Sailing is a constant challenge between man, wind and sea

Superyacht Technology was delighted to spend time talking to Federico Biatturi, Captain of the incredible sailing Super Yacht Ribelle, he was also the project manager during the planning stage.  Before this project, he was owner’s rep and project manager for SY Zefira for the same owners.

SY Ribelle is a stunning 107ft Malcolm McKeon naval design, built in carbon and titanium, with an incredibly unique and innovative open-sky ceiling, a lifting keel and a beam of nearly 8 meters.  Award-winning Remi Tessier was responsible for the interior design and interpreted incredibly the owner’s vision of a fast-sporty boat but with interiors that matched their lifestyle and tastes.
Federico, as owner’s representative explained that working together with the owner, they choose an architect who captured the owner’s vision for the design of the boat he was trying to build. Once the preliminary design was approved, it was essential to select the optimal materials for this project and based on that, identifying yards that have expertise with the specific materials, as well as their performance, prestige and finishing history.  At this stage, the specifications are agreed, and negotiations begin.  For SY Ribelle, Vitters Shipyard was chosen.
With multiple people involved in decision making for the yacht, it is essential for the owner’s representative/project manager to understand the owner’s goals and the delicate balance between aesthetics and performance.

Federico asked “Do they want to win regattas, or do they want to cruise around the world? Or a little of both?”


When it’s both, you need to work very closely with the architect and his team to make sure that all the decisions made are still based on performance, without forgetting the importance of comfort, luxury and seaworthiness.

It is essential to translate the owner’s dreams and ideas into the architect’s design.  As a Captain and project manager, Federico was able to draw on his build and sailing experience to ensure that the project was actionable, practical, and on time.  Decisions are made every day from pipe routing to the selection of technologies to use, and location of equipment; but keeping in mind maintainability over time, selection of contractors to work with, weights studies, testing equipment and so much more.

Vitters Shipyard and Malcolm McKeon provided a wealth of experience with regards to the choice of materials, weight saving measures, construction time, safety, and other considerations.  Federico’s project manager role was to ensure that the yard executes the architect’s design, respects the structural engineering, uses the best possible materials while staying within the agreed time, weight and budget.

The success of a great project clearly is achieving the goals that were set at the beginning of the project, those of performance, budget, time, specifications, comfort and luxury.  But the ultimate success is the owner’s smile as the yacht touches the water.

As a sailing yacht captain, you are dealing with all the systems of a motor yacht, plus additional sailing systems.  It is essential to stay on top of breakthroughs in sailing technologies such as sail materials, rigging materials, CPU performance computers, superfast carbon hydraulic winches etc.
Nowadays, sailing yachts use load cells, software and other technologies to help the crew run the boat at peak performance. Hydraulic systems, combined with light and strong materials, have allowed us to sail faster and with larger sails than ever before.  To manage the huge loads created, we need all this technology to sail the boat safely. The yacht’s structure, mast(s), lines, winches and blocks, are all built to withstand the loads that the structural engineers and the architect have calculated.

New performance yachts rely on technology developed by companies like Harken, experts in engineering and development of equipment that can sustain the maximum loads that the sails and rigging are producing, while the boat is fully under pressure to achieve the maximum possible speed.
The design of the deck lay out of SY Ribelle was worked out between the architect’s team, an engineer of Vitters Shipyard, the owner’s rep, and help and advice from Harken.

The Harken team followed the whole deck project very closely, advising on all the deck equipment, doing all the necessary calculations and studies for the best sailing performance and saving all the possible weight while always keeping the loads in mind. The designers from Harken helped the team to develop one-off units, like the mainsail traveller car, minimalist titanium pad eyes, titanium rods on the cylinders, and carbon winches with the SY Ribelle logo, and much more.

Instead of offering their standard equipment, Harken designed very stylish units, in titanium for weight saving, keeping design lines in mind that would go with the rest of the boat. The winches were done with no risers to avoid having cutting lines, but each one at a specified height needed to align with organizers or blocks, and all of them with the logo of the boat on the top inserted on the carbon and covered with clear coat varnished. Around the mast they didn’t offer their standard spring standing blocks, but rather titanium V blocks which are harnessed by spectra lashing, making them super safe and super light.


Federico said “We worked together with Harken during the design stage, during the build and today they are constantly following and visiting the boat and their equipment, making sure it is all running to the maximum of is capabilities and within the loads specified.  They also provide us with a training package, showing the crew how to maintain all the equipment and keep it in pristine working order”.

We are so grateful to Harken and all our suppliers, who are constantly researching and investing in new ways to help us improve performance and safety. They also help the boat and crew with the necessary maintenance schedules and services. Their constant support is vital for the crew to learn about their systems and how to operate them.

SY Ribelle excels because of the advance hydraulic systems on-board and the monitoring that runs the systems.