This year, CRN celebrates its 50th birthday, a yacht building history that began with the nine metre steel and aluminium Galatea, and has culminated this year in the stunning 80-metre Chopi Chopi and the 46-metre Lady Genyr.
The yard was founded in Ancona in 1963 by entrepreneur Sanzio Nicolini as Costruzioni e Riparazioni Navali, building yachts in an old warehouse in steel – a radical choice of material in those days. From the very beginning, the yard established itself at the upper end of the market, addressing a selective and demanding clientele. When Nicolini met Carlo Riva, founder of the legendary Sarnico shipyard, a fruitful relationship began, lasting from 1970 until 1978. During this time CRN built eight boats for Riva (one of which became the personal yacht of Carlo Riva).
By the end of the 1970s, CRN was producing three 28 to 40-metre superyachts per year. Key examples were Bagheera (38 metres in 1973), Gazella (31 metres in 1974), Moneikos (35 metres in 1976), Caribe III (35 metres in 1979) and Santa Cruz Tres (36 metres in 1979). In addition, in 1978 CRN made its first 45-metre-plus yacht: Fath Al Khair, a 47.2 metre built for the Emir of Qatar, Al-Thani.
In the 1980s, CRN was offering the kind of personalised service that the new breed of superyacht owner demanded, with a service that lasted from before signing the contract to after delivery. A key figure in this stage of CRN’s development is George Nicholson, founder of Camper & Nicholson in 1961. The visionary Nicholson served as an unofficial ambassador for CRN, encouraging many clients to approach the shipyard because of his endorsement.
A key moment for the yard came in 1983 when Gianni Agnelli, head of Fiat, ordered the 32.9-metre F100. With naval architecture by Gerhard Gilgenast – she’s designed for long journeys in any kind of weather, breaking ground for the new pursuit of explorer yachting. A helicopter could land on the lower deck, and it was the first time that this option was placed on a yacht of this length.
Giandomenico Palmerini, and entrepreneur from Rome, had became the yard’s major stakeholder and had started building the new shipyard (the present one), and restructuring the company, so that it aimed more decisively at the North American market. This lead to the building of the 47-metre Azzurra from 1988 for US owner Edward Sacks, The interiors were created by Paola Smith, a leading name in the United States for interior design, and the yacht chartered for a staggering $100,000ow.
In 1999, CRN was purchased by the Ferretti Group, which was among the international leaders in motor yacht designing, building and marketing, with a unique portfolio of exclusive brands in the nautical world including Ferretti Yachts, Riva, Itama, Mochi Craft, Bertram Yacht, Pershing and Custom Line. The first step of this new phase of CRN was the Magnifica, a 43-metre designed by Nuvolari & Lenard and launched in 2001. In the same year CRN and Custom Line merged, making of Ancona the centre of megayacht buildiing within the Ferretti Group.
After purchasing the adjacent Mario Morini shipyard in 2002, CRN now had the capacity to build 15 superyachts at the same time. The collaboration with Studio Zuccon International Project started at this time, with the 54-metre Ability in 2006, the 60-metre Givi following in 2007, and then Maraya (54 metres in 2007), Romance (57 metres in 2008), Tacanuyaso MS (60 meters in 2008), Blue Eyes (60 metres in 2009), and Mimtee (60 metres in 2010). After 2005, CRN expanded its portfolio to include composite yachts – the successful Navetta lines.
In January 2012, the Ferretti Group was acquired by SHIG-Gruppo Weichai. Lamberto Tacoli was confirmed chairman and was appointed CEO of the shipyard. Among CRN’s most recent launches are the 60-metre J’Ade and the Navetta 43 Lady Genyr as well as the magnificent 80-metre Chopi Chopi. With another six yachts in build and a host of innovations on the drawing board, there are plenty more decades of innovation to come.