Yacht Class n°13 (June-July-August 2018)
CEO of Nautor’s Swan
Passionate owner and sailor, Nautor’s Swan CEO, Leonardo Ferragamo never misses a chance to take one of his nine boats to compete with the other Swan owners. We met him on the first event of the shipyard’s brand-new competition, the Nations Trophy Mediterranean League. An event he won hands down with his Cuordileone, a Club Swan 50.
How was born your passion for sailing ?
It has always been in my blood and my life. I was always attracted to the sea, started in the national racing when I was a teenager and had a wonderful experience for a decade or so. Only later on, I was attracted to offshore racing and then the love story with Swan started.
How did it start ?
I was a passionate sailor and Swan owner before getting close to the yard. After having sailing so many different boat, once I had my own Swan, a pre-owned 51, I started to appreciate the values the shipyard was standing for. Swan is about elegance, performance and great quality, which means reliability as well. So I developed this great appreciation and respect for the brand. After a long process, it led me to think that I could take this company into the third millennium by driving it with my experience and my knowledge coming from different sectors which, believe it or not, have similarities. I entered in this venture with a professional approach, entrepreneurship, lot of dedication, trying to find the best people to implement that vision that was very strong then, and which is still very strong now.
How has evolved the shipyard the last 20 years ?
First of all, like many companies, there are good and difficult moments. Nautical sector all together has had very challenging times. We were able to achieve many positive moments and resist in the difficult times. As of now, Nautor is a very solid company, efficiently managed, that is looking forward to a future that can even more enhance the values it stood for and stands for. And also enjoy the potential it definitely has. We came into Nautor as a team with a lot of respect for the brand, and with a humble approach. We knew the things had to evolve fast. We respected a lot its DNA and values. When you are a leader and have leading values, you don’t maintain the leadership by simply maintaining these values but by making them evolve and by having the ability to see forward in the future and to be ahead of the day. And so the Swan identity, we treasure very much, has evolved but has never changed. You can still recognize a Swan from afar because of the same elements of identity. When you get closer, you see it in its components.
What are the shipyard’s strengths ?
It all starts from the place where the Swan are built : the northern part of Finland, a very special area where there have been boat builders for many centuries. Swan was born because of innovation and an international approach. What made it at the time, and is still making Swan today is the competence that comes from a long tradition. But it is a competence that continue to evolve because people there works with a lot of pride and determination. They don’t want to do seconds to none. They always want to be original in their way of working and the solution they found, and their ability to go forward. And that gives them an attitude of forever unsatisfied that always want to be better. And this culture in the company that allows to be above everybody else. With respect of course, in a humble way.
You are involved in the creative process of the shipyard…
This is the part I enjoy the most. This is maybe where it started. I feel as a failed architect because architecture is in my blood. And naval architecture is something that I have always loved well before Nautor. We rely on top architects such as German Frers and now Juan K., and I would never interfere in this aspect of course. But fine-tuning the layout of the boat and the external side, the aesthetics, define interiors, sometimes even create the interior decoration… that gives me a lot of passion and interest. For me, it is like giving birth to a child. I follow every model with passion. Coming from another sector, the fashion, has accompanied me all my life, and given me this ability to be very critical about aesthetic, to look about style and give that a lot of importance… It has been an ongoing challenge for me. I try to bring an experience of another world into Nautor Swan.
You created the Club Swan when you took over the company, what is it about ?
The Club Swan was an instinct idea, a vision that we brought when we bought the company. Before looking for other customers, we wanted to be sure that the almost 2000 customers we had then were satisfied, that we were treating them properly. First of all with customer care, the care of the boat and then by giving them proper services, activities, some privileges… a way of being proud to be part of the family. And so this is the why we create the Club Swan, as a place to get together all the owners, to develop the hospitality for their friends, in a limited way, and to the people who are close to Swan. This is a way of providing privileges, exclusive events and activities plus a mean of communication. In Club Swan, activities are a dominant part : the Swan Cup, an extraordinary race that existed before my times, that I always enjoyed doing myself. In addition to the many races around the world in which we take part, we created the Swan Challenges, the England Cup and the one in America … Plus all the one-design racing. The Nation’s Trophy is actually the pinnacle of what we have tried to establish for all the Swan one design. And this alone is one of a project.