A modo mio: Barche meets Monica Leone


A modo mio. Niccolò Volpati meets Monica Leone. From “Barche“, issued in January.

PEOPLE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT TASTES, BUT I THINK EVERYBODY CAN AGREE ON THE FOLLOWING: Italian boatyards produce beautiful cruiser racers. This statement is backed by figures. The number of new projects and launches is rising, as are orders. Sailing boats, whether for cruising or for racing, made in Italy for domestic or international owners. The two crucial ingredients are comfort and performance, as always, and a lot of yards seem to have hit on the magic formula. You could nearly call it a trend. A company that has always fitted this description is Vismara Marine and that is where Monica Leone and her husband went. They wanted a new boat, perhaps changing the way they sail. They are owners who like to sail a lot. They are a family with children that doesn’t spend most of its time with the stern hawsers crossed on the quay. They are not unsociable, nor are they hermits, but they don’t organise cockpit parties during the holidays. Friends are welcome on board, but
they should realise that they will have to rack up the mileage. The boat they have chosen is the 62-footer. The design is by Alessandro Vismara/Mike Mills like SuperNikka. A fast racing boat that has won everything there is to win. They wanted a boat that could sail fast, but on cruises. They chose Vismara from all the yards because it was the one that allowed the highest degree of customisation.

Alessandro even softened the lines to fit in with Monica Leone’s requests. The choice was made, but there was another issue that needed addressing, and not a minor one. Monica Leone is an
architect who specialises in restructuring, especially homes and commercial spaces. She had a pretty clear idea of how she wanted the interiors of her boat. Most of all, she generally doesn’t like the layouts put forward by yards that make cruiser racers. «They all look the same, they are too standardised – she says – The inspiration for the interiors of Wizard came from two directions:
from what I have seen while sailing, and from our particular needs. We cover a lot of miles in the Mediterranean and we spend at least three months a year on board. I have seen some very nice interiors in various boat shows, but also some less convincing ones. I once saw a boat where the companionway finished on a different level to the dinette floor. Anyone who does a lot of sailing knows that a step like that can be dangerous». That is the added value of customisation and that is why Vismara deserves credit. The experience and the special requests of those who will be on board are combined with the skill of the design department and the waterlines of a winning design. «We started from the layout – says Monica Leone – and we then went on to decide on the structural bulkheads». There is a lot of customisation, but the special characteristics of a Vismara boat are untouched. And, as well as the structural furnishings, there is also the issue of materials. The cabin planking is made of carbon fibre to ensure that weight is kept to a minimum. «The decision I was most happy with was the choice of materials – Monica Leone explains. – I don’t like interiors that have a great jumble of elements that can be very different, such as wood, glass and iron. The danger is that it ends up looking very kitsch», she continues. «I chose wood for Wizard because it is warm and it avoids that psychiatric hospital look that you can get when the interiors of the boat are completely white. I also don’t like corners, I prefer slightly rounded shapes». There is wood in all the rooms, except in the two bathrooms that have a white lacquer finish. «Comfortable and functional those are my watchwords», says the architect. And a white bathroom is definitely more practical than one covered in wood. Finally, we can’t resist asking a question. A client who is also an owner, an architect and an expert sailor, someone who wants to be involved personally in designing the interiors, is like a form of stress test for the boatyard. I imagine a red light starts flashing, warning of danger, peril! We have to ask if they are still on friendly terms with Vismara. Monica Leone smiles and says that she still has great respect for Alessandro and gets on very well with him. Perhaps it was the Vismara Marine design department which was subjected to the hardest stress test. But the test was passed and, even if it was tough, it was worth it.