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The tailor of the sea: Dario Messina and Nerea Yacht

8 mins read

He is one of the youngest protagonists of the yachting world and has made a name for himself for having designed wonderful and innovative boats, far removed from fashion trends but at the same time highly appreciated by owners all over the world, so much so that he has been nicknamed ‘the tailor of the sea’. Dario Messina heads Nerea Yacht, a brand that has distinguished itself on the market for the wonderful day-boat NY24. We met Dario Messina for an interview in his shipyard in the Marche region, where preparations are in full swing for the official launch of the new 40-footer which will be presented at the next Cannes Yachting Festival on the Nerea booth (QML161, berth QML006) and of which you can see the model in the photo above.

Dario Messina, how did your passion for boating start and how has your career path developed?

“In 2003, when I was in my early twenties, I started working in the Ferretti Group’s shipyards, where for five years I was able to learn the art of boat design with the best local workers from the Marche region. In 2008, on the strength of the experience I had gained and eager to set up on my own, I opened my own company ArgoMarine, proposing myself as a supplier of labour for the outfitting of Pershing boats and starting to work with important brands such as Besenzoni, San Lorenzo and Azimut, in addition to the Ferretti Group”.

Who have been your masters?

“One above all is Tilli Antonelli, with whom I had the honour of working for five years. A man of great flair, a true boating genius, who had a futuristic vision and at the same time got his hands dirty to build boats exactly as he imagined them. This doing of his has stayed with me and allowed me to find the drive to take the initiative and found my own company ArgoMarine”.

NY40
A detail of the new NY40

How did the Nerea brand come about?

“During the crisis years of 2009/2010, ArgoMarine managed not only to survive but also to grow, and so we were the only ones in our field who were immediately ready in the following years of the restart, growing from 10 to 60 employees in a short time. This allowed us to concretise our ambition to create something important for the future, and together with our architects and designers Alessio Battistini and Davide Bernardini, one evening at the bar we went from dreams to reality, designing our first 24-foot model. This is how the Nerea brand was born, a brand that wants to propose high-end boats in which attention to detail is very important. We wanted to put quality, design and made in Italy, which still makes the difference in the market, at the centre of our whole project. Today, unfortunately, in the boating industry everyone does everything, and it is difficult to distinguish one’s professionalism from the crowd. We are a white fly, but we want to hold on because focusing on these aspects has already saved us in the 2009/2010 crisis”

Why did you start with a 24ft model?

“We imagined producing a small, trailerable boat, a kind of portable object. I had some images imprinted in my mind of my trips to Lake Como, Lake Garda and Switzerland, where I would see distinguished couples of a certain age arriving with their own car and a trolley in tow on which was their small boat, which they would launch to spend a nice day on the water. It was a very nice feeling, because you could see that these people lived and felt their boat, it was an object of life that they enjoyed, and this image conveyed a certain value that I tried to convey in my proposal with the NY24. The 24-footer is the largest possible trailerable size in Italy, so we started from there, proposing a small and expensive, but very beautiful boat”.

How will the range continue?

“The next model will be a 40-footer that we will present in Cannes, and right after that we will focus on designing a 55-footer. We have already done extensive market research and received positive feedback from our dealers and customers, so we are optimistic about the success we are aiming for”.

What will the 40-footer be like?

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A detail of the new NY40

“Like the NY24, it will be a boat that will stand out from all the others. We chose not to make a fashionable unit, but a functional and elegant boat. The NY40 will represent the ultimate expression of Italian style, because it retains many references from the past and revisits them in a modern key, without remaining excessively attached to the classic. It is a boat with a traditional and at the same time sporty soul, which will therefore appeal to a young audience, and it will also be fitted with outboard propulsion in order to be appreciated by the American market. Last but not least, customization: this is something that most shipyards do not like to propose, because it is an obstacle to the production of large numbers, but we are not an assembly line. Nerea Yacht employs local workers with great craftsmanship skills, who are able to support us in building any custom piece chosen by the customer. Even at the cost of slowing down the layout design, this in my opinion is the right logic to satisfy the owners. By now, contemporary boats all look a bit alike, and from a distance it is almost impossible to distinguish them. With Nerea, on the other hand, we want to maintain a different style compared to the fashions of the moment, to preserve an identity and make our brand more recognizable”.

NY40 For more information on Dario Messina and Nerea Yacht: www.nereayacht.com

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