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Credit: Baglietto

How this Italian shipyard created a new category of explorer yacht

18 June 2024 • Written by Hannah Rankine for Baglietto

“The ‘X’ in X50 does not stand for ‘explorer’ but rather ‘experience’,” says Baglietto's CCO Fabio Ermetto on the shipyard’s first model in its new XO series. The explorer yacht sector is rapidly growing, with a record number of projects listed in BOAT International’s 2024 Global Order Book. Recognising a gap in this evolving market, the Italian builder launched its first 49.9-metre explorer yacht, where the guest experience is at the forefront of Francesco Paszkowski’s design. BOAT’s Hannah Rankine sits down with Ermetto to find out more…

Credit: Baglietto

Why did you decide to enter the explorer yacht market?

When it comes to the X50's concept, it is more than just an explorer; we call it an 'observer.' While most explorer yachts are designed around the experience of travelling the world, we noticed that many, particularly in the 50-metre, sub-500GT range, lack proper views of the surroundings. Travellers to destinations like Alaska and the Maldives often find themselves in the main saloon with limited views through the aft end of the boat. Thinking outside the box, we developed a concept that offers all the facilities you'd expect on an explorer yacht - tenders, storage, fuel, and ice class - while you can also enjoy the view in any climate or condition.

What inspired the design?

We wanted to create something that combines the adventure and experience of world travel with the luxury and comfort of a high-spec yacht. I often compare it to the Orient Express, where you can travel by train - a traditional mode of transport - in style and luxury whilst experiencing the journey. A long time ago in Italy, there was a train called the Settebello, which featured a first-class capsule on top, offering passengers panoramic views. This vision inspired the creation of our XO series.

Credit: Baglietto

What are your favourite features on board?

At the top of the boat, you'll find what we refer to as the “capsule”, which comprises two decks. The wheelhouse is located below, while the observation deck sits above. This is the reason we call it an 'observer.' The observation deck features extensive glass all around, including on the ceiling. Picture yourself travelling to Thailand or Australia, or entering a fjord enjoying panoramic views from an enclosed deck while relaxing on sofas and spending time with family.

The observation lounge also features large screens connected to an onboard drone. The idea is you can fly the drone one or two miles ahead of the yacht, offering a different view of your surroundings and making the experience more interactive. The sundeck above serves as an exterior observation lounge, designed to provide a cozy space to enjoy the views in good weather.

The main deck aft is a flexible area. Typically used for storing tenders and water toys, this area allows the tender to be launched quickly, with ample storage space underneath for freestanding furniture. This design enables the space to transition quickly from a technical area to a lounge area with a Bimini so that guests can be close to the water.

Credit: Baglietto

Why did you decide to work with Francesco Paszkowski on this project?

Francesco Paszkowski has been working with Baglietto for 30 years, designing the exteriors for many of our projects. Some of Baglietto's most iconic yachts are his creations. But he is also the kind of designer who is not afraid of doing something different, so he shared our vision of creating something unique in the explorer market. Our aim was to design a yacht that is unmistakably a Baglietto, distinct from those that could be built by any other shipyard. While many shipyards build quality boats, they often lack a distinctive identity. At Baglietto, we always try to give our models a strong and unique character.

What are the ways in which the owner can customise the yacht to their preferences?

The entire aft area of the main deck has been designed for versatility, serving as a gym, storage for tenders and toys or housing extra fridges and freezers. Our semi-custom boats are more or less full custom because we can accommodate clients’ requests not only in design but also in layout. The yacht’s design allows for easy modifications, such as a touch-and-go helideck on the top deck or incorporating a sauna into the layout.

Credit: Baglietto

Was there a specific reason why you chose 50 metres as the length?

In our design process, we looked at the market and noticed that many explorer yachts of this size offer very limited guest space. There is significant demand in the 499GT market, and Baglietto is renowned for creating some of the largest yachts in this category. Our goal is to apply this expertise to the explorer yacht market, producing the largest explorer yacht under 499GT. Remarkably, the X50 accommodates three tenders without compromising onboard space, a rare feature for a sub-500GT vessel.

We are also considering building a larger version in the 55- to 60-meter range, which would offer entirely different onboard spaces and features.

What are some of the environmental initiatives on board?

We have included solar panels in the honeycomb design on top of the X50, which is part of the shipyard’s wider Bzero hydrogen project that we launched last year. With 80 per cent of our clients interested in hybrid propulsion, we now offer all of our boats with a hybrid option and we were the first shipyard to build a Lloyd’s-certified hybrid boat. We are also starting the first hydrogen plant at our shipyard to generate electricity out of seawater. The X50 can be offered with a hybrid package because the boat and engine room have been designed to accommodate this without any major modifications.

To find out more information about Baglietto’s X50 superyacht, contact the team today.