Tirrenia II, as a superboat is reborn and sailing again at 105 years old

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Welcome back Tirrenia II! The splendid 1914 auric ketch, built of wood by the H.R. Stevens shipyard in Southampton and designed by British yacht designer Frederick Shepherd, officially returned to sea in Viareggio
, ten years after her last sailing and after three years of work carried out at the Francesco Del Carlo shipyard in Viareggio.


After 105 years of life spent between northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean, this 18.54-meter-long (and 3.85-meter-wide) auric ketch, purchased in 2016 by a Lombardy-Piedmontese shipowning couple, will thus continue to be admired at the many vintage sail gatherings. The launching ceremony was super, complete with Alessandro Preziosi (the actor famous for “Elisa di Rivombrosa”) reading a passage from Melville’s Moby Dick.


At the helm of Tirrenia II is Turin-based skipper Lucia Pozzo
, an experienced sailor, circumnavigator and sea writer involved in the boat’s recent sail refit. It is a return aboard for her, having previously served as commander of Tirrenia II in the early 1990s after her restoration at the time in Trieste following her arrival in Italy from the Caribbean, where she had been purchased from the previous owner.


THE HISTORY OF TIRRENIA II: FROM NORTHERN EUROPE TO THE CARIBBEAN

Tirrenia II, as listed in the Naval Register of the time, was launched in England in 1914 under the name Sapho II for Jean A. Valaoritis, who died shortly thereafter. The following year it became the owner of Alex C. Carapanos, minister of Greece in Rome, who changes the name to Dodoni. In 1924, the nobleman bought it in Piraeus. Cav. Guido Fiorentino, president of the Naples branch of the Royal Italian Yacht Club who invented the Tirrenia Cup awarded annually, until 1939, to the boat that had completed the longest cruise in the Mediterranean. In February 1925 Fiorentino renamed the boat Tirrenia II.

Between 1975 and 1981 it belonged to Peter Ball, a retired reverend of the British Navy who kept it in Monte Carlo, then until 1989 sailed with Norwegian Peter Jespersen, who sailed over 20,000 sea miles conducting school and charter cruises between northern Europe, the Caribbean, and Venezuela. Here, through British broker David East, Gianni Loffredo, the historic former president of AIVE (Associazione Italiana Vele d’Epoca), buys it.


Between 1991 and 1992, after transferring it to the Mediterranean on a cargo ship, he entrusted its complete restoration to the Pitacco, Luxich, and Ferluga shipyard in Muggia, near Trieste, under the construction supervision of the great Triestine designer Carlo Sciarrelli, who considered Tirrenia II a boat “with a soul.” Launched on July 4, 1993, until 2009 she participated in countless events and regattas throughout the Mediterranean, including the Imperia Vintage Sails Rally and Argentario Sailing Week in Porto Santo Stefano. In 2016 it was purchased at auction by a pair of Lombardy-Piedmontese shipowners and transferred to the Del Carlo shipyard in Viareggio to undergo a series of major works carried out with the advice of Florentine expert Enrico ‘Chicco’ Zaccagni.


THE RESTORATION AT THE CARLO CONSTRUCTION SITE

Among the work carried out between 2016 and 2019 by the Del Carlo Shipyard in Viareggio the dismantling of the starboard and port torelli (the first planking planks starting from the bottom), the dismantling of the lead ballast with related replacement of the pins, and the reconstruction of the new mahogany keel in which the battura, or that ‘step’ or interlocking that accommodates the first planking planking, was shaped.


This was followed by the complete stripping of the hull, the replacement of about 100 linear meters of planks in the opera viva and opera morta
, the old clamping hardware with bronze-silicon hardware, the rubberizing of the teak deck, and the reconstruction of a new mahogany rudder blade. The boat’s interior, almost entirely original, is covered with fine briarwood panels.

(photo by Paolo Maccione)

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