The ongoing saga of representation for Italy’s yachting industry took a new turn on October 27 in Milan when Nautica Italiana, the new association set up two months ago by a group of leading players that have renounced their membership of UCINA, announced a strategic plan for re-launching the industry on a domestic and international level.
The press event was headed up by association president Lamberto Tacoli (CRN) and attended by Giovanna Vitelli (Azimut-Benetti), Alberto Galassi (Ferretti Group) Beniamino Gavio (Baglietto/Cerri), Alberto Amico (Amico & Co), and Giorgio Squinzi (president of Confindustria, the General Confederation of Italian Industry).
“I believe maximum attention has to be paid to restoring the underlying values of the Italian [yachting] industry,” said Tacoli, who pointed out that the association’s current 44 members represent a turnover of more than €1.2 billion. He went on to outline an all-embracing plan entitled ‘Nautica 365’, which defines a regulatory framework to restore confidence and clarity at home and abroad.
Lamberto Tacoli, president of Nautica Italiana and CEO of CRN.
Much of the manifesto concerns simplifying or streamlining legislation, such as the uniform application of VAT at a rate of 6.6 per cent for yacht charters and regulations for professional qualifications in line with those in other European countries.
But other measures are designed to consolidate Italy’s status on the international stage and challenge competitors, particularly those from northern Europe. To this extent, an ethical contract or 'Charter of Values' is an essential part of the articles contained within the manifesto. Designed to directly benefit customers, the charter will guarantee constant and prompt customer information of any deviation from the contractual conditions agreed; observance of the technical and identifying characteristics of components outlined in the contractual conditions; and compliance with workplace safety, social ethics and environmental protection principles.
(Left to right): Tacoli; Giovanna Vitelli; Alberto Galassi; Alberto Amico.
Moreover, the association is proposing two new exhibition events for small to medium-sized yachts to take place in the spring in Liguria, Tuscany or possibly Campania (Naples). In parallel and in collaboration with Fondazione Altagamma (an organisation representing Italian products and services in the fields of design, fashion, food, jewellery, hospitality, and now yachting), Nautica Italiana is also developing formats for its presence at overseas events to promote the 'Italian yachting lifestyle.'
The tricky question of UCINA remains. The same day as Nautica Italiana announced its manifesto, the Italian online magazine Liguria Nautica published a strongly-worded interview with UCINA president Carla Demaria, who cast doubt on the sense of having two bodies representing the same industry under the umbrella of Confindustria and roundly refuted the claim that the new association’s 44 members represent 80 per cent of production turnover.
"Nautica Italiana affiliates do not account for even 35 per cent of production,” she said. “"If the association fills up with consultants, professionals and designers as per its statute, it will be a small UCINA and not representative of the sector. Instead, if it wants to be the point of reference for boat builders, then there is already Assonave in Confindustria.”
When Nautica Italiana was established, the suggestion was that a back door had been left open for collaboration with UCINA. In the light of Demaria’s and Tacoli’s comments, that avenue now appears firmly closed:
“Don’t think the decision to leave UCINA was an easy one, either for the Ferretti Group or our other members,” said Tacoli. “It was discussed over a long period of time without being able to come to an agreement. But today we’ve moved on. We will follow our own path and do whatever is in the best interests of our members… The fact that we are setting sail together reinforces our position by definition.”
All images courtesy of Justin Ratcliffe.
The polemic will no doubt continue. Historically, Italian brands have preferred to 'go it alone', which is part of the reason why UCINA has struggled to find consensus of opinion among its members. Inspired perhaps by the Dutch model, in which competitors realise the benefits of national solidarity, the manifesto is a candid recognition of the challenges that face the Italian yachting industry if it is to maintain or grow its market share.