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Carlo Borlenghi

The story behind the interchangeable design for the ClubSwan 80 yacht My Song

26 January 2023 • Written by Laura Nicholls

It took three years to create the 24.7-metre My Song. She follows in the footsteps of the line of five other yachts named My Song owned by well-known yachting enthusiast, Pier Luigi Loro Piana. Not only did she have to be worthy of the My Song name, but had to push the boundaries for what’s possible in sailing yacht design. As a result, My Song won awards for both Best Naval Architecture and Best Interior Design in the sailing yacht categories at the 2023 BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards.

Carlo Borlenghi

She was launched on 23 June 2022 as the first ClubSwan 80 racer yacht from the Finnish shipyard, Nautor Swan and built by strategic partner Persico Marine. The ClubSwan 80 was designed and built by a team that included Juan K Yacht Design and CFD development, Persico Marine, Nauta Design, Pure Engineering, Scott Ferguson, Southern Spars, North Sails and project manager Vittorio Volontè. 

Now that My Song has spent six months at sea, we hear from Nauta to discover her most outstanding features, and how the design has made her one of the most advanced yachts out there.

Carlo Borlenghi

Dual design

Several months were spent at the start of the project pondering different options for the hull and appendages of the boat. Foils and fixed keels were quickly discarded in favour of the canting keel and rotating canard because the combination provided the best balance of performance and usability. My Song also features twin rudders and a retractable bowsprit.

This formula is what Nauta Design felt fulfilled the owner’s brief for a thoroughbred one-design racer with a “second character” as a daysailer and a super sporty cruiser. “The priority was speed, performance and fun, but the owner always likes to be able to use the yacht for a cruise with the family or with friends as well,” explains Pedol. “He wanted to have good performance upwind as well as downwind – a rocket in both directions. After all, in the first round, the upwind mark has the advantage.”

Removeable interior

As one of the most impressive elements of her design, the interior of My Song can be removed when necessary. The yacht’s beds, seating, oven, toilet and air conditioning unit can all be removed and taken ashore to lighten the boat for racing. Other furniture has been built in a mixture of foam-cored carbon fibre and flax fibre composite, ensuring that two people can transform the boat from racing to cruising mode in just two days. The wardrobes were designed as lightweight mesh fabric bags that hang from bars built into the side of the boat, and can also be quickly removed.

Carlo Borlenghi

The bench seats in the main saloon are one of the only elements permanently built into the interior and serve a structural purpose and double as watch berths when racing offshore. The king-size bed in the master cabin can be split in two and rearranged to create a twin cabin. All of the beds on board, including those in the aft cabins, can be quickly unfastened and removed.

The choice of lighting was a major part of the design. A range of spotlights and 100 metres worth of LED strings mostly concealed inside the removable furnishings added just 4.5kg to the weight of the boat. “Being a black hull, we’ve really played with three separate levels of lighting, starting with those needed just for racing, with discrete red lighting for night racing,” says Martino Majno, sales and project manager. “For cruising, there are longitudinal indirect rope lights. We also played with functional and architectural lighting on some specific areas.”

Carlo Borlenghi

“Thanks to [her owner] Pigi’s inputs, we turned technology into elegance, and inside she is all carbon,” says Pedol. “We worked in the base comforts for permitting cruising use of the boat: fridge, galley, some sort of aircon and showers. Mahogany veneer highlights are one of the owner’s signatures and are used sparingly around spotlights and in strips throughout the accommodation to provide a touch of elegance, and a welcome gleam that contrasts with the carbon fibre.”

Carlo Borlenghi

Racing success

To date, My Song has participated in both the Rolex Swan Cup and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, and won podium places in each. The yacht raced with an all-Italian crew of 18 and was said to look every inch a racer. “Despite the very little experience of the yacht, the crew took first and third place on different days of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup,” reports Pedol, who was also racing on board. “You don’t expect a brand-new boat with a newbie race crew to put in a podium finish on their first competitive outing,” he adds.

Her performance the following week in the Rolex Swan Cup was perhaps even more remarkable. In a seven-strong fleet that ran up to 115ft LOA, My Song scored three second-place finishes in four races and had she been 33 seconds quicker on day three, she would have taken second place overall. As it was, she settled for an electrifyingly close third.

It is the best possible start for the ClubSwan 80, which showed to be a game changer: she competed with extraordinary opponents and was competitive in handicap despite the canting keel/canard configuration.

Carlo Borlenghi

Experienced owner

The collaboration between the Italian design firm and builder Nautor Swan was an industry first, whereas Nauta Design and My Song’s owner have been working together for over 35 years. “It has been a real four-way project with our great friend and client. Since 1986 and our first My Song design, we have shared the love for both racing and enjoying life at sea,” says Mario Pedol of Nauta Design.

Giuliano Sargentini

Her owner, an experienced maxi sailor, is thrilled with the outcome. “This boat has been a labour of love played out over three years. Not a day has gone by when I haven’t intervened in the project directly. Just to step aboard this beautiful yacht now is a delight, but to make two podium finishes in our first regatta shows there is exceptional potential here,” says Pier Luigi Loro Piana, who also owns the 51-metre refitted superyacht Masquenada.

Carlo Borlenghi