Palumbo Superyachts is the yachting arm for the Palumbo Group, a 52-year-old international shipbuilding company. Despite the yachting division being far younger, it quickly has amassed five locations for new-build and refit work, all in the Mediterranean. Naturally, being an Italian company, the headquarters are in Italy. Specifically, the city of Ancona, along the Adriatic coast, is the center of operations. During an early-spring visit, we got a better look at those operations, where three of the megayacht brands come to life. We also got a better understanding of the company’s overriding focus: to be with the customer from commissioning through service.
The Ancona site is home to Columbus Yachts, ISA Yachts, and Extra Yachts. In fact, it’s the site where ISA Yachts opened its doors under different owners in 2001. Palumbo Group acquired ISA Yachts in 2016. However, Palumbo made its entry into the megayacht market with Columbus Yachts. The first delivery was Prima, a 177-footer (53.7-meter) in 2011 whose RINA Green Plus notation made it clear “just” big custom yachts wasn’t enough.
In the ensuing years, Palumbo Superyachts has broadened the reach of both ISA Yachts and Columbus Yachts. Columbus has taken on larger, still fully custom projects, such as Dragon, which launched during our visit. ISA Yachts, meanwhile, has stayed true to its Granturismo and Classic semi-custom series, though it did add yet another series. “We wanted to do something different,” explains Francesco Carbone (right, below), general manager for ISA Yachts. Thus, Extra Yachts emerged, with sportier, arguably more youthful styling and, especially, big volume for the sizes. Extra Yachts is now a brand of its own, out from under ISA, to ensure each image remains preserved.
Altogether, eight megayachts are in build for the three brands in Ancona. They range from an Extra 86 Fast, a 30-knot speedster for a client from Miami, to the Columbus Sport 50M and ISA Classic 65 M (above). The Columbus project is for an American client, too, who wants a relatively low draft, sub-500-ton cruiser. North America and Europe are the primary markets for the brands.
New construction is not the sole focus, however. As Giuseppe Palumbo (to Carbone’s left), the CEO of Palumbo Group, says, “We want to touch the customer straight through delivery into service.” Therefore, Palumbo Superyachts Refit division exists. The majority of works take place in Malta and Marseilles, France, although Ancona handles some as well. Significant superyacht refits are possible, too, since Palumbo Superyachts’ Ancona yard added a Syncrolift with a 3,300-gross-ton capacity.
“We like challenges,” Giuseppe Palumbo quips, referring to the swift Syncrolift installation. It took just three months to go from excavating the seabed to initiating the lift. Dragon was the first to use it.
Certainly, the superyacht division likes challenges across the board, judging from the spate of sizes and styles.
Palumbo Superyachts palumbosuperyachts.com