Like her slightly smaller sistership Suerte, the origins of the 236-foot (72-meter) Solo date back 10 years to when construction began at the Tankoa shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Francesco Paszkowski designed both yachts based on the same technical platform, and they briefly shared the same European owner. Yet, despite an obvious family resemblance, they are very different beasts with distinctive personalities.
“The original 210-foot (64-meter) yacht was designed with the market expectations of a decade ago in mind,” says Michel Karsenti, Tankoa’s sales and marketing director. “Then the financial crisis came along, and by the time the market was back on track, the design was kind of outdated. We had to bring it back up to a level that would appeal to clients, but we didn’t want to go overboard. I see a lot of designs that are spectacular when they’re launched, then a couple of years later they look a bit weird.”
Karsenti describes Solo as a modern classic, and her soberly graceful lines are pure Paszkowski. Among the designer’s most noticeable additions are cutouts in the bulwarks and bigger windows to improve outboard visibility, but Solo’s extra length and higher volume compared to Suerte’s meant that the general arrangement also could be revised and optimized.
What was the bridge deck on Suerte, for example, is now a wide-body deck housing the owner’s suite with a forward-facing master stateroom, a Jacuzzi on the aft deck, and a pool on the private foredeck. And whereas Suerte had a modest observation nook forward of the radar mast, Solo has a sundeck with room for sofas and lounges. In addition, the conversation zone on the main deck aft has been replaced with a transverse pool.
Other features remain much the same between the sisterships, including a beach club with a hammam, sauna and gym, and terraces that fold out from the hull on both sides. The side-loading garage for two tenders abaft the engine room, and the under-lower deck—with cold and dry stores, a refrigerated garbage room and a dedicated laundry—also carried over from Suerte.
The interior design aboard Solo, however, could not be more different. Whereas Suerte’s décor drew on light oak and warm teak, Solo’s is based on a much darker color palette.
“As we already had a relationship with the owner, we had a good idea of his likes and dislikes,” says Margherita Casprini, who worked with Paszkowski on the interior design of both yachts. “But I was taken aback when he said he wanted a black interior—not dark brown or gray, but full black. It’s very difficult to make black feel inviting.”
Casprini researched wood samples and came up with a tinted oak that was stained nearly black, with slight variations in tone and a satin finish to highlight the natural grain. She combined it with high-gloss Macassar ebony treated to render the striped veining gray instead of its natural golden brown.
Once the veneers were pinned down, the designer moved on to marbles and fabrics. Antique noir, a dramatic black marble with white veining, is used for the soles in the lobby, reception areas and bathrooms; buttery cappuccino marble with bronze waves and accents provides a warmer aesthetic for the wet surfaces in the bathrooms; and white onyx appears in the master stateroom, VIP suite and backlit façades of the bar units. Soft furnishings and textiles in neutral shades of stone gray and coppery beige, combined with tan and ivory leather furniture by Fendi Casa, help lift the dark joinery and avoid an overly somber ambience.
Casprini also sourced the artwork that adds focal points and a dash of color to the predominantly monochrome interior. Two figurative pieces in the upper deck lounge—one on a side cabinet and the other standing—are especially striking. Created by the Italian artist Dario Tironi from mass-produced items such as toys, dolls, appliances, trinkets and electronic gadgets, the figures are surprisingly realistic and create the uncanny feeling that you are not alone in the room.
The yacht is destined for both private use and charter. Designing a yacht for charter is tricky. It requires taking into account the tastes of people of different ages and cultures, without reducing the aesthetics to the lowest common denominator. Solo’s interior won’t appeal to all people all the time, but it manages to be simultaneously creative and coherent.
“It’s not just about the aesthetics,” Paszkowski says. “You have to consider a whole series of more practical criteria: the number of guest cabins, the hotel services and a galley that will be working round the clock, facilities for the crew who will be spending more time on board, lift access, stairways and circulation flow. This means working closely with the shipyard, and Tankoa was committed to producing something that is very different from what we’re accustomed to seeing coming out of Italy.”
Tankoa is a relatively young brand, but with three launches—Suerte, Vertige and now Solo—it aims to occupy a middle ground in terms of quality and cost between its more established Italian competitors and northern European shipyards. This perceived gap is best seen in Solo’s technical systems, which include some high-end pieces of kit, such as a Böning paperless bridge, Ecospray’s Selective Catalytic Reduction system for the engines to filter out harmful and acidic gases, HUG soot burners for the generators to remove smoke and fumes, a carbon monoxide monitoring system and environmental management plan, independent Rolls-Royce rudders, and four stabilizer fins powered by two hydraulic circuits for redundancy. Despite not being specified in the original contract, Tankoa decided to go ahead and fit them anyway as standard.
“Once a contract has been signed, we hate asking people to pay extra for something because it wasn’t in the specifications,” Karsenti says. “You don’t impress owners by asking for more money; you impress them by saying yes. The most important thing is that when the yacht leaves the yard, we have a happy customer. It can take years to get a client to commit to building a boat, but it takes just one wrong move to lose that client forever.”
LOA: 236ft. 4in. (72m) / BEAM: 38ft. 5in. (11.6m) / DRAFT: 11ft. 8in. (3.38m) / CONSTRUCTION: steel/aluminum / DISPLACEMENT: 1,250 tons / GROSS TONNAGE: 1,600 / MAIN ENGINES: 2 x 2,447-hp Caterpillar 3516 / GENERATORS: 2 x 230 kW Northern Lights; 1 x 155 kW Northern Lights / FUEL: 42,795 gal. (162,000L) / WATER: 9,932 gal. (37,600L) / SPEED (max.): 17.5 knots / SPEED (cruise): 15 knots / RANGE: more than 6,000 nm @10 knots / STABILIZERS: 4 x VT Naiad fins, zero speed / CLASSIFICATION: Lloyds, RINA, MCA LY3 / NAVAL ARCHITECTURE: Vincenzo Ruggiero/ Tankoa Engineering / EXTERIOR DESIGN: Francesco Paszkowski Design / INTERIOR STYLING: Francesco Paszkowski, Margherita Casprini / GUESTS: 12 in 6 staterooms / CREW: 17 in 9 cabins / BUILDER: Tankoa Yachts / YEAR: 2018
Karsenti describes Solo’s owner as “a workaholic and hyperactive entrepreneur” who enjoys the build process and interactions with designers, engineers and project managers, but who has little time to enjoy the yacht once it’s completed.
“Sure he loves to be on the boat,” Karsenti says, “but what is more appealing for him is to build it, launch it, sell it—and build bigger.”
By all accounts, the owner already has his eye on a 362-foot (80-meter) Paszkowski design, which would make his builds with Tankoa a trio.
For more information: tankoa.it
Have a closer look at the Tankoa Solo in the gallery below: