Italian yacht builder International Shipyards Ancona, or ISA as it's more commonly known, recently opened an office in Fort Lauderdale to serve as its North American operations.
The 12-year-old company specializes in the design, construction and refit of luxury motor yachts 78 feet to 295 feet (24-90 meters) in length, made of steel, aluminum or fiberglass, according to information on its website isayachts.com.
"I have a strong personal connection to the U.S. and have long been aware of the importance of the American market for our yachts," said ISA President of Sales and Marketing, Marcello Maggi at the Fort Lauderdale grand opening May 10.
Since 2001 when it started production on its first vessel, a 155-foot (47.5 meter) steel and aluminum yacht, ISA has built and delivered 28 yachts to affluent and discerning owners across the globe.
The yachts' price tags have ranged from 16 million to 56 million euros ($20.5 million to $72 million at today's exchange rate), ISA spokeswoman Francesca Fenucci said in an email.
ISA currently has five yachts under construction, including an ISA 66M that's expected to make its debut at the Monaco Yacht Show in September 2014, said Edward Sacks, ISA's president of North American operations.
"They are very busy, which is a unique and wonderful thing," said Sacks of ISA's yacht building operations.
The new ISA Fort Lauderdale office is located at 1850 SE 17th Street.
"It is clear by this move to have an operation in the United States that ISA recognizes the importance of the American buyer in the world market," said Kitty McGowan, executive director of the Fort Lauderdale-based U.S. Superyacht Association. "ISA's move to South Florida will only enhance the regions' prominence in the world superyacht market and will benefit all the businesses [here] and the industry as a whole."
Sacks said the Fort Lauderdale office became a reality after Maggi — a longtime friend — sought out his advice last year on the best way to approach the U.S. market as the company felt it was "ready for it."
In January Sacks visited the shipyard in Ancona, Italy, and "walked around with his jaw open for the first hour," he said, marveling at its yacht design and production processes.
ISA has a workforce of more than 100 employees and typically uses an average of 400 subcontractors at its shipyard in Ancona. More than nine boats can be built at there at the same time. Its engineering team of more than 30 people includes naval architects, mechanical engineers and interior designers.
"It's a real shipyard and unlike any other I'd ever seen," said Sacks, a former yacht owner with prior experience with yacht builders.
In 1986 another shipyard in Italy built a 157-foot CRN motor yacht called Azzura for Sacks. Today he's considering building another yacht, possibly with ISA.
(Source: Google News: The Sun Sentinel. View the original story here.)