Meaghan O'Neill -- Interior Design, 3/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
The slopes of Saint Moritz may seem an unlikely spot for matters nautical. Nevertheless, the Swiss ski resort is exactly where Wally Yachts president Luca Bassani ran into Laudomia Pucci, daughter of Emilio and image director of his namesake fashion house. "Laudomia told me that her father used to own a boat designed with his own prints," recalls Bassani.
That casual conversation was enough to spark the genesis of Wallyño, a 60-foot sloop that Bassani's yacht-design company owns, races, and charters. Pucci chic, meet sailing sleek.
The design of Wallyño, which means Little Wally, adheres to the company's luxury standard. She's wide, her deck is typically uncluttered, and she's fit for either leisurely cruising or competitive racing—a product of her hybrid provenance. Her basic shape derives from the Farr 60 Pilot House, a boat drafted by Farr Yacht Design and licensed by Wally Yachts to be customized. "Farr designs only for speed, but Wallyño also keeps creature comforts in mind," says Giacomo Lais, the Wally Yachts designer who managed technical aspects of modifying deck and interior.
Lais started by extending the aft overhang to add elegance. Equipping the dual helms with push-button mechanicals ensured that tacking and furling the sails would be a breeze. To guarantee that sailing operations wouldn't get in the way of cruising activities, such as sunbathing in a designated zone on the teak deck, he hid the hydraulic rams inside the coaming, which defines the deck's raised midsection, and placed the galvanized- aluminum winches forward of the guest cockpit.
The guest cockpit's U-shape seating area centers on a custom carbon-composite table that attaches to the deck with pins of stainless steel. "I redid the base several times to get it right," recalls former in-house interior designer Alessandra Negrato, who's since gone freelance. Eight can enjoy dining or cocktails here, lounging on custom cushions of closed-cell polyurethane foam, molded to the boat's dimensions. The cushions' terry slipcovers are printed in one of the project's handful of fanciful Pucci patterns, their colors determined in consultation with Laudomia Pucci. (For racing, the table is removed, the cushions left ashore.)
Speed issues made lightnesss of utmost importance, hence the hull constructed from 10 carbon-fiber layers sandwiching PVC foam. To decrease weight further, all built-in furniture and cabinetry below deck is honeycomb aramid composite, either lacquered or veneered in American cherry. And carbon-composite toilets weigh a mere 16 pounds.
As a visual complement to Wallyño's literal lightness, the designers employed pearly white acrylic paint, the same used on Formula 1 cars. Painted surfaces in the main salon—reached via a companionway made from translucent varnished carbon fiber—provide a neutral backdrop for Negrato's next Pucci explosion: the cotton print on the two L-shape banquettes.
Negrato chose polyurethane foam cushions for the banquettes and humidity-resistant Novolatex for the cabins' mattresses. The pair of identical guest cabins, located aft, each have two single beds, plus en suite heads and separate en suite washrooms.
In the bow, the master cabin enjoys ample sunshine via two portholes and a skylight, which doubles as the hatch. The double bed's platform, in lacquered carbon fiber, is integral to the hull, "declaring the boat's structure and maintaining a minimalist style," says Negrato. Walls paneled in ecru linen enhance the effect.
The yacht is clearly a beauty. But what about her vaunted racing abilities? Thanks in part to an added bowsprit with a 3,800-square-foot Pucci gennaker, she's guaranteed to achieve top speeds downwind. First-place trophies from Portofino, Italy, and Saint-Tropez, France, prove that Wallyño's much more than just a showboat.