Perini Navi has long been associated with graceful sailing yachts, so when the Italian yard’s parent company, Perini Navi Group, announced it would build a series of motoryachts, the superyacht industry and enthusiasts took notice. But it also made sense. Called the Picchiotti-Vitruvius series, it would mark the return of the Picchiotti brand to the motoryacht market. Picchiotti’s roots date back to the 1600s, and Perini Navi Group acquired the builder in the early 1990s.
The series of photos here show the first fruits of the team’s labor: the hull of the first Vitruvius motoryacht, a 50-meter (164-footer) code-named C. 2134, being flipped.
The hull-turning operations took place in October at a Perini Navi Group yard in La Spezia. The aluminum hull was constructed upside down, to permits greater precision in the hull sheet welding and finishing. This is particularly important for yachts with complex shapes.
You can see hints of some of those shapes in the images here–where, interesting enough, the large cranes give a sense of scale to the hull. Look closely, and you’ll see the stem’s rake and an overall streamlined appearance. The design might even remind you of a sailing yacht. That’s because Philippe Briand, the designer behind the Vitruvius series, purposely applied the hydrodynamic rules of weight and volume distribution in sailboat hulls to this project. The goal was to minimize drag, thereby reducing fuel consumption. In fact, Perini Navi Group says the Vitruvius megayachts should save upwards of 50 percent in comparison to similar-size motoryachts currently in existence.
C. 2134 is also designed for long voyages. Once completed in 2010, this explorer-style yacht is expected to provide a range of 4,500 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 12 knots, and she’ll feature a displacement of 430 tons.
This isn’t the only Vitruvius under construction. Last month also marked the first plate cutting for a 55-meter (180-foot) expedition yacht at the same La Spezia facility. She also features a Philippe Briand design and long-range capabilities, but she’ll additionally feature an ice class hull, intended to be able to venture into Arctic waters. She’ll be complete in 2011.
The Vitruvius series is the culmination of an important tactic for the Perini Navi Group. Giancarlo Ragnetti, the company’s CEO, explains, “With two units sold and currently under construction, the Vitruvius project is the crowning achievement in the product differentiation strategy pursued by the Perini Navi Group. Today we can boast two important product brands–Perini Navi for sailing yachts, Picchiotti for motoryachts–and a strong production activity, spread through three different premises: Viareggio, Istanbul and La Spezia.” Ultimately, this permits four sailing yachts and two motoryachts to be built each year, broadening its capabilities.