We met Luigi Gambelli, CEO of Timone Yachts, the Azimut Benetti exclusive dealer for the Central-Northern Adriatic area, Austria and Germany
by Carla Pagani – photo by Andrea Muscatello
Luigi Gambelli, head of Timone Yachts, which has been the Azimut Benetti official dealer for the upper and central Adriatic since 1992, is a man filled with energy, passion and determination. The Magellano, docked at the port of Senigallia, emits a pure light that, in the warmth of the afternoon, reflects peacefully from the smooth surfaces of one of the flagship boats of the company founded by Paolo Vitelli.
Outside, it’s windy. The sky is clear, like Luigi Gambelli’s eyes: blue and smiling. Friendly and competent. Two qualities every good dealer must have. «When Azimut’s dealer for the Adriatic was closing down I had everything ready to take their place». It all began in the 1980s, with a yachting shop in Senigallia. Passion did the rest.
«He puts his all into it, he’s a machine», his wife exclaims, as Gambelli answers the constant stream of phone calls he receives. To begin with he only offered consultancy for those wanting to buy a yacht, before realising that selling was his calling. And he’s certainly been proven right: Timone Yachts’ results are clear for all to see, with over 950 boats sold.
And the business, owned by Gambelli and Paolo Moresco, who has been on board since 2008, is also expanding abroad: firstly with a partnership with the South Korean company Aceyacht, and then with YachtWerk, Azimut’s sole dealer in Austria and Germany, a start-up based in Bavaria that stemmed from collaboration between Timone and the German company Splendid Yachting.
So what’s the secret of his success? «Be brave». Innovate to a certain extent, but with caution and prudence. «The world of Italian boating was perhaps a little short on caution, especially during the years of the financial crisis, when many companies joined the market without really knowing what to do and where to go», says Gambelli. For Timone Yachts, however, it was different.
It is now a solid, expanding company, but paradoxically this is in part due to the crisis. «It gave us stimulus, pushing us to work better and in a more structured way. It allowed us to grow». During the most difficult years, Gambelli explored, opening up to other markets where the crisis was felt less heavily. «Asia, China, Singapore, Turkey and the Balearic Islands. New markets and new colleagues. Dialogue and a chance to exchange experiences, points of view and opinions», he tells us, contentedly.
As a result, Timone Yachts became stronger than before. Far-sightedness and an ability to plan played their part. But you also need a strong, close-knit team: «I like the fact that the people who work with me can develop. Ours is a very free company, where everyone can work with enthusiasm. And that gives me a lot of satisfaction».
But what does being an Azimut dealer entail? «First of all it means being professional. And it’s not enough to know how to sell. The technical aspect is key. Support, dry berthing and refitting. We can tackle any unforeseen event and meet all the client’s needs. And we have a lot of specialist workers at our shipyard in Fano, where we also make custom designs». And Gambelli is also at pains to tell us about the highly valuable work carried out by the young shipyard manager Stefano Basconi, who heads an extremely dynamic team.
Another requirement is understanding the tastes and needs of clients. Azimut buyers want luxury and simplicity, and minimalism that transcends fashion. «Azimut has always been on the crest of the wave, it never gets old». Consider, for example, the new Azimut S6, presented in September at the Cannes Boat Show, with its unmistakable exterior by Stefano Righini and interior by Francesco Guida. Or the Flybridge 55, again with an exterior by Righini, and interior design by Achille Salvagni. Or the inimitable Atlantis 51, created by Neo Design.
The list goes on. Boats that set trends for the market, including in terms of their technology. The superyacht Grande 32 Metri stemmed from a combination of carbon technology and a D2P hull (double-chine with a wave-piercing bow), resulting in optimum fuel consumption efficiency, both at slow and fast cruising speeds. Leading the way, in other words.
«All thanks to Giovanna Vitelli», Gambelli notes. The vice-president of the Azimut Benetti group has always involved figures from outside the yachting world, who help to create highly innovative products. They break the traditional rules and encourage crossover, but without ever losing sight of the main objective: a boat must always be a boat. «Azimut dares, and that’s what makes the difference».
(Timone Yachts, know exactly what to do – Barchemagazine.com – Gennaio 2019)