Luca Bassani Interview – Yacht Pioneer & Wally Founder

Fortuna yacht

Luxury yachts have always been gleaming white and mainly bear the same, elegant design features. Wally has re-written the rules altogether.

The Monaco-based boat maker’s yachts, power yachts and smaller boats all carry design characteristics utterly undreamt of until they came about. Their dark, mysterious looks are undoubtedly head-turning, their power frightening. The minimalist lines don’t give anything away; indeed they hide the yacht’s interior which, in the larger variants such as the outrageous Wallypower 118, is simply spine-tingling. It is instantly evident that design plays the lead role in these beauties. After all, any power yacht which can house a space that changes from dining room to small conference area must be special.

Wally’s boats are nothing short of prodigious. To find out just how and why these seemingly fictitious concepts of arresting design exist, I chatted with Luca Bassani, Wally’s founder, president and mastermind. Incredibly, Mr Bassani not only takes charge of the whole business, but is the brains behind every single piece of marine art that comes out of Wally’s headquarters in Monaco.

“What inspires you to come up with such striking yachts?”
“The functionality and the need to find simple solutions, lighter and more neat.”

“What inspires Wally’s designers to come up with such striking yachts?
“The functionality and the need to find simple solutions, lighter and more neat.”

“Do you feel that your unusual designs detriment your sales, or enhance them?”
“We think that, as with any smart innovation, it will enhance our sales in the long term.”

“You are a much fresher, less well-established company than the likes of Sunseeker and Princess. Do you think boats like yours are a shape of things to come for all boat companies, or will your style remain unique?”
“On the sail yachts, we have already carved the whole market and everybody is copying our solutions and our style. It will also happen in the power boat sector and, in fact, it is already starting to happen.”

“You are based in Monaco, a place I love as well. Do you feel that basing Wally there is good for the company’s image?”
“We think that Monaco is, along with Palma, the capital of the Mediterranean yachting industry.”

“Where do your buyers mainly come from? I haven’t seen many in Monaco’s port.”
“Forty percent of our clients come from Germany, thirty percent from Italy and the rest from all over the world.”

“Has the recent film exposure of your boats been helpful to interest and sales?”
“For the moment, a lot of interest has been generated, which translates into an increase of the brand awareness and value- not the sales yet.”

“Which model sells best?”
“In terms of number of orders, the WallyTender. In terms of turnover, the biggest sail yachts generate most.”

“Realistically, do you think future interest will be based more around the smaller boats or larger yachts?”
“As we are perceived as a luxury brand, we believe we are going to experience the higher interest in the larger yachts market.”

“What do you think hold more importance; the interior of a yacht or its exterior design?”
“I personally think that it’s the exterior, though the market shows that the clients give more emphasis to the exteriors.”

“You provide a charter service for your yachts. Does this service lure many people into finally buying a Wally?”
“It has happened already, and it will always happen, as a small percentage of the charterers.”

“Finally, what does the future hold? Are there any big plans or new designs?”
“A lot of news and innovations in the power boat market, and also in the mega sail yachts.”

A true innovator of the yacht industry, Mr Bassani is tight-lipped about what hasn’t yet left Wally’s design room. I don’t think I could blame him; having revolutionised the face of yacht design forever, who knows what’s next from Wally?


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