Now in its ninth year of operation, Cantiere delle Marche is reaping the rewards of carving a distinctive niche in an already niche-oriented business. The shipyard recently signed its 27th explorer superyacht. She’s a real explorer, in keeping with the yard’s prior contracts, made for roaming the world’s oceans on their own bottom, even in challenging seas. The commercial-vessel mindset that the ownership team brought to yachting has helped it expand its client base across oceans, too. With plans to formally market in the United States this year, Cantiere delle Marche counts Americans, Latin Americans, Europeans, Russians, and others among its adventure-seeking loyalists. All the while, in contrast to what most other shipyards are doing, the Italian yard has placed a firm limit on its own growth.
When we first visited the shipyard, located in Ancona, in 2013, it was bucking the recession’s effects on the marine market. The management team recognized that mature cruisers with a zest for far-flung travel were still spending their money. In addition, few custom builders addressed this client pool. Cantiere delle Marche still markets to, and attracts, knowledgeable and experienced buyers prioritizing function over form. But, back then, most of its yachts were in the sub-30-meter (98-foot) realm. The difference now is that most are closer to, or in excess of, 40 meters (131 feet). In addition, they’re taking even more advantage of the custom construction.
Take the megayacht code named MG129 (above), for instance. Measuring 129 feet (39.42 meters) LOA, she belongs to an owner with four yachts from a fellow Italian yard. Upon the urging of a trusted advisor, he sea trialed a Cantiere delle Marche build, then visited the yard. He was impressed with the philosophy and the yard’s standard approach of employing cupronickel piping, independent rudders (like commercial vessels), and similarly robust systems. But, he wasn’t crazy about the robust styling. Vasco Buonpensiere, the yard’s vice president and sales manager, called the owner’s preferred stylist, Francesco Paszkowski. Buonpensiere says that within a 15-day deadline, Pazkowski produced a design that met “99 percent” of the owner’s wishes.
With a total of nine yachts in build, Cantiere delle Marche has grown tremendously since it started. It’s even created a pre-owned sales division. Oftentimes in observing successful scenarios, prognosticators predict a sky’s-the-limit future. Cantiere delle Marche’s management team does believe it will continue to succeed. However, “we have put a limit on our growth,” Buonpensiere says. “We’ll grow step by step, to a natural limit.” That limit is 45 meters (148 feet) and 499 gross tons. Why? Simple: the 50-meter/164-foot-and-up field is already crowded, and crowded with quality yards, he says. Furthermore, he adds, there aren’t enough skilled workers in Ancona. Therefore, the yard can’t sacrifice construction quality in favor of just following the market.
Resisting the urge to follow has served the shipyard well for nearly a decade. Why stop now?
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