Masquenada, refitting in record time for the 51-metre motor yacht

Masquenada is already on its way around the world. Mario Pedol of Nauta Design talks about the work that took just eight months to bring the motor yacht back to life

Owner Pier Luigi Loro Piana, an experienced yachtsman, thought that an Explorer would offer much more comfort on board when he started planning a round-the-world cruise“I decided to opt for a big, beautiful motor yacht of around 50-60 metres in length, capable of accommodating 10-12 guests, to explore the world in safety and comfort,” says Pier Luigi Loro Piana. “Its size is crucial: if it had been bigger, I wouldn’t have been able to access the small bays I was used to visiting with my sailboats. But for any new sail or motor boat,” explains Loro Piana, “it would have taken at least three years and, after a year of losing my beloved My Song, I thought I didn’t want to wait that long, so the search for a suitable boat for refitting began”.


Initially, serious consideration was given to building a totally new yacht and a new 58-metre motor yacht concept was developed with Mario Pedol, but it would take at least three years to complete.

“I remembered a shuttle called Aspire, originally Etra, which I had visited a few years earlier and thought might suit him,” recalls Mario Pedol, co-founder of Nauta Design, who has known the owner for over 40 years. 


The solid construction and oceanic range, her tonnage of almost 600 GT and length of 51 metres responded to the owner’s plan to travel the world with his family. With Nauta as the buyer’s broker, an agreement was reached and Aspire arrived in Italy in September 2020. There was little time and we wanted to get the work started. So we chose Lusben, the refit division of Azimut-Benetti, for this deep top-refit that required the redesign of the ship both inside and out.”

Lusben did the refitting, Nauta Design the new exterior design and Misa Poggi the interior design. Technical advice was provided by Francesco Rogantin

The most obvious intervention requested by the owner was a complete overhaul of the main deck aft. This area had already been lengthened during a previous refit, but the owner wanted to create an open beach club, with easy access to both the sea and the main saloon, and also able to accommodate tenders and sea toys.

Thus, the aft bulwarks were cut to provide an unobstructed flush deck, also suitable for a helicopter, while the aft area was transformed into a true pieds dans l’eau bathing platform. A major modification was the removal of the old deck crane and its replacement with a custom-made 7.5 tonne capacity crane, which folds away and disappears into a special compartment below deck.

With space for two or more tenders, including an amphibious Iguana, when tenders and sea toys are in the water, the aft deck offers a huge area for relaxing or partying. The boarding ladders on both sides are adjustable in height depending on whether a tender or the fast daycruiser Maxi Dolphin-Nauta is moored.

“The crane hangar required the stern section to be cut and a completely new block added,” says Pedol. “Naval architect Francesco Rogantin was commissioned to reconfigure the hull lines and we like to think that the new transom is more reminiscent of a sailing ship rather than a motor yacht. The main saloon has been transformed with a two-metre wide door to improve the connection with the open deck aft. The starboard access to the engine room is also new, as are the ventilation facilities with integrated chaise longues.”

The spaces on both the main and upper decks were already large and livable, but both have been lengthened by 1.5 metres towards the stern to create a more graceful profile and more shade on the lower deck. On the bridge deck there is now space for a gym and two sailing dinghies that can be stored in a closed locker that doubles as a sundeck. The upper deck aft has been designed to house the dining and relaxation area, while the sun deck provides an exclusive observation point and features a kitchen equipped with a barbecue.

The pair of original Caterpillar 3508 engines with a total of 2,100 horsepower were given a complete overhaul and fitted with a new exhaust system. With new propellers and reconfigured hull lines at the stern, the yacht gained 1.5 knots of top speed. Noise attenuation was another priority for the owner, so the three new Kohler generators are housed in soundproofed boxes and mounted on vibration dampers with structural reinforcements to prevent noise transmission through the hull.

Misa Poggi’s sophisticated interior design features contrasting dark and light wood finishes, combined with stitched leather and brushed bronze accents. The overall atmosphere is warm and refined, yet cosy and informal with parchment, bamboo and fabric finishes adding an exotic touch.

Guest accommodation includes three cabins on the lower deck, two on the main deck and the owner’s cabin on the forward upper deck for a total of 12 guests including the owner. The bulwarks flanking the owner’s saloon have been cut back to provide a better view of the sea and the openings are now fitted with electrically operated shutters for more shade or better privacy when moored in a marina.


Masquenada, a motor yacht ideal for travelling around the world
Sporting a new light and dark grey livery, Masquenada was launched in June 2021, only just over eight months after arriving at the Lusben yard in Livorno. She spent her first summer cruising the Mediterranean and has now left for the Caribbean to begin a three-year journey that will take her around the world. “Masquenada is a very versatile yacht and I am definitely very happy with the end result,” says Pier Luigi Loro Piana. “The whole design team worked very well, Nauta, Misa and Engineer Rogantin. Last summer, life on board with my family and friends was just what I had imagined when we started this adventure!”


Refit works: Lusben/Benetti
New exterior design: Nauta Design
New interior design: Misa Poggi
Owner’s Technical Advisor: Francesco Rogantin (Names)
On-site surveyor: Commander Clinton White

(Refitting in record time for the 51-metre Masquenada – – April 2022)