Maurizio Cossutti tells his story, “When the phone call from Bavaria came, I needed a chair.”

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Maurizio Cossutti, born in Udine in 1958, is one of the designers of the moment, following the beginning of his collaboration with Bavaria and after several seasons during which he was the creator of some of the most successful designs in the ORC racing world and beyond. He graduated in 1986 with a degree in naval engineering from the University of Trieste with an experimental thesis on America’s Cup boats including tank tests of models with keels fitted with fins. From the late 1980s to the present, he has been one of the most active Italian designers in the world of racing, and since 2010 he has also been known internationally in the field of sport cruising boats. In these three decades he has created boats that have somehow made their mark in each of their eras, and today he is undoubtedly a successful international designer. Cossutti Yacht Design, of which designer Alessandro Ganz is part., signed the new Bavaria C57, just the latest addition to a career which took its first steps with a small One Off.

How did the collaboration with Bavaria come about?

It was a surprise, a bit of a bolt out of the blue. It was May 2015, I get a phone call from the CEO of the shipyard saying, “If you are interested, we want to make Bavaria’s new big boat with your firm.” It took a chair after receiving the news. I went to visit them at the shipyard and was impressed: we are used to working on smaller scale realities, and seeing the boats moving on the production line, with trucks waiting outside, made us realize that the work would be very different. We went to dinner and from a sketch the Bavaria C57 project started.

Alessandro Ganz and Maurizio Cossutti, the signatures of the Bavaria C57. Photos Nicola Brollo

Was it a complex challenge?

The method is different, they work on an industrial level, and for them the boat is a product. They told us they wanted to improve certain weaknesses, so with Alessandro Ganz we went to Turkey to try out their whole range to see what we could bring with our ideas, and from there the development began. The shipyard’s request was to renew the range and make a boat that also looked at the pleasure of sailing. Some solutions were easy to propose, on others initially the site was more wary but they listened to us. At the Duesseldorf show we were a little nervous because it was the first test and we were waiting to see what the reactions would be: the feedback was positive, so much so that Bavaria decided to officially launch the C series whose future developments will be announced.

Let’s take a big step back. When did it all start? Finished studies…

When I finished my studies, I worked with the late Roberto Starkel, that’s how it all started. It was 1986 in Trieste, and this collaboration, which lasted almost four years, was my debut. Then somewhat because of the crisis that was felt at that time, I took some time off and went to work in Fincantieri. But for those who have this passion to disconnect with this world is difficult: I started again with drawing a rudder, then a fin, and I “fell off the wagon.”

The first boat he designed?

We were in the mid-1990s and with Alessio Bonin and Giulio Tarabocchia we made the One Off Metro+Metro- in 1998. For the times it was already an innovative boat, it had, for example, composite moorings. We really enjoyed it, and with Bonin we then made the Bonin 36, which is the first series project I worked on.

Metro+Metro-

The other boats that have marked his history as a designer?

The first request “from outside” came from Garda, to design a boat that would be in antithesis to the Ufo 22. So I designed the one-design Zero, with a winged and rotating mast, which immediately won the 100 Mile class just ahead of the Ufo 22. The second major boat was a 35-footer for the 2000 Ostar by Claudio Gardossi. It was like a great Mini Transat, but unfortunately because of pilot problems, he did not finish the race. Then came another one of those phone calls for which you immediately need a chair: Pfizer Italy, a major pharmaceutical company, wanted to make a boat to win the Barcolana. Thus was born the 65-foot Comet, whose debut was unfortunate, however.

What happened?

It was the Barcolana of 2000, which everyone will remember for the Bora. Pre-departure it was already gusting to 50-55 knots and Comet broke the rudder. We had set out to win the Barcolana, but in fact the regatta for us never began. Nothing was lost, however, and 2001 was the year of triumph: victory at the Giraglia and victory with a record at the Barcolana, mission accomplished.

Comet

Was it the ultimate stepping stone?

Probably yes, after this experience in fact began the collaboration with Alessandro Vismara and the Marine Technology shipyard, which lasted until 2005. At that point the time was ripe and the 2Emme Marine idea was born. Needless to say, the boat that marked this new period was the M37, whose debut was immediately with a victory in a 35-knot race, something I still remember with great pride. When the 2Emme adventure ended, the collaboration with Pino Stillitano under the Nautilus Marina brand was born. NM 38 was an incredible success, Scugnizza does not need much introduction, a boat that dominated in ORC for several seasons at the Italian and international level.

The M37 Low Noise. Photo Fabio Taccola

We have almost reached the dawn of the new crisis period, but nevertheless comes a surprise…

Yes, despite the fact that in the late first decade of the 2000s. market was declining, Franco Corazza had the insight of Italia Yachts, whose first model was the Italia 10.98. It’s 2010, no one would have bet on it, but despite the period it was a success and even more so was the 13.98 that won European Yacht of the Year in Duesseldorf in 2013. This was a key phase for our study; thanks to these boats, we became internationally known outside the racing world. Without Franco Corazza’s insight for us today there would probably be no collaboration with Bavaria. The firm has grown, Alessandro Ganz has joined, and we are about to open our new office in downtown Udine.

The full Cossutti Yacht Design. Photos Nicola Brollo

Of all the boats you told us about, which ones gave you the most satisfaction?

Hard to say, each boat is a piece of the heart. Perhaps because of the history they had and the path to get them into the water I say the first one, Metro+Metro-, but also Comet and of course M37.

Another designer’s boat that he would have liked to design?

Without a doubt the Farr 31, it is a boat that drives me crazy. When I happened to see Gunboat Rangiriri at the dock, I wanted to take it home.

The colleague he values most?

There are many good professionals, but I have always really liked Umberto Felci’s boats. We should now consider ourselves adversaries, since he is with Dufour and I am collaborating with Bavaria, as we have often been on the race courses, but I have always admired his work.

The challenge he would like to take on in the future?

I would have more than one. On the racing boat front no doubt I would like to design an IMOCA foil, or even a Tp 52. For the cruising world, it would be nice to try your hand at a 100-foot high-tech. But if I really have to choose, IMOCA with foils would be the top.

Mauro Giuffrè

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