*Boat International contributor Dag Pike gives us a look at the just-launched Tagliapietra 11.5 metre Royale Limousine tender, which is plying the waters of Venice, Italy.
If you are staying at the brand new Aman resort hotel in Venice you can be transported to and fro in what is arguably one of the most beautiful water taxis ever built. Located on the Grand Canal the Aman Resort has be converted from one of the ancient Venetian palaces that has been fully restored to its original glory combined with hotel facilities of the highest standard. Venice is renowned for is classic water taxis, but this new design has been based of the design of an historic royal barge that is now on display in the Venice Maritime Museum.
Called Royale, this new water taxi is more a limousine than a water taxi and has been built by the Tagliapietra Boatworks of Venice, which has built many famous wooden boats in the past including one for transporting the Pope on his visit to Venice. The Royale Limousine tender is 11.5 metres in length and has been constructed entirely in wood to a design that is different to the normal water taxis in Venice. It is claimed to be the only boat in Venice with a triple cockpit layout, one at the helm, one amidships where guests can sit outside in the open and one aft.
The central cabin offers air-conditioned luxury to the guests and it can be heated for winter operations. It is equipped with a bar counter and a hot towel caddy and guests are seated either on a settee along the starboard side or two armchairs to port. Large windows allow a clear view of the passing scenery.
Construction is entirely in mahogany with the hull constructed with double planking in cold-moulded fashion. The finished hull and superstructure have been finished with 14 coats of varnish and this is combined with tailor made fittings and fixtures that replicate the originals. The beam is 2.6 metres and the craft operates with a minimal draft. Underwater lighting gives the Royale an ethereal look at night.
Power comes from Volvo Penta 260 hp diesel that is coupled to a Volvo Penta Duoprop stern drive. This gives a top speed of 35 knots. The Royale is certified to operate in category C under EC rules and a stability test was performed by Lloyds Register.
The Tagliapietra yard is currently building a 10 metre launch in wood powered by two engines that will act as a tender to the Italian navy tall ship the Amerigo Vespucci.