Profiles

M/Y Florentia: On Board with Capt. Andrea Franci

13 May 2021By Kate Lardy
Michele Chiroli

Written by

Kate Lardy

Based in Fort Lauderdale, freelance writer Kate Lardy got her start in the yachting industry working as crew. She spent five years cruising the Bahamas, Caribbean, New England, and Central America, then segued that experience into a career in marine journalism, which has included stints as editor of Dockwalk and ShowBoats International.

Capt. Andrea Franci shares his experience overseeing the custom build and the launch of Rossinavi's 52-meter M/Y Florentia.

For the owner, designing and building 52-meter Florentia was a chance to get it right this time. His previous yacht, a 40-meter fiberglass boat, was a “disaster,” as the captain describes it. “In five years, we spent a million euros refitting it, just to keep the boat working properly,” says Capt. Andrea Franci, who joined the boat as first mate in 2013 and was promoted to captain a year later.

Capt. Andrea Franci

Desiring a larger yacht, the owner started shopping around at some of the world’s most reputable yards in Holland, Germany, and Italy in 2015. He ended up with Rossinavi and Codecasa as his top choices for their balance of price and quality. Ultimately, Rossinavi won out for its ability to deliver a project that could meet the owner’s exact requirements. What he wanted, says Franci, was something that would stand the test of time, a classic exterior with modern lines, and an interior that didn’t need to be re-done every five years.

As this was to be a custom build, they started with tank testing. The full displacement hull designed by Arrabito Naval Architects delivered excellent results — “good speed with very low fuel consumption considering the yacht has huge volume of 810 gross tons,” says Franci.

The keel was laid in January 2018. From the moment the owner’s previous boat sold eight months later, Capt. Franci and his chief engineer, Angelo Maruccia, were at the yard daily overseeing the build, which has led to a more crew-friendly vessel. They were able to have input on every detail pertaining to operation, down to the placements of cleats and bollards. “Sometimes on a brand-new yacht, you have only the designer’s point of view; you don’t have the sailor’s point of view and then it’s complicated to work. Florentia is a boat you can work very easily,” Franci says.

“When you start the engines from the bridge, you cannot even feel it,” he says, adding that the handling is amazing; he describes it like driving on a rail — very stable and tough.

Following a close to three-year build, Florentia was delivered in December 2020. The owner got his wish: It’s hard to imagine this yacht going out of style any time soon. The Stefano Vafiadis-designed exterior has elegant balanced lines led by a traditional raked bow. Carlo Colombo of A++ conceived a warm, neutral interior refined in its use of eternally fashionable light woods, marbles, and leathers. Soft lines and curves that Colombo says were inspired by the shapes of nature and ocean waves make a peaceful, relaxing setting. An interesting departure from the typical tri-deck layout is the VIP suite on the top deck. It’s a true apartment with a lounge and separate stateroom that faces a private foredeck area. Aft of this is a large Jacuzzi, but most of the alfresco guest entertainment centers around the aft deck one level below.

Capt. Franci appreciates the space on board for his crew of 10 and storage. “We tried to optimize every single corner,” he says. He also loves how comfortable and quiet Florentia is underway. “When you start the engines from the bridge, you cannot even feel it,” he says, adding that the handling is amazing; he describes it like driving on a rail — very stable and tough.

Forsaking the winter season, already compromised by COVID, the owner decided to start the warranty period directly after delivery. At press time, Capt. Franci was preparing to finally set sail in his largest command yet. For him, a sailor since childhood and a skipper since he was 18, that’s the best part of the job — just being on the sea.

This article originally ran in the May 2021 issue of Dockwalk.

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