Gabriele, being the President of CdM you must be very excited and proud of having launched the biggest Darwin Class and first of a series of 100’+ vessels today!
For sure I am thrilled and excited today. But to tell you the truth, it is more about this special project itself than the dimension of the yacht. Yes, it is the first of four 100’+ we are building and this marks a very clear milestone on our path, but this is not the only thing which makes it special. It is more about the special environment which it has been created around it thanks to the owner, his family and their team of consultant. It is also about the Captain and the Chief Stewardess who have cooperated with our team seamlessly for all these months and who have taken care of the owner’s interest respecting the shipyard’s efforts to make its best for them. It is about the fact that hearing the (italian) words of the owner, words of deep appreciation for the work of all the people who has built his vessel, has really touched everybody’s heart and made tears showing also in the eyes of those who are considered the toughest and dryiest blokes on earth.
This kind of bond between the yard and the owner’s world is quite usual here at CdM, isn’t it?
Definitely. The relationships built during the construction are incredibly strong and when I see pictures coming from everywhere in the world on our smartphones showing our customers enjoying their vessels with their families, I have confirmation of this. They want to share with us what our yachts are giving them: relaxed, safe and hasslefree holidays in the most beautiful areas of the sea! This is what makes this difficult job the best!
With all these 100’ + on order and more to come as we heard through the grape vine, is CdM planning to increase more
and more the size of its production instead of sticking to max 145’ as always declared?
We very often repeat our mantra: we want to become better and better and not bigger and bigger. This applies also to the size of our yachts. We are not interested in going over the 145’ mark. But we want to become the best in the 85’ to 145’ segment, for sure! I can tell you a story about this: one of our clients who wants to upgrade to a bigger Darwin has asked to Vasco Buonpensiere, our Sales Director, to start working on a 50 mt platform for his next yacht. Vasco answered to him that he was sorry to lose him as a client as CdM is not going to build a yacht of that length. The answer was shocking: the client said that he would not go anywhere else, therefore he would build a (quite beamy...) 145’ with us.
2015 is being an incredibly succesful year for CdM while competition is heavily suffering when not shutting down for lack of orders: what is your secret? How you have
managed to start a shipyard in the worst period of the worldwide economy and be so succesful?
If I tell you, I have to kill you immediately after! Beside any joke, and without disclosing any sensible information... I sincerely think that the real keys are: answering to a very specific and verified demand, approaching the market with humbleness and transparency, creating a team where key bonding factors are passion and respect. The same passion which leads yacht owners to purchase a new yacht, and the same respect we give to them and to each and every euro he gives us to build it.
Darwin 107' is not only the biggest vessel launched at CdM so far: we noticed many details on her which show that - with the Darwin Class 107 -
CdM has once again raised the bar and improved their standards. At the yard they all say that your inputs have been fundamental to get
to this result: can you tell us how that happened and how was the reaction of the shipyard’s team to your requests and suggestions?
Having owned a number of Motorboats and having an experienced Captain who has worked for me for many years we knew exactly the type of boat we wanted, its lay out and finish. We put together a very comprehensive specification agreeing it with the shipyard, certainly introducing many challenges for them to achieve. During the build we also requested many new ideas and we found that if the shipyard believed it was an improvement to their product as well as a benefit to the functional and operational running of the boat it was introduced without hesitation.
You have been the owner of a yacht built in a very well reputated shipyard in Holland, which is definitely an area known for their high
quality standards when it comes to engineering and shipbuilding: how would you describe your italian experience at CdM in those terms?
I believed our previous boat was going to be a hard act to follow. This meant demands and expectations for build quality, engineering and fit out were high right from the start of the contract. I can now say honestly that Darwin 107' has met and exceeded every expectation. Looking at the finished product says it all.
The interiors of Darwin 107' are very much characterized by the use of materials and design choices which definitely match with a Yacht thought
for exploring the world at all latitudes with your family. How much your family has been involved in it with you and how the shipyard dealt with it
during these almost two years of build?
Darwin 107' is a family boat and this includes the Captain and his wife. Everyone has had their part to play during the build. From an engine room orientated to insuring ease of operation, servicing and general systems management, to a galley designed to run for long periods between port visits, to baby friendly features for the grandchildren to plenty of outside living space. We have all been heavily involved along with the shipyard management.
Now that your Yacht is in the water it is time to start cruising: which are your plans and where do you think Darwin 107' will be in the next seasons to come?
The plan for this year and 2016 is to really get to know Darwin 107' and her capabilities while cruising the eastern Mediterranean. As we now have a ‘go any where’ boat our aim is to cross the Atlantic the following year and spend a number of seasons travelling the Eastern American seabord, the Caribbean, with the desire to visit even more far away places. Darwin 107' is designed and built to be at sea, exploring places, not sitting in a Marina!
If you should summarize your memories about this project on a book, from the decision process to the launch, which would be the main
milestones/characters/events of the history you would absolutely fix on paper?
I could easily write a book covering the experiences of building Darwin 107', however I would rather put this into a short story.
CHAPTER 1 - The Decision
The decision process was very easy, I believe that people deal with people who they trust and believe in, CDM were those people.
CHAPTER 2 - Excitement
The excitement of planning and creating the detailed specification . Would your ideas and vision turn into a reality. Planning for the regular visits to the yard and the introduction to strong Italian coffee and long lunches!
CHAPTER 3 - The build and the people
Many interactive meetings with all the different teams with everybody putting forward their ideas and reaching the best solutions. Getting to know the many people doing the hard work, always with smiling faces. Of course more long Italian lunches!
CHAPTER 4 - The Launch
Will it ever be ready, will it look as we imagined? On the day to see the families reaction made the whole process worthwhile. Followed by ‘an even longer’ Italian Lunch!
CHAPTER 5 - Delivery
Can such a complex piece of engineering with all its multitude of systems, together with our changes during the build all only be one week late after 18 months. Apologises to the shipyard as I requested the one weeks delay!
FINAL CHAPTER - Memories
Too many people to personally thank, long lasting friendships made and lots of pleasure along the way. Sadly no more Italian Lunches!
Darwin 107' is definitely a very unique 100 footer not only if seen from the owner’s perspective, but also considering the crew needs.
Can you tell us how you achieved this result and which are the best outcomes of your joint effort with the owner in this respect?
Having worked for the family for eight years there is a lot of trust between ourselves and the family, during discussions for Darwin 107' there was lots of consideration about the layout and how we would like the boat to run. The family enjoy the majority of their meals onboard so a good size galley was essential, we also travel extensively every season so the wheelhouse needed to be somewhere that everyone could enjoy. Together with the owner and the team at CdM I feel that we have achieved a boat that the owners will enjoy throughly whilst also being very practical for the crew. We have a fantastic crew area, good size cabins and bathrooms, the engine room is amazing with enough space to work around all the machinery, the garage (laundry room) is equipped with everything our Stewardess needs. I am very much looking forward to working onboard.
You have been living for quite a few months in Ancona, following the build together with your husband
on a daily basis: how was your experience and how CdM has coped with your daily presence at the facility?
Our time at CdM has been brilliant, we have been made very welcome by everyone. From the team in the offices to the guys and girls on the shop floor everyone has been very accommodating to us. I am very much looking forward to working on Darwin 107' but I will miss Ancona and the shipyard. This is the third new build that Alex and I have worked on together and by far the best, I really feel like we have been part of the team this time round rather than the yacht crew.
Ellen, we heard rumors that you are an incredibly efficient Chief Stewardess, but also a great chef: what would be your ideal
menu for the first dinner of your Principals onboard Darwin 107'? Has your italian experience added something to your cooking creativity and skills?
I haven’t quite had time to think about that yet but as its only a few weeks ago I think my favourite meal of the moment a Caprese with Proscuitto could possibly be it; I find it refreshing and vibrant and a taste sensation, everything about it is Italian and lovely. For the winter months the pasta and pizza dishes kept me warm and happy, although expanding rather quickly round the waste line. I have also really enjoyed being in Ancona with the Adriatic seafood on our doorstep.
In a few weeks you will be cruising the Med and the famous CdM Shipyard Experience of which the whole industry is taking
about will finish: if these last 18 months would be a movie, which would be the title?
“CDM IS A GEM” ;-) or maybe just Darwin 107' its a pretty punchy name all on its own.
Ennio, we have seen you getting very emotional at the Launch of the Darwin 107... What happened?
I have spent the last days before the launch looking at this magnificent vessel finally out of the scaffolding and thinking about the last 5 years. This yacht has a piece of CdM’s history in every detail of the build and looking at her is like watching a movie about this incredible shipyard’s success. My eyes are going to the bow and I remember Vasco and I discussing about changing the design of the bow from the one of Darwin 8601 to the one of 8602. Days of sketches and friendly fights, and... she looks beautiful now! The same happens looking at the windows all over the boat: how hard it has been to move from the ‘small is safe and explorer’ to the ‘bigger is safe and explorer, too’ philosophy....!
It really seems that your emotions all come from the product, doesn’t it?
Well, I am a production addicted man. I spend more time in the sheds and onboard than everywhere else at the yard and I can get very emotional in front of a perfect welding... but in this case, what has made me feel so involved and emotional is the strong relationship built along these months with the owners. We have built this flagship together with them and their crew with a very clear mutual goal: excellence. And as soon as I saw her on the slings, slowly touching the water for the first time, I felt so proud for having fulfilled our promises to her owners that it was impossible not to get deeply emotional.
The 107’ is definitely a big volume yacht (abt 300 GRT) full of interesting details. Which would be the three main features
you would point out to a prospect client coming for the first time onboard?
First of all I would introduce this vessel starting from the Engine Room. The quality of the lay out, the space, the finishing and the efficiency of it are really unique. This is where a buyer should always start his visits on yachts: this is where you can understand the quality and the building and engineering approach of a shipyard. If you enter into a crampy and messy engine room, it is very difficult that (beside any exterior aspect) the intrinsic quality of the vessel is going to be very high... Entering a CdM engine room, instead, speaks for itself. After that I would point out the hull arriving up to the very end of the swimming platform. This doesn’t sound such an important feature, but, believe me, avoiding the typical ‘slamming’ of the waves underneath platforms hanging out from the transom and increasing the efficiency and the sturdiness of the hull, are great characteristics on a yacht like this. The third feature I would show are the fairleads on the stern of the boat. I would just compare them with all the 35/40 metres around and let the client appreciate the difference in quality, sturdiness, heavy dutiness of these giant pieces of stainless steel with their huge rollers if compared with the others...
We still have to enter into the boat and you have already burnt your three features avaiable...
That’s a Darwin and it is built at Cantiere delle Marche: everywhere you direct your eyes there is a quality detail. I can’t help... Can I have 300 more details to describe please?