Perini Navi's Reila
The 2009 launch of Perini Navi’s Riela showed just how much one could expect from a highly luxurious sailing yacht that’s also built to do much more than grace a marina
For many years, the name Perini Navi has stood at the pinnacle of sailing superyachts. Some of the most famous sailing yachts were christened in Perini yards, including the now-iconic Maltese Falcon. Perini Navi’s founder, Fabio Perini, began work in the early 1980s constructed large, blue-water sailing yachts that would be relatively easy to handle, not require large crew numbers, and would leave large, open spaces ondeck for guests. The combination of a sailing yacht that had the comforts and style of a motoryacht has proven to be a winner, and not without some fans in Hong Kong, though these are still kept in the Med.
Perini Navi has developed a series of customisable series that take advantage of similarities in naval architecture, but leaving open considerable leeway on the interior. One of Perini’s more celebrated launches in 2009 was Riela, a 56-metre aluminum hulled ketch that features spectacular interior design, with a definite lean towards performance. For sailors that want to enjoy their favourite way to relax and combine that with plenty of space and comfort for non-sailing friends, you can do much worse than a Perini Navi, but you can’t get much better. And Riela is great example of what it means to a part of the Perini club.
Riela is the seventh launch in Perini’s 56-metre series, which began in 2003 with the splashing of Burrasca. Three more are in build at the moment, and it seems the series is on track to become one of the firm’s most popular. Riela was built in the 5,450-square metre sheds at the Perini Istanbul Gemicilik facility in Turkey, where the aluminum hulls and superstructure were made. She was then moved to Viareggio, the famed centre of Italian yacht building, for the fitting out and rigging.
That job ended last April when she received her technical launch. Finally in June, Riela was handed over to her owner for her first cruising season. This first cruising season included participating in the Perini Navi Cup. In case you ever wondered about the performance capabilities of a Perini Navi sailing yacht, consider that a number of the 56-metre yachts, besides Riela, were present for the competition. All had their waterlines drawn by famed sailing yacht designer Ron Holland, and that the Perini Navi Cup effectively saw the world’s first one-design superyacht class in competition. Well, that may be a stretch, but you get the point. Riela finished tenth out of 19 competitors, which included Maltese Falcon who finished in first.
The Perini Navi Cup, an annual affair, is perhaps one of the best illustrations of the prestige that goes with owning a Perini. The event takes place every September at the Yacht Club Costa Smerlda, one of the world’s most luxurious and best known yachting hot spots. It’s an exclusive club to be sure, and captaining your own Perini through the course has to be one of the highlights of a sailor’s life. ‘
While the hull lines were from the hand of Ron Holland, the exterior lines bear the classical Perini Navi look, and were the result of Perini’s in-house technicians and designers. Riela’s owner hoped for a bit more power from the sails than from the engine, and so the structure was out of lighter aluminum, while the lines are slightly racier. Additionally, the owner opted for in-boom furling on main and mizzen sails, for better performance compared to the in-mast furling types, yet retaining the ease of handling. The head and stay-sail are also furling.
Like some of her other 56-metre sister yachts, Riela sports 1,500-square metres of sail area on her two aluminum masts, with the main reaching 58.8 metres in height and the mizzen topping out at 48.3 metres. The masts, plus carbon-fibre booms, were all made in-house. Her deck plan is the same as the other yachts in the 56-metre class, with twin tenders stowed in the forward bow section of the yacht, and a sunken cockpit that has become the trademark of the Perini name.
But it’s the flybridge that really makes you thrilled to be sailing on a Perini Navi. Riela offers an al-fresco steering position, with complete views of the sail plan. Slicing through on close reach with food and beverage brought to the happy helmsman must count as one of life’s finer treats. In addition to the usual complement of sun pads and settees, there’s a Jacuzzi positioned aft of the mizzen mast, and affording fantastic, uninterrupted views when looking aft.
Up top, the colours are dominated by white materials and teak for a classical nautical look. On the aft deck, a stylish lounge space is simply yet elegantly done in polished stainless steel, teak, carbon steel and macassar ebony. The look is what minimalism should be – uncluttered but not bare. Low lounger sofas and a low coffee table add to the look and feel of stylish comfort.