Ennio Cecchini &
Cantiere delle Marche’s stellar growth in the past four years very much depends on their management, the previous experience and the way of thinking that creates beautiful and high quality yachts.
Only five years ago nobody knew about the shipyard of Cantiere delle Marche from Ancona, Italy. Today, they are undoubted world leader in building the explorers, and it is very likely that every client looking for this kind of yacht will look at Ancona built one. This was reason enough to speak with Mr.Ennio Cecchini, the founder and CEO of the yard and with Vasco Buonpensiere, Sales & Marketing Director, as the one of the most responsible people for the stellar growth of that builder. When they introduced the first model, ‘Vitadimare’ 86 feet Darwin Class explorer in Cannes it was clear that uncompromised quality stands behind their yachts and they continued in the same manner with more modern semi displacement Nauta Air range. Development of new models, each one even better then the previous is continuing, making the success of the yard even greater and Mr.Cecchini and Mr.Buonpensiere explain the secret of this.
Why did you, by your opinion, succeed in such a short time?
Buonpensiere: We succeeded because of the products; our heart is the expedition yacht. We had some luck as we were aiming at the niche market from 24 till 40 meter, which was a good decision. In a couple of year we closed a lot of contracts. Ennio and me have studied the market and we saw there is a ‘hole’ for the steel built yachts in that size. Cecchini: We have concentrated on that, which is the same type of work carried by my ex yard in Pesaro. There we have been concentrated on the commercial vessel with maximum size of 123 meters, that was the limit for the production site. My experience also comes from yachting where we have done a lot of refitting, i.e. 45 meter M/Y Prometej was a big work, completely reconstructed or 67 meter M/Y Lady Haya. In 2010, I have tried to transfer all my previous experience into the Cantiere delle Marche. Obviously I couldn’t build yachts in fiberglass, as it was not my business culture. We have started from scratch in March 2010, and we have delivered the first yacht in September 2011. In this yard we have started with the expedition yacht, with a known owner for whom we have started the first build. We have brought her to shows in Cannes and Genoa in 2011, and the rest is well known.
What do you think was a reason for the first sale at the first boat show?
Buonpensiere: Big reason was the volume of the yacht that under the regulations was smaller than 24 meters but had volumes of the 32 meter yachts. When people realized this, together with really high possibility of customization, our yachts became ‘hot’. With us you can choose everything, from inside out, even the length of the yachts. Our yachts also always kept the look and spirit of the explorer. This is not only from aesthetical point of view, in 2012, our yacht of only 86 feet have crossed Atlantic ocean during hurricane Sandy with 6 meters of waves without problems.
Then you developed bigger models?
Buonpensiere: We have developed the 96 footer ‘Stella di Mare’ after that, also completely customized as per client’s wishes. In the same time we have constructed the first yachts of the new Nauta Air line – Noga and Yolo, designed by Nauta Yachts. These were different yachts, as they were built completely in aluminum with semi displacement hulls. We have continued working in both directions and soon we signed the yacht of Darwin Class 107 feet, our flagship - for the moment - for British owner - this is a true North Europe style of the yacht - and we are launching the first of the two Darwin Class 102’ that is going to be presented at Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. The flagship of Nauta Air, Nauta Air 108’ is under construction. We created a real 40 sq mt beach club, open on three sides, in direct connection with the water and perfectly serviceable by the crew. Nauta Design is one of the best Italian expressions of style, creativity and worldwide success, being also the same team who designed the Biggest Yacht in the World (the 180 mt M/Y Azzam). On top of this, creating the interior design, Nauta used the best and most iconic italian pieces of design furnitures and accessories perfectly merged with the interior architecture: Minotti, Paola Lenti, Frau are only some of the brands used by Nauta for this new addition to the CdM collection of Vessels.
Obviously there is a quality behind your yachts, what else?
Cecchini: We try to understand what the client wants and we put it in the yacht. We do it without big ‘chain’ of communication; myself, Vasco and the small team of project managers personally speak with client about his wishes. We really work hard to please owners of our yachts. Our projects are not limited to their current quality, we always try to make better yachts with every new unit we build by transferring the experience of the owner and the crew of the previous ones. This is where we have great feedback from the market that has understood it, as the consequence we are now negotiating yachts over 100 feet and we soon became top builder worldwide for Steel and Aluminium Explorers from 80’ to 112’, representing 60% of the whole segment of the market.
So what comes in future?
Buonpensiere: We want to maintain the same level of production. Our maximum number of boats for delivery is three, maybe four. Otherwise we would loose feeling for the client.
Do you consider building bigger yachts?
Buonpensiere: Absolutely, we are working on the new projects that are around 35 meters, and I think our maximum size is about 45 meters. In any case our yachts complain with LY3 under MCA rules. But it is important to maintain the quality and the philosophy of the brand. Let’s say that we prefer to build one boat less and improve the quality of the boats.
Who is your competition today?
Cecchini: The competitor can grow around the corner every day. But we are quite confident because we have a very special team with a lot of experience. In this way I have more time to dedicate to the product, which is my favorite job, I like to work with a pencil and find the new detail or idea. Our technical department is the top at the moment and I don’t want to grow a lot the number of employees. I prefer to have less people but with a lot of experience. Our production manager, Michele Santini, works with me since 1988., sometimes I speak with him and he understands what I have on my mind in one second.
You also have some Croatian workers?
Cecchini: We have a lot of Croatian workers, I started to work with them in 1992, and there are many who I know personally. I am not born in the office, I am born in the workshop, that is my major experience. I know the name of the single worker inside the shipyard and I find important to speak with them. Sometimes you can not think to have more experience then the welder who is working for the last 20 years. It is important to be maniac for the quality of our yachts and also listen the people from experience from the industry. The rest is simple, especially if you have a good line like Nauta Yachts. In Italy we say ‘explorer dressed for going out for a dinner’.