The refined style and substance behind Baglietto's T52

Aboat is a boat. It's not a villa on the water; it's not a penthouse at sea, and it's certainly not a floating work of art. At least that's the mindset that the owner of Baglietto's first T52 model had when he came on to the project. This is somewhat surprising, since the yacht gives the impression of an elegant, slender townhouse. But behind the coffee-tinted timber and creamy upholstery, the T52 has eco-credentials and design tricks up its sleeve that prove it's more than just a pretty face.

The hybrid yacht officially premiered in a private ceremony in Portofino ahead of her Monaco debut. Italy was having uncharacteristically miserable weather and the Baglietto team had to herd guests through throngs of tourists wrapped up in raincoats, past coffee bars full of steam and shiny faces looking out hopefully, waiting for the weather to clear up. Theoretically, there couldn't be a worse day for viewing a yacht. In practice, we got to see just how the designers have played with space on board to create an all-weather boat.

The yacht is the latest instalment in a collaboration between Francesco Paszkowski Design and Baglietto that dates back to 1992, when the pair came together to create a 29-metre fast open yacht now named Oceanis. Yacht design has evolved significantly since then in terms of space, speed, better views and improved outdoor areas. For the T52, the designers have been careful to incorporate the latest must-haves, while skirting delicately around trend traps.

For example, the current craze for the wide-open beach club is present, but they've kept enough structure aft to maintain a balanced profile. The pool du jour on the aft deck is there, stretching 3.7 metres and holding around 4.5 cubic metres of water, but it doesn't have to be the focal point of the space because when the pool is drained the floor can be raised to become a part of the living area.

The designers also took environmental factors into consideration, noting that owners are increasingly conscious of the risks of sun exposure. "Just look at the open-air areas on most boats. They are located where they can be shaded," points out Francesco Paszkowski. Together with the yard, the designers worked to conceive a solution that would go beyond "awnings and fabrics". The result is an upper deck "pergola" with a solid roof and three glass sides that can be fully retracted to form an interior-exterior hybrid space. "We didn't want it to be like a main saloon, that is really an interior room," says Margherita Casprini, who worked in collaboration with Francesco Paszkowski Design on the interior. "We decided to propose a veranda feeling [without] losing the contact with the sea. I think it works."

She's certainly right if the numbers are anything to go by. The T52 had sold eight units well before its official debut. Granted, the T52 is a sensible evolution of the yard's existing T-line, but that's still eight owners who have signed on the dotted line for a never-before-seen 50-metre-plus. But the yard isn't feeling too much pressure, says Fabio Ermetto, Baglietto's CCO.

"The size represents the core business of Baglietto, the 'trend spot' of our production," he says. "It is also a market segment in which Baglietto has always excelled." The yard still describes itself as boutique – "an atelier, as we say in our communication," says Ermetto, "and this permits us to still have the client at the centre of our business and offer [them] a very high level of customisation."

Customisation for hull No 1 means a traditionally maritime feel. The owner is a repeat customer of both Baglietto and Francesco Paszkowski Design, so the yard and designers were au fait with the owner's lifestyle. "He really likes to have a boat instead of a 'floating home'," confirms Casprini. "He thinks the boat is meant to cruise, and cruising is what he wants to do. Being at sea is the priority for him." 

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