Francesco Casoli heads up Elica Spa, a publicly listed Italian company manufacturing kitchen hoods and other domestic appliances that was founded by his father in 1970. Last June, he and his wife, Viviana Cattelan, launched K-584 built by C.P.N in Ancona. Designed by Andrea Vallicelli with interior styling by Pierluigi Floris, the 36-metre motor yacht project was overseen by Antonio Longobardi and Gianluca Fenucci of Yachting Expertise. SuperYacht Times met with the owners in Milan recently just before they were due to rejoin their new yacht in Greece.Photo: Justin Ratcliffe / Justin RatcliffeYou previously owned a sailing yacht: why the decision to build a motor yacht?
FC: I completed two round-the-world trips aboard a Nauta 59 launched in 1992 and sailed 63,000 miles on that boat. Then about four years ago we started thinking about exploring places neither of us had been to and decided it was time to make the switch to a motor yacht. Firstly, we wanted a boat that had the onboard space to live comfortably for 6-8 months of the year. Secondly, we wanted to be able to experience the outside even when we’re inside, in the sense that when you’re in your cabin you can still see what’s going on outside. That’s difficult on a sailing yacht unless you go over 30 metres in length, which is a lot more troublesome in terms of manning and management compared to a motor yacht. We’re of an age when a modern motor yacht means we can go around the world in more comfort and safety without always having to wait for the right weather window.Photo: Maurizio Paradisi / Maurizio ParadisiPhoto: Maurizio Paradisi / Maurizio ParadisiBut why build a custom yacht?
FC: I don’t want to sound arrogant, but we looked at existing yachts – and even went as far as Fiji to see one – but we couldn’t find the right fit. I’m a technophile and the engine room was the starting point of the project. I’m very aware that you shouldn’t be too extreme when it comes to new and innovative technology on yachts, because stuff tends to break down at sea. I couldn’t find what I wanted on the market in terms of proven technology and access to all the components for ease of maintenance. The trouble with most yachts today is that the working parts are hidden away behind a shiny exterior, instead of being visible and easily accessible.
We also love scuba diving, so we have a dive centre in the stern instead of a tender garage. I much prefer the mechanics of having the tenders on deck, and I like the fact our HS Marine crane is on show instead of being out of sight in a garage. This is something else you don’t find on series models and if you start asking for all the necessary modifications, the boat can end up costing more than a custom design. Of course, there are risks associated with full custom because you’re basically building a prototype, but with Vallicelli, Yachting Expertise and C.P.N we had a competent and experienced team.
We tank tested the hull at the MARIN institute in the Netherlands, where they told us that on a hull of this type and length the bulbous bow had to be at least three metres long. That made things more complex because you have to be careful with your anchor chain and be aware when mooring that the bulb protrudes well beyond the bow. But it means we save 10 per cent on our fuel consumption and at 10 knots the yacht burns just 69 litres an hour for a range of 6,000 nautical miles.Photo: Maurizio Paradisi / Maurizio ParadisiPhoto: Maurizio Paradisi / Maurizio ParadisiHow did you arrive at the unusual choice of shipyard?
FC: That was my decision. Of course, we did all the due diligence and visited seven different yards in total. But more than the shipyard itself, it was the Belardinelli family who run the company. I’m not an expert and I can’t say with any authority if one shipyard is better than another, but I do put a lot of faith in the people doing the work. C.P.N has long experience as a subcontractor building for other brands and K-584 was their first turnkey project, but I realised they would put all their enthusiasm, commitment and experience into the project. It was a calculated risk for both of us. Photo: C.P.N. ShipyardWhere does the yacht’s name come from?
VC: The ‘K’ stands for cappa, which is pronounced with a hard ‘c’ in Italian and is the word for a kitchen hood, which is the core business of Elica. The red stripe on the bow is also a stylised ‘K’. The numbers are a mix of mine and Francesco’s birthdays and the date we got married. Like the exterior styling and grey paintwork, we both liked the military feel of the name.Photo: Maurizio Paradisi / Maurizio ParadisiPhoto: Maurizio ParadisiDid you have any requests of your own on board?
VC: One thing we discussed at length with Valicelli was our cabin. In the original project he had put the captain’s cabin on the bridge deck behind the wheelhouse, but Francesco and I decided that’s where we wanted to be. This was a risk as well, because he explained it would be more comfortable lower down where’s there’s less motion, but we love it there – you wake up and can look out at the sea all around you. The cabin itself is quite small and we don’t have a walk-in wardrobe, but the location is everything.
FC: As an active owner I also like to be near the wheelhouse and the captain actually has a bigger cabin on the lower deck than he would have had on the bridge deck. Obviously, because the crew also spend months on board they have to be comfortable and their quarters are more generous than usual on this size of yacht. There’s also extra fridge-freezer space in the crew area so we can be can be independent for weeks at a time.
Then we asked for a library, which we designed ourselves, in the main salon to house our favourite books and objet d’arte. We wanted the interior design to be as simple and functional as possible. The galley was important because my company produces kitchen equipment, but also because as Italians we appreciate good food. A lot of study went into the galley layout and, of course, it has Elica hoods!
We usually cruise with my sister, who has the full-beam VIP suite on the main deck forward. Her bathroom has a free-standing Japanese bathtub made of wood, which used to be in our home in Milan. We took it with us when we sold the property and it adds something a bit different that is much more interesting than a regular Jacuzzi tub.Photo: Maurizio Paradisi / Maurizio ParadisiPhoto: Maurizio Paradisi / Maurizio ParadisiThe idea is to take K-584 around the world; do you have an itinerary already planned?
FC: From Greece we will head to Turkey, then Morocco, St Petersburg and the White Sea, then over the top of Scotland to Canada, down the US East Coast and transit the Panama Canal, back up to Baja California, then across to Hawaii and the Pacific. We’ve put aside 8 years for the trip. I’m still working but I decided against installing high-speed satellite comms for everyday use and connect to the 4G or 5G land-based network instead. If we’re at sea on a long transfer, I can do without for 10 days or so. The idea is to make a break with the pressures of daily life as much as we can when we’re on board.