by Picchiotti with Zuccon International Project

From the past looking towards the future.

Many projects in various areas of industry have drawn inspiration from the forms of the past, reinterpreting them from a modern angle. Some are authentic icons, the modern versions of which find favour with the public thanks to what have become universally recognised stylistic features; others draw on designs linked to important stories from the past, and in this case, presenting them in accordance with present-day norms is neither a marketing operation nor a stylistic whim, but a tribute to the principal characters of

those stories. Heritage, Picchiotti’s new project created by the Zuccon International Project studio working together with the shipyard’s technical team, belongs to the second category and its most fascinating aspect is that those seeking to pay homage to a story from the past are not a couple of nostalgic old men. Heritage is a tribute by two young and highly regarded professionals to a piece of yachting history that will always bear the names of its key players. The two young men are Luca Boldrini, Sales Director for Picchiotti Yachts and Bernardo Zuccon from Zuccon International Project, while the protagonists of the story that inspired the Heritage 45m are Gerhard Gilgenast, with his F100 designs created for Gianni Agnelli in 1983, and T.M. Blue One, created by Picchiotti for the fashion designer, Valentino, in 1988. The F100 is a 33-metre yacht that many consider to be the first explorer in the history of yachting: a craft in which revolutionary concepts are expressed with simplicity, rigour and purity of line, making it a design that is still of interest today.

Gerhard Gilgenast and Gianni Agnelli, each in his own role, were the two great protagonists of yachting in those days: the former with designs that could shake up apparently well-established and in some cases inviolable rules, such as T.M. Blue One, made by Picchiotti for Valentino in 1988, and the latter with an uncommon passion for sailing and for boats, both sailing yachts and motor yachts. Gerhard Gilgenast was responsible for many large-scale yacht projects, but our story, and therefore the story of Heritage 45 m, draws on the two projects mentioned above for the story of the forms, passions and the professionals involved in the construction that gave rise to all of this in the past, and are doing the same in the present. F100 and T.M. Blue One were the basis from which Bernardo Zuccon started when he began to create a type of yacht that certainly marks a watershed in the interpretation of leisure craft of this size. We met the designer and asked him to explain the relationship between the inspiration derived from those two projects, which he told us he particularly loved, and what he believes will be the future of yachting. What emerged was very interesting, because he was able to make us see through his eyes the course he believes yachting is set to take from a design standpoint. Redundant environments give way to spaces free from visual impediments, where large surfaces and natural light enable the people living therein to experience direct contact with the sea, so that their gaze is free to roam from bow to stern without any barriers.

We are happy to write about this vision, because it derives from an analysis of life on board, and from the comments of owners who admit that they don’t feel the need for dual salons on different decks, for duplicated areas that they don’t use, or for spaces split up into smaller spaces. Ample spaces to be shared by the occupants who can appreciate one another’s presence even in zones set apart from one another, since wherever they are, they always have a view of the sea, but where privacy is also ensured, where necessary, by simple devices. Heritage relies on an openness that gives rise to significant volumes, which made it possible to create a superstructure with well-proportioned shapes and new types of structure, if we leave aside the F100, with interior heights that make it possible to perceive space on a yacht in the middle of the sea in a totally new way.

We asked the designer how this idea came about:

The relationship between our studio and the Picchiotti shipyard began as a result of a friendship, based on an excellent relationship and mutual respect, with Luca Boldrini, the present sales manager of the shipyard. Our friendship goes back a long way, and although it started for professional reasons it has gone beyond that, developing into a really good friendship, which has enabled us to interact in the most constructive way professionally, too, discussing things frankly. Both of us have always shared an admiration for the F100 project created by CRN to designs by Gerhard Gilgenast, and for the T.M. Blue One, also designed by Gilgenast and subsequently built by the Picchiotti shipyard. What it comes down to is that Heritage was basically the product of all of these circumstances: a friendship, the story of an architect to whom we wanted to dedicate a tribute, two important yachting stories and two shipyards that we have been involved with in the past and are still involved with today. We wanted to pay homage to what we think is a really beautiful story.”

At this point we wanted to hear from Luca Boldrini, too:

There were certainly many reasons why the project came about between the two of us: firstly, a shared passion for F100, and then because we wanted to create a low-profile expedition yacht with Picchiotti, in the Perini–Picchiotti style, but with features that other boats don’t have. We began researching the project and among the things that stood out were that there are certain features of size, volume and comfort that make it unique. There aren’t any other vessels around that are 45 metres long with a 9-metre tender, 3-metre-high deckheads, and the chance to board them from the stern and see everything right up to the bow. Then there’s the space: the enormous open space of the main deck, the bow, decked and furnished for use as a large open area dedicated to relaxation. On the other hand, we also wanted a vessel that would best express the characteristics of the craft that Picchiotti has built up till now, and hence boats designed and built on the basis that they would sail for a long time, for owners who really live in them. After all, “Exuma” has already sailed over 100,000 miles, “Grace E” has exceeded 65,000, and as for “Galileo”, we haven’t got the definite figures at the moment, since it’s still in the Pacific, more precisely in Fiji. So we wanted a boat as powerful as these but different from all the others: unique, but inspired by a project from 30 years ago, and not just any project, because the F100 and the use that its famous owner made of it, closely resembles the way Perini boat owners interpret the sea, many of whom own a motor yacht as well. In this case, Heritage represents an extension of their vessel, which can transport their toys but can also sail to distant destinations, or can sail in the Mediterranean while the other one is in the Caribbean, for example. Naturally, this also goes for the different customers who own a Perini. We wanted to create a project outside the box, with great rationality of design. You can see this from the elimination of duplicated environments, and from the sundeck that is just a short distance above the sea so the people living on the yacht don’t lose contact with the water; and then there’s the bow, which allows the transport of large tenders and toys so that people can do whatever they want during the cruise, but when it’s free, it’s an area devoted to onboard life for the guests, with all the comforts of a real club on the sea. All of this is in a project named Heritage, so it’s clearly inspired by the past, but with some important and up-to-the-minute benefits for people who really live on their boats. There are no useless or unused structures, which means that effectively you pay for what you actually use in your enjoyment of it, because it’s not sacrificed to the space lost on useless areas with duplicated functions. This is also very much in line with the Perini philosophy, as is the exclusiveness of the project. There’s one more thing I would add: it was Gilgenast who designed the last three historic Picchiotti vessels, which Bernard and I have always particularly admired and which we wanted to pay tribute to. I think that Gilgenast achieved things of far greater importance than many other better-known names. I must admit that one of the elements that prompted us to create Heritage was a personal admiration for Gianni Agnelli and his way of using boats. He had two, a sailing boat and a motor boat, and he kept them close: with the former he enjoyed racing, but he also enjoyed the comfort and the possibility of sailing in a different way offered by his motor yacht: this matches the profile of many of the Perini and Picchiotti clients. The design is really special and I’m convinced that it will be greatly admired when people are able to see the first finished unit on the sea. I’m sure that when it’s seen on the sea it will make itself understood immediately. But it remains a simple yacht, in the sense that it’s not one of those projects that’s full of surprises, with a submarine that comes out of one end and a helicopter out of the other: it’s essential, a reconquest of rationality. Having worked with Bernardo for many years, and listened to the comments of the owners with whom we shared experiences during the design and construction, we realised that those duplicated areas are seen as useless, as environments that are not really lived in.”

Thus far, the reasons that prompted the two professionals to think about a 45- metre yacht in a new way, while drawing inspiration from the past, seem clear enough. But Bernardo Zuccon explained something else to us, that definitely helps us to understand the ambitious project better:

It’s a vessel of about 45 metres with a maximum width of 9.60 metres, so it’s very capacious, but it’s not a boat for people looking for more structures. The configuration we have designed is quite simple, with a lot of emphasis placed on the external spaces, and it was sufficient to eliminate the duplicated covered spaces that exist in most current projects. The night zone for the owner, guests and crew is situated entirely on the lower deck, with no cabins on the main deck, because this would mean creating an interruption in that single large environment perceived from the furthest point aft to the furthest point forward. All this was made possible by excellent work on the part of the Perini engineers: I really enjoy working with them because apart from their remarkable expertise, they also manage to overturn things that seem solidly established and to rethink them in a different way. In this case, the key to it all was their ability to create a lower-lower deck that could house all the technical areas so that they don’t interfere at all with the lower deck. As a result of this linearity, we have designed two different layouts for the owner, who can then decide to have a suite that is totally private and separated from the rest of the night zone, or else a more “democratic” version by moving the beach club and creating circulation flows that the owners themselves can manage. Gianni Agnelli’s boat had a completely private and isolated suite, and we wanted to propose this idea again, creating a planning filter that we could only develop thanks to the skills of the Perini engineers. There is a spa that can be private for the owner or available to the guests, providing a facility that is greatly appreciated by owners, unlike some other areas, but one which also offers a wealth of opportunity. Take the salon, for example: it’s 3 metres high, with large floor-to-ceiling windows and a skylight obtained from the transparent bottom of the jacuzzi on the sun deck. The jacuzzi is embedded and flush with the upper deck, while its transparent bottom enters the salon, bringing light and a link with the outside into this area. On the main deck, there’s the dining area, kitchen and the bridge: there’s no need for anything else. Naturally we paid a lot carry out their tasks in the most efficient way; here, too, I think the result is very interesting, because although it is still possible to have visual contact with all areas of the boat, privacy is ensured where necessary. Even on the sun deck, where the tub is flush with the deck floor, the possibilities for using the spaces vary depending on the time of day, where you are and what you want to do: in the daytime you have the deck available with all the accessories for enjoying the sun, the embedded jacuzzi and a raised and completely private sun pad area, while in the evening all of this can become a big party area simply by covering the tub with the appropriate panels.”

Since meeting Luca Boldrini and Bernardo Zuccon, and talking about Heritage, many other details have emerged about the project and its creation, and about the desire to offer a completely new craft that would also be a tribute to a great yacht designer, a great yacht owner and to two Italian shipyards. We are sure at this point that the photos provided here will suffice to tell the Heritage “story” in addition to what we have written. But we’re certain that Luca Boldrini is right when he says that the new Picchiotti project will only be truly understood and appreciated when people see it on the water.


Angelo Colombo

Heritage technical specifications

Length overall 45.4 m
Draft3.65 m
Waterline44.07 m
Beam9.60 m
DisplacementFull displacement
DesignZuccon International Project
BuilderPicchiotti Yachts

Latest issue
More yachts in issue n° 44