Valentina Gandini: Mylius’ sailing sense

Valentina Gandini

A woman, Valentina Gandini, is finally the head of a shipyard specialized in the construction of sailing yachts. A unique case. She has many ideas for the Mylius brand and she tells us about them. Starting from the one offs, passing through furnishing elements. All with the Mylius touch.
Valentina shrugs. But her laughing eyes suggest all her happiness when I tell her that, as far as I remember, she is the only woman at the head of a shipyard – Mylius Yachts – specialized in the construction of sailing yachts. And not just any shipyard, but a true excellence of Made in Italy.
I’m at the Podenzano-based Mylius headquarters, sitting next to Valentina Gandini in a bright meeting room where I can admire the numerous trophies of Mylius yachts’ racing victories.
The news is that Valentina was promoted last January, when she became the CEO of Mylius Yachts, as the successor of her father Luciano who is still the company’s president. But Valentina Gandini is not a figure descended from above, she has been working at Mylius since 2011, when her family had acquired 51% of the ownership of the brand, born in Naples in 2004.
MADE IN ITALY
The Mylius 76 (m 23,40 – 25.25 with bowsprit – x 5,92) in the DS (Deck Saloon) version, with the guest cockpit separated by the helm station

Her promotion coincides with the acquisition, by the Gandini family, of the entire capital of the shipyard, which moved a few years ago to Podenzano, in the province of Piacenza. Just close to the Gandini’s house, a stone’s throw from the Twin Pack family business, famous for selling the machines that produce the well-known handles that are used to carry six-packs of water like carrying a handbag all over the world.

A brilliant idea, a great success.

It was just at Twin Pack that Valentina began her career, answering the phone of the foreign salesman, after a degree in economics. Slowly, led by her father Luciano, she learned the art of business that – as she tells us – does not mean checking the accounts every night, but rather having a vision to convey to a group of people. Men and women who, like the crew of a sailing racing yacht, must believe in it and contribute to achieving the goals that the entrepreneur sets himself. In short, the company is just like a boat and vice versa.

 

42 years old, Valentina Gandini is now the head of Mylius Yachts. A not easy challenge. Valentina has learned to lead both a  company and a racing yacht. “Leading people, building a united team, where everyone knows what to do,” she tells us. Company and boat are guided in the same way”. 

Valentina, in fact, has also coordinated the logistics and management of Mylius crews – the Twin Soul – who took part in the main Mediterranean races.

CALL ME BLUE WATER
The Mylius 60 Jecalu (m 18.47 – 20.47 cwith bowsprit – x 5,19), sailing with mainsail and  Code 0, is the unit number 4 of the successful next-gen range of Mylius 60. Carbon construction makes them extremely lightweight and easy to steer. A perfect example of blue water cruisers.

A job usually reserved for men.

She climbed on a boat for the first time at the age of 15, when her father and her partner, during a crossing from Porto Santo Stefano to Elba, put the rudder in her hand. They only advised her not to make the sails flap… and they fell asleep in the cockpit.

“Everything went well. At first, I was terrified. Then I calmed down. In the end, I fell in love with sailing ”.

A few years later, his father Luciano saw a Mylius yacht and fell in love with that beautiful boat, so different from all the others. He fell so in love with the Mylius philosophy that he decided to buy a share. Later, he asked Valentina to help him not only in the family business, but also at the shipyard. Today, Mylius is a unique reality, which has grown overwhelmingly in a few years, with over 50 boats between 50 and 80 foot in length launched. 

Sunset cocktail in the cockpit of a Mylius 60 Jecalu

Above all, as Valentina told us, Mylius yachts are immediately recognazible, as are the Swan and the Wally models: “While there are 2,500 Swans in the world, Wally has launched just around 50 units. Mr. Bassani (the founder of Wally), however, has invested everything in the recognition of the brand. And he is almost thirty years old “, Valentina explains, clarifying that,today, the image heritage of Mylius is good, if not excellent. However, there’s still a lot to do, in order to make the Mylius recipe known all over the world”.

The new CEO is right, there is no reason why the Mylius recipe, so successful in Italy, cannot be successful also in Europe and in the world. But what is the essence of this formula, which makes Mylius boats so unique? Our boats are built in carbon, have a strong design imprint and an unmistakable line. In addition, they are lightweight, fast and easy-to-steer in both sailing and under-power mode. In short, they are Mylius!“, Valentina explains.

We build standard boats from 50 to 80 feet in length: each of them is unique – she continues – They are custom, in the sense that we adapt every Mylius yacht to its owner’s needs. But we don’t betray our DNA just to make an extra boat. It will always and only remain a Mylius yacht”. Valewntina has very clear ideas about the development of Mylius under her management.

We ask her about the company’s future plans. Our next boats will be less “racing” and more family-oriented. Without betraying Mylius’ DNA, which is in any case that of an easy boat, not as complicated as many might think. Sophisticated but easy “. What about the size? “Our usual range today is from 60 to 80 feet (18 – 24 meters). Our next boats are expected to be smaller but also larger, but nor over 100 feet (over 30m). Now is the time to open up to real one offs as well. If anyone wants a truly custom Mylius, we will do it for him ”. 

The Mylius 76 DS Baron under way.The first boat launched by Mylius was the 14E55 in 2004. The latest under construction is the  Mylius 72 RS. In the middle, around 50 boats from 50 and 80 feet in length.

Our boats have a double soul. For example, our 80 has a DS (Deck Saloon) version with a much more cruising philosophy. And so it will be for the new 72-footer, currently under construction. While always remaining faithful to our family feeling. All our boats have a double racing and cruising soul. Indeed, Mylius have a triple soul. The third is that of navigating for a long time. They are perfect ‘blue water’, even oceanic yachts.

All our Mylius boats confirm that. Our owners take long summer cruises, almost always sleeping in the harbor. Sometimes they join races. Moreover, our boats are very easy to steer. and clean. As for safety, a key element is represented by the important lightness of our hulls.

Furthermore, one of our main strengths lies in the high quality of all the equipped available on board. Our approach is industrial. Our research and development office is our flagship. This industrial approach  derives from the experience of our other companies. A non-nautical approach that differentiates us from the others. When we think about our boats, we choose products that can have assistance anywhere, all over the world. Our craftsmanship is technological”.

Lastly, we ask Valentina about her future plans. ” Mylius will not only make boats. We are already creating a ‘capsule collection’ for a furniture line in collaboration with an important company. Obviously, they will be in carbon and design, as are our boats.

I’d like to build a beautiful, easy-to-steer day sailer, suitable to be used as a tender. But my secret dream is to create a motorboat that is inspired by what I think are the most beautiful boats ever produced: the Riva motorboats of the 1960s “.

Our final questions are more personal. What’s your favourite seaside spot? The Aeolian Islands”, she replies.

Your favourite bay? Playa de la Sirenas in Cuba”, she says. What do you offer to your guests on the boat? My tapas with enchillada and guacamole washed down with a margarita. Obviously aboard a Mylius. Because on our boats you enjoy it more ”. 

Luca Oriani

 


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