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Studio Faggioni - Yacht Design
Studio Faggioni

Studio Faggioni

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Title: Studio Faggioni
Magazine: Yacht Design
Issue: 3
Year: 2012
Attachment (pdf/doc): Articolo YDesign 2012-20120801-103803.pdf
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Marlin, President John F. Kennedy's 1930 fast commuter, La Spina,the first Italian International 12-Metre Class built by Baglietto in 1929, H.W. White's 1920 Lulworth, still the largest gaff cutter in the world, and Iduna, H.W. De Voogt's 1930 design. These are just some of the glorious old yachting ladies that Stefano Faggioni has nursed back to their "former splendour" as he puts it. The architect, however, has a unique background because his father Ugo was one of the first to spot the huge potential in the classic and vintage yacht sector and the historical importance of restoration. Now, however, Faggioni has another string to his bow, a string that he himself describes as "the replica par excellence". Britannia was built 15 years ago by a Russian yard in Archangel for a Norwegian owner. She is a replica of Britain's royal yacht commissioned in 1893 by the future Edward VII and built to a design by George Lennox Watson on the Clyde in Scotland.
Most significantly, however, Britannia was George V's beloved yacht at whose helm he was photographed many, many times as she sailed her way into the yachting history books. She was sunk in 1936 off the Isle of Wight after the King's death, in fact.
Now the replica Britannia will soon be back plying the world's seas, courtesy of the skills of the Ligurian architect. "It all began with Scott Ward, who heads a foundation that was looking for a yacht for charity work. In summer 2011. Giuseppe Longo, who had project managed the restorations of Lulworth, Iduna and Patience, heard that Britannia was up for sale and so we went to view her in Norway. She was on the water and her hull was in excellent condition. We'd read and heard about her, but I'd never imagined I'd actually get to touch her. She was the yacht that we'd been looking for. And so that was how the whole adventure began." But it was not to be all plain sailing. "Although her exterior was fine, her interiors were an absolute disaster," continues Faggioni, "with huge false bulkheads. Her mast was badly made too ? it just wasn't thick enough for a 54-metre. We actually left it behind."
And so one day early last February, Britannia left Norway for Cowes on the Isle of Wight ("That was where the royal yacht would have been based back in those days") and the South Boats shipyard for a restoration that would take at least a year and a half to complete. "We're still in the very early stages of the work and still looking for the necessary funds," says Faggioni. The project will require a budget of around ?2.3 million (around 2.8 million euro) if Britannia is to get back sailing again and go about her work for the Britannia Trust. "Aside from getting young people interested in the British maritime tradition, Britannia will also play host to wounded ex-servicemen and seriously ill and disadvantaged children.
Most importantly, however, Britannia will be used to build new relationships between young people. It's a project that's generating a great deal of interest in Great Britain." The first step will be to do an in-depth survey of the interior. "That's a crucial job because the idea is to build the interiors in Italy and then fit them at the yard in Cowes. I'm also hoping that other parts of the work can also be done in Italy. With regard to her exterior, Britannia will have a larger deckhouse, as there was in the days of George V." In terms of her rig, the idea is to produce a replica of the 1931 one. From the day of her launch, the original Britannia underwent myriad tweaks and changes to keep apace with the times, eventually ending up with a Bermudan rig that allowed her to race against the J-Classes. "And that's an encounter that will be repeated too because, in addition to its social work, the Britannia Trust also has a sporting side." For six months of the year, in fact, Britannia will be competing alongside the remaining Big Five as well as various other replicas and yachts, such as Astra, that didn't start life as J-Classes but were converted at some point.
The Studio Faggioni's responsibilities won't be confined to the naval part of the restoration either. "Working for a foundation like this one has led to us making a greater contribution and broken new ground for us.
Aside from the replica project, we'll also be involved in a whole series of projects linked to the boat charity, from prints of the design to t-shirts (already on sale at, ed.'s note). We're also going to be doing all of the onboard accessories which will be created specifically for Britannia ? that includes lights, door handles. A whole K1 Britannia-branded line in other words."
The Studio Faggioni is also currently restoring the International 8-Metre Class, Bamba, a Francesco Giovannelli design built by Baglietto and 1927, a job now nearing completion at the Pezzini yard in Viareggio.
"But Britannia is special. Seeing her lines out of the water is very moving as is the fact that I, an Italian, was chosen to get the replica of the British royal yacht back afloat." But didn't that honour come on the strength of the beautiful hand-drawn and coloured designs he produced for the project, we ask? "Possibly. But it's something that attracts me greatly and that I don't want to stop doing."

Emilio Martinelli

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