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SUPERYACHT #490
February 2003

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news


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Interview by
Fabio Petrone


RODRIQUEZ, AVANT-GARDE TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN

Acquisitions, the setting up of new groups, exponential growth of the luxury boat market; these are the topics that have everyone buzzing in the pleasure cruising world. Rodriquez is also playing its part and have considered it with Engineer Gianni Morace, General Manager of the Rodriquez Group

Would you like to summarise your activity since you bought the Conam, for the readers of "Nautica"?

First of all Rodriquez is a company that was created at the beginning of the last century, that has always stood out thanks to its technology. With the sensational construction of the first hydrofoil in 1956, our name grew on a world level. After that the boatyard continued to take great interest in the design and production of particular boats for fast transport. Studying market needs and designing ad hoc boats; at the start of the nineties we built the "acqua strada" for the "sea motorways", terms coined by Rodriquez for the launch of the initiative. Since then our boats, increasingly more specialised and meeting market requirements, have transported trucks, cars and people at 40/45 knots and are well known in the Mediterranean and on the other side of the world, in America, in Asia, etc. Now Rodriquez is also applying its heritage of knowledge to the top sailing bracket as far as possible, to large pleasure boats.

Do you think you can increase the technological value of the boats constructed in the boatyards you have acquired?

Definitely so with motoryachts of a certain importance and with superyachts. We have started by acquiring Conam, a Neapolitan yard of manifest quality, even if not so large, which today is starting to put all the Rodriquez technological knowledge into its own boats and now has the construction of mega yachts in its programs. Already in the past Rodriquez had moved toward pleasure sailing, when years ago it was one of the owners of the Baglietto boatyard, then handed over within the Group's disinvestments.

I remember. This is, therefore, a reconciliation...

Dictated by the market and Conam now has, with the Rodriquez Group at its back, the design, organisational and construction potential to enable it to realise any kind of high tech boat.

Are you already building superyachts?

Naturally. We are already making our image contribution to sailing, because after just a year we have already taken on two jobs for prestige megayachts. But besides Conam, to whom we are giving new technology and new organisational impetus, we have recently also acquired the famous Intermarine in Sarzana. Rodriquez has already been present for years on the paramilitary market, supplying patrol boats both to Italian corps, like the Navy and the Financial Police, and abroad. Now through Intermarine, we will also have the advantage of an in- depth experience into the world of fibreglass. The Group's policy, with a turnover today of about 125 million Euro, will make everybody grow considerably. However we want a targeted production be it military, civil or pleasure boats.

With Intermarine you chose to fish out a boatyard that has a wealth of experience in fibreglass...

That's right. It's obvious that Rodriquez cannot buy a normal boatyard. It only buys structures with technologies. And Intermarine means advanced composite materials, futuristic structures and very, very special boats. Here too we now have pleasure boats under construction.

What developments will there be in the future for Conam?

The standard Conams will be produced in Naples up to 18 metres, and in Sarzana up to 25. There will be both the fly version (which will come out first) and the open. Then we have the Custom serie, with its very personalised interiors, with the Rodriquez name, from 30 metres up to..., The superstructures will be by Studio Pascoschi, the design by our technical office. The Custom models, hypertechnological, will be built using both aluminium and steel with high resistance and composite materials. Conam production will be articulated at around thirty units, about double the present number, after that we'll see.

I have had the opportunity of seeing some renderings of the new boat's interiors on the drawing board. Was it completely designed by Rodriquez?

Entirely designed by Rodriquez Yacht, that only designs pleasure boats, as we have a company, Rodriquez Engineering that is solely responsible for the research part. The latter is the leader of the whole design part. We are realising a high tech hydrofoil, a boat for fast transport of passengers and cars, with low wave emission, a very serious problem, for example in America, where they worry about large waves that can disturb the coast, bathers and small fishing and pleasure boats. Now we are trying to transfer these technologies to everything that is produced by Rodriquez. We also have Rodriquez Main System, a company specialising in control of all the ship's workings. It designs very advanced stabilising systems, such as fin systems with flaps, in which I believe we are the only ones in the world. Already on this first 24 metre Conam, which will do about 30 knots, there will be a high speed stabilising system based on an experiment of ours, intruders and other very technical things.

Will Intermarine be purely a production unit or will the logo appear on the boats?

Intermarine will exploit its brand in military production, as do the Rodriquez Cantieri Navali.

What will your market be? How much the world?

We already have. Rodriquez boats today are present pretty much everywhere, from Hong Kong to America via Mexico and the Mediterranean and Great Britain. We are used to having the world as a client, because we have been selling all over the world for years.

Will you also build shuttle type boats, like explorers? And therefore other types of bottoms?

We will build the boats we are requested to build but we will not produce standard boats of more than 25/30 metres. In fact, in this range we already produce two prestige boats, a 38 metre that does 30 knots in 10 minutes, another is the Ocean that does 18 knots. Two very conceptually different boats and we manage to do this because we have the skill and we have some very clever engineers. We study custom boats one by one.

Will you then be a bit like the Perini of motor boats? Can I dare this comparison? You know that Perini produces incredible sailing boats, stupendous, huge.

Yes, certainly, and we like the comparison, because we too try to be special.