Eva Orsi “making dreams come true” at Tankoa
President of family-owned Tankoa since 2018, Orsi has overseen the recent growth of the Genoa shipyard, which built its reputation producing superyachts by Francesco Paszkowski, but is now building and promoting 45-80m designs by a wide range of Italian designers.
Interview: John Higginson
Eva Orsi, President, Tankoa Yachts
Can you outline the brief history of Tankoa and your family’s involvement, after your father Guido bought and sold Baglietto?
After a marvellous experience at Baglietto, my father and some of his colleagues and friends decided to buy and create a shipyard. It was named Tankoa, which means ‘scorpion’ in Genoese dialect. The first yacht already had an owner, who was a family friend, an amazing person who unfortunately passed away.
Then the economic crisis began, which made it hard for Tankoa to survive. At the time, my brother Guido (Jr) was President. He and Euro Contenti (CEO) and Edoardo Ratto (General Manager) believed in Tankoa’s future. My father believed in them and has always been a silent supporter. The team managed to sell the first three yachts and since then we’ve proven to be the shipyard we are today.
A 2023 delivery, Grey is the fifth S501 and will debut at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show
I began as President in 2018 and for me it was a dream come true after growing up with my father and his passion for the ocean and yachts. My brother had different plans and decided to change work, but now we’re finally together and our aim is to maintain Tankoa as a boutique Italian shipyard.
Can you recall some childhood highlights of yachting with your family and whether any of the designs of your family boats have influenced designs at Tankoa?
Since I was a kid, I had the privilege of spending my summers on board my father’s yachts in the Mediterranean. His yachts gradually grew in size, but the common features were clean, linear exterior design and the importance of the furniture.
The Tankoa shipyard is by the Cristoforo Colombo Airport outside Genoa
Tankoa has since grown with Francesco Paszkowski, who has designed many of our yachts. I think he has always kept this in mind, being able to transfer with his hand a timeless feeling and clean lines.
Can you tell us about the Tankoa shipyard beside Genoa Airport, which is only 1-2 hours’ drive from the likes of Milan, Monaco and Nice?
Tankoa is situated in a strategic position, for us, workers and clients, close to Cote d’Azur and the expert workforce in Tuscany and Liguria.
Facilities include two 90m sheds, a 250m-long dock and a submersible 4,000-tonne-capacity dry dock
Our shipyard has two 90m-long, 18m-high concrete sheds plus three smaller sheds for the assembly of the superstructure and the completion of construction. We call building the hull and superstructure ‘dirty work’, so we’ve always preferred this being done in an external facility in La Spezia.
How did Tankoa’s first yacht, the 69m Suerte that debuted at the 2015 Monaco Yacht Show (MYS), help establish the shipyard’s reputation in a crowded superyacht market?
Suerte was our first significant milestone. The small ‘yachting world’ had doubts we would complete our first yacht, but thanks to the passion and knowledge of all our team, we managed to overcome a rough start and prove that Tankoa wasn’t only an idea but a new competitor in the superyacht market.
Tankoa’s 72m Solo (above) was launched in 2018, three years after the 69m Suerte
The owner decided to make it a commercial yacht. Luckily, or let’s say unfortunately, a client who chartered it for several months in the summer of 2016 liked it so much that they decided to buy Suerte and keep it in their private harbour.
How did the 72m Solo, which debuted at MYS in 2018, differ from Suerte and further develop Tankoa’s profile in the market?
Solo was our third delivery and remains a great source of pride for our shipyard due to its avant-garde technology, which led to it winning several awards and prizes including one delivered directly by Prince Albert of Monaco. It was further proof that Tankoa was able to build great superyachts. Not only did people recognise the build quality but the design was outstanding.
Francesco Paszkowski designed Suerte, Solo, the S501 series and the upcoming T580
How important is the Francesco Paszkowski-designed, all-aluminium S501 series to Tankoa?
In 2017, we launched Vertigo and two years later we delivered Bintador, our first hybrid propulsion yacht. After that, we launched Olokun in 2020, last year we delivered Kinda, our second hybrid yacht, and this year we handed over Grey. The S501 series has consolidated Tankoa’s presence in the market.
The five yachts to date all have similar exterior designs, but have different colours, while all the internal features and design have been customised to meet the tastes and needs of the clients. The sixth sister is under construction and incorporates several small upgrades, as we always want to deliver yachts with the best-possible features.
The black-hulled Olokun is the third S501
What can you tell us about other upcoming models?
Our real strength is having Italian designers representing Tankoa’s yachts. As well as the S501 series and the upcoming T580 (58m) by Francesco, I can’t wait to deliver the first T450 (45m) by Giorgio Cassetta and the first T55 Sportiva (55m) by Luca Dini. The 52m Vitruvius is a project a client brought to us, and I’m honoured we’re now producing it.
We also hope to realise designs including Alberto Mancini’s T760 Apache (76m), Hot Lab’s T500 Tethys (50m) and Enrico Gobbi’s T680 Fenice (68m). Every single yacht we design and produce has characteristics we’re proud of. I can’t wait to have a wide range of Tankoa boats navigating the world. (For recent sales news, click here.)
Two T450s by Giorgio Cassetta are in build
How closely do you work with your father and your brother, now Tankoa’s Marketing & Communications Manager?
What I like about Tankoa is that we consider it a family shipyard, not only because our father is a silent shareholder with a passion for yachts but also because my brother Guido and I work together and support each other.
Two units of the T55 Sportiva by Luca Dini are in build
Having different roles doesn’t change the way we feel about Tankoa. However, it’s not only because we’re siblings that there’s a connection; the whole atmosphere inside the offices has a family feeling. There’s a great respect and esteem for every single employee.
How has Vincenzo Poerio helped Tankoa since he was appointed joint-CEO (with Euro Contenti) in February 2020?
Since Vincenzo joined our family, not only have we had an internal change and growth but the market has perceived a difference. To me, he is a master, and we can all learn something from him. Over the last three years, he helped Tankoa grow faster than ever before. We’ve nearly doubled our workforce and tripled our yacht production.
Vincenzo Poerio, CEO, Tankoa
This was our objective, although not to grow too much that we lose the direct contact and relationship we have with our clients. What I most like about Vincenzo is that he truly believes in the next generation, giving younger employees the space and education that they need to be able to grow and evolve in their career. He’s able to transfer his passion to whoever he meets and works with.
What else should readers know about Tankoa?
I’d like to emphasise that Tankoa is a boutique shipyard with strong Italian roots. Producing custom yachts is our way of making our clients’ dreams come true, so our main priority is to maintain high quality with a competitive price.
Alberto Mancini’s 76m Apache design
We believe in future generations, which is why our approach is always more sustainable, both in our facility and on our yachts to safeguard the earth and protect the ocean so we can continue to navigate and explore our seas.
President of Tankoa since September 2018, Eva succeeded her brother Guido Jr at the helm of the Genoa-based shipyard, which was founded in 2007 by her father, industrialist Guido Orsi, who formerly owned Baglietto. After studying Economics of Art, Culture and Communication at Bocconi University in Milan, Eva earned a master’s degree from IULM University in Milan, specialising in the promotion of Made in Italy. After stints with fashion brands Loro Piana and Ralph Lauren in 2007, she worked in the design and art sectors for a decade before joining the family business.