INTERVIEW How the boats have changed – Part 2


Give or treat yourself to a subscription to the print + digital Journal of Sailing and for only 69 euros a year you get the magazine at home plus read it on your PC, smartphone and tablet. With a sea of advantages.

APEMARYANI2We continue our meeting with Vittorio Mariani, one of Italy’s leading experts in project management, to analyze the changes that boat design and construction have experienced in recent years. In this second part(you can find the first part here) we look ahead, trying to anticipate the changes in the coming years.

We have seen how space on board has increased, how cockpits have definitely increased. But comfort on board, also means easier handling of the boat, so-called “easy sailing. “Decreasing physical exertion and simplifying maneuvering are undoubtedly two fundamental aspects in modern yachting, on whatever boat you are in. Think of the boats of yesteryear; they were winch carriers. The spread of electric or hydraulic models even on smaller boats was a big step forward. But the lazy jack or mainsail furler in the boom should not be underestimated either. Let’s be clear, the one in the tree I won’t even consider!“. What we have also witnessed in recent seasons has been a change in sail plans, with a significant reduction in the area of headsails. “Not only that, even the mainsail traveller, so beloved by purists, is not so fundamental. The important thing is that its absence is compensated by an enhancement of the vang. The self-tacking jib is an excellent example of easy sailing, but so are low-overlap sails. A broader discussion should then be made for the gennaker, which was first born for racing boats that are capable of always having very tight apparent wind angles. Then it spread to the cruising world, resulting in the disappearance of the tangon. Of course, the angles are quite different, but the convenience is incomparable“.

Shortly after my meeting with Mariani began, mention was made of the entry of architects from other fields into the nautical world, who were able to bring considerable enrichment and break patterns that seemed immutable. “Yes, there are many new features they have introduced. Beneteau took the first step, calling Philippe Starck in the late 1980s. (It was 1989, when the famous designer designed the First 41S5 together with Jean Berret, ed.), which introduced red mahogany to the interior. More generally, with the designers, there has been a shift from darkness to light: before it seemed, going below deck, to enter a catacomb, today the spaces are much more airy, thanks to the use of lighter materials and lighter finishes. Another aspect should not be fooled: it is true that layouts appear simpler and more straightforward, but this can only be achieved with hard design work“. A linearity that turns some people’s noses up; there are many who lament the almost total disappearance of the chart table. “But what is the chart table still for? Today, thanks to electronics, navigating and managing a boat can even be done with a simple tablet. We need to remove these legacies of the past!“, Vittorio provokes me.

By now we are projected into the future, to those small and large revolutions that we will see on our boats in the years to come. “On the production boats, a great deal of work can still be done on the interiors, particularly on the materials used to make them. We need to focus on “poor” materials such as gelcoat, which has a huge range of ways of use. And then lightness remains a point to continue to focus on, striving for hulls that have lower and lower displacement. It is thought that what determines the displacement of a vessel is the interior, but this is not entirely true. Facilities in this regard occupy an important place. By the way, do you know what’s one thing that’s bugging me today? We have state-of-the-art electronics and batteries, on the other hand, that do not keep up with the times and last too short or are bulky. In boating, for example, you will necessarily have to switch to lithium batteries: it is true that they cost more today than traditional ones, but then they will result in significant savings both in terms of durability and space on board“. To conclude our chat, Vittorio Mariani throws me one last interesting provocation. “On deck, where so much has been done from the standpoint of optimizing space, we now need to focus on bimini. More and more people now want to shelter from the sun, and more and more are sailing with the bimini open. Then no more of those rickety tubular and canvas structures, so noisy. The bimini must become rigid and be an integral part of the deck!“.


Vittorio MarianiIn 1976 Vittorio Mariani was one of the co-founders and partners of the firm Vallicelli & C. Yacht Design. Boats of all kinds, from large cruising hulls to fast racing yachts, have been designed in the Rome office. Among them, impossible not to mention the three hulls of “Azzurra” for the America’s Cup challenges in 1983 and 1987. In the 24 years during which Mariani has been with the firm, he has participated in the realization of more than 200 projects. As the industry evolved and real teams of specialists began to collaborate with the designer, the work became much more complex. Therefore, in 2000 Mariani decided to focus on “project management,” controlling the construction phase and coordinating the design team. Among the major projects he has worked on in recent years are Roma (an 85-foot fast cruiser from 2005), Polytropon II (2008, is an 82-foot fast cruiser) and the Oyster 72 (2013 designed by Rob Humphreys).






Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Check out the latest issue

Are you already a subscriber?

Ultimi annunci
Our social

Sign up for our Newsletter

We give you a gift

Sailing, its stories, all boats, accessories. Sign up now for our free newsletter and receive the best news selected by the Sailing Newspaper editorial staff each week. Plus we give you one month of GdV digitally on PC, Tablet, Smartphone. Enter your email below, agree to the Privacy Policy and click the “sign me up” button. You will receive a code to activate your month of GdV for free!

Once you click on the button below check your mailbox



You may also be interested in.


Sign in