“To help relaunch a passion for sailing, we need new and innovative products”: our interview with Luca Bassani, founder of Wally
Luca Bassani, founder of the iconic brand, Wally, talks about the future of boating and ever new challenges
To help relaunch a passion for sailing, we need new and innovative products. The founder of Wally, Luca Bassani, is convinced of this, and spoke about it during our interview, alongside talks about the future of the brand and boating in general, a world that is continually evolving and will have to redevelop itself in order to face the challenges brought on by the Coronavirus.
After having revolutionised, in the 90s, the classic paradigm of sailing, by developing for the first time vessels in carbon fibre with unique performance, the founder of Wally has much more to come.
LN – What should we expect from the future and what implications has your partnership with Ferretti Group had?
LB – Our acquisition by this well-known group has been vital to continue the vision that they had for their brand. A very active and niche market like the current one requires a lot of investment in order to develop new products and get into new sectors, and all of this will be possible thanks to Ferretti and their shipyards, while, however, keeping the Wally DNA, based on innovation and an outlook for the future. I have kept my design team leading the design department.
LN – Although the artistry will not change over the years, in this moment in history, the Coronavirus emergency places both shipyards and owners with new challenges. How will you deal with this situation?
LB – If, seasonally, we will have outbreaks we will have to adapt, us and the boating industry in general, to reinventing the layout on board. We don’t yet know what is going to happen, but know that it will take time. We will have to see what happens this autumn in order to make a plan. Certainly designing a yacht that reflects certain safety standards would be an all out effort.
LN – Aren’t you a bit wary when the current market is currently filled with motor boats? Wally was founded as an iconic brand for sailing. How can you help boat owners go back to sailing, while still offering them a top of the line product?
LB – You have to help people rediscover a passion for sailing, so for actual sailing rather than floating at anchor. Thinking about new contemporary culture, in addition, we will have to work more on performance, ease of manoeuvrability, comfort during sailing and making it easy to learn for those without experience. Not to mention sustainability which will sooner or later become more real than just philosophical talk.
Wally was founded in a different market, smaller, and where the proportion between sail and motor boats was not as marked. Now the boating industry is 95% filled with motor boats and the causes are mainly two: the comfort of having an engine and the price/performance ratio. With a lot less money you can have more space and rooms. Sailing at this moment is practically zero over a certain size. We have to offer something new that makes it attractive again.
From when we started, we have made 50 sail boats and 150 motor boats. Sailing is in a low and we have to find a way to push it back up with a new product. We need to relaunch by showing that sailing is a fun game, regenerating the passion for it.
LN – And what will be the future of the Genoa Boat Show?
LB – I think that all boat shows will change compared to the past, becoming more sector specific so as to attract more interested clients over those who are just curious to look but not to buy. We have to think that while those that are curious are good for the organisers of the show, for the exhibitors instead, they are often a waste of time and a distraction from real clients. Genoa has always been an event for the curious over the real clients and will need to decide what it wants to be in the future.
LN – And do you already have a big project in mind?
LB – At the première in Monaco we presented our new Tender 43’ and the Tender 48’ with outboard engine. Over the next few months we will announce new and important designs which are already under construction, but for now are still secret.
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