venerdì 22 dicembre 2017

Enrico Zaccagni “Zacboats”, the classic yachts’ man

Sailor, sailing instructor, divulger, lecturer, traveller, former president of the association Vele Storiche Viareggio, presently commodore and most of all counsellor for classic yachts. Since the end of 1990s the Florentine Enrico, ‘Chicco’, Zaccagni was involved in the restoration of countless important hulls that have made the history of yachting such as Alzavola, the 1924 ketch that belonged to Enrico’s family, Magda XIII, Delfino, Kipawa, Orianda, the Officine Panerai’s Eilean, Marga  and Ganbare, the  One Tonner countless time victorious. Everything begins at the age of nineteen , when...

From Florence to Caribe

Mr Zaccagni, Enrico in formal occasions, is known in the yachting world admiring his experience and competence, by the appellative of ‘Chicco’.  The Florentine class 1951, first of five, at the young age of nineteen takes the charge and responsibility of Alzavola, a 21 meters 1924 ketch, built in England out of the finest Burmese teak planking.  At the age of 27, only few exams far from graduation, he decides to abandon his studies of Naval Engineering to  found the Centro Nautico Italiano of which he will be Secretary General until 1984. Furthermore he becomes member of the Italian  Skipper International Association since its very foundation. At 30 he sets sail for Taiwan where, on behalf of the Clipper Club society, he curates the fitting out of four Eastern Vagabond, a little series of 12,80 to 14,20 meters length yachts designed and realized for long cruises.  In 1984, after taking over the ownership of Alzavola from his family, Enrico fully dedicates himself to charter. The following year he successfully obtains the naval licence for pleasure yachts. This will be the beginning of twenty years of endless back and forth sailing from the Mediterranean to the Caribe. He works in collaboration with naval agencies and touristic associations such as the Gian Marco Borea d’Olmo’s Venturieri, shipyards and other operators of the field, he learns English, French, Spanish and  studies meteorology with a particular focus on tropical meteorology.

Sea tripper

In between the 80s and the 90s Chicco Zaccagni races in many ocean races on board of classic  and modern yachts so as to became well-know  in the world of  ocean racing and yachting clubs. He trains pleasure yachts’ sailors and commanders that, thanks to his experience, learn to work aboard and to interact with clients. From 1993 until 1999 he writes and broadcasts daily a weather forecast for the Caribbean Sea in Italian, French and Spanish. The latter will became known to sailors as the best meteorological reference for this basin. On top of that, between 1995 and 1998 he will provide meteorological forecasts for a fleet of more then 20 yachts sailing every year through the Atlantic Ocean. Zaccagni continues to engage time and energies to what will continue to be a definitely unique life. He translates into Italian, for the Publishing House “Sails”, a manual of theory, use and design of sails from Jeremy Howard-Williams. He will  accomplish three Atlantic crossings and cover over 50.000 miles at sea.

1999 the birth of ‘Zacboats’ and the academic collaborations

In 1997 Chicco Zaccagni  supervises for Floating Village the reconstruction of Pandora, a 20 meters long  motor-yacht launched in 1934. This is just the embryo of an activity of restoration supervisor and team manager that will develop in 1999 into Zacboats, a company specialized in consultancy, survey, project management and brokerage in the field of classic and traditional yachts. This was a new and important turn in its ‘sea men’ career. From the academic year 2001-02 and thanks to his knowledge background he will teach a class of “Yachting History and Classic Yachts Restoration” in quality of external professor at the Florence University of Architecture within the Department of Technology, Architecture and Design. Young students are fascinated by this world and in 2003 Zaccagni is the assistant supervisor of  Mr. Marco Gungui’s Dissertation “ Hypothesis of industrial development n the restoration of historical watercrafts”. Meanwhile the collaborations with the University of Florence and the Department of Architectural Sciences of Geneva University continue. It is in 2016 that he will be a new assistant supervisor for Francesco Rocchetti’s Dissertation on the Restoration of  Barbara, a 15,50 meters long Camper and Nicholson’s Yawl of 1923.

The Classic Yachts Restorations

In 1999, after 35 years in the Zaccagni family, the ketch Alzavola passes onto a new roman ship owner and is transported by cargo from the Caribe to Livorno. From here the boat will reach Viareggio, where in Del Carlo’s boatyard it will be dismantled and completely restored. Mr Zaccagni is entrusted with the direction of the restoration works. Among the interventions we count the reconstruction of the iron floors and the substitution of 20% of the oak frames. Thereafter, in occasion of the most important classic yachts rallies, the boat will be able to get  back on the races’ fields. From that moment onwards for Chicco Zaccagni starts a restless engagement in the recovery of many classic hulls. Here below follows a list of the crafts whose restoration works where directed by him both in the Viareggio boatyard Del Carlo and Pezzini and in others shipyards as Fiumicino’s Tecnomar or Castiglioncello’s Cantiere Luciano Gavazzi.

·         Magda XIII (1937) - 23 mt.

·         Windswept (1936) - 16,50 mt.

·         Don Quixotte (1933) - 11,50 mt.

·         Tesse (1963) - 10,50 mt.

·         Mopi (1953) - 9,90 mt.

·         Delfino (1940) - 14,80 mt.

·         Kipawa (1937) - 16,80 mt.

·         Ganbare (1973) - 10,80 mt.

·         Orianda (1938) - 23 mt.

·         Ojalà (1973) - 11 mt.

·         Eilean (1936) - 22,30 mt.

·         Oenone (1935) - 13,50 mt.

·         Marga (1910) - 15,50 mt.

·         Nocturne (1935) - 18,80 mt.

·         Agostina (1946) – 10 mt.

Moreover Zaccagni is a member of the Italian Association of Historical Yachts (AIVE), as well as part of the Association of  Yachting Historians. After a ten-years presidency, since 2015 he is now Vele Storiche Viareggio’s Commodore.

The on-going restorations : Barbara, Tirrenia II, The Spray, Tonino and Astarte

No year passes without major restoration works for Chicco to direct. In this period Mr. Zaccagni is following the return to the sea of five crafts. Barbara is a Bermudian yawl built in 1923 by the English boatyard Camper & Nicholsons. The 15 meters long boat belonged in the past to the founder of the Dom Pérignon label. Since 2015 the yacht is in the Del Carlo boatyard, where it will be officially launched Saturday the 19th of May 2018. In that day, whoever wishes to, will be allowed to witness the ceremony of the launch at Viareggio’s boatyard in Darsena Italia. The same day at Del Carlo’s boatyard you will be able to admire two other crafts: the classical 1914 gaff ketch Tirrenia II, 18,80 meters long, already protagonist of many historical yachts rally in the Mediterranean sea; and the Spray, a motorsailor rig as a Bermudian ketch of 16,20 meters length which was launched in 1961 by the Picchiotti boatyard under drawings of Franco Anselmi Boretti. And finally Tonino of 1911 and Astarte of 1907, both famous first rule 10 Metre racers, already under restoration at the Fiumicino’s Tecnomar boatyard.

The awards and editorial collaborations

Many are the “on-field merits” obtained during the years by Chicco Zaccagni. In 2002 he won the Best Restoration Prize for Windswept during Le Vele D’Epoca of Imperia meeting and in 2003 the Yacht Digest Award. He won the same prize in 2004 for the restoration works of Alzavola, followed by the 2005 Oscar for the Best Restoration assigned to Mopi in  occasion of the Livorno Accademia Navale’s Trophy. He obtained others awards for his works on Kipawa and Delfino. In 2015 the prestigious English magazine Classic Boat awarded him for the best restoration of the year with Marga. His articles and critical reviews were published on Yacht Digest, Yachting World, Via Mare, Yachting Quarterly and Barche d’Epoca e Classiche. Moreover he wrote a chapter of the book “Yachts Restoration” edited by the Department of Architectural Sciences of the Genova University.

And with its free time?  We could say… “of sea and land”. Zaccagni indeed loves sailing, scuba diving, collecting books and classical yachting documents, listening to classic music and… of course finding mushrooms.

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