There’s nothing inherently wrong in favouring the modish and the new, but there’s something to be said for a dash of heritage. It gives an ancestral magic to anything it touches, proper roots and foundations against the flyaway charms of the contemporary. Modern-day shipyards don’t do heritage any better than Baglietto. Founded by the teenage Pietro Baglietto, who started building boats in his back garden, the yard’s roots go back to 1854. To put it in context, that was when Britain, France and the Ottomans were at war with the Russian Empire, Charles Darwin was five years from publishing On the Origin of Species and it was 14 years before Mahatma Gandhi was born. The modern world was an age away when Baglietto started in this business, making it a name to conjure with.
While financial gremlins are no respecter of heritage, it does attract entrepreneurial angels. Part of Beniamino Gavio’s Gavio Group since 2012, Baglietto has been on something of a comeback trail. The promises of a few years ago are being fulfilled, and the yard is in rude health if the 54-metre Unicorn is anything to go by.
Unicorn’s hull is based on a tried-and-trusted 53-metre hull (the 2009 Baraka and the 2007 Gitana), designed by long-time Baglietto collaborator Francesco Paszkowski. The platform may have first been seen the best part of a decade ago, but Paszkowski has revisited elements of the styling, most noticeably with the forward-raking bridge windows, which adds a sense of seriousness and purpose to the yacht. A key feature aft is the beach club, an area that succeeds because the tenders are now stored on the foredeck.
“Unicorn is the natural evolution of the Baglietto 53, which our studio designed for the boatyard so many
years ago,” says Francesco Paszkowski. “But we have made some significant changes to update her. Those wheelhouse windows are quite different, raking forwards instead of aft. We’ve also revised the space aft on the upper deck, which now has a quite different layout. The roll-bar was redesigned and features a different shape, serving as the ‘roof’ of the sundeck. We’ve also changed the shape of the superstructure forward to accommodate the hood for tenders and a crane. Moreover, the height of the gunwales on the main deck has been reduced somewhat to allow wider windows in the living areas. Some other details of the superstructure were slightly modified, in keeping with the family feeling of the current Baglietto range.”
For a family group on board, the spacious beach club is a wonderful space to spend an active few hours, with the transom door opening on to a well-appointed gym, with the movable furniture providing a good deal of flexibility, whether you want to sit in the shaded area or sunbathe on the swim platform.
It’s to be expected that the guest experience is the number one priority aboard Unicorn, and you can see this in the inside spaces. The bridge-deck lounge is dominated by a big screen across the centreline, and it functions almost entirely as a dedicated cinema. The big Ls of sofa close up to create a cosy evening space for a generous number of guests. It’s a wonderful spot, and large infills mean that it’s impossible not to sprawl languidly here; the first duty of one of the inside crew each morning will surely be picking out the popcorn from between the cushions after the guests have been enjoying a night at the movies.
The décor inside this lounge is in predominantly light and dark colours, but it’s a steely grey that particularly catches the eye – a colour shade used throughout the yacht in the accommodation spaces. “Unicorn’s owner
“He wanted something sophisticated, rich and different”
had very clear ideas how his boat interior should be: sophisticated and rich, very different from other yachts and reflecting his personal taste. He also really enjoyed taking part in the design process,” says Francesco.
The interior design was created in co-operation with Margherita Casprini, who works closely with the Paszkowski studio. The important woods inside are black-coloured oak with a gloss finish for the walls, while pearl-grey oak was used for the floor. Elsewhere, you see black marble in the bathrooms and a dark grey velvet for curtains and sofas. Mirrors and lacquered panels were also chosen for the ceilings. “The use of dark colours and the choice of precious materials ensures a uniform design everywhere on board,” says Francesco.
The main-deck lounge is conventional in layout, with a sociable seating area, and a dining table forward of that. The light/dark/grey contrasting colour palette works very well with the amount of natural light that comes in, which mirrors help to recirculate. It also creates a sharply cooler feel compared to the heat of the decks. Forward on the main deck is the quirky owner’s suite. The office area is conventional enough but the bed is located off the centreline to port, and there is a curious circular seating/reclining area with a crescent of a screen around it.
Outside, the yacht is equally blessed with guestfriendly spaces. The bridge-deck aft is simply laid out with an oval table under the sundeck overhang and seating aft, but it works very well. “The space outside on the upper deck is one of my favourite places on the boat,” says Francesco. “It is a wide and secluded space where you can spend time in the open air, although it’s as well protected as if you were inside. Moreover, the contemporary layout of the furniture creates a really comfortable feeling.”
“The use of dark colours and precious materials creates a uniform design”
A deck up on the sundeck, guests have perhaps even more choice, with a bar area, dining around the sheltered table to port, sociable seating around an L-shaped sofa, and the vast area of sunbathing pads around the hot-tub aft. It’s a space that will cater for guests whatever mood they are in.
The lower deck, served by the lift that rises to the bridge deck, boast three guest doubles and a twin, with the forward pair and aft pair all-but mirroring each other in volume. Throughout, the styling vibe matches that of the accommodation areas above, making for a cool and relaxing feel.
Unicorn, which will make her public debut at the Monaco Yacht Show in September (along with the Paszkowski-designed Baglietto 46M Fast), only went in the water in June, so there hasn’t been much time for her to get many cruising miles under her hull, though the early indications are that she’ll deliver on her promise. Meanwhile, Paszkowki’s work with the Baglietto continues apace. “With Unicorn I wanted to introduce some of the design elements of the current Baglietto style. She can be considered a link between the successful 53 and the new generation of Baglietto displacement yachts,” he says.
And the future for the yard is certainly as bright as it has been for a generation, and that is particularly pleasing to Baglietto stalwart Francesco Paszkowski. “I’ve been working with Baglietto since 1992, when I designed my very first boat and my first Baglietto – the Opus 1, a 29-metre,” he says. “The yard has always responded to the needs of owners, which have changed a lot over the years. This is a characteristic of the yard. I’d be surprised if they change this approach after so many years of boatbuilding.”
If Unicorn is anything to go by, Baglietto’s approach is right on track. SYW
Throughout, the styling makes for a cool and relaxing feel