The YATCO Yacht Builders Series – Part Five: Arcadia Yachts

Ugo Pellegrino is the Founder and CEO of Arcadia Yachts

Arcadia Yachts is an Italian shipyard based in Naples. The yard was started by a group of ecologically conscious yachting professionals who wanted to create vessels where owners and guests were at one with nature. The company constructs semi-custom luxury yachts built in composites from 60 – 116ft.  

Ugo Pellegrino is the Founder and CEO of Arcadia Yachts. 

Please tell us about your personal background, how long you have been at the company and what your role is. 

Although I am a sea enthusiast and the son of ship owners, my venture into boating did not stem from my passion. Before founding Arcadia Yachts, of which I am the sole administrator, I worked in a variety of industries. Then, in 2008, I decided to embark on this new adventure, in the midst of a financial crisis, thus taking great risks driven by a strong will to win an important challenge. 

In 2010, we created our first boat: a completely and decidedly new 85-footer, with an unprecedented design featuring many open spaces and green solutions on board, which were futuristic at that time. Most importantly, this model became a trailblazer for a new way of going to sea appealing to shipowners who like to enjoy the voyage in every moment, without searching for speed at any cost. The A85, that was the name of the boat previewed at the Düsseldorf Boat Show, was received with such amazement that it was dubbed “an alien” and it was sold on the first day of the boat show to a German customer, later imitated by owners in Hong Kong, Melbourne, Istanbul, Lima, Paris, London, Rabat, Beirut, and Santo Domingo.

This model kickstarted the Arcadia Yachts revolution: since then, our company has been growing steadily, emerging as an important benchmark in the industry and giving life to a new type of vessel. Arcadia Yachts has become a brand recognized and appreciated all over the world. Since 2010, we have realized about 50 yacht hulls with a total length of more than one kilometer, thanks to a production site of more than 47,000 square meters overlooking the sea and over a hundred professionals and craftsmen who create unique products where design, fine materials, furniture and furnishings, finishes and labor come together in an extraordinary synthesis of technology and vision inspired by the stunning scenery of the Sorrento coast.  

As far as my role is concerned, I am precisely the sole administrator.  

What is the ethos and/or mission of the shipyard? How would you say that sets you apart from others in the industry? 

As I said before, our company stands out from the rest in this industry. I believe that among the main points of our design philosophy is, above all, the pursuit of an approach that is as sustainable as possible. This idea is embraced by most brands today, it has almost become the fashion, but we were the first to introduce it.  

This approach is expressed through an extensive use of solar panels and windows that can be fully opened – encouraging both to enjoy the sea breeze, thus establishing a deeper relationship with nature, and to reduce the use of air conditioning – through the design of optimized semi-planing hulls, with moderate speeds that result in a significant decrease in consumption, and, finally, by using latest generation technologies aimed at containing energy consumption. Moreover, the layout of our boats, offering wide cockpits and open areas with a design that gives a sense of continuity between outdoor and indoor, is a constant invitation to bask in nature and to share moments of moments of relaxation and contemplation of the landscape with loved ones.

In conclusion, I have to mention the new concept of wellbeing related to our latest ambitious project, the A96, that will be presented at the next Cannes Yachting Festival: we are proud to say that we are about to introduce a new and innovative response to the need for holistic wellbeing, which has recently emerged more and more deeply in a large part of the population. 

Can you describe a ‘typical’ client? What are their priorities? 

Our clients are incredibly modern ship owners, they are attentive to technology and the environment, desire authentic contact with nature, and love sharing as well as solitary contemplation. Their desire is to travel without the rush to reach a destination but to enjoy every moment of sailing, the scents of the sea and its colors, and, at the same time, do sports or meditate, alone or in company. They are aware of the importance of comforts that only healthy living can give us. Initially, our ship owners came mainly from the Mediterranean, but today they come from the most diverse parts of the world.

To conclude, I think that another characteristic that many shipowners have in common is their love for beauty and an awareness of the importance of Made in Italy: as the brand name suggests, our ambition is to recreate all the best of Italian beauty in our products. In this we are assisted by the extraordinary location in which we are fortunate to work, not far from Capri, the Sorrento coast and Pompeii, symbolic places full of a charm that the whole world envies us. 

Are you seeing any emerging trends from owners that are influencing the design and use of yachts? 

I believe the main trend in our industry is exactly that typical of our yachts, the A96 in particular, that is to say the need for ongoing dialogue between indoor and outdoor, the desire to enjoy nature and to limit one’s impact on the environment. Other emerging trends are related to the use of hybrid propulsion and the choice of eco-friendly, or even recyclable, materials.

In terms of design, I think the future will lead us more and more towards soft, rounded lines and shapes, a décor characterized by understated and never ostentatious luxury, using materials that are, if possible, pleasant to the touch and natural, while layouts will increasingly feature versatile spaces as well as open and large environments. 

As a builder, what would you like to see change in the industry? 

I would love to see a synergy between the major shipyards, to work together towards progressively more sustainable yachting. I would like to see more investment in the training of competent and trained professionals in this field, covering all players in the industry, including crews, cooks and surveyors. 

What challenges do shipyards and builders face, and how have you overcome these? 

Shipyards and builders mainly have to face economic crises, and the best way to do this is to come up with innovative products that somehow stand out from the rest. At the same time, it’s important to never stop investing in research and development, to try and anticipate the demands and needs of ship owners around the world. I believe we have always been very conscious of these two aspects.  

The last global crisis, that is the pandemic, was experienced in a very peculiar, I would say paradoxical, way by the nautical world. After an initial moment of inevitable stalemate, our sector was in a sense boosted by the need for social distancing that emerged in the years that have strained the global industrial sector. 

Do you have any predictions for how the market will evolve in the next decade? 

I think the market will continue to grow and develop, welcoming suggestions from other sectors in terms of propulsion and design, especially from the automotive industry, as has been the case in the past. Secondly, it’s possible that, after a favorable period for the whole industry, there could be a phase of stagnation and only a few yards will “survive” with a more solid structure and really good products.

I also expect that the Italian boating industry will become more and more appreciated in the world, or at least I hope so.  

What is your favorite yacht and why? 

To quote poet Nâzım Hikmet who wrote, “The most beautiful sea: hasn’t been crossed yet. Our most beautiful days: we haven’t seen yet.”

I would say that my favorite yacht is the one that has yet to see the light of day, the A96, ready to revolutionize the industry, innovate and amaze, which has always been what I do best. 

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