It can be considered absolutely natural for a company to build boats just a few steps from Lake Garda, precisely in Padenghe. It is unusual, though, that the same company builds yacht and crafts designed to sail the seas. Cantiere Zuanelli, skilled on the production of sailing boats with fiberglass hull, is a small and dynamic boatyard which collaborates with some of the most famous design companies in the world.
Founder of the company is Pietro Zuanelli, son of fishermen who, in 1972, decides to dedicate himself to his passion, sailing boats. At the beginning, the company was just involved in boathousing and small repair works, but Pietro, going on with hobby modeling, dreamt about realizing something that carried his sign and that, by that time, was just a prototype.
The first turning point came when the company started making fitting-outs, that are the internal finishes of the boats, with works destined to private customers. The beginning is very promising and the first contacts with sailing boats producers using the boatyard wood models as a prototypes are coming. In 1975, when the fiberglass sailing boats production company Alpa based in Offanengo had closed down, Cantiere Zuanelli took over its know-how and transfer it to Padenghe: together with the inventiveness and the ability to use raw materials, brings to life the “custom strategy”. The carpentry is built within the 1200 m2 warehouse and the fiberglass millwork department is opened, making it possible to build everything on site, while the design phase is entrusted to other companies.
In the first years of the Eighties the path of the company leads to the making of the first project, designed by “Sparkman & Stephens”, exclusively destined to the boatyard: a 12-meters ship, named Z40.
In 1986 Pietro gives way to the company’s administration to his offspring Mario and Francesca, who have helped them for a while, but remains at their disposal to support and help them. Then, the Italian market was quite slowed down and the competition came from Nordic countries and France: Northern Europe was producing high-end, high-quality expensive boats, while French, producing boats in assembly line, were able to cut the costs and offer in the meanwhile good quality products.
The boatyard was not able to guarantee an industrial production as the French one, so he chose to make fiberglass boats which represented the starting basis to begin the construction, because they were extremely customizable but very resistant.
Following this operating mode, Cantiere Zuanelli could cut the costs: the price is variable according to the needs of the customer and the product is really sound and capable of dealing with the most enduring sails. Moreover, thanks to this method, the boatyard made of the customization its distinctive banner.
Driven by the second generation, the boatyard had since then developed and raised, transferring the press room in another office of 400 m2, renewing the technologies and hiring highly qualified and young staff: we cannot forget to mention the workforce who, starting from a log of teak or cherry-wood, are able to create an object of art.
In these years the boatyard gave birth to Alain Jezequel’s FAX in 1991, tp 49 and 52 DH designed by Starkel in 1999 and 2005, all of these fully custom made, unusual feature for boats of such a small size.
For this reason the ship owner of a Zuanelli boat must be greatly keen about boats, a person who is willing to wait a few weeks or months more than other boatyards in order to get a boat perfectly fit to him: “with any kind of fitting-out, we guarantee the security of a careful construction, with quality finishes and able to better supply the need of the owner, though maintaining the classic lines which allow a safe and carefree sailing” [quote by Mario Zuanelli].
In addition to the production of typical Zuanelli cruise boats, the boatyard also engaged in the realization of prototypes of regatta boats using the most advance technologies at disposition in the years of the construction: pre-soaked epoxy bases applied in vacuum-seal with aramid fiber and oven-baked. The models made with this technique are: “Over”, produced by eng. Starkel (Trieste), which has achieved great results in different competitions, and “Tè Salt”, designed by architect Felci (Padenghe), a small cutting-edge boat which took part in “Minitransat”, a reason for the boatyard to be proud.
STRUCTURE, ORGANIZATION AND MATERIALS
The boatyard is in Padenghe, town in the province of Brescia on the Lake Garda.
It is made up of two warehouses of 1200 and 400 m2. In the first one there is the carpentry and the staging area where the boats are constructed. The second one is the department of millwork and painting where the hull is brought to life and then transferred to the other building for its completion.
Both the structures face a wide service area used to load/unload raw materials and boats. The active structure allows the construction of boats of a maximum weight of 35 tons.
Today, the organization of the boatyard is divided into workgroups coordinated by Mario Zuanelli who, thanks to his 30-years experience, makes sure that the project and the most different requests become real.
Resin and fiber manufacturing groupwhich takes care of the realization in fiberglass, of the painting, polishing and finishing of plastic parts and assembly works.
Carpentry groupwhich takes care of the realization and assembling of furnishings, teak deck, gunwale, millpond etc., with complete manufacturing starting from the manual ones to the use of CNC.
Equipment and machinery groupwhich takes care of the installation of the engine, the mast, the electrical machinery and of all the electronic equipment, to the most sophisticated customizations.
Assistance groupwhich takes care of the delivery of the boats, of the set up and quality control and of the requested interventions. Once the boat is finished, the boatyard keeps assisting the boat owners supplying direct assistance, with its own means, and indirect assistance, helping through a phone call the operator who takes the onsite intervention in charge.
External companiesMoreover, the boatyard takes advantage of external companies for what concerns the production of steel, wallpapers and masts.
The use of high-quality raw materials and the application of modern technologies, as the vacuum-sealed stratification, makes it possible for the boatyard to make well-performing and long-lasting boats.
For the stratification of the hull we use vinyl-ester resins which offer the best properties and the highest guarantees against osmosis. The hull doesn’t need counter-moulds: the bottom is protected by an external treatment with epoxy-based resin. The junction hull-deck provides for superimposition with gunwale and internal counter-fix.
The deck with the Siam teak-covered cockpit, 14 mm thick, has as standard equipment Harken parts. The internal finishes are realized in teak or other wood types according to the needs of the customer.
The wood is protected with four layers of transparent polyurethanic varnish. The bulkheads which makes contact with the hull are fixed through resining. The inside is designed in four different versions which can be mixed, giving the possibility of a complete customization.