Rome-based shipyard, Canados, has been acquired by Michel Karsenti. speaks exclusively with Karsenti about his journey towards shipyard ownership which included periods in nearly all elements of the industry.

“I started in offshore boat racing then went into publishing,” explains Karsenti. After accumulating accolades, including a world championship in offshore racing, he became the owner of Yachts Magazine, and soon thereafter, began managing build projects for a number of Russian clients.

“I built around 12 boats at Canados and that’s how I grew so close to the yard. Since 1946 Canados has been building yachts and it has been developing everything in-house, from the stainless steel to the engine room. However, the last few deals I did with Canados after it had been acquired in 2007 were very difficult. The yachts were delivered late and not only that, the suppliers and subcontractors that I had been dealing with for years were not getting paid.”

Karsenti stopped building boats at Canados as a result, and six months later the yard ceased operating.

“I’m afraid that, at times, this industry still doesn’t learn from the [economic] crash of 2007-2009 and many shipyards are still running after big numbers, ambitions and egos” - a business model that Karsenti is adamant Canados will not replicate. “Canados is a big shipyard in terms of size,” he says. “But our ambitions are very reasonable. We want to produce 6-10 yachts a year – and that is it.”

Canados’ current range contains yachts from 23m-43m and makes use of designs created by another one of Karsenti’s yachting pursuits, Oceanic Yachts. This design studio has now been absorbed into Canados.

“There are plenty of people who have the finances to build a 40-50m yacht but simply don’t want to deal with the crew or the management issues. They would prefer a 30m that they can run with two or three crew in the summer and one in the winter. But they still want to build their own boat.”

Karsenti believes that Canados’ niche exists within its ability to focus on customisation at the lower end of the superyachting spectrum, setting them apart from Italy’s semi-custom superpowers and ensureing they are not competing for the same custom.

However, before Canados’ new era can begin in earnest the creeks and cracks of a two-year abandonment require seeing to. “We are restructuring some of the sheds and making sure we have up-to-date production facilities and with new environmental procedures, as well as updating the two marinas that are part of the yard.”

Yacht building work is expected to continue in the summer 2016. “We will put three new boats in the water this season and we have a program for six to seven boats next year.”

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