Wally, the new stars of the seas

A yachting family imagined from a crazy dream

For a few days, a crazy breeze has been blowing on the small exclusive port of Porto Cervo, in North-East Sardinia. A gigantic, nearly 100-meter white motor yacht, docked by the quay seems to block the entrance of the marina. But gawkers do not seem interested. A real irony for this plastic giant which normally acts as the ultimate head turner. This time the attraction is a group of very large sailing yachts (between 25 and 35 meters) immediately noticeable thanks to their metallic colored hulls. They get photographed like movie stars. They are the Wally.

The Wally yachts are competing in the North-East of Sardinia © Guillaume Plisson / OCEAN71 Magazine

Connoisseurs focus on two of them: Saudade and Indio, the latest units to be launched. A major event! On the quay a man waves to one of the sailors on board. Seeing the man, the sailor waves back and exclaims: « Mr. Owen-Jones, please come aboard! » This sailor in his forties is Andrea Recordati, heir to an Italian family of pharmaceuticals magnates and owner of Indio. Lindsay Owen-Jones, former L’Oréal Chairman and CEO, is not stepping into the unknown. Magic Carpet 2, his Wally is docked two spaces further: « Congratulations Andrea, you can be proud, she is gorgeous! »

A rare moment, because new members of the Wally family do not pop up every day. Twenty-seven children. That’s it. Tiketitan, Open Season, J One, Y3K, or Tango, each yacht is a technological wonder which has required months, sometimes years in development. All are custom made, yet they bear a family likeness deriving from their general lines and exceptional craftsmanship. Nothing sticks out of the entirely flush teck decks. The portholes are fitted in the Burmese wood with millimetric precision. All the lines used to trim the sails are hidden to offer a perfectly clear view. All this of course is powered by electric motors controlled from several control panels located behind the helm wheels which offer a display of dozens of colored knobs and keys. As for metal parts, nothing or almost nothing can bend them; they are made out of titanium.

Saudade is one of the latest born Wally. She's also one of the biggest © Guillaume Plisson / OCEAN71 Magazine

These sail yachts seem right out of a sci-fi novel. And so does the impressive motor yacht anchored outside the harbor hiding at the anchorage in the Sardinian rocks. The slender green silhouette is the 35-meter Wally Power (featured in Michael Bay’s 2005 film The Island) used as a residence by the Italian genius who fathered these wonders of the seas:  Luca Bassani.

Other files

  • The Antarctic krill new predators

    Ecology, Economy5 chapters

    The Antarctic krill is the largest biomass on earth. For most of the animals living on the white continent, krill is a key prey item. But for the past five years, new hunters have appeared. A dozen of factory fishing vessels travel to the far side of the planet to quietly capture what could become one day a gold mine.

  • Forbidden ocean in Réunion Island

    Culture, Ecology, Economy8 chapters

    Until 2011, Réunion Island was a small marine paradise. Since then, this French department is locked into a dramatic nightmare: sharks are killing surfers and swimmers along the beaches of the West Coast. This unprecedented situation sparked tensions and controversy between nature conservationists, scientists, surfers, fishermen and beach goers. OCEAN71 investigated on an island in a constant state of aquatic emergency.

  • Une mine sous-marine de la seconde guerre mondiale, à proximité de Saranda © Philippe Henry / OCEAN71 Magazine

    Albania : a journey to the unknown

    Culture5 chapters

    Our most recent expedition took us to Albania, a country with uncharted waters that was closed to the outside world for most of the 20th century and which is only just starting to reveal its secrets. The ‘Land of Eagles’ as it is known is allegedly peppered with smugglers and unexploded naval mines, but when we travelled to its shores we found a very different reality.