Written by Jeni Bone
19 October 2023
It’s a long way from La Spezia, Italy, to Queensland’s Gold Coast, but for Baglietto’s Chief Commercial Officer Fabio Ermetto, it was worth every air mile to attend the 2023 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show.
“This show is wonderful, the weather is terrific, and there’s a fantastic atmosphere,” he stated while surveying the marina that was packed with yachts and humming with exuberant show visitors.
The four-day marine spectacle enjoyed mild May days of sunshine and blue skies – the trademark hook of every southeast Queensland marketing campaign.
As a seasoned and internationally respected yacht specialist, Ermetto graduated with a degree in naval architecture and marine engineering from the Netherlands, and held senior roles in major shipyards and brokerage houses in Italy and Europe before joining Baglietto in 2020.
“Australia is definitely on our radar,” he said. “There’s a lot of potential here. Since the appointment of Geoff Lovett International (GLI) as our Australia and New Zealand representative a year ago, we’ve enjoyed more recognition and more enquiries from this region.”
With a long history and a solid reputation for building bespoke boats, such as the ocean-going DOM 115, and a priority on sustainability, it’s little surprise.
“We have a great relationship, and understand it’s a long process. There were a lot of Australians at the Cannes Yachting Festival last year, and we believe we have the perfect product for Australia now.
“The DOM 115 is 35 metres, built in steel – which is ideal for ocean crossing – and in class to commercial standard. Baglietto specialises in totally bespoke boats,” he said, explaining that DOM is short for domus, meaning home in Latin, and the concept of a home away from home rings true in every Baglietto specified by its owners.
The entry-level 115 model made its global debut at a special showcase in April 2023 at Fort Lauderdale, which was strategically chosen for the region’s growing importance – in fact, it currently represents 40 percent of Baglietto’s order book.
With exteriors again designed by Rome-based Studio Vafiadis, the DOM 115 retains all the stylistic features of the DOM series, drawing inspiration from the automotive sector with sleek, flowing lines and a timeless profile with a modern twist.
“We embarked on this project to meet the many requests from clients who had appreciated the core strengths of the DOM 133 but were looking for a smaller yacht,” he explained. “This new model perfectly meets current market needs and allows us to offer a steel and aluminium model boasting truly unique features in the superyacht segment too.”
The three-level DOM 115 boasts impressive volume with large, panoramic windows that let in plenty of natural light and open onto spacious terraces. Unique to this model is the concept of one single, harmonious open space – the doors of the main deck saloon open completely to seamlessly connect the interiors and exteriors and, combined with huge floor-to-ceiling windows, offer a breathtaking 270-degree view. The upper deck is entirely glazed too, and opens on three sides.
Space has been radically rearranged on this yacht, going beyond traditional, formal solutions and finding innovative ones, more consistent with the lifestyle of a contemporary owner seeking closer contact with nature and the sea,” the designers stated.
Just like her larger sister ship the DOM 133, the 115 offers customisation right across the vessel. The use of steel and aluminium ensures flexibility in terms of layout and increased comfort, while the MAN engines will propel her to a speed of 14.5 knots. A hybrid version has also been developed and the first DOM 115 is scheduled for delivery in May 2025.
Despite the temptation to increase production, Baglietto remains staunchly bespoke. “We limit production to five to seven vessels a year to give time to our clients,” said Ermetto. “Our in-house studio works closely with various designers and clients on their vessels – ours is a client-centred relationship.”
Baglietto was founded in 1854 in Varazze, south of Genoa, where Pietro Baglietto started building small fishing boats and dinghies before switching to the leisure sector in 1888 with the construction of a boat for Pope Leone XIII.
During the First World War, Baglietto delivered anti-submarine vessels, and in the Second World War, the Varazze yard built conventional navy vessels, such as minesweepers. Since then, Baglietto Navy has continued the military tradition with patrol boats built for the Guardia di Finanza (Revenue Guard Corps) and other specialist vessels in collaboration with the Italian Navy as well as other international navies.
In 2012, Baglietto was bought by one of Italy’s largest industrial groups – Gruppo Gavio – which built its business on infrastructure and toll road concessions in Italy, Brazil and the US. Today, Baglietto has about 95 employees, plus hundreds of contractors, and is based at their main shipyard in La Spezia. Thirty minutes’ drive south is their second shipyard at Carrara for vessels up to 41 metres and Baglietto Navy, as well as the European branch of Bertram Yachts.
Baglietto owns the American brand Bertram, which was founded in 1960 and specialises in sport fishing boats manufactured in Tampa, Florida. Baglietto bought Bertram from Ferretti in 2015 and, at the time, Beniamino Gavio, President of Baglietto, said: “Bertram is the brand most similar to Baglietto.
“They share many common features – a family history characterised by legendary yachts, records broken and competitions won, a logo (the eagle and the seagull) that for both brands is a symbol of freedom and strength, and a very strong national identity that goes hand in hand with far-reaching international fame.”
Ermetto confirmed, “We were very proud to save the brand. Like Baglietto, which has almost 170 years of history, there was something special about Bertram – a shared passion and loyal following. The Baglietto brand and its boats are innovative, timeless and enduring,” he said.
“Boats that are 10 to 15 years old are classic, yet still retain contemporary lines. And they’re in demand,” said Ermetto, who added that in 2022, they received a lot of enquiries for used boats. “They want immediate delivery,” he added.
“Some people offered 20 to 30 percent more than the owners originally paid. But our owners say to us, ‘What can I buy now? Prices are so different now, and we’d have to wait too long for a new boat.’”
Interestingly, the Russian market had slowed considerably before the war in Ukraine. “They represented 20 percent of the market at that time and were known for always buying new and renewing their fleet. It’s true that segment has dried up, but American buyers have filled the gap.”
Now, Baglietto has its sights set on new challenges, including hybrid hydrogen vessels. “Sustainability is at the forefront of our activities. Today, approximately 20 percent of our new-build orders are equipped with hybrid propulsion.
“We were the first builder to launch a Lloyds-certified hybrid vessel, the 31-metre Vanadis in 2019, and we’re now incorporating it on all our boats,” said Ermetto. “Hybrid hydrogen has the most potential,” he stated. “We realised that if we don’t start working and building this technology now, in 10 or 20 years we will be behind.”
In 2021, Baglietto unveiled its BZERO project, which converts seawater into power. The BZERO (B Raised to Zero) project is based on the use of green hydrogen as a new energy source.
Baglietto is developing the system prototype, and an identical, smaller-scale version will then be installed on Baglietto yachts over 50 metres in length. The BZERO project aims to increase the electric cruising range of vessels in zero-emission mode through hydrogen fuel-cell technology on a hybrid or diesel-electric platform.
The BZERO system involves the implementation of a hydrogen production module that uses filtered and deionised seawater to produce hydrogen 5.0 (99.999-percent pure) at a maximum pressure of 35 bar through a system of AEM-type electrolysers developing overall power of about 55 kW. The electrolysers are primarily powered by energy from renewable sources such as photovoltaic panels and/or the electricity grid to produce as much green hydrogen as possible.
“We’re working to have this application on a 52-metre, which will have a range of 120 miles with zero emissions.
“We’re serious about sustainability in the yachting industry. There are still limits in terms of battery storage, and we still need to use a combination of hydrogen and diesel to push a boat’s weight through water, but there’s so much potential.
“Three years ago, clients weren’t interested, but now, 80 percent of our customers are interested. It’s not just ethical; it’s about resale value. In five to 10 years, hybrid is going to make all the difference.”
In May 2023, the first 52-metre Baglietto T52 displacement superyacht was unveiled at its world premiere in Portofino – the first in the Baglietto T52 series to be fitted with a hybrid propulsion system. The impressive hybrid yacht is characterised by her ability to cruise more efficiently to reduce both consumption and environmental impact.
Designed by Francesco Paszkowski Design, the four-deck yacht features a glass-encased skylounge on her upper deck, which bridges the gap between her interior and exterior spaces, and there’s an expansive open-air lounge on the foredeck that can be reached directly from the bridge deck via a retractable passarelle.
The innovative and modern Baglietto T-line superyacht features a restyled, terraced aft deck with an open-plan design. A pool can be concealed when not in use by a vertically moving floor. Plus, there’s another pool on the sundeck – one of the largest in class.
The superyacht is powered by a hybrid propulsion system with the option for diesel, diesel-electric, full-electric and batteries. When cruising in electric diesel mode, the T52 can reach a range of up to 7,600 nautical miles and can rely on her batteries for up to 10 hours at anchor. Her twin MTU 16V 2000 M86 engines also allow her to reach a maximum speed of 17 knots and a range of 3,600 nautical miles in traditional navigation mode.
“Being the first model in the T52 line to mount a hybrid propulsion system, Hull 10238 marks a crucial step in research and development but also on our shipyard’s path toward sustainable yachting – a path we’ve been pursuing with firm determination,” said Ermetto.
Testament to its appeal, at the premiere of Hull 1, Baglietto sold eight units. Now, in the wake of the 2023 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, Baglietto is gearing up for the European boat show circuit.
“Our marketing consists of Cannes, Monaco, Fort Lauderdale and then Palm Beach in March. We’ll attend SCIBS again and, we hope, Singapore in 2024. There’s great interest from the Asian market and the need for a strong boat show in Asia.”
In the meantime, the brand is working on new models in the 50- to 60-metre range, and its range of fast, light aluminium motor yachts, such as the recently launched Francesca II, a 41-metre, custom superfast open motor yacht fitted with three engines and a three-hydrojet propulsion system, with a top speed of 33 knots.
“We won’t go any smaller than the DOM 115,” Ermetto declared. “We’re aiming for the full-custom market in Europe and the US – this is where the demand is. We’re working hard to make a great product.
“We have a great reputation and happy clients. We’re flexible and hungry but not arrogant,” said Ermetto, concluding, “That’s the meaning of Atelier of Blue – a boutique brand tailor-made to our owners’ visions.”