sports yacht, there is always the risk of it being too sporty and not well-balanced. After years of research, we made a joint venture with Giuseppe Bagnardi from BG Design Firm, who has worked for major brands in the hypercar industry in addition to his yachting experience. With the 70HT, I feel we have found the right balance between sportiness and a timeless design.
You also unveiled the aluminium Custom Range 115 earlier this year. How much interest have you had in this so far?
We are currently negotiating the boat with two existing clients – so far it is not in production, but we have had a lot of interest, especially from the brokerage community. This is because we offer a limitless approach in customisation to clients as well as quite atypical levels of performance. The 115, with its triple engine configuration capable of a top speed of 44 knots, is raising good interest from the whole yachting community. Photo: Alberto CocchiFinally, what else have you got on the drawing boards?
I can disclose that we are working on a new Otam 100 yacht, which will be presented in two different options: full open or hardtop, again offering a perfect balance between sporty and elegant, thanks to the design from Giuseppe Bagnardi. We will be revealing the designs for this in the next three to four months, so watch this space!Photo: Alberto CocchiTo explore the latest from Otam, visit the company’s website.