The new owners of Wider Yachts have big plans for the builder, including hybrid superyachts, 250-plus-foot custom designs and licensing its technology. The owners said the company will focus on developing new green-power technology so that it “becomes the laboratory for the boating industry.”
When Tilli Antonelli launched Wider in 2010, his goal was to create a new cruiser style. The company launched the Wider 42 in 2011, a boat with expandable decks that double the beam at anchor. That was followed by a 150-foot motoryacht a few years later; with its hybrid propulsion system, it was considered the quietest yacht in its size range. Wider has since launched a 32-foot cruiser and a 165-foot hybrid superyacht.
Following the acquisition of Wider last week by yachting industry veteran Marcello Maggi and two other investors, the company expects to move in a new direction that includes a greater focus on hybrid power, as well as new-model launches.
Maggi told Trade Only Today that Wider will release plans for a 180-foot yacht, built on spec. The company also has signed an agreement with Lloyd Werft for hybrid custom yachts larger than 250 feet that will be built in Bremerhaven, Germany.
Maggi, a former executive with the CRN and ISA superyacht brands in Italy, said Antonelli’s concept of a shape-shifting, hybrid-powered superyacht may have been ahead of its time. “That 150 was an obvious game-changer for the yachting sector, but 2012 might have been too early for the yachting world to understand where the market was headed,” he said “Wider set a standard for efficiency, comfort and quiet operation that nobody else has reached so far.”
With the advances in electric automobiles from Tesla and hybrids from other luxury automakers, Maggi believes there is a new mindset among the wealthy for hybrid vessels. “Times have changed, and people are now understanding a different way of boating with a more efficient way of fuel consumption and quiet operation,” he said.
“Many countries are also placing restrictions on noise and emissions,” he added. “In 2025, yachts with large diesels can’t cruise into the Norwegian fjords. That will happen in many pristine waters, but Wider is already ahead of the restrictions. Today, many people think it’s ridiculous to burn 550 gallons of diesel per day.”
The new Wider 180, Maggi said, can run on battery power for 30 hours with no engines or generators, and the batteries can be repowered in an hour. “We intend to demonstrate revolutionary ways to propel these boats,” Maggi said. “We’re working with new partners for many innovations. If we invest money, it will be on research and development. We would like to become a laboratory for the yachting industry.”
The plan is to take Wider public in the next three years and, as part of its revenues, to offer its technological solutions to other builders under licensing agreements.
The boats will continue to be built in Ancona, where many of Italy’s superyacht builders are concentrated. “We have two large sheds and can build four boats at the same time,” Maggi said. “We have the financial capabilities to build new superyachts on spec. But, of course, we will follow the ups and downs of the market with an appropriate production schedule.”
Maggi said the company’s two major shareholders, Zepter Group and Hopafi Holding Srl, came on board early about the concept of developing hybrid power for yachts. “They’ve been highly successful in other industries as innovators,” he said. “They developed a highly successful wind-farm company in Serbia, for instance. They understand that the earnings from our stock will go to develop a company focused on innovation and technology, and more than the production numbers of boats.”
Maggi, who has been based in Monaco for 20 years, will remain there to handle sales. He said a new Wider CEO, appointed from the existing management team in Ancona, will be announced soon. “We have an extremely good executive team,” Maggi said. “One of the keys to this acquisition was to have our existing staff grow with us.”
The new 180 Wider concept will be revealed during the fall boat show season, Maggi said, and construction will start soon after that.