In just under three years, Italia Yachts has become one of the benchmarks of Italian shipbuilding: “Here at our place we decide everything together, we don’t work by separate departments, those who design the hull also have their say on the deck plan: it’s all teamwork. Four thinking heads will always be better than one: together we analyze the pros and cons of every issue to make the most of our experience as sailors, first of all.” In the face of those who think boats are no longer being built as they once were, Italia Yachts has brought quality to the forefront, bringing to life a hull for people who really sail. The yard’s latest additions have been the flagship 15.98 and the family’s little one, which is already winning everything with its owner Giuffré, the Italia 9.98, a racing gem.
We had tested the Italia 15.98 a few months ago in Chioggia, and we report below an excerpt from our in-water test.
Chioggia (VE) – It’s finally here: it’s the day of the long-awaited test of theItalia Yachts 15.98. There are boats, like this one, of which you cannot explain in words why they are beautiful-they are just beautiful. A balance of round lines and step on waves that becomes an aesthetic issue. After seeing her on the dock , with her tall, sharp and slightly upturned prow, during the Genoa Boat Show, I was waiting to try her on the water to experience her performance firsthand. I arrive in the lagoon of Chioggia and Italia Yachts is waiting for me at the dock with Franco Corazza, owner and project manager of the shipyard, and Stefano Quaggiotti, Italy sales manager.
SAFE AND FAST SURFING WITH A DECK PLAN THOUGHT THROUGH TO THE SMALLEST DETAIL
A borin is blowing in the sixteen knots, and we decide to drop our moorings immediately to escape the rain that threatens us from above. We hoist the sails and I immediately notice how the maneuvering area was really ergonomically designed: Harken’s four Performa electric winches, positioned within reach of the helmsman, allow everything to be operated very easily and effortlessly, even by one person (the second might be limited to just activating the buttons that activate the electric winches). I note the apt choice of placing two referrals within reach of the winches, which allow sheets or halyards to be deferred upwind, so that the helmsman has everything he needs within arm’s reach without having to inconvenience anyone. In fact, the cockpit, protected by appropriate guardrails, is divided into three different areas (along the lines of what is done on maxi yachts): the central part is dedicated to guests and relaxation, with two large benches (2.30 m x 58 cm), central table with folding doors (although in the version we tested it had been removed for racing) and standard spryhood ; a rigging area as described where, in addition to the four winches, the mainsail traveller recessed under the decking also finds space; the wheelhouse area with a large sunbathing area aft. We immediately set to windward and the boat starts at 8.4 kn, I put myself at the helm to test it (comfortably leaning with boat heeled at the toeboard), when I ask to leave a few inches of sheet because I felt a little resistance, Franco Corazza explains ” Yes, the boat is a little ‘masculine’ also because the wheels have separate circuits without all those demultipliers that are so fashionable today. Here, a small movement of the wheel is enough to move the rudder blade (which fishes 1.50 m), and in addition, this system ensures greater safety, because if one circuit breaks, one can safely steer with the other wheel.” After a few tacking turns we decided to lay back and set to tack to sail in the middle of one of the lagoon’s channels; to tack we reached 10.3 knots, while to slack with white sails we were making 9.7 knots with wind always around 15-16. A really fun boat to steer, that doesn’t slam on the wave but comes out with good pace and makes you feel safe at sea: racing performance and ocean-like behavior on the water.