The symbol of Italian shipbuilding marks 50 years of activity and successes, and still has the same appeal it had at its début
Not many nautical brands can boast of a career as long and successful as that of Cantiere del Pardo. Established in 1973 from the vision and passion of Giuseppe Giuliani Ricci, and today firmly steered by the CEO Fabio Planamente and by the President Gigi Servidati, Cantiere del Pardo is the perfect example of a successful Italian shipyard which, thanks to its deep and solid roots, has looked to the future and risen to new challenges, always combining innovation and tradition.
The ‘motor road’
Already a leader in the sailing boats market, with the legendary Grand Soleil Yachts brand, in 2016 Cantiere del Pardo decided to write another chapter in its long history, opening up to the motor yacht segment. The result is Pardo Yachts which launched the Pardo 43, a 13 m boat designed by Maurizio Zuccheri. At its début in Cannes, thirty units were sold, which became 270 in just six years.
What many considered a risky choice turned out to be a resounding success, which encouraged the shipyard to increase the range (with Pardo 50 and Pardo 38) and diversify it to meet the ever-growing requests from owners.
This is how the Endurance and GT lines were born. The Endurance 60 has excellent characteristics both in terms of speed performance and fuel consumption. It is also a very comfortable boat, and an excellent product for a sailor who wants to switch to a motorboat.
The GT line, launched in 2022 with the GT 52, offers a closed version of the Pardo while also providing more liveable interiors, with a comfortable dinette and three cabins, to maintain the shipyard’s ‘family feeling’.
In 2020, Servidati and Planamente decided to acquire the Dutch brand VanDutch, which, shaped by the Mulder Design studio, created instantly recognisable yachts with great charm. While respecting the original lines and stylistic features, the boats produced by CDP now feature new hulls, new moulds and optimised habitability.
Legendary Grand Soleil Designs
The ‘motor road’ would never have been possible without the corporate background and know-how that have their roots in the world of sailing. More than five thousand Grand Soleils have been produced in fifty years and the evolution of the range over the years has, in many cases, anticipated design solutions later adopted by the market.
These boats have been the proud bearers of these solutions, having been conceived by the most famous designers of every era: it began in 1973 with Jean-Marie Finot, right up to today’s well-established design teams, such as the Polli – Lostuzzi – Nauta Design trio.
In between are iconic models that have made history, such as the great GS 34. Designed by Jean-Marie Finot in racing and cruising versions, 290 units of this boats were made. Equally iconic are the GS 39 and 343, designed by Alain Jézéquel (also produced in many units) and the GS 52, GS 45 and GS 42, born from the collaboration with Germán Frers.
With the new millennium, other famous yacht designers entered the stage: the first was Massimo Paperini, who designed the Grand Soleil 40, one of the shipyard’s most successful models (about 230 units produced), he was followed by Philippe Briand, who designed the GS 56, and the Judel/Vrolijk studio, which was behind the GS 44 Race, the GS 45 and GS 50.
Since 2011, Cantiere del Pardo has worked only with Italian designers. Claudio Maletto designed the naval architecture of two boats, the GS 39 and the GS 43. In 2013 Marco Lostuzzi presented the Grand Soleil 46 LC, whose acronym means ‘Long Cruise’, with the mainsail sheet point positioned on a carbon rollbar.
The shipyard’s very important working relationships also include the ones with Umberto Felci (GS 58) and Giovanni Ceccarelli (GS 80). 2020 marks the début of Matteo Polli, a very talented yacht designer who, after the highly successful GS 44, has worked on the GS 40, the GS 72 and the GS 65 LC, which will be launched in the coming months.
The New Era with the Calzedonia Group
Recently, Calzedonia Group and Wise Equity Fund announced the signing of a binding contract for the acquisition of Cantiere del Pardo. The Calzedonia Group thus expands its activities in the field of Italian excellence. Fabio Planamente and Gigi Servidati will remain partners of the company, continuing the current development strategy based on quality, traditional values, service excellence and attention to sustainability challenges set out in the pleasure boating sector.
Cantiere del Pardo has a long and rich history indeed, but there is still much to be written, sailing in unchartered waters, constantly striving to achieve the excellence which has been its guiding light for 50 years and will continue to be so for decades to come.
Photos & video Cantiere del Pardo