Only two years old, Italian boatbuilder Cantiere delle Marche has already forged a solid reputation with sturdy steel-and-aluminum vessels built for worldwide exploration. The experienced team behind this new shipyard focuses on owners and a small production of high-quality, long-range luxury cruising yachts designed to meet those owners’ needs.
Photos by Cantiere Delle Marche
Based on Italy’s Adriatic coast, Cantiere delle Marche is backed by a group of experienced managers and craftsmen. The Cecchini family, which has a long tradition of boatbuilding—including commercial and refit projects—is one of Cantiere delle Marche’s majority shareholders, with about 40 percent of the shares. A businessman from Ancona owns another 40 percent of the shares, plus the shipyard’s waterfront facilities. The remainder of the shares belongs to two of Cantiere delle Marche’s major subcontractors: CPN Engineering (a metal-construction specialist) and GS Interior Furnishings.
The brand’s ambassador in Italy and beyond is Sales and Marketing Director Vasco Buonpensiere, who was involved from the inception. As a former sales manager for Custom Line and CRN, the superyacht brand of the Ferretti Group, he brings this new builder invaluable international market and superyacht experience.
By the time Cantiere delle Marche set out on this adventure in 2010, a faltering market challenged even the established shipyards. It did not stop this group of determined entrepreneurs, who spent time analyzing the market and anticipating opportunities.
“Looking at the way the market reacted to the crisis, we saw that the explorer-vessel niche resisted well thanks to their long range and low-consumption qualities, but also the way they remain unaffected by fashion,” Buonpensiere explains. The Cantiere delle Marche team chose to build its own brand of explorer vessels and, in a nod to the theorist behind natural selection and the survival of the fittest, the team called its range of explorers Darwin Class.
The next step was refining the concept and developing a methodology. “Once the typology was identified, it was necessary to give it a special content that is top quality. Quality and efficiency are central to Cantiere delle Marche’s philosophy,” Buonpensiere says.
The shipyard builds all of its boats—the Darwin 82, 86, 96 and eventually the 115—to superyacht standards and to class. Well-known naval architect Sergio Cutolo of Hydro Tec designed and engineered the Darwin Class for passionate owners seeking to fulfill their dream of a safe adventure at sea. His hull design boasts a high bow and low fuel consumption yielding exceptional range. The Darwin 86 has a range of up to 7,000 nautical miles at 8.5 knots, while the Darwin 96 navigating at 10 knots can go 6,000 nautical miles without refueling. Even with these impressive numbers, it is in strong winds and a rough sea that these yachts offer their best performance, thanks to excellent weight distribution and a wide beam, which provide stability and roomy interiors.
These qualities should make them appealing to owners worldwide. Buonpensiere was at the 2011 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to support the yard’s recently inked partnership with Worth Avenue Yachts (Palm Beach, Fla.) for representation in the Americas. Hull No. 2 of the Darwin 86 is expected to debut in Fort Lauderdale in 2012 (Hull No. 1 was shown in Cannes and Genoa last year).
Clients apparently took well to the Darwin’s sturdy exterior, which is perhaps more tug-like than yacht-like. Within the Darwin’s oceangoing package are the kind of refinements you’d expect to find aboard a luxury yacht, including comfort under cruise, lavish details and high-quality technical features. Italian designers Pierluigi Floris and Marco Veglia developed the opulent interior’s general theme. But owners can adapt it to their needs and tastes and also tweak the layout of the generous interior and exterior areas. What won’t change is the yard’s approach to construction and a great number of high-quality features.
Cantiere delle Marche likes to point out that it uses extra-thick steel plates, cupronickel piping (a high-quality copper alloy resistant to corrosion in sea water), zero-speed stabilizers and remotely controlled valves as standard equipment on its vessels. Two independent rudders ensure excellent maneuverability, and efficient systems for the treatment of black, grey and bilge water make the yachts environmentally friendly. The well-designed engine rooms exemplify the pride this yard takes in work well done.
All these features and more have attracted what Buonpensiere says is a considerable amount of interest. Currently under construction and nearing completion are a single-engine Darwin 82, Hull No. 2 of the Darwin 86 due to launch in summer 2012 and, further down the line, a third 86 and a Darwin 96 (due to launch in 2014).
Seeking a little diversification to appeal to a wider market segment, Cantiere delle Marche also worked with Mario Pedol of Nauta Design to develop another line of long-range cruisers. Nauta’s 80-, 96- and 115-foot models share the platform used for the Darwin Class, but have significantly different exterior styling.
For more information, visit worthavenueyachts.com or cantieredellemarche.it