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The new issue of Top Yacht Design is on the stages

Is it still possible to be astonished? I won’t hide the fact that that question is something I have been mulling on for a while now. Then the answer came to me when I least expected it. All I had to do was look at my little six-year-old son playing with his toy boat. Just a simple piece of wood with a mast, a sail, a jib and a rudder. But the wonder and astonishment in his eyes as he watched it sailing a few metres off the beach got me thinking. Maybe we need to see the world through a child’s eyes again to feel genuine, authentic, unfiltered emotions. In a world dominated by technology and instant access to information, we’ve lost the desire to embrace the real essence of things. Being able to tell what is genuinely useful and necessary from what is not in other words. Our lifestyle model right now forces upon us a string of “must-haves” that we don’t necessarily feel any real need for. A good example is the functions on our smartphones – how many do we actually use every day? All of this has major impacts on the way we live in our homes and the objects that become part of our lives. In the past, when I was editor-in-chief of Yacht Design, I asked myself and, more importantly, designers to reflect on the way boats are conceived and designed today.

One question I posed was whether there is really any need for two living areas, one formal and one less so, on the same boat? Couldn’t such a space be given over to something else instead? The answers I received were more or less the same – they were simply meeting demand from owners. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the real issue is whether excessive redundancy might in some way become a limitation rather than an opportunity as it fragments and splits up life aboard rather too much. This is why I’m not overly surprise that a yacht designer of the calibre of Espen Øino, who has penned masterpieces of the likes of Octopus and Skat, decided to go right back to basics when it came to designing his own boat. He didn’t want any air conditioning, just efficient natural ventilation, for Bruttino, as she is called. Electronics were cut to the bare minimum and side windows, for instance, can only be opened manually.

This is a very radical approach that espouses the notion of bringing life aboard back to its very essence. I personally feel that this is the only way of embracing a deeper sense of the absolute freedom that only the sea can give. With too many distractions aboard, you just won’t get it. Particularly in the times we are living in where the priority is re-establishing a no-filters connection with nature, the only real source of genuine emotions. Just like the ones my son felt when he was playing with a little wooden sailing boat powered only by the wind. 

Matteo Zaccagnino

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