Sunday, August 1st, 2021
The Big Boat Brand that Refuses to Die
Made in Italy, Leopard Yachts is a big boat brand name that clearly is refusing to die.
An iconic Italian brand since the 1970s, it has again been relaunched by Seven Stars Marina & Shipyard near Pisa. Andre Bacigalupo, one of the original naval architects, has designed a new 36 metre streamlined hull. The interior and additions on each individual yacht are completely customisable.
The big boat brand of Leopard Yachts was originally founded in 1972 by Gérard Rodriguez a member of the famous family behind many big names in yachting including for a brief period Camper & Nicholsons International.
Started by Leopold Rodriguez, the family can trace its shipyard activities back to their Rodriquez shipyard dating back to 1887. With production facilities in Messina, the yard built the pleasure boats, ferries, defence ships and yachts.. The shipyard became famous, for building the high-speed ferry Guizzo, designed for commercial purposes.
Named in honour
In 1973, the first Leopard Yacht named in honour of Leopold was built by the Picchiotti family, based on Italy’s Tuscany coast, who worked with naval architect Paolo Caliari to create the first in a long line of sleek motor yachts celebrated for their speed, reliability, comfort and elegance.
In 1984, the first fiberglass Leopard was launched, the Leopard Sport 19 whose prototype was made of aluminium. In 2012 the company merged with Intermarine SpA.
But from 2000, Leopard Yachts’ were constructed at the Tombolo Shipyard, located on the Canale dei Navicelli between Pisa and Livorno. In 2019, Seven Stars Marina & Shipyard acquired that shipyard.
The company’s CEO Davide Mugnaini has long held a fascination for the big boat brand and believes his firm can create tailor-made yachts for demanding owners, explaining, the importance of relaunching a renowned Italian brand will make the challenge even more interesting.
Mugnaini researched Leopard Yachts’ compelling backstory, with a view to reviving the legendary big boat brand. He travelled to Genoa to meet Andre Bacigalupo, Caliari’s student and Leopard’s designer from 2000 onwards.
To his delight, Mugnaini found that Bacigalupo had continued to perfect his Leopard Yacht designs and drawings as a private passion. “We had a mutual respect for Leopard’s history.” He continues, “Combined with Seven Stars’ technical know-how, it has made our collaboration on the relaunch of Leopard Yachts an act of love.”
The newly-revived big boat brand will be produced in the Tombolo shipyard by Seven Stars, where they have historically been built. The first 36 metre will be ready to hit the water just 24 months after signing. Connoisseurs of the Italian brand’s history will recognise its racing lines and nuanced form. Yet this model boasts contemporary interiors and is more efficient than the original.
Carlo Pittis, Brand Manager of Leopard Yachts, explains the customisation process. “No Leopard constructed by Seven Stars Marina & Shipyard will be identical. Our approach is truly artisanal and tailor-made. Potential owners are afforded a blank canvas, whether they wish to install a Jacuzzi or completely redesign the yacht’s interior spaces.”
Leopard Yachts have long been the yacht of choice for owners who require high tempo cruising but refuse to sacrifice space. “The new range boasts dimensions and elements that are not found in other yachts of this size and type,” explains Pittis. “For example, the large owner’s cabin on the main deck, or the spacious Beach Club aft.” The Leopard’s speeds of up to 42 knots allow for fast point-to-point voyages. Making it ideal for a weekend cruise from Monaco to Sardinia, from Miami to The Bahamas, or exploring the 250 or more islands off Hong Kong.
When a purchase decision has been made, the pleasure of customisation begins. Any addition is possible, says Davide Mugnaini. “The degree of personalisation is limited only by the owner’s imagination. Our clients can be assisted by interior experts Nauta Design, with whom we collaborate closely. In terms of elements within the yacht, we are renowned for our obsessive attention to detail and tenacity in sourcing any material or accoutrement.”
Other models will follow
The forthcoming 24 metre and the 46 metre Leopard Yachts afford equally attractive options for potential owners. The former will be sporty and compact, while the latter’s larger spaces will permit unparalleled comfort. Although each launch will pair cutting-edge design with technological solutions, Leopard Yachts’ unique lines will be immediately recognisable.
TWW Yachts acting as a worldwide central agent for Seven Stars Marina & Shipyard and Leopard Yachts will offer owners comprehensive support during the construction and customisation of their yacht. They also offer the option of overseeing management and maintenance of the yacht once the new owners take possession.