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SUPERYACHT #501
January 2004

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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Andrea Bergamini interviews Roberto Sacco, President of Opacmare S.r.l., a company specialising in gangways, top level accessories and finishing elements for yachts and mega-yachts


OPACMARE, FROM SERIES TO CUSTOM PRODUCTION

Over the past few years, Opacmare has undergone exponential expansion in terms of products and turnover, gaining important market shares. In your opinion what is the reason behind this success?

It is definitely due to adoption of extremely advanced technology for the manufacture of components in the super-yacht sector, using structures and materials originating in other fields, for example the military and mechanics sector, which, for industrial tradition, were already part of our company's background and know-how.

You often make products to order, but you have also started up a pseudo series production of "outsize" components for mega- yachts. How did this production process evolve and why was this decision made?

Boatyards need to follow market request, which at the moment reflects a need to construct ever growing numbers of increasingly larger boats; as a consequence they can't wait months to receive the ad hoc accessories they require to complete their productions. This has created a need for products that are ready in advance in order to meet specific client requirements, with a reasonably tight schedule, as soon as these are expressed.

I know that Opacmare is building what is probably the largest yacht davit ever made. What can you tell me about this?

What must be noted is the great financial investment that Opacmare has put into the planning and design of this large davit, to be added to the unusual production costs. But "Galactica", as we have called it, is not our only new idea, given that recently we have also created "Racing" a mini-davit capable of manoeuvring tenders and jet skis up to 200 kg in weight, completely automated and characterised by its refined design, extreme simplicity of installation on the stern bridge and maximum ease of use. Between these two "extremes" we have a vast range of davits with a capacity of between 1000 and 2500 kg and a maximum arm extension of 5.50 to 7.50 metres.

As far as regards your "historic" product, gangways, what projects and products do you have in the pipeline?

For a while now we have been specialising in "outsize" production: 3 to 7 metre super rotating gangways, which have the double gangway/davit function. We have invested a great deal into studies aimed at perfecting the modular structures of these products. We are trying to lower the costs of these mega gangways by preparing a mini series modular production. Our company already offers majestic gangways of 5 or 6 metres ready to be mounted on large boats.

What are your other important products, in terms of size and technological innovation?

Within the company we have departments working on mammoth tasks. This is the case of accommodation ladders on the bulwarks of super-yachts used for descending onto the quay or for transferring guests on board service tenders. Furthermore, we have created a special heavy sea resistant system for waterproofing enormous semicircular doors. In one department reserved for large products, we have managed to produce manoeuvring systems for windows of a remarkable size, the very ones used on super-yachts.

Do these special processes derive from specific market needs or is it Opacmare that proposes avant-garde solutions irrespective of the boatyards' requests?

Above all the super-yacht sector is headed in the direction of top quality. The certifying bodies create problems that the boatyards are not able to resolve themselves, especially for everything regarding the quality of on board components and this is where our design office comes into play. In this way we manage to find the ideal engineering solutions for our clients

How are "one-off" requests met? What approach is dedicated to specific production of such complicated products from a design point of view? And with what time-scale?

We use everything that has already been studied by our technicians and engineers. In some cases, manufacturing particular products of a remarkable size follows in the footsteps of modular projects already developed years before and that are adapted with all the necessary alterations. It is entirely due to the production efficiency of many of our projects that we manage to find excellent engineering and productive solutions for problems that might seem difficult to resolve, thus beating our competitors to the post.

We know that Opacmare also works a lot with orders from abroad. What are the reasons for this success?

We have the highest and the most complete certification obtainable nowadays, "Vision 2000", and this is a very nice business card for our products. On a world level we are gradually expanding in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, China, New Zealand and Russia, this being an emerging market. In Italy we are not pushing things as the market is saturated and it would be useless to overlap the competition. On the contrary, we are trying to develop our foreign market because the lack of top quality accessory manufacturers outside Italy and the request for Italian design represent an "explosive mixture".

Quality as an objective for success: what difficulties have you encountered pursuing this policy?

Apart from the problems of availability of raw materials, which for the boating industry must have a high qualitative standard, what we are trying to do is create around our company an adequate network of sub-suppliers for noble materials and electronic components, items which up to now have not been good enough for the boating sector. In the past we have had to pay the price for having chosen unsuitable suppliers who were unable to create a product suitable for the boating sector.

What will the company's logistics development be?

Due to the need for space, we have created many completely separate divisions, watertight compartments where only prototypes and special products are built for yachts and super- yachts. Then we have buildings dedicated exclusively to large scale series stainless steel products and other facilities where the finishing and polishing departments are located. Shortly there will be a further expansion of 8,000 sq/m of factory buildings. This will enable us to move closer together some production units that, because of their very nature, should be adjacent once more. Productions that because of our over rapid development and consequent lack of space we were forced to separate in the past.

Nowadays Opacmare can count on manpower of 165, with 18 engineers located in the Opacmare research and design centre, as well as on the collaboration of external design offices. Expansion in company logistics will mean taking on another 50 employees, divided between skilled workers, engineers and technicians.