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September 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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Article by
Fabio Petrone

Made for Superyacht

Portorotondo, the summer capital of Italian high society, boasts one of the better organised and most picturesque tourist harbours in the entire Mediterranean basin. Situated at the heart of Sardiniàs Costa Smeralda, only 20 km from the airport of Olbia and 15 km from its commercial port, it is an integral part of a prestigious tourist area dotted with splendid private residences as well as luxury hotels, tennis courts and top quality restaurants. It is directed by Gian Battista Borea d'Olmo, also President of the pretty local Yacht Club, who granted us this brief interview to discuss some important initiatives guaranteed to secure a place for the harbour in a still more exclusive context linked to the world of superyachts.

Wève heard talk of imminent alterations to the harbour and an extension to the structure of Portorotondo. What's the latest news?

For this summer there will already be eight berths for leisure craft measuring up to 70m long. These berths have been created by extending the harbour area near the eastern pier which closes the harbour mouth. The project arose initially from the need to shelter the harbour mouth, especially in the winter months, from the north-east sea. Basically it involved extending an existing dam and creating a calm leeward area. In the meantime the super yachts market has grown dramatically, creating the need for berths which can accommodate them. Moreover, the prevailing north-west wind was seen to have a very limited fetch, generating a theoretical wave not higher than 70cm which affects large boats very little. As a result we were able to build a dock for them in the calm area I mentioned. The building of this dock also offered an opportunity to have large spaces left on land for developing activities on the side of such as sports events, sailing school, parties etc. The result is a large area behind the dock which will be entirely paved in granite. Also the 'clubhousè of the Portorotondo Yacht Club, which is at the centre of this area, has been enlarged to improve the spaces for logistics and kitchens.

What made you decide to open up to leisure craft, if only in small numbers?

As I said, what convinced us was certainly the growing demand from leisure craft more than 40 metres long, for which we have long been a favourite destination but which require more suitable accommodation.

Is this initiative also for boats passing through or have the berths been requested by members of your Yacht Club?

While wève had requests from our Club members, these berths were not created just for them.

Are you also able to offer these boats adequate technical assistance?

The new berths are equipped with three-phase 380V. electric current from a minimum of 125 Amp up to 400 Amp, as well as water, the suction of on-board sewage and direct transfer to the syndicated depurating plant, waste collection in refrigerated containers and, for next season, telephone internet and TV satellite connection. Also our shipbuilding yard, the Cantieri Navali Costa Smeralda di Olbia, to deal with the predicted increase in large boats, are adjusting their servicing facilities and are currently undertaking a project to create a structure specially for them.

Will you also be able to satisfy requests for crew and skipper?

This specific service is not one normally offered by a harbour although we do normally like to help out.

What has been the reaction of the Regional Council and the Arzachena (Olbia) Municipal Council to this initiative?

Both the region and municipality of Olbia have shown great interest in our initiative and have given it their full support, aware of the importance on the one hand of reducing the impact of large boats on anchoring areas, (discharges from generators etc., the ploughing up of the sea-bottom by the anchors) and on the other of rationalising the costs by consolidating the tourist harbour economy on existing structures which have already proven successful.

Does the project form part of a regional network linking the various marines which have berths for large yachts or is it rather a tourist/real estate investment?

The project certainly represents a tourist/harbour type investment which has been made feasible by a shrewd study of the supply and demand regarding harbour services for large yachts in our area of influence. I don't believe that there is an organic regional network for this type of berth but I do believe that it would be very a good thing on our island.