- 17 February 2023
Fulvio Codecasa talks to DN: “Functionality, duration and comfort are our philosophy”
Daily Nautica interviewed Fulvio Codecasa, who talked about the foundation and growth of the brand as well as his career, from when stepped into the family business to the needs of owner’s today
“Innovative by tradition”. This is the Codecasa Shipyard motto. The shipyard’s story began in 1825 when Giovanni Battista Codecasa (born 1803) began working as master craftsman; in 1902, Giovan Battista Codecasa (born 1875), nicknamed Tistino, continued the family tradition by opening, alongside his father Antonio, his own shipyard for the construction of sail boats, called Antonio Codecasa e figli. In 1946 Giovan Battista retired and the business was entrusted to his sons, Ugo and Sandro. In 1973, Fulvio Codecasa took over the business from his father Ugo.
Cantieri Navali Codecasa are still one of the top businesses in luxury boating, and are internationally known for their steel and lightweight alloy motoryachts, ranging from 30 to 70 metres. In the last decade, the Group’s product range has expanded and, in addition to the traditional displacement yachts range built in steel and lightweight alloy, they have added the new range of fast boats, built only in lightweight alloy, including yachts ranging from 35 to 50 metres in length.
No Codecasa boat is like another. Modern, classic or minimalist, the interior décor of each yacht is accurately designed and created to satisfy the personal needs of each owner, all while guaranteeing the high quality and technical standards, for which the Codecasa Shipyard in known.
Fulvio Codecasa is now running the shipyard, flanked by his daughters, Fulvia and Elena, and their husbands, respectively, Ennio Buonomo and Fabio Lofrese. The newest entry to the business’s organisation are Fulvia’s two children, Matteo Buonomo and Niccolò Buonomo, who have been working over the last few years with their parents, grandparents and uncles in the company. Fulvio Codecasa follows, alongside the rest of his family, every single phase in the construction of the yacht, from the overall project to the smallest details until its completion. He is the hardest client to please.
INTERVIEW WITH FULVIO CODECASA
Fulvio Codecasa, yours is a family business run with a passion and skills passed on through the generations. What sparked your love for boating and for megayachts?
I began working in 1955, helping my father in the running of the shipyard founded in 1825 by Giovanni Battista Codecasa, master craftsman and legendary figure in the Lucca Dockyards. I practically grew up in the shipyard, so I can’t even give you a precise age, but I was very young.
I was curious and interested in all the fervour going on during construction, and I was always fascinated by it. Starting to work in the shipyard and the luxury pleasure boating industry began in the 1970s, when I decided to step into the emerging market of pleasure boating, which was, at the time a promising niche yet to be fully explored. With my determination to continue in this emerging sector, the Codecasa Shipyard became the first pioneer in the construction of steel-hulled yachts.
The company’s official first step into pleasure boating came in 1970 with the launch of an 80’ (25 metre) explorer vessel designed together with the architects Paolo Caliari and Franco Harrauer: the Gram
When and how did you start working in the company? How did you start?
As far as I’m concerned, having grown up in this environment, my interests were immediately drawn to boat building, so we could say that the job I had in mind is the job I did.
It was a choice that, although a good one, was mandatory, as happened in those days to the children of business owners. An anecdote I always remember is when, as a child, I received a gift from my grandfather Tistino – a little knife for sharpening the pencils used in drawing up blueprints. With such a history it would have been pretty difficult for me to have followed a different profession. Boats have always been a part of my life and have always been my life.
Over the years, how have you seen the yachting industry change, starting with the owners?
Client needs have changed in the sense that they are even more attentive. Today’s boat owner is more knowledgeable and knows what to look for and what they want to buy. Indeed, those who turn to us to build their yachts, do so because they know our style and our work ethic and because they know that nothing is more important than a solid and safe yacht, so the top client demand is certainly safety, then obviously there are the needs based on personal taste for furniture or comfortable spaces for socialising with family and guests, and of course, privacy on board.
Needs that my company, specialised in custom yachts, always tries to fulfil by tailoring the yacht to the desires and necessities of the person commissioning it.
Speaking of owners, do you remember having any particularly odd requests?
We have had a few odd requests from our clients, yes, like for example we were asked to install two collapsible poles for pole dancing. In any event, today’s trends are to have on board all the comforts that can be found in the best hotels, so we have had requests for cinemas, massage parlours, equipped gyms, counter current pools and even a hairdresser/barber shop. In short, when sailing, people want to enjoy the sea, but keeping their daily habits.
Is there one design which you are particularly tied?
Every Codecasa yacht is like a child to me, because I first think about them, creat the design, develop the rendering for the exterior, interior, study the systems, etc.
The whole cycle from start to finish is developed by me, until delivery, and is the result of the careful attention I pay to the smallest detail so as to deliver a product that is not only beautiful, but also reliable. Functionality, duration and comfort are Codecasa’s motto, our family feeling.
I can say that among the yachts I am most tied to and consider to be the most representative of our products is the Family Day, a 65 metre motoryacht that I had in mind for a long time. I wanted to create a unique boat, which had a strong personality and excited those who saw her. I feel I managed to do that. I also wanted to mention the Vintage range, created in 2011 in order to capture that timeless style but also strive to the future; it is a still a very successful range today. This is a range to which I am particularly tied and which invokes those distinctive traits that made boating history, like the legendary “Paraggina” belonging to the Moratti family, or the equally unforgettable “Marlin”, belonging to the Kennedys.
Let’s talk about production capacity: what are the statistics for your shipyard?
Cantieri Navali Codecasa Tre and Cantieri Navali Ugo Codecasa are located in the dockyards of Viareggio and extend over two identical areas of 7000 square metres each, of which 6000 square metres are permanently under cover. In these shipyards we build yachts of between 40 and 90 metres in length, in steel and aluminium.
The Codecasa DR11 facility, also located in Viareggio, near Cantieri Navali Ugo Codecasa and Cantieri Navali Codecasa Tre covers 1023 square metres with 745 under cover, and is equipped for the construction of fast open yachts in aluminium, from 35 to 40 metres long.
Our facility in the Darsena dei Navicelli in Pisa is the latest in the Codecasa Shipyards group. Covering 25,000 square meters, of which 10,000 under cover, it is made up of 4 identical warehouses of 2500 square metres each. This shipyard can store hulls and superstructures up to a maximum length of 80 metres, right from the initial phases of construction.
Lastly, Cantiere Navale Codecasa Due, located in the old Darsena Toscana on one of the oldest piers of the port in Viareggio, designs and builds steel and aluminium motoryachts of up to 35 metres long. It has all the latest equipment needed for refitting all types of vessels, and has a travel lift that can tow and launch vessels of up to 220 tonnes and guarantees all services for the safe storage of yachts up to 30 metres in their external or covered area, within the shipyard grounds.
How have you dealt with the supply chain issues that are still slowing down production today?
Like everyone, we had to deal with supply chain issues for our materials, which caused a slow down in overall production. Luckily, we are used to building on speculation; this is an advantage that allows us to have more time to be able to deliver all our orders in a timely manner, and this has helped us in this difficult time.
How is your market distributed? Where do most of your clients come from?
I have to say our market is worldwide, but we have most of our clients from North America, the Middle East and Europe.
You have also created Codecasa Service, a type of after-sales service. What do you offer?
With Codecasa Service we make available to all our clients, two centuries of experience in shipbuilding and the artistry of our tradespeople who we have worked with for years. The hands that built some of the most beautiful yachts in the world also do the maintenance and carry out any works required by the classification agencies. After buying a Codecasa yacht, no client is left alone. We keep up with our vessels even after they leave the shipyard and have been delivered.