The first superyacht by a busy commercial yard, Emocean is creating a positive buzz. Risa Merl stepped aboard the 2022 BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards finalist during the debutante’s first public appearance in Cannes...
When the market for oil and gas vessels faltered in 2016, commercial builder Rosetti Marino Group decided to expand into a different market, and Rosetti Superyachts was born. The Italian shipyard aimed its experience in shipbuilding to create custom, reliable yachts. Its first offering, the 37.83-metre modern explorer yacht Emocean, was revealed at the 2021 Cannes Yachting Festival.
“The commercial yachts Rosetti built before had to work twenty-four-seven. They couldn’t fail,” says Rosetti Superyachts’ sales and marketing director Andrea Giora, who previously worked for Ferretti Group’s Custom Line. “It was a downgrade in capabilities when it came to building a yacht.” The yard, based in Ravenna, was already competent in building in steel – the learning curve came in designing to superyacht-level aesthetics.
Cue Sergio Cutolo of Hydro Tec naval architects. He was among the experts that Rosetti tapped for guidance on breaking into the superyacht market. Not only did he share his idea, but he brought the burgeoning superyacht builder its first client. Cutolo was in discussions with Rosetti on another project when Emocean’s owner came along. “We met the owner and it all happened very quickly,” Cutolo says.
Emocean has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 2022 BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards, held as part of the Superyacht Design Festival from June 22-24 in Milan. Tickets are still available for purchase here.
Emocean’s owner previously had a 25-metre yacht built in GRP. “He wanted something more robust, with great autonomy,” Giora says. “The owner prefers to stay out of port as much as possible.” At first, he considered building an even larger yacht, but opted for 38 metres, with a gross tonnage under 500GT. Emocean has a volume of 410GT and ekes out every space possible for hidden storage, conducive to its planned use for long-range cruising. Although the shipyard was new to superyachts, the owner was attracted by Rosetti’s experience in building sturdy ships and its financial stability. There would be no having to bail out a floundering shipyard.
“The owner wanted an explorer yacht in terms of functionality, but not style,” Cutolo says. “This is the new way – a stylish vessel that’s also a true explorer yacht.”
Cutolo likens the evolution of the explorer yacht to that of four-wheel drive cars. “If you wanted to go off-roading 20 years ago, you had only the Jeep Wrangler or the Land Rover Defender. Now you have Range Rover, Mercedes, you name it – you have the ability for off-roading with a luxurious environment. It’s the same idea with yachts. Now you can have capability along with luxury.”
In this vein, the brief was for a boat that didn’t scream “expedition yacht”. The owners requested a timeless and classic exterior design with large windows. “When people explore, they want to feel as if they are part of the scenery,” Cutolo says. “In the past, explorer yachts had smaller windows because that was safer, but now you can make big glass with structural integrity.”
Emocean’s owners wanted the yacht to be as transparent as possible. “When you move through the boat, you should never lose eye contact with the sea,” Cutolo says. This theme of transparency is seen not just in the yacht’s expanse of windows on the main and upper decks, but in the interior with the use of smoked mirrors, skylights and glass flooring. Mirrors reflect the views outside, bringing the movement of the sea itself on board. “Like her name suggests, this creates a strong emotion – you feel you are truly at sea,” he says.
The interior design came from Burdissocapponi Yachts & Design, co-founded by Francesca Burdisso and Emiliano Capponi. The duo worked in-house for the Ferretti Group for years before setting up their own shop in Ravenna, coincidentally where Rosetti is based. “It began with the idea of a skylight,” says Burdisso of Emocean’s interior, echoing the brief for transparency. Panes of glass on each deck are aligned to bring a shaft of light from the sundeck down to the lower deck lobby. On the upper deck, this concept is expanded into an entire section of flooring made of glass – an utter thrill to walk over – with views opening to the main deck below.
Often yachts have a separate team for the exterior design and naval architecture, but Hydro Tec did the exterior as well as the layout, engineering and hull design for Emocean. “When you do the complete package, you don’t have to negotiate with designers as to the technical aspects of the boat, like where to place vents etc,” Cutolo says. This bears out in the placement of the ventilation trunks, which are centrally located on the main deck rather than at the aft of the main saloon.
“Sergio and the owner decided to put the trunks in this position, and at first the yard was concerned,” Burdisso says. “But from an architectural perspective, this was a more interesting design choice than a typical open-plan saloon.”
Entering the main deck, guests are greeted by a pair of Moroso Gogan L-shaped sofas forward of the ventilation trunks, which then narrow off the beam, creating a transitional area between the main deck lobby and the dining room. It is here in the narrower bit that an impressive wine cellar takes over the starboard wall, and a mirrored ceiling makes it look as though the bottles of wine are stacked infinitely. The dining room itself is a grand space for entertaining with a dining table with a carved base in black wood seating 10. Sliding glass doors to port and starboard open up to the side decks, and minimal railings preserve the view of the sea. The owner requested that the main staircase be a visible part of the dining room rather than closed off in a foyer. The stairwell is framed in glass, and the beige resin stairs appear to be floating.
The interior motif is elegant and simple, with neutral colours and loose furnishings. Materials and colours are used sparingly – a clay-coloured oak is on the walls while a darker smoked oak highlights features such as the wine cellar. Lacquers in two different tones of beige, one matt and one gloss, were chosen to play off one another and create a feeling of movement.
“The focus is placed on the space itself rather than the richness of the materials,” Burdisso says. “The result is very modern – simple but not boring.” Parquet wood floors by Parietal Fuoco Lipari are found on all three decks. The owners are vegan, so there is no leather used on board, and the eco-friendly rugs by Eco Contract are made with Econyl, a fibre obtained by recycling plastic.
The owner wanted a practical layout, which translated to no superfluous dining spaces – the only other dining area is on the sundeck – and rooms that suit his lifestyle on board. While the main deck is designed for entertaining, the upper deck is intended for relaxing. As such, the cosy upper deck saloon has a deep sofa directly facing a giant television screen to port, alongside a bar. The aft upper deck has loose furnishings that can be moved to host the tender. A crane is set far aft so that it can lift the tender onto either the swim platform for short journeys or onto the upper deck for long passages. “The crane also doubles as a bar,” says Cutolo, of the wide, flat top of the crane, which has indeed been used to serve drinks.
The owners worked closely with the design team, and some of the custom furnishings on board, such as the sundeck dining table, were designed in collaboration with the owner’s wife. The sundeck can be entirely closed and has built-in heaters for cold days and a misting system for hot days. Forward on the sundeck is a custom-made spa tub with a waterfall feature. The tub is notable for its double-paned glass sides; water that might splash out of the tub instead goes in between the panes of glass, rather than spilling onto the deck. The 5,000 litres of water in the tub can be pumped to a back-up tank on the lower deck, which keeps it sanitised and stored at the same temperature. It can be refilled in 30 minutes.
Autonomy was a goal of the owner from the outset, but this aim became even more pertinent during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The boat is really central to their life… they wanted it to be like an island,” Cutolo says. This goal doesn’t just refer to how long Emocean can stay away from shore, but also in how the owner lives on board. As one example, a starboard fixed balcony was selected in the master suite so he can use it whenever he likes without bothering the crew to set up a retractable balcony. “This type of balcony was part of the brief,” Giora says. “He likes to be able to enjoy the fresh air without needing the crew’s help.” The master cabin is also divided in an unusual way. A sliding pocket door set flush against the right side of the bed can entirely close off the starboard side of the room, giving access to the balcony, his portion of the his-and-hers en suite and the adjacent office so that he can use these areas early in the morning without disturbing his wife.
While Emocean’s explorer attributes might not be obvious from her exterior lines, the hull tells a different story. Cutolo designed a round bilge hull with a bulbous bow. The hull flattens towards the aft to accommodate the big props and rudders, and a skeg for course stability. “The rudders can be manoeuvred independently, which negated the need for a stern thruster,” Cutolo says. “It’s also good duplication in case one rudder fails.”
The engine room has high ceilings, and there is a crouching-height tunnel from the engine room to the crew area that gives access to tanks for maintenance work. “This mezzanine tunnel also has extra storage space, and it allows the crew another way to access the engine room in case of an emergency,” Giora says.
It’s not every day that a new builder hits a home run with its first launch, but that is what Rosetti seems to have accomplished. “The feedback is that this doesn’t seem like a ‘first boat’,” Giora says. A testament to the success of its first build, Rosetti sold hull No 2 during Emocean’s debut at the Cannes show. The second yacht will be going to a South American owner and is based on the same technical platform but will be 40 metres in length with a slightly different stern and a custom interior layout and design.
Emocean will be used privately by the owners and is also offered for charter as she travels the world. She is going to the Caribbean for the 2021/2022 winter season and already has many weeks booked for charter. The owner was ecstatic to see Emocean at her launch, Giora says. “It was the best reaction I ever recalled at a launch. The owners began dreaming about the project five years ago, so it was a thrilling moment, and they can’t wait finally to use her.”