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Boating: Bugatti yachts are ahead of the curve

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Ahead of the curve

Mirroring the design of its Chiron supercar, Bugatti’s Niniette 66 yacht is sure to attract admiring glances from Antibes to Zanzibar

A yacht inspired by the famous Bugatti Chiron was always going to be a head-turner. The Chiron, should anyone need a reminder, is Bugatti’s sublimely aerodynamic, ultra-fast (top speed: 261mph), carbon-fibre supercar; successor to the legendary Veyron.

Earlier this year Alsace-based Bugatti announced it had joined forces with yacht builders Palmer Johnson to create the Bugatti Niniette 66.

That name has historic overtones; back in the 1930s company founder Ettore Bugatti was commissioned to create a one-of-a-kind speedboat for Italian aristocrat Prince Carlo Maurizio Ruspoldi. Niniette was the nickname of the prince’s youngest daughter.

The classic, low Art Deco-inspired silhouette of the original vessel has been echoed in its modern incarnation, while there is a distinct curve from cockpit to stern that replicates similar eye-catching features of the Chiron.

The yacht’s duotone colour scheme is also distinctive, says Bugatti design director Etienne Salomé, who stresses the yacht adheres to the company’s long-standing creative principle of ‘form follows performance’.

‘Even from a large distance when entering a port, the Niniette will always be recognised as a true Bugatti,’ states Salomé, with finality.

Timur Mohamed, CEO of Palmer Johnson, says: ‘The challenge was to create an experience and a persona as much as a yacht, from streamlined luxury, sophisticated style and unprecedented quality.’

Some 66ft in length (hence its name) the yacht features a slender main hull with sponsons either side to provide additional stability at high speeds.

‘This construction also allows for a wider build compared to other yachts in this class, offering the experience of a much larger yacht,’ adds Mohamed.

In keeping with the Chiron car, the yacht also makes considerable use of carbon fibre to reduce weight and fuel consumption.

On deck, the Bugatti brings together comfortable leather seats and blue oak panels, while the lower part of the deck features a jacuzzi, a sun-bathing area and a fire pit.

‘Even from a large distance when entering a port, the Niniette will always be recognised as a true Bugatti.’

The concept of a fire pit on a yacht might seem a trifle eccentric, but the Niniette is harking back to the days of the ancient Greek and Phoenician seafarers, neither of whom were strangers to the concept of an open fire on board; although for rather different reasons.

Below decks the Niniette offers a spacious lounge featuring the Bugatti horseshoe motif while natural light is provided via a round skylight.

According to Bugatti, customisation options are wide – and that applies to colours, materials and finishes inside and out. As a Bugatti spokesperson says: ‘This guarantees that every Niniette will be a unique piece of art.’

It will be pretty speedy for an artwork, mind you; it’s able to travel at 44knts and features a shallow draft that allows it into quiet spots in the Mediterranean or Caribbean.

Words: Staff

Facts & Figures

Established in 1918, Palmer Johnson is increasingly focused on the potential of carbon fibre in yacht building.

The Niniette 66 will be the first in a new series of yachts, ranging in size from 50-88ft.

The Bugatti Chiron replaces the Veyron, produced from 2005-15. It will have a production run limited to 500.

This article was originally published in Halcyon magazine in 2017

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