Yachting News » Business » Italian and French Yachting Companies Offer COVID-19 Support

Italian and French Yachting Companies Offer COVID-19 Support

OnboardOnline reports about individuals working in the yachting sector in Italy and France who are helping to combat the effects of COVID-19 by offering help to those who need it most.


Superfici, a La Spezia-based studio who make 3D yacht models for naval architects have been part of a collaborative project to 3D print valves to convert snorkelling masks into non-invasive emergency ventilators.

The project was launched by Isinnova, a company located in Brescia, a city in the northern region of Lombardy – one of the areas hardest hit by the virus. 

Isinnova asked voluntary makers in Italy including Superfici to set to work with fast-track production, because the manufacturing company could not guarantee a short delivery due to high demand. 

The first 3D-printed valves were Venturi valves, named after the 18th-century Italian physicist Giovanni Battista Venturi, followed by Charlotte valves.  The prototypes were tested at Chiari Hospital in the Brescia province, connected to the ventilator body, and tests found to be successful. 

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The 3D-printed C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure) emergency masks are in use in 10 Italian hospitals. For some patients, this assistance is enough to avoid critical care.

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Through its Instagram campaign, “A Wave of Caring”, the Ferretti Group is pledging their support to COVID-19 community efforts.  All brands in their portfolio, including Riva, Pershing, CRN Yachts, Wally, Custom Line are involved. 

The Group has donated protective masks and medical supplies to hospitals in eleven cities where it maintains facilities, as well as encouraging donations via fundraising links to Italian hospitals impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Azimut Benetti Group, which includes the brands Azimut Yachts and Benetti, is taking an active contribution by donating kits of personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals, municipalities, voluntary associations, police officers, port authorities and other local entities in Piedmont, Liguria, Tuscany and Marche.


Groupe Beneteau, which has had their production facilities impacted due to COVID-19, has donated supplies to local hospitals in France.  Its subsidiary SPBI donated 1000 masks and 100 litres of hydroalcoholic gel to the Hospital Centre Departmental Vendée (CHD Vendée). In Bordeaux, Construction Navale Bordeaux donated 900 protective masks to the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Bordeaux (CHU de Bordeaux).

In southern France, La Ciotat Shipyards announced this month that they started a collaboration with the companies ID Yachting (“L’Atelier d’Isabelle”) and Tilcara, both of whom have facilities within the yards, in order to produce protective face masks for non-medical personnel in accordance with AFNOR SPEC reference S76-001: 2020.

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Both companies specialise in the interior fit-out of superyachts and are highly experienced in working with fabrics and textiles.

Jean-Yves Saussol, CEO of La Ciotat Shipyards, commented in their press release that; “La Ciotat Shipyards is eager to contribute to the national effort by responding to the call for proposals launched by the government which encourages the local production of masks intended for non-sanitary and business use. In this difficult period, the fact that ID Yachting and Tilcara immediately responded to the call and joined their efforts with ours is a sign of hope. I am deeply grateful for that.”

OnboardOnline contributor Rebecca Whitlocke is reporting from Antibes about regional relief efforts to safeguard the health of the French Riviera community.

A Facebook group ‘Makers contre le COVID d’Antibes’ was created by Ben Grira who works at the Antibes Town Hall to help address the shortage of PPE supplies in France.  Through this initiative, the group has been 3D printing and supplying free protective face visors, as well as distributing PPE items such as gloves to frontline workers.

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Rebecca says, “I quickly volunteered to help so they could launch appeals using my media network and yachting connections for much-needed donations of PPE gear, as well as materials for 3D printing.”

So far, around 2000 protective face visors and PPE supplies have been distributed by the group to hospitals in Antibes and Cannes, firefighting crew, municipal police, diagnostic labs, pharmacists, dentists, physiotherapists and private care homes.  

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“At the heart of yachting, there is a feeling of resilience and it’s great to see positive responses from the superyacht community.  Although many companies have ceased ‘normal’ operations, they have heeded the call to get involved,” Rebecca states. 

“As a society we need to show solidarity together, because these small actions can have huge significance. I'll continue to be the contact point for as long as necessary for any yachting companies based from Saint-Tropez to Antibes who would like to help out.” 

Rebecca's contact email: antibesyachting06@gmail.com

Photo credits:  Superfici S.c.r.l. / Isinnova / ID Yachting and Tilcara / Makers contre le COVID d’Antibes

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