Within any range of yachts, there is invariably one model whose size and aesthetics capture the essence of the series better than any other. This impression is likely based on the golden ratio principle, which in yacht design looks for balance and proportion between overall length and height, waterline length and beam, freeboard and sheerline, and so on. Generally speaking, the longer, lower and slimmer the boat, the better she looks on the water.
This principle is especially true of fast, sporty yachts, but the Mangusta GranSport 45 defies the convention.
When the Mangusta GranSport 54 El Leon, the Italian brand’s 177-foot flagship, won an award for Best Exterior Design at the 2018 Cannes Yachting Festival, it was clear she would be a hard act to follow. Arrow slim and seriously quick, El Leon made it seem impossible that Mangusta could reproduce the same grace and performance in a version 30 feet shorter. But, the yard did it. The first 148-foot (45.3-meter) Mangusta GranSport 45, Ma, won the same award in 2019.
Mangusta has judged the evolving expectations of its owners down to a T with the Gransport series. Whereas the blistering speed of Mangusta’s Open models was once the big draw, today’s yachtsmen—including the American owner of Ma—want more comfort, lower fuel consumption and longer range in addition to high performance. The Overmarine Group, Mangusta’s parent company, met these new demands with a fast surface-piercing hull that cuts through the sea without planing, effectively combining the range and comfort of a full-displacement yacht with the speed of a semi-displacement hull.
But the masterstroke was to commission Alberto Mancini, fresh from penning the long-range Oceano series for Mangusta, to design the GranSport range.
“The overall brief was to transfer the style and panache of the fiberglass Mangusta Opens into a range of all-aluminum yachts with higher volumes and different layouts,” Mancini says. “We started with the GranSport 54, and the challenge was then to maintain the same design language for the smaller GranSport 45. Some changes were made along the way, but my basic ideas based on sleek elegance and fluid proportions remained intact throughout the process, from concept to construction.”
At first glance, the two yachts are virtually indistinguishable. Both have the muscled haunches derived from the brand’s classic Open yachts; a black slash of windows running almost from stem to stern; side platforms in the beach club aft; a forward tender garage; a pool on the foredeck—Ma’s has a cascade feature—and a heavily raked windscreen on the bridge deck that Mancini likens to that of a supercar. The two models even share the same fold-down balconies with pop-up stanchions in the master stateroom on the forward main deck.
The variations tend to be in scale and owner choice, rather than shipyard specification. Unlike the open-air sundeck behind the wheelhouse on El Leon, Ma has an enclosed salon (the open layout is an option). The pool and tender garage are, perhaps unsurprisingly, larger on the flagship model, and her transom folds down to extend the swim platform, whereas on the GranSport 45 it folds up. The fact that the two yachts have so much in common despite their difference in size and volume (440 versus 499 gross tons) is a tribute to the shipyard’s initial concept and the designer’s interpretation of it.
Inside, Ma’s owners wanted the main deck salon to be an open space with sole-to-ceiling glazing, sliding glass doors for natural ventilation, and big, freestanding furniture. No clutter, no fussy joinery. Mangusta’s artistic office designed the décor in-house with the owners, relying on Italian designer brands such as Poltrona Frau, Minotti and Paola Lenti in bespoke shades of gray-green, combined with flamed ash soles and metallic accents in brushed bronze or matte black. The overall ambience is serene, subdued and sophisticated.
The formal dining room has been moved to the upper deck. Served by an internal staircase and a dumbwaiter from the galley below, the space has a table topped in Kenya black marble, overlooking the open aft deck.
In fact, the only appreciable concession the GranSport 45 makes to her more compact volume is on the lower deck, where she has four instead of five en suite guest staterooms.
Where she definitely does differ from her big sister is in the engine room. Instead of El Leon’s four MTU engines of 2,600 horsepower each, delivering a top speed of 30 knots, Ma carries three of the same MTUs with a KaMeWa steerable water jet coupled to the central unit.
This configuration provides several operational advantages. All three engines and the water jet can be engaged for a redline speed of 26 knots, or just one engine can drive the yacht at 8 knots for noise- and vibration-free navigation. Additionally, the joystick-operated water jet provides improved maneuverability and dynamic positioning functionality.
El Leon and Ma were sold to repeat clients who upgraded from Open yachts, and second hulls of both GranSport models are in build. The baby of the series, the 109-foot Mangusta GranSport 33, is scheduled to debut at the autumn boat shows. Three units are already in construction, and we will soon learn whether Mangusta can score an awards hat trick at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September.
LOA 148ft. 7in. (45.3m)
BEAM 28ft. 2in. (8.6m)
DRAFT (full load) 7ft. 2in. (2.2m)
GROSS TONNAGE 440
SPEED (max./cruise) 26/20 knots
RANGE 3,500nm at 11 knots
NAVAL ARCHITECTURE Studio PLANA Overmarine Group
EXTERIOR STYLING Alberto Mancini Overmarine Group
INTERIOR DESIGN Overmarine Group
BUILDER Overmarine Group
For more information: mangustayachts.com
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Yachts International.