With a three-day event packed with events, the celebrations of Cantiere del Pardo, which in 2023 celebrates 50 years of activity and success, while maintaining the same appeal as its beginnings, came to a close in Portopiccolo, Trieste. (Here all our posts on Cantiere del Pardo).
From 23 to 25 June, Cantiere del Pardo gathered around it designers, dealers from all over the world (from Thailand to the United States), leading figures in the nautical world and, above all, ship-owners, from Italy and beyond, to pay homage to a company that has been able to build a success story step by step.
The celebrations opened with an exciting Gala Dinner, held in the splendid setting of the Bay of Sistiana, and continued, the next two days, with two moments of aggregation, fun and healthy competition: the traditional Grand Soleil Cup, in its 21st edition, and for the first time ever the Pardo Water Rally.
There are not many nautical brands that can boast a career as long and successful as that of Cantiere del Pardo which, after writing 50 years of yachting history, is still an international benchmark and a business model for future generations.
Founded in 1973 by the vision and passion of Giuseppe Giuliani Ricci and today firmly guided by CEO Fabio Planamente and President Gigi Servidati, Cantiere del Pardo is a fitting example of a successful Italian company that, thanks to its deep and solid roots, has looked to the future and new challenges with confidence, always combining innovation and tradition.
“The history of Cantiere del Pardo is rich and complex,” says Planamente; “it is easier to identify a few ‘milestones’ coinciding with the phases in which the company has demonstrated its ability to adapt to change to become what it is universally considered to be today: a flagship of the Italian shipbuilding industry.
These ‘milestones’ can be identified with three moments: firstly, the passing of the baton – or perhaps it would be better to say ‘of the helm’ – from Giuseppe Giuliani Ricci to a series of funds; then the restart in 2014, after the darkest period in the nautical industry; and finally, the phase that is dearest to us, that of the three-year period 2015-2017, coinciding with the launch of the Long Cruise sailing range and, shortly afterwards, with the birth of the Pardo Yachts brand, which has ferried us into the world of motor yachts, giving us the sap to look ahead with confidence and grow ever more”.
Already a leader in the sailboat market, with the legendary Grand Soleil Yachts brand, in fact, Cantiere del Pardo decided in 2016 to write another chapter in its long history, opening up to the motor yacht segment.
“The thought of doing a motor yacht had been there for some time, because our nautical passion has always been all-encompassing,” explains Gigi Servidati; “so when the need arose to grow as a shipyard, Fabio and I thought of doing it with some important innovations.
Cantiere del Pardo, the new motor course
The result is Pardo Yachts, a brand capable of conquering the Italian and foreign markets in a very short time. The boat that marks Cantiere del Pardo’s debut in the motor bracket by launching the now famous Walkaround with inverted bow, is the Pardo 43, a 13-metre with a hull optimised for IPS propulsion (designed by Maurizio Zuccheri) which, on its debut at Cannes, was sold in thirty units that would become 270 in just six years. What to many seemed a risky choice turned out, on the contrary, to be a resounding success, such as to push the shipyard to increase the range (with the Pardo 50 and Pardo 38 models) and diversify it to meet the ever-increasing demands of owners. Thus the Endurance and GT lines were born.
The first set out to fill a gap in the shuttle market, where there was a lack of cruising boats with a well-designed hull, efficient at ten as well as twenty-plus knots of speed, and at the same time comfortable and roll-resistant when at anchor. The first model, the Endurance 60, is the result of the joint work of Cantiere del Pardo, naval architect Davide Leone and Nauta Design, the studio that designed the interiors. “The result,” added Servidati, “presents stylistic features that are very reminiscent of Pardo Yachts and has excellent characteristics in terms of both speed performance and fuel consumption; it is also a very comfortable boat, and also for this reason I believe it is an excellent product for a sailor who would like to switch to the motor.” It will be followed in 2024 by the already announced Endurance 72, which Davide Leone himself has already christened “his best project”.
The GT line, launched in 2022 with the GT 52, whose deck and interiors are the work of Nauta Design, can be considered a middle way between the previous ones, as it proposes a closed version of the Pardo, offering, at the same time, more liveable interiors, with a comfortable dinette and three cabins, to maintain the yard’s “family feeling”. The boat uses the same hull as the Zuccheri Pardo 50, optimised for the IPS system, which on this model comes in three versions: IPS 2×650 as standard or IPS 2×700 or 2×800 (optional).
In 2020 Servidati and Planamente also decided to acquire the Dutch brand VanDutch, which, under the signature of the Mulder Design studio, produced instantly recognisable and highly attractive yachts: true symbols of a refined and timeless lifestyle “that made people dream and captured everyone’s attention,” says Planamente. While respecting the original lines and styling cues, the boats produced by CDP now feature new hulls, new moulds and optimised habitability.
The VanDutch Yachts models produced so far by Cantiere del Pardo are the VD 32, the VD40, the VD 48 and the VD56, to be followed by a 75-foot model. From a stylistic point of view, the two smaller models have a similar deck layout, pleasingly asymmetrical, with a passageway at the stern, on the left, connecting the wheelhouse with the sea access platform. Going up in size, symmetry becomes the norm in deck layouts (with the exception of the wheelhouse, which is always on the left), while below deck the number of berths increases and there is a tendency to offer more privacy to guests.
The “motor road” taken by Cantiere del Pardo is already studded with important recognitions (one of which is the renewal of the partnership with Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli as the team’s official supplier for the 37th America’s Cup), but these results would never have been possible without the company’s background and know-how rooted in the world of sailing: it is there, in fact, in the long and honoured lineage of the Grand Soleils, that Cantiere del Pardo built its reputation and developed that production philosophy of excellence – centred on quality, craftsmanship and a bold vision of the future – that would take it so far.
Grand Soleil Yacht: the origins
The Grand Soleil yachts produced in fifty years number more than 5,000 and the evolution of the range over the years has in many cases anticipated design solutions later adopted by the market, to which these yachts have been witnesses and protagonists, having been conceived by the most famous designers of every era: starting in 1973 with Jean-Marie Finot and arriving at today’s consolidated design teams such as Polli – Lostuzzi – Nauta Design. In between, iconic models that have made history, such as the legendary GS 34, the first produced (1973 -1983), designed by Jean-Marie Finot in regatta and cruising versions and built in 290 examples: the boat with its characteristic circular porthole at the stern was a huge success and catapulted Cantiere del Pardo into the medium-high bracket of the market.
Equally iconic are the GS 39 and 343 designed by Alain Jézéquel (also produced in many examples) or the GS 52, GS 45 and GS 42, born from the collaboration with Germán Frers, which lasted from 1987 to 1989. Three years later Cantiere del Pardo launched the GS Maxi One designed by Bruce Farr.
Following in the footsteps of the great America’s Cup designers, Cantiere del Pardo also put its trust in Doug Peterson for the GS 50, while the second half of the 1990s saw the arrival of three models born out of the collaboration with the studio of the Japec brothers and Jernei Jakopin: the GS 37 (1996), the GS 46.3 (1997) and the GS 43 (1998).
Cantiere del Pardo, the New Century
With the new millennium, other famous yacht designers made their entrance: the first was Massimo Paperini, who designed the Grand Soleil 40, one of the yard’s most successful models (around 230 examples were produced), which marked a stylistic turning point, thanks to the almost plumb bow and the strip of the deckhouse that tapers as if to “cut” the portholes horizontally. This was followed by Philippe Briand, who designed the GS 56, and the Judel/Vrolijk studio, responsible for the GS 44 Race (winner of the Fastnet in 2003) and the GS 45 and GS 50 production models. As for Botin & Carkeek (B&C), special mention must be made of the GS 42 Race (which won the IMS World Championship four years in a row) and GS 56 (2003) models.
Grand Soleil, the Italian designers
Since 2011, Cantiere del Pardo has employed only Italian designers. After Paperini and Luca Brenta – who had designed, respectively, the GS 40 in 2000 and the GS 54 in 2007 – it was the turn of Claudio Maletto, who signed the naval architecture of two boats: the GS 39 and the GS 43: Maletto’s 39′ was the first Grand Soleil to be fitted with a torpedo keel, while the 43′ was the first to also feature a dolphin keel (or fixed bowsprit).
In 2013 Marco Lostuzzi presented the Grand Soleil 46 LC, whose acronym stands for ‘Long Cruise’, with the mainsail sheet point positioned on a carbon rollbar. Strongly desired by Gigi Servidati to flank the performance range with one dedicated to cruising, it was a revolutionary and hugely successful project that marked the beginning of a collaboration that continues to this day. Lostuzzi, in fact, also signed the GS 48 with Nauta Design.
The yard’s working relationships with Umberto Felci (GS 58), and Giovanni Ceccarelli (GS 80) are also very important.
Grand Soleil, present and future
2020 marks the debut of Matteo Polli, a very talented yacht designer who, after the highly successful GS 44 (designed with Nauta Design and winner of two ORC world championships), has signed other projects, three of them sailing: these are the GS 40 – which, like the 44, bears the signature of Polli and Nauta Design -, the GS 72 in both Performance and Long Cruise versions (recently launched), the result of joint work by Polli (water lines and rigging), Lostuzzi (structures) and Nauta (interiors and deck), and the GS 65 LC, which will go into the water in the coming months. The GS 72 also benefits from the great professional experience of Franco Corazza, project manager of all Grand Soleil models over 60-feet.
A long and rich history, that of Cantiere del Pardo, but one that is still to be written, sailing on unexplored routes, in constant pursuit of that excellence that has been its guiding light for 50 years and will continue to be so for decades to come.
“We enter the new 50-year period keeping the rudder straight, striving to ensure that Cantiere del Pardo continues to be a reference point for the nautical scene worldwide, as well as a source of pride for Romagna and for the country,” commented Servidati.
“To have become the owner of such a prestigious shipyard, and an Italian one at that, and to now have the opportunity to continue its activities in the first person, is a great privilege: the proverbial dream come true,” Planamente added.