Capricorn’s rebirth: the magic boat that could do it all

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Capricorn is a name that, for those who know the history of Italian sailing and that of international yachting, means a lot. A name that evokes great challenges and an era perhaps gone, that of a generation of boats and owners who made offshore history. As many people know, the Capricorns are a saga, a series of boats that have sailed on the most prestigious international race courses, just think of that the ILC 46 Capricorn was part of the Italian team that won the legendary Admiral’s Cup in 1995. Today one of these boats offers us a new story made up of more than just challenges. A story that also tells us a lot about our Made in Italy of excellence, since the protagonist of this tale is Nauta Design, the Milanese studio that for several decades now, since 1985 to be precise, has been an undisputed protagonist of the yachting world. In fact, the Capricorn we are telling you about is the Reichel Pugh 78′, formerly Morning Glory, whose complete interior deck upgrade Nauta Design oversaw in 2005, transforming it from a pure racer and luxury fast cruiser to sail around the world and enjoy it on a boat that still excites. As you will read, this 78-footer has really been around the world including the passage to Cape Horn, but not before he took the satisfaction of winning an ARC seasoning victory with a record. We interviewed Mario Pedol, owner of Nauta, to let him tell us the story of this boat and the details of the upgrade work.

What boat is Capricorn and what is its history?

Capricorn is a Reichel Pugh 78, formerly Morning Glory, built by Australian shipyard MC Conaghy Boats for original owner Hasso Plattner. The yard is an important detail, as MC Conaghy was among the first to launch aerospace-derived pre-impregnated carbon for construction.

Morning Glory before becoming Capricorn

She was born as a pure racer to participate in maxi circuits and major offshore races, then in 2005 she was bought by an Italian shipowner with plans to turn her into a luxury cruiser racer. This upgrade is entrusted to Nauta Design with regard to the deck and interior and to Vittorio Volontè with regard to rigging, live work, and sail plan (with the installation of a new carbon mast). The goal was which to make a boat that could sail around the world safely, but with top-level performance, alternating between very long cruises and participation in offshore races. In fact, in 2006, after site work, Capricorn won the ARC, setting a new record that remained untouched for several years.

What kind of work did you do to turn it into a cruiser-racer?

We completely redesigned the deck, changing its geometries. In the new configuration, a hint of a deckhouse emerges (the boat was completely flush deck) that closes forward of the mast. Windows have obviously been added on the deckhouse to improve interior brightness. The boat had two cockpits, both of which were aimed solely at optimizing the maneuvering of the grinders and tailers; they had no cruising functionality. The one at the stern was slightly shortened, but the real innovation was the addition of handguards, which not only protect against any water on deck but also improve the ergonomics of the cockpits by acting as backrests and thus allowing full use of outdoor spaces.

Capricorn boats
Capricorn after Nauta’s optimization during world tour

How did you intervene on the interior?

The boat inside was almost completely empty in the racer version. We kept the position of the shaft and the engine compartment as fixed points, of course, as well as the left side of the square. Forward of the mast bulkhead is a master cabin equipped with closet, armchair, and all amenities, including a bathroom with separate shower compartment. Just aft of the saloon is a large galley, from which there is access to two aft cabins, one to port for crew with two berths and bathroom, the other to starboard for guests, also with a direct-access bathroom. Symmetrically to the galley, on the starboard side we made another guest cabin. In total, we made four cabins and three bathrooms for the cruise configuration.

Are the implants the original ones?

No, we intervened to expand the equipment and adapt it to the new type of use, the original one was minimal and aimed at regatta use, so it was necessary to completely rethink it and above all make it functional. So the systems were completely redone: for example, we added the freshwater desalinizer, which is very important when planning such long cruises, air conditioning, and anything else that could be needed to turn this boat into a perfect sailing explorer for blue water cruising.

What is the recent history of Capricorn?

As I mentioned after the upgrade work Capricorn won the ARC (with a time of 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds) confirming that even after the work the boat’s performance remained at a high level, not surprisingly the record remained unbeaten for several editions of the transatlantic. Then she traveled the world for a full three years, going as far as Indonesia on a cruise that took her to different corners of the world, including Cape Horn.

Capricorn
Capricorn in the South Seas during the round-the-world tour

Once this very long stage cruise was over, which was the perfect fulfillment of the boat’s upgrade project, she returned to Italy for some work aimed this time only at replacing the most worn components (the engine, the generator, and the rod shrouds with the more technological carbon ones). Today we can say that Capricorn is a boat as good as new, ready to go on another round-the-world voyage and new adventures.

http://www.nautayachts.com/en/brokerage/product/78-capricorno.html

THE NUMBERS OF CAPRICORN

Year of launching: 1995

Shipyard: MC Conaghy

Design: Reichel Pugh

Restyling: Nauta Design 2005

Length: 24 m

Width: 5.44 m

Max dive: 4.30 m

Engine: Yanmar 160 hp

Cabins: 4

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