Despite being sat aboard the pristine 49.9m M/Y Vertige during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, in the company of Tankoa sales coordinator Renzo Chelazzi, ironically it was the yacht’s predecessor, 69.3m M/Y Suerte, that formed the nub of our conversation.
When the Orsi family sold Baglietto to the Camuzzi group in 2004, after an eight-year stint in charge, Guido Orsi returned to the industry in 2008, opening the doors to Tankoa Yachts in Genoa, Italy, with a cherry-picked management team that had originated at Baglietto. He also hired Francesco Paszkowski, another Baglietto stalwart, to work on two 65m superyacht designs, which were later named C101 and C102.
C101 was quickly sold to a close friend of a confidential investor in the yard after the 2008 Monaco Yacht Show, with delivery due for 2011. However, this sole Tankoa client walked away from the project after the undisclosed investor passed away, at which point the yard bought back the project before it became embroiled in a legal dispute.
Progress continued on the project nonetheless – Chelazzi mentioned that the yard is fortunate enough to be “completely self-financed” on every project – but the chances of finding a new owner wore thin as the yachting industry began to bear the brunt of a full-blown recession. In 2013, the yard approached Michel Karsenti, owner of Yacht-Ology – and today, a sales director at Tankoa – for help. He had visited the yard in 2011 and represented numerous Russian clients.
Karsenti felt the C101 concept, which had been designed in 2008, required a refreshment and no longer met the expectations of the marketplace. So, Karsenti spent two months making tweaks to the design with Paszkowski before presenting the GA and renders to a client in Moscow, who signed the contract in March 2014, when the project was 70 per cent complete and had been renamed S693.
“We researched all the features commonly requested by charterers, such as a sauna and spa, large leisure spaces for entertaining kids and adults, and lots of toys,” explained Chelazzi, the build captain for the project, and with over 25 years of operational experience.
“If someone came to the shipyard and said they wanted a 70m boat, but they didn’t want to wait, we would put them onto the owner of S701 for a conversation, because he will probably sell the boat.”
The owner’s intentions were for no longer than a week to 10 days of personal use per year; the boat had been solely commissioned for business purposes. In March 2016, Suerte was listed on the charter market with Northrop & Johnson. A charter client was found very quickly and the yacht embarked on an almost unheard of four-month charter, from 9 May to 9 September.
“The captain, who is my friend, called me on 9 September and told me that he understood from the charterer that he wanted to extend the charter with the option to buy the boat. But, we needed the boat for the Monaco Yacht Show later that month. So Karsenti spoke to the owner and charter broker, but the yacht ended up being sold and never made it to the show.”
The seller then returned to the shipyard and said he’d be interested in building a platform 80m, but Tankoa was not ready for a yacht of this size. It had been developing new models in the 50–60m range, such as S501, S503 and the S581 open.
S801, the 80m concept available today and inspired by the 80m 1931 Italian Navy tall ship, Amerigo Vespucci, had not yet been designed. “So, the owner said, ‘Okay, I got a good deal with Suerte, so I am going to buy your S701 model’, which is essentially a sistership to Suerte,” continued Chelazzi.
“In the meantime, we have been developing an 80m, so he might sell S701.” The yacht is not officially on the market, because the owner doesn’t like to officially list boats for sale, however Chelazzi said, “If someone came to the shipyard and said they wanted a 70m boat, but they didn’t want to wait, we would put them onto the owner of S701 for a conversation, because he might want to sell the boat.”
The 1,600-gross ton S701 is due to be launched in July 2018 and delivered in September 2018. If the admiration of Suerte is anything to go by, it will be worth keeping a beady eye on the Tankoa shed for S701 in the coming months.
Images 1 & 2 - S701; Images 3 & 4 - M/Y Suerte