Classic Italian Design Meets Ultramodern Tech
Giovanni Castagnola started building beautiful wooden boats in the 1970s. Now his grandson Gabriele is building on that legacy.
Gabriele Maestri’s new Castagnola Heritage 9.9 is an interesting combination of old school and new, a wooden 9.7-metre cruiser built around the latest carbon-fibre composite construction. Maestri’s concept is actually an ultramodern rendition of the wooden vessels his grandfather, Giovanni Castagnola, built after he started the Castagnola Yacht shipyard in 1974.
Both generations of vessels share timeless, elegant looks but are separated by decades of technology. The Heritage 9.9 came from a general concept by Nauta Design, with Studio Names providing the naval architecture. This highly customisable yacht—which comes either in open or hardtop versions—uses a patented construction technique called Wood in Tech Skin (WTS) that combines solid mahogany planks encapsulated with epoxy-infused carbon fibre. The boat’s frames are made of strong, lightweight ash with an epoxy saturation. Maestri opted to keep the wood from the hull visible on the interior to celebrate its beauty.
Unlike most classic wooden designs, the Heritage 9.9 has a modern profile and vertical bow. The designers used polished teak on the gunwales, the rear platform, and mast. The deep-V hull, powered by twin 239kW Yanmars, has a cruising speed of 34 knots, with a top end of 40 knots. At 30 knots, the boat has a range of 170 nautical miles. Owners have a choice of propulsion systems, ranging from traditional shaft drives to hydrojets.
One of the benefits of wood is its sound-dampening qualities. The Heritage tends to be much quieter than a comparably sized fibreglass vessel, even when the boat is slapping against waves at speed. The deep-V hull was also designed to be a fast, nimble runabout, able to carve tight turns and run in big seas.
Maestri’s vision for the Heritage 9.9 was that it could do double duty—as a modern weekend cruiser and sophisticated superyacht tender. It also gives the multi-generational shipyard a blueprint for the future. Perhaps best of all, it’s a boat that Giovanni Castagnola would be very proud of.
Check out more photos of the cruiser below: