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ISA Papi du Papi: Family First

The second in a series of three 164-foot yachts based on the same naval platform but with totally different exterior lines and interior layout, Papi du Papi is designed for long, relaxing holidays and family time.

The second in a series of three 164-foot yachts based on the same naval platform but with totally different exterior lines and interior layout, Papi du Papi is designed for long, relaxing holidays and family time.

Photos Marc Paris

In 2001, International Shipyards Ancona (ISA)’s managers Marcello Maggi and Gianluca Fenucci, set out to build stylish and innovative custom yachts. They had just five employees to start. The economic context was poor, and there was strong competition in the custom-yacht segment, but they were determined and forged ahead. What came next proved them right.


One of the first large yachts ISA delivered was a 157-foot (47.5-meter) displacement yacht in steel and aluminum (ex April Fool, now 360°), designed by the late Walter Franchini. With its stylish sweep of staircases, it made a bold statement. Winning the argument against naysayers, the shipyard promptly sold five yachts in its ISA 470 series. In 2003, ISA adapted its trademark design to a stylish 120-footer, penned by Andrea Vallicelli.

An architect and sailor who designed the Italian Challenge 12-meter class yachts for the 1983 and 1987 America’s Cup, Vallicelli added his considerable talent to the ISA team. Ten of the ISA 120s, built in composite, were sold in just five years, owing their success in part to their aggressive styling and strong personality.

Edgy styling has become a trademark for this relatively young yard, but that’s not the only point of significance. The shipyard does engineering and naval architecture in-house and has forged a reputation for building sound long-range cruisers as well as speedy yachts (the 120 series had speeds in the 30-knot range). While orders for the composite lines dwindled, the shipyard saw increased interest in its larger custom yachts. In 2007, ISA signed a contract for the construction of a 206-foot yacht (with interiors by Patrick Knowles and exterior lines by Vallicelli), which was quickly followed by a 202-foot custom yacht named Mary Jean II. With interiors by Mark Berryman, the yacht was a hit at the 2010 Monaco Yacht Show and enjoys good success on the charter market.

The shipyard’s first decade was eventful. With the arrival of new investors in 2007, the company expanded its Ancona, Italy-based shipyard with a well-equipped 10-berth marina for yachts up to 328 feet (100 meters) and acquired a 400-ton Travelift, the largest available on the Adriatic, to support its refit department activity. ISA is working at full steam at the moment with a 134-foot (41-meter) Classic, a 177-foot (54-meter) custom and a 216-foot (66-meter) yacht in ISA’s new Granturismo line under construction.


ISA celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011 with the launch of Hull No. Two of three 164-footers (50-meters), based on the ISA 500 naval platform. While they share naval architecture, the yachts feature very different interiors, exterior layouts and styling. Hull No. Three, Belle Anna, was delivered ahead of schedule in July.

The second in this tri-deck series, Papi du Papi, is a good synthesis of the ISA style and the yacht owners’ requirements. Lean and sporty, the yacht reprises a feature that made the ISA 470 series so recognizable—the beautiful sweeping staircases surrounding the transom. Vallicelli interpreted them in a slightly different fashion on this yacht, using them to frame a large air-conditioned beach club, which is accessible through a set of curved glass doors. The cozy and comfortable beach club close to the sea exemplifies the yacht’s overall concept: to allow guests to fully enjoy life at sea.

It was the first time that ISA worked with Francesco Paszkowski Design. The well-known design studio handles all kinds of work, but its mission here was to focus on the interior. Designer Margherita Casprini, of studio Paszkowski, did a thorough job researching materials and worked closely with the shipyard’s team on execution. The chosen materials (Brazilian rosewood, oak, Jerusalem stone, travertine, leather, linen and cotton, among others) interpret the owner’s vision for a décor that blends European and South American influences. It is stylish and comfortable, in keeping with his vision for a yacht that is inviting for a family.


Stepping on board, one gets an impression of wellbeing, due in part to the abundant natural light flowing from the large windows, the low-profile furniture, rosewood floor and oak walls. The eye is able to flow through most of the deck, where the central focus is an attractive Jerusalem stone mural.

Paszkowski Design was involved in everything from layout to lighting and even entertainment options. The lighting doubles as a true architectural feature designed to define spaces and create moods. It also highlights the owner’s collection of personal photographs taken on previous trips. Following an apparent design philosophy that music should be heard and not seen, the designers incorporated speakers in a way that they do not detract from the cohesive design.

The traditional layout is practical and user-friendly. It situates the five guest staterooms on the lower deck. The main deck accommodates the salon and dining room within an appealing continuous space. A professional galley with stainless-steel appliances is located behind the dining area. A long hallway goes past the foyer to lead to the large master suite’s office and private salon. The bedroom, which has nice-size windows, is beyond. His-and-hers bathrooms, decorated with attractive basins carved from Jerusalem stone, and a walk-in wardrobe complement their comfortable and private space.

Most of the entertainment takes place on the bridge deck, where the skylounge doubles as a media room. Only here is the audiovisual apparent, in the form of a 103-inch TV screen and an excellent sound system. An inviting sofa encourages the family to sit together to share a movie or to view video from the day’s activities.


The captain has his cabin next to the wheelhouse, which is perfectly designed for navigation with a walkaround helm console. It is very attractive to boot with black leather upholstery and large display screens. The reverse raked windshield (borrowed from commercial vessels) provides excellent visibility and works surprisingly well with the yacht’s sleek design.

The spacious aft deck accommodates a table and chairs for outdoor dining and loungers with built-in shade. The sun deck, equipped with a large Jacuzzi and a bar, is mostly open to the sun. Two large umbrellas, stowed away during long navigation, complement the shade provided by the radar arch.

This yacht, which is MCA-compliant and built to meet the classification requirements of the Italian Naval Registry, is meant for some serious seas. The full-displacement hull with bulbous bow, combined with the engine and propulsion package, allows the yacht to reach a top speed of 16 knots (at half load). Papi du Papi will most likely cruise at economical speed. At 11 knots, she has a range of about 4,400 nautical miles. The engineer can keep an eye on the Caterpillar engines and other machinery from a soundproof office located in between the main generators. The yacht’s tender garage, tucked between the beach club and the engine room, accommodates a Castoldi Jet 21, unloaded through a side shell door at starboard. The rescue tender is located on the foredeck.

The crew is accommodated forward of the guest areas on the lower deck in four cabins. Crew quarters include the laundry facility and a nice crew mess.

While the owners enjoy their privacy, we were told that they have enjoyed using Papi du Papi since taking delivery, visiting many harbors along the Med’s most beautiful coasts. What better compliment could there be for ISA and designers Andrea Vallicelli and Francesco Paszkowski?

Maria Roberta Morso contributed to this report.

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LOA: 163ft. 10in. (49.95m)
LWL: 141ft. 11in. (43.26m)
Beam (max.): 29ft. 6in. (9m)
Beam (molded): 28ft. 3in. (8.6m)
Draft (full load): 8ft. 4in. (2.55m)
Hull material: steel
Superstructure: aluminum
Displacement (full load): 410.4 tons
Engines: 2 x Caterpillar 3512 B
Power: 1,648hp @ 1,800 rpm
Speed (max.): 16 knots
Speed (cruising): about 14 knots
Range @ 11 knots: about 4,400 nm
Fuel capacity: about 21,371 gal. (71 tons)
Fresh water capacity: about 4,515 gal. (15 tons)
Generators: 2 x Caterpillar C6.6
Stabilizers: 2 x Zero-speed fin NAIAD 575
Classification: Italian Naval registry, MCA, LY2 code compliant
Naval architecture: Andrea Vallicelli/ISA
Exterior styling: Andrea Vallicelli/ISA
Interior design: Francesco Paszkowski Design
Builder: International Shipyards Ancona - 2011