Refit specialists at the Quaiat Yard in Trieste, Italy, are preparing to restore the historic passenger ship Ambriabella and convert her into an extraordinary motor yacht.
Built at the Felszegi Shipyards in Trieste and launched in 1962 with her sister ship Dionea, the 52 metre Ambriabella was intended to encourage tourism in the Gulf of Trieste. She cruised the ports of Trieste and Grado for decades, becoming an iconic vessel on the Adriatic northern coast. She was eventually sold to a Greek company and worked the Aegean islands until the dawn of the new millennium, when she disappeared from any route.
It took nine years of passionate research by Quaiat and its partners to find Ambriabella in Greece, 40km from Piraeus. Together with Meccano Engineering, which will be responsible for naval architecture and design, the yard intends to restore the yacht to her former glory, but convert her for use as a classic yacht – with the contemporary facilities that today’s owners require.
‘Ambriabella has really marked an era for the people of our region,’ says Marino Quaiat, general manager of Quaiat Yard. ‘The reasons to bring her back home to Trieste and for giving her new life and new lustre are various. The first is emotional, because the ship was built here in Trieste and represented the golden age of Italian design with her unique and elegant early-sixties lines. The second is because I – together with other Italian entrepreneurs operating in the industry – believe very much in the potential of this project, inspired also by the success of the twin ship Dionea, which is already sailing in all her splendour.’
In terms of basic repair work, the refit will involve replacing some bottom and side shell plates, and changing internal compartments while maintaining the present main bulkheads. As a nod to the modern yachting lifestyle, a moveable aft beach platform and a crane for tenders will be added.
Internally the vessel is at present a ‘complete void’ as Stefano Reggente, chairman of Meccano Engineering puts it, without any arrangement or fittings. As planned, the new Ambriabella will accommodate 12 guests in six large suites, as well as nine crewmembers.
There has been a special focus on propulsion, which has been planned to give a potential owner a very modern degree of choice. ‘Three alternative propulsion solutions are proposed,’ says Reggente. ‘Traditional diesel engines with a shaft line; diesel electric propulsion – excellent for a different navigation profile; and hybrid propulsion – an ecological solution.’
The yard estimates that the re-build and refit will be completed within two years.
‘It is a total re-building,’ says Quaiat, ‘and her owner will therefore have the chance and privilege to give her their personal touch and write her new history themselves.’
The Quaiat Yard will be presenting the Ambriabella project at the Monaco Yacht Show in September: Quai De L’Hirondelle, stand QN28.