Hydro Tec’s evolution from engineering to yacht design
Dario Schiavo traces the transformation of Italian company Hydro Tec…
Sergio Cutolo, founder, Hydro Tec
We all know how complex it is to build a yacht, from designing the hull, sourcing materials, cutting sheet metal and designing the exterior and interior. All with an important ingredient that is not always, if ever, readily available in a market increasingly tied to industrial mechanisms: knowledge
This is how the Italian company Hydro Tec, founded and led by naval architect and marine engineer Sergio Cutolo, is carving out an increasingly clear niche in the market. In almost 30 years, the business has transformed from an engineering company into an established yacht design studio offering an integrated design vision – an unusual proposition in the market.
This transformation has been accompanied by significant growth in size and clientele. In response to this expansion, Hydro Tec has adopted a specialised approach, diversifying its services into three business units to encompass various aspects of yacht design and engineering, from conceptual design to final steel cutting and exterior design.
Cutolo began his career at Baglietto shipyard, becoming technical director, and then founded Hydro Tec in 1995.
“A natural evolution came with the 82ft M/Y Naumachos from Cantieri di Pesaro, an explorer,” states Cutolo, “and we were faced with the need to give form to function. That is where our path began and that explorer concept evolved from [yards] Cantieri di Pesaro to Cantieri delle Marche.”
At that time the word ‘explorer’ had just taken its first steps in the nautical vocabulary. After a start that focused mostly on pure ship engineering, Hydro Tec has now become one of the few companies across the industry to embrace almost all the work involved in building a yacht, setting up three specialised business units.
The first evolution was from architectural and naval engineering work to 2D and 3D design models to give precise input to steel-cutting machines. It is from steel that the second business unit was born, with the establishment of a jointly owned company with Baglietto Marine Steel of Novi Ligure, which starts from coil to cut steel sheets and then primes them and sends them for cutting for other Italian shipyards such as Fincantieri, Benetti, Baglietto, Codecasa, Palumbo and Cantiere delle Marche.
“We first revealed a small company in Viareggio, moved it to Novi Ligure, and with Baglietto Marine Steel we founded Marine Nest,” says Cutolo. “In addition, we founded another company in Genoa called Yacht Engineering to support the parent company, but also to carry out white-label work for special outfitting services, which operates freely in the more noble part of design such as hydrodynamics and exterior design.”
146-metre Flexplorer Maverick
Hydro Tec concentrates more on hull work, stability, weight study and calculation of structures and propulsion, while Marine Nest specialises in nesting work (the process of efficiently arranging groups of variously shaped parts, such that they do not overlap on the rectangular sheet metal base material), with the newly founded Yacht Engineering company closing the circle.
The three specialised business units of Hydro Tec concentrate on their individual domains, but by collaborating they contribute to a unified, inclusive range of services that ultimately advantages all stakeholders along the entire chain, from shipyard to client.
One example of a vessel where the complete package of all three units has been applied is 33-metre Seamore currently under construction at the Antonini Navi shipyard, with engineering, design, nesting and piping work. Another is the 146-metre Flexplorer Maverick from Cantiere delle Marche, launched in late 2023, where the group, led by Cutolo, carried out the engineering and design work.
As French architect Philippe Briand has already done with the Vitruvius project, Hydrotec’s next goal could well be to follow a complete project from A to Z, including the interior design and outfitting.
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