Giovani Pomati, the CEO of Nautor Group, is on his way to Finland. He goes to Pietarsaari, the place where the shipyard that launches the Swan boats is located. “Excuse me, I’m at the airport and I’m completing the anti-Covid checks, can I call you back?”. When we hear from him, he is on the train and has left Helsinki behind.
Let’s leave the passion alone
Pomati is an engineer. He graduated from the Polytechnic of Milan with a thesis on Pirelli which brought him to the tire group. “I had to stay there for a short time to gain experience in a large company and then start working in the family business of electric motors. It turned out that I worked for Pirelli for 30 years, first dealing with production, logistics and quality, in short, with management technique and then in the last ten years of business management in the division of industrial tires. I worked for six years in Germany, two in China and the rest in Milan, but continuing to travel a lot ”. The family? “My first two children were born in Germany, the third came to China with my wife, but all three grew up in Italy”.
Pomati meets Leonardo Ferragamo when he is still in China. At Pirelli there is a change of pace, the president of Nautor’s Swan talks to him about sailing and invites him to a new challenge. By touching a sensitive key. “I got a nautical license before that of a car, at 18. A year earlier I started going to Laser, then came the J24 and a Three-Quarter Ton. Almost always bowmen or on sheets, I was not a champion, but I had great passion. I went on friends’ boats, then with my small children I started renting them for the holidays and in 2004 I bought one… ”.
Ferragamo, we said. “Well, it intrigued me. Nautor Group was certainly a smaller company than Pirelli, but with an equally prestigious brand, a global vocation and oriented towards innovation and technology. In addition, of course, there was also the sail, even if on work I believe that passion must be abandoned because otherwise the identity of the business is lost. If the first three elements hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have made the choice I made ”.
Eleven models were exhibited at the Marina di Scarlino Private Yacht Show: Swan 78, two versions of Swan 65, Swan 54, two versions of Swan 48, Swan 115, Swan 70 and Swan 75, ClubSwan 50 and ClubSwan 36 (Photo Borlenghi)
Between Finland and Italy
It was September 2018 when he became CEO of Nautor Group. What does it find? “I find a company with a strategic order. There had been the division between cruiser and racing, which respected the evolution of the world towards specialization. On the one hand there was the freedom to push performance in racing boats, on the other hand there were the cruising boats that demanded performance but also comfort “.
And what was needed? “To continue with this organizational model, to regain presence in certain areas and people dedicated to product development. For my part, I brought managerial skills and accelerated this strategy. Then we changed the organization, we fine-tuned it on what we wanted to do and as for the product we pushed on the launch of new models “.
The Swan Fleet (Borlenghi)
Surf the peak and look to the horizon
Pomati arrives in years of growth, of 2018/2019. “And then, since I’m lucky – he jokes – I found myself with the lockdown and the pandemic”. I tell him that it does not seem that there has been the collapse that was feared. “Well, we will see this, now it is still early to make a thorough examination of the Covid effect. In a market like ours there is no immediate proof, as an entrepreneur who invests in a chain of pizzerias can have. In luxury boats you can stay for four months because you do not have the models or there is a crisis, then the course resumes and fills the gap of that previous break. It is clear that during the months of the lockdown there was no queue to buy boats. Then, we as Swan have not had order cancellations, we have not had Covid discount requests, but we have seen a slowdown in new contracts. And starting from the summer, we started removing ourselves “.
The Nautor’s Swan shipyard has never stopped in Finland, there have been working windows left open by the local government, if anything, there have been problems from suppliers in other countries. “And we still have some, but things are looking much better. I would say that from September we are back to good levels, with orders also for large boats “. There was the Genoa Boat Show, there was the Marina di Scarlino Private Yacht Show. “It attracted many people, despite the fact that it fell in a cursed week, with the number of infections rising. Evidently the desire to be outdoors is great and this is good. If this trend continues, we will be able to bridge the gap of the stop months. It being understood that the 2020/21 data will not be those of 2018/19“.
And looking ahead, on the horizon? “We have already talked about the Swan 58, which we will present at the Dusseldorf Motor Show, if we do. In Germany we will announce another project and I do not exclude talking about a further novelty before the German review “. In terms of models? “There will be no total revolutions in the coming months,” says Pomati. Yes, there will be new projects “which are in an advanced state of development” to integrate the existing lines, those of the Swan line, the Maxi and racing boats.
The Swan One Design Worlds, the World Championships of Swan’s one design classes held in Scarlino, confirmed the title in the ClubSwan 50 for the German Marcus Brennecke on Hatari. In the Swan 45 the champion is the Dutch Lennard van Oeveren with Motions. In the ClubSwan 36 on the highest podium the Italian Cetilar-Vitamina dei Lacorte.
The Swan world
The one design line is the most pushed one, which dares the most. Who is the owner? An enthusiast who already owns a boat? “In this world it is difficult to speak in stereotypes. In general, they are people who already have experience of racing and who find an order that they like: the boat is that, the racing circuit is that, the owner is the helmsman. If you like the ClubSwan 50 you know that the boat is that and that the rules will remain the same. Just to say, we have the Swan 42 and the Swan 45 with more than ten years on the circuit now. And then you can also participate in the open regattas, with a Swan, without disfiguring. Lastly, even if talking about this in the luxury sector is a contradiction in terms, even in terms of price you know what you are going to spend “.
It can be thought that the monotype lowers the levels of competition. “But no! The opposite. If you don’t have to run after the latest modification of the hull, you can devote yourself to fine-tuning the boat, choosing the crew, even that allowed quota of professionals. It all becomes more true, like in the Olympic classes ”.
To understand, in short, whoever buys a Swan also buys the “Swan world”. “Sure, that’s it. There is no boat without a circuit. I’ll give you an example: when we talked about the ClubSwan 80, just presented, to the professionals, to the owners, well, we talked half the time about the boat and half the circuit to be built around it, because people no longer enjoyed themselves in the Maxi class. and wanted something new. We sell thrills, adventure. In Scarlino I met an owner of about 65 who has to buy a new model who told me he went to race in the Caribbean, then went up to Maine and then returned to Europe … Just like many of our customers want to buy the boat to Finland to be able to take it in person sailing up to the Mediterranean ”.
“A motor model …”
We leave with an almost appeal. Pomati’s in promoting sailing all together. “It has lost a lot in recent times compared to the engine. Now, I do not rule out that sooner or later Swan will not also make a motor boat, but I would not want, I also say this as an enthusiast, that sailing boats become extinct like the clippers of centuries ago.“.