Dusseldorf Boat Show is a huge event for both boating industry and for the very sailors themselves. That´s because probably everything that has a name, a brand and a product will show it to the public here. When I was checking the exhibitor´s list for the 2017 edition I was thrilled to see that Italia Yachts will have a stand here too. Why? Because the Italia Yachts 13.98 had been my favourite yacht 2 years ago at the Hamburg boat show. This time they´ve had their largest boat in the line at display, the Italia Yachts 15.98 and I was keen on taking a thorough look onto her.

Isn´t she just beautiful?

Even more I was lucky again as Franco Corazza, founder and owner of Italia Yachts, as well as Matteo Polli, naval designer for the yard, agreed to sit down in the saloon of this yacht to answer my questions. So, after having Umberto Felci, Marc Lombard, Magnus Rassy and Charly Fernbach it was a real pleasure to ask them both these very same questions of how they actually design a sailing yacht like the beautiful 15.98 and what´s behind the design-process at Italia Yachts.

On the history of Italia Yachts

NO FRILLS SAILING.com | Lars Reisberg: „Franco, Matteo, it´s truly a pleasure to have you both here on the Boot Boatshow in Dusseldorf, sitting inside the all-new Italia Yachts 15.98. What I am particularly interested in this time is the very design process at Italia Yachts, the way you make your boats come true from first vision to the hull. First of all, Franco, you are the General Manager of Italia Yachts …”

Franco Corazza: “… yes, I am. I am a passionate sailor first of all, I love sailing. Matteo Polli is the principal naval architect of this boat, he studied naval architecture in Southampton. I did found Italia Yachts 6 years ago.”

Franco and Matteo discussing details

NFS.com: „When you switched over from X-Yachts?”

Franco Corazza: “Well, yes, in a way. I was with X-Yachts at that time – for 15 years exactly – where I did have a great time. 6 years ago a friend of mine approached me as he needed my help.  He asked me to buy his yard but honestly, I didn’t really like his boats. So I suggested to built my own boat. Which I did: It´s the Italia Yachts 10.98. He made 4 yachts, one of which was my payment. The Impact was so huge – we have sold the remaining 3 hulls right from the drawing boards! This is how everything began: We´ve had no business plan or whatsoever, just the idea of making perfect yachts. It´s now 6 years since we´ve started and we have sold some 70 yachts so far.”

Luxurious yet a high performer: Italia Yachts 15.98

NFS.com: „That is some 10 yachts per year, Franco, a successful launch, I would say. Looking at the designing process, how are Italia Yachts made?”

On the designing process

Franco Corazza: “First of all, it´s everything inhouse design. We have a design office, headed by Matteo Polli, which is doing everything from hull-shape calculations to the interior fittings. It´s a process of teamwork where everyone is involved. Italia Yachts is not the idea of one particular man.”

Everything within reach: Winches on the Italia Yachts 15.98

NFS.com: „What´s the idea anyway behind Italia Yachts?”

Franco Corazza: “It´s very simple: We want to make real sailing yachts. The point is that for me a real sailing boat enables you to go racing on Saturday and leave for a round the world cruise on Monday. We don´t make a “boat with sails” but a “sailing boat”. There´s a huge difference. In a way, I would say Italia Yachts is a Nordic Italian brand.”


NFS.com: „Speaking of boats with sails: How is a yacht from your yard perceived in terms of volume, interior and exterior design?”

Franco Corazza: “Again, we are following a simple rule: We want to make yachts which are able to go to windward, have a small wetted surface. Perfect sailing boats. I am lucky: I am the owner of this company. I don´t have to listen to what marketing guys and sales managers tell me what “the market” might want and what it might disapprove. It´s a good thing to work in such a way because we do not feel any pressure from outside. So to answer your question: We are designing a boat, we are not filling up volume.”

Nav station on the Italia Yachts 15.98

Franco Corazza: “Of course, Italia Yachts therefore fills a little hole in the market for real sailing yachts. Construction and design process is very simple: We start at defining a certain length of the yacht and make up a briefing. Then the hull shape is defined and later it´s interior fittings will be made.”

Design features of the Italia Yachts 15.98

NFS.com: „This marvellous 15.98 is the largest yacht in the line. What are your personal top features of this yacht?”

Franco Corazza: “It´s a lot of details to be honest. At first I love the joinery. The effort that goes into making the interior is huge and if you take a closer look you will notice the high quality of craftsmanship. Then I love our philosophy of the boats where everything is made in order to achieve the best possible sailing performance. That´s often enough details you can´t see, like the positioning of all tanks in the centreline of the yacht. Third, maybe, the weight of the yacht. We managed to make a very seaworthy, sturdy strong hull which is around 5 tons lighter than our competitors, which is great of course and will enhance again sailing abilities.”

Bright & cozy: Fore cabin

NFS.com: „My personal favourite about Italia Yacht´s design is the negative transom. Kind of a signature of Italia Yachts …”

Franco Corazza: “… but it´s more than just a marketing gag. One question: When you were a child, how did you draw a boat back then? How are children drawing boats? You did draw it with a negative transom, didn´t you? That´s the real transom. Up until German Frers invented the positive transom to fit his hulls to the IOR rule there hasn´t been anything else than the natural way of making ship´s transoms. And we are sticking to that again.”

This is what I would call mechanical safety

NFS.com: „Why?”

Franco Corazza: “Because it´s the way it is supposed to be. Besides, there are more than enough arguments for doing it this way. For example, when you have a negative transom, the bathing platform will open just by gravity. No pushing needed, no mechanisms. Second, it will increase the available space on the deck but won´t increase wetted surface of the hull. Another one is landing stern first: If you touch the pier side, it won´t damage the hull in the first place. It´s a very practical constructional solution.”

On dream yachts

NFS.com: „Franco, I know it´s a bit of a weird question, but if you would design a sailing yacht just for yourself, what would it look like?”

Franco Corazza: “It´s weird, indeed, because Italia Yachts are my personal yachts! I would exactly make it like this 15.98 because this is the very best size in my eyes for doing the fun stuff with a yacht. As I said it before: Go racing, be very competitive and fast and at the same time be able to leave for a circumnavigation. See, we are all pro-sailors at Italia Yachts and we want to make boats which fit to pro-sailors.”

Ready to cast off?

NFS.com: „Franco, it was a pleasure talking to you and truly exciting to get to see Italia Yachts from your perspective. Thanks so much.”


Other interesting articles:

A day at Luffe Yachts

Visiting X-Yachts Yard in Haderslev

The Grand Soleil 46 LC