Design | Vripack and Gamma Yachts together
Gamma 20, italian style
A Dutch-born Italian? “Yes. There’s a great Dutch tradition of building yachts that in terms of their philosophy are ideally suited to ocean voyages, but which are very Italian in terms of taste, and not just aesthetically either”: Guido Bonandrini is referring, of course, to the Gamma 20, the 22.1-metre navetta and soon-to-be star of the 50th Genoa International Boat Show. Bonandrini himself has been involved with boats for the last 30 years, initially as a powerboat driver (he was world champion in the 850 class in 1991 and competed in F3 between 1992 and 1995). Then, as an importer of Dutch yachts into Italy before founding Gamma Yachts International in 2004. “Until relatively recently it was all about performance, but now mid-range owners are achieving a level of awareness that’s leading them to make very different choices,” Bonandrini points out. “People want space aboard. They want relaxed cruising that’s reliable and safe with low fuel consumption and environmental impact. The semi-planing motoryacht is the answer to those prayers. Steel-built obviously.”
It was that very material, combined with his previous collaborations with Dutch yards, that led Bondandrini to go to Holland: “In Italy, we tend to use steel for over-30-metre hulls but in Holland it’s quite normal to use it, and to a very high standard, for smaller craft. Most of all though, I made this choice because I wanted to offer my clients uncompromising quality.” That quality has its roots in Gamma’s working partnership with Vripack, a studio whose work spans the entire spectrum from 6-metre motor launches to cargo ships and even megayachts (think the 60-metre Trinity Yachts Bacarella). “We wanted a full-design service. And we got that with Vripack – they did the exterior design, the naval engineering, the plant and the interior design in collaboration with our own staff.”
The 60-strong Dutch workforce honed every aspect of the project. Significantly, Vripack also applied its patented Smart Kit construction method to the steel hull and aluminium superstructure. This reduces assembly time drastically (a little over eight months from first cut to launch) which translates into significant savings for owners who can have a full-optional Gamma 20 for under 2 million euro.
With two decks plus a fly bridge and an LOA practically the same as its waterline length, the Gamma 20 is an environmentally-sound yacht. Because of its shallow displacement, it doesn’t need a big engine set-up (twin 650 hp Yanmars are provided as standard) and is far from thirsty (around 30 litres an hour at 12 knots with a 1,270-mile range and an 18-knot top speed). The engines are in two different compartments too for added safety. These features put the Gamma 20 well on the way to Green Yacht Plus certification. Construction and technical features aside, the Gamma 20’s slightly retro exterior and interior styling holds a few other pleasant surprises too. “We tried to create a yacht that people would like at first sight,” Bonandrini explains. Hence the high bow and a 5.85-metre beam that guarantees generous volumes. The superstructure too looks light on its feet and the windows wrap right around. The fly, which has a steering console, dinette and sun pad, extends out to cover the cockpit too. That means lots of al fresco deck space. The interiors are roomy with a big open plan saloon on the main deck.“I don’t think there’s any other yacht of these dimensions with that much undivided living space and so much light. The conversation area is starboard, the dining area to port with the galley to starboard.
Last of all comes the bridge. While the main deck is pretty classic, there are plenty of surprises below. The first is the owner’s stateroom, which has an en suite bathroom complete with shower/sauna box, and is situated aft of the engines. This solution not only meant that a large master cabin could be fitted in but also, amidships, a service cabin and head flanking the two guest cabins (a double and a twin), both also en suite. Actually the Gamma 20’s Italian roots do show in the bathroom. “We wanted to offer a boat that wasn’t just well built to the finest standards but one that really did epitomise quality Italian design, so we did a lot of research into materials which we drew from outside the nautical arena as well as inside. As a result, the bathrooms feature Bisazza mosaic tiling, there are Artemide lamps, Rubelli fabrics, and upholstery and trim by Penelope Oggi. The structural panels can be replaced too so you can redecorate in a classic vein for a new owner and basically have a refit at a very reasonable cost.” And so the Gamma 20 navetta may have been born in Holland but it’s very much an Italian boat in terms of its styling and the innovations, small and large, that really do make all the difference.