With plenty going on in the superyacht industry during this moment of change, a positive development has been our need to adapt – both to new small-scale ways of working and large-scale plans for the future. This adaptation has naturally resulted in new ideas and fresh innovations and so, we spoke to a cross-section of the industry to find out what they have been busy innovating during these times. Next up, is Wally Yachts’ founder Luca Bassani.
The coronavirus has had a huge impact on our industry, especially in Italy. Have you seen any changes in the needs of your customers?
Yes, we are in a peculiar moment in history. As a result, innovation could be seen in technology, but I think the main innovation will be the future change in behaviour that our clients and owners will have with their yachts. For sure, a boat could be seen as a ‘separate world’ and indeed one of the solutions for dealing with this crisis. We know that we don’t want to spend holidays alone, but with our families or friends, so this new behaviour surrounding the use and enjoyment of a yacht, in my opinion, will drive all kinds of innovation. In the first yachting season we have, whether that be 2020 or 2021, we will see the first examples of this.
I’m still thinking about the impact of this separation we endure because of the virus, and I think it will be the first issue that will really change our industry. If we talk about yachts beyond 60 metres, they don’t have any problem with staying at anchor in a bay for a long time. However, yachts up to 50 metres spend the majority of their time packed into harbours and marinas, so perhaps packing yachts into a marina may be seen and done in a different way. Before this crisis, being in a marina was an opportunity to meet people and now, I don’t think people will want to be moored together so close. We cannot quickly change the harbours, so instead, we will have to change something in the design and layout of our yachts.
Another example is during the summer, there are always plenty of yachts of all sizes in the bay. But those under a certain size don’t have the capability to keep the black water inside and so, it is thrown out. We know today that through black water, you can be infected by the coronavirus, which means we need to think about a new system and be more rigid about the treatment of the black water. These are only two simple examples, but we need to keep asking what will we have to change about our yachts?
With new considerations on how to preserve the environment, is there a new future for sailing yachts?
This is not so easy to predict. It really depends on the budget on the client because if we’re talking about very, very big, yachts then there will be no point for a sailing yacht to compete with a motor yacht in terms of onboard comfort, services and safety. For a more limited budget, then yes, sailing is a good alternative. I think that after this crisis, we will have more of a taste for the journey rather than the destination, which could bring the interest for sailing back. Especially with something like the canting keel, which we introduced 20 years ago and is today only used for racing and going faster, but if you use it for cruising, you can exploit the boat’s performances by up to 95%, keep the boat flat and remove any bad motion feelings. Just look at Baltic Yachts’ 43.3-metre Canova. This is a solution, and multihulls are another.