Stefano De Vivo, CCO of Ferretti Group, talks about smart custom design and life at CRN
Coming from a rich Italian heritage, the Ferretti Group is a hub of passion and creativity. Part of the group is the CRN shipyard which, now feeling stronger than ever, continues to invest in its position as one of the best builders of custom superyachts. One of the ways they achieve this is by working alongside some of the industry’s most renowned superyacht designers, such as Francesco Paszkowski, Nuvolari Lenard and Andrea Vallicelli. The results of these collaborations have sparked interest, and not just with SuperYacht Times. Photo: CRNAs Stefano de Vivo, CEO of the company explains, between “Looking after customers, designers, production and all the rest” CRN’s design philosophy and new concepts were developed as part of a one-of-a-kind key business strategy. With five projects still underway at the Ancona shipyard, SuperYacht Times is learning more about this new wave of CRN design. Can you share more details about the new projects that are still under construction?
We have two fairly large projects underway: we have the 79 meter CRN 135 which has been launched and is being prepared for delivery, and the 61.9 meter CRN 137 which is still in the hangar. and which will be launched during the summer.
The welds and the hull and superstructure of a new 62-meter CRN 138 are being finished and it will enter the hangar during the month of June. It is a new project designed by Omega Architects by Frank Laupman and will be underway for the next year and a half. Delivery will take place in 2021.
The CRN is nice and busy and we keep a perfect level of engagement: a 62 meters goes out, a 62 meters goes in! As the 79 meter rolls out, we already signed last November a contract for a new 70 meter and a contract for a top secret all aluminum 60 meter yacht in January. Photo: CRNDid the CRN take an interest in other concepts? Is there room at the shipyard to accommodate more?
We try to aim to deliver between 2500 and 3000GT per year. We don’t want to do more than that because we want to maintain the quality and stay tuned to the customer and the team. However, there is still room for another sale, either two 500GTs or maybe a 50 meter 1000GT.
CRN released three or four new projects last year developed with world-famous designers. I can tell you that the 45 meter, 50 meter and 55 meter explorer yachts designed by Francesco Paszkowski have generated enormous interest and many comments. This yacht fits perfectly into the history and DNA of CRN because we could say that we were the first to build an explorer’s yacht: the F100 of Mr. Gianni Agnelli in 1983. As the F100 only measured 32.8 meters, a new 45 or 50 meters the explorer would be perfect!
This concept is a statement, and much more of a crossover as it looks like an explorer, but we’ve paid more attention to what the modern explorer yacht owner wants. He has his toys, which are all hidden, but which also have beauty. We try to make sure that we have linked the soul of an explorer’s yacht with the soul of a luxury yacht.Photo: CRNHow has the design of the CRN evolved? Have customer demands changed?
More and more customers are asking for yachts that can go further. The 70 meter CRN 139 that we are currently building has unique design features to accommodate this type of travel. There is a lot of glass but all the heating and cooling components are designed to be able to withstand the harshest climates.
There are so many different places in the world that you have to adapt the design if the client is to be able to get there. This gives new life to the design of the CRN. These kinds of requests are coming in more and more which is great news for the yachting industry as it means that customers are getting more and more curious and ready to visit different places which helps to expand our range of customers and makes the future exciting.What was the result of the design collaborations? Were there any challenges to overcome?
The main objective of these collaborations was to preserve CRN as the most important Italian shipyard which manufactures fully customized yachts. What I mean by fully custom yachts is that, especially in reference to the last six or seven yachts that CRN has launched, there is no one that is alike. The only two that look alike are two yachts belonging to the same family.
It is much more difficult to build yachts that are not alike! The biggest challenge is that we live in a world where you press a button and you have a 3D render automatically, but it’s not necessarily that easy when you talk to a customer and ask them to imagine what could be done. a final product developed especially for him. look like. This is why we have chosen the best designers to collaborate with us because it has helped customers visualize their superyacht. It also gives us a seal of credibility, quality and reliability that shows how much CRN has grown in the yachting industry as they are the best guys in the world working for us on a completely free collaborative basis! We just give them our platform so they can have a design already designed. Another benefit of working with them is that we challenge each other with different new ideas and technologies that we can bring to our customers and to the market. How do you decide which designer to work with? Is there a strategy behind the collaborations?
We chose Nuvolari Lenard because he has designed many CRN yachts since the early 2000s. Francesco Paszkowski because he is one of the best when it comes to designing a contemporary, very smart and beautiful explorer. We opted for Lobanov who, despite his young age, has already designed some of the most beautiful and largest yachts on the market. He is very capable of making special drawings. We chose Vallicelli because his classic design work is also part of our history, and he has done a lot of work in our area. Nuvolari has created an innovative, more futuristic design while the collaborations with H2 Yacht Design and Nauta Design have created something special and different.
Our strategy is very simple. We wanted to have a diverse and international group of designers. I think they are all so special and they all have great experiences and stories to tell – if we all had dinner together it would be a fantastic conversation to sit down and listen! Photo: CRNHave you ever thought about bringing in an internal CRN design team?
There are no in-house designers like with our other brands, because we want to prevent our community of designers from being scared of an in-house design team. We start with a clean sheet and ensure that the client’s talent, vision and inspiration are turned into an initial design. Then, over time, it evolves as it is reworked and refined by our in-house teams of project managers, project architects, engineers, technical designers and specialist craftsmen who work all in close collaboration with the owner’s team of architects and designers.
What we hope is that the explorer ship designed by Mr. Paszkowski can become a very recognizable model for our company, maybe we can eventually manufacture up to four units. Of course, each will be a little different, but this is probably the only design that we see as something that could become a recognizable CRN product. Otherwise, we want to stay completely personalized.Where do you think CRN fits in terms of brand and market position? Is there a lot of competition?
Unfortunately, there is a lot of competition. Mainly because we need to remind the market what it means to be a fully customized yacht builder. It is very difficult to get the world to understand, evaluate, and compare a custom manufacturer with other manufacturers who tend to have recognizable products and designs.
This is why the brand image is important, but also the way we communicate our concept and our ideas of a fully personalized yacht. We feel stronger than ever because we have a very healthy group behind us with investors who think very long term. We haven’t taken a profit since at least 2012, which means we’ve invested heavily in R&D, new products and new people. If we continue, that means we should be in an increasingly higher position as a manufacturer of fully custom yachts.
How does CRN maintain its position in the market? Can you share specific marketing strategies?
Our marketing strategy always reflects current market trends and ensures that we have a project designed for this type of clientele. The other thing we focus on is finding the right balance between value for money. There is a certain richness in our vessels, so the tolerances for interiors, systems, etc. must be acceptable. Customers can’t go below the plan we offer as standard, which makes customers a lot less nervous about not knowing what they’re getting. Our “basic offer” adapts very well to all the needs of a client and his crew, to which are added wealth, that is to say the possibility of having everything we want. !
We also regularly organize events and meetings with our stakeholders to really show them what is happening in the construction and diversity of our projects. The other thing we are focusing on is the Ancona shipyard. If you visit you will see how much we have invested in the premises, especially the construction facilities. This is the most important thing because there is no better marketing than having a very neat and well organized shipyard with the latest technology to build the yachts our owners dream and desire.