History of Your Classic Boats: Ziggurat 916, a great little performer


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Ziggurat 916
Ziggurat 916

Ziggurat 916 | History of Your Classic Boats

More than 200 of you have sent us stories and images of your Classic Boats, enriching theonline archive dedicated to them and making so many of these great designs of the last century available to all. Keep up the good work! Now, however, after recounting dozens of them through your words and descriptions, it is time to also see the history and details of some of these great projects.

So here is a great classic of local and international sailing, a little half-tonner that has made so many people dream: the Ziggurat 916, CPR’s series that from ’77 to ’89 was able to breathe new life into Vallicelli’s Ziggurat, his very first design and third place at the ’76Half Ton Cup.

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Ziggurat 916 | Origins

The Ziggurat 916, it can be said, was born from an initial collective project signed by a group of university students determined to design a fifth class for the Half Ton Cup in Trieste. The year is 1975 and the Ziggurat, the hull to which Vallicelli owes his first successes in the international arena, is born.

Ziggurat 916
Ziggurat, the original Half Tonner designed by Vallicelli in 1975

At 9.15 meters long, this is a medium displacement strong with a generous sail plan armed at the masthead. As the designer himself would point out, he deviates from the U.S. school of his time (Dick Carte and Doug Peterson) in stern sections (slightly increased), a more tapered trapezoidal keel with a round end, a higher-than-average rate of compensation, and a rudder hanging from a fixed skeg integral with the hull.

The boat, built of fiberglass with balsa sandwich by Alaver Verona Shipyard and outfitted at Tecnomar, will immediately turn out to be a good performer, finishing third at that very Half Ton Cup in Trieste for which it was designed. At the end of the regattas it is immediately sold. At the same time, CPR is also interested in making it into mass production. The Ziggurat 916 was born, revisited specifically for the large industrial production market.

Ziggurat 916
Ziggurat 916

Ziggurat 916 | Project

In its transition to the Ziggurat series it inevitably changes to adapt to production and market needs. The interior thus loses the purisms of the regatta for the gain of greater comfort and versatility of use, just as, just in hint, the dimensions also vary, with a slightly increased beam (3.02 vs. 2.95 m) and an inch gain on the outboard, a detail that leads right to the name 916, as opposed to the 915 of the original. On the strength of these changes, the sail area also varies, improbably increasing, for a gain of 2 sq. m. at the mainsail and 10 sq. m. at the spinnaker.

Ziggurat 916
Ziggurat 916

Thus was born the Ziggurat 916, a hull with particularly streamlined water lines, a not excessively deep bulb (1.7 m) and a decidedly successful ratio of live-work to sail plan, earning good performance even in thin winds.

Ziggurat 916
Ziggurat 916


Mass-produced in reinforced fiberglass (isoptic polyester resin and fiberglass), the hull has thicknesses varying between 10 and 20 millimeters, ensured-in terms of structural rigidity-by transverse and longitudinal fiberglass box section. The deck and cockpit, on the other hand, are made of sandwich (balsa and fiberglass), reinforced at the points of greatest stress by fiberglass boxes as, indeed, for the hull. Peculiar, by today’s standards, was one of the yard’s sales methods, which offered both the finished version and two kit versions, one of which was “seaworthy” but without the interior and the other complete with just the hull.

Proving the 916’s good design, several production models will also have great success in racing, including a victory in Giraglia, in ’77, and two victories in the Italian Championships, in ’78 and ’79. A larger, closer-to-cruising version, the Ziggurat 995, would be born in 1980.

Classic Boat
Blue Cloud – Ziggurat 916

Candida and Blue Cloud

Why 916? Because it is a fundamental part of nautical history, a launching platform for one of the “greats” in the world of ship design. Because it is a boat that has left its mark and because it is part of the experiences of really so many sailors, so many of you included. How many of you may have been on at least one of the hulls produced? And how many of you may have had one, or still have one? E
Blue Cloud
demonstrate this to us, celebrating the Ziggurat 916 in our section on Your Classic Boats and in some of the images complementing this article. Respectively from 1979 one and 1980 the other, both are still sailing smoothly. You can find them both in our archive and at the by clicking on the link on their name.

Candida; Ziggurat 916 (1979)

Ziggurat 916 | Data Sheet

Designer Andrea Vallicelli
Project number 1
Length Over All 9.16 m
Baglio Massimo 3.02 m
Dive 1.7 m
Displacement 3.10 t
Ballast 1.55 t
Weapon Masthead Sloop
Project year 1976
Year of start of production 1977
Year of end of production 1989
Construction site CPR
  • If you are interested in details regarding the Ziggurat 916, we have a further in-depth article. You can find it HERE

Three “tidbits” about Classic Boats



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