Yachts talks to Nauta Yachts’ Mario Pedol and owner Pier Luigi Loro Piana about the top-to-bottom refit of M/Y Masquenada.


When experienced sailor Pier Luigi Loro Piana started to plan a round-the-world trip, it became clear that he was going to need something more substantial than a sailing yacht. We caught up with the adventurous seaman along with legendary yacht designer Mario Pedol, to see how the pair went about converting the 51-metre M/Y Masquenada into a proper explorer.

YME: Pier, a sailing yacht wasn’t practical to travel the oceans?

PLLP: No, I decided to go for a big, beautiful motor yacht of around 50-60 metres in length, capable of accommodating around 10-12 guests for exploring the world in safety and comfort.

YME: How important was LOA and draught?

PLLP: The size of the yacht was critical: any bigger and I wouldn’t be able to access the small, secluded bays I was used to visiting with my sailing yachts.

Total transformation: Masquenada’s aft deck once housed the tenders, water toys, and a davit. Now it’s an area of total rest and relaxation.
YME: A new build wasn’t an option?

PLLP: Any new build, sail or power would have taken at least three years and after one year from the loss of my beloved My Song I started thinking I didn’t want to wait that long, so the hunt began for a suitable candidate for refitting.

YME: Mario, what were your initial thoughts on the project?

MP: “I recalled a vessel called Aspire [originally Etra] I had visited a few years before, that I thought could fit the bill. Solidly built with ocean-going range, her almost 600GT volume and 51-metre length suited Pier’s plans to tour the world with his family.

I decided to go for a big, beautiful motor yacht of around 50-60 metres in length.
YME: The deal was quickly done?

MP: With Nauta acting as the buyer’s broker, a deal was struck and Aspire arrived in Italy in September 2020. Time was short and we wanted to get works off the ground so we chose Lusben, Azimut-Benetti’s refit branch, for this top-to-bottom refit that required redesigning the vessel both inside and out.

YME: A huge undertaking?

MP: The crane hangar required cutting off the stern section and adding a completely new aft block. Naval architect Francesco Rogantin was engaged to reconfigure the underwater lines and we like to think the new transom looks more like a sailing yacht than a Motoryacht.

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YME: How about the interior?

MP: The main salon was transformed with the installation of a 2-metre wide door to enhance the connection with the open aft deck. The starboard access to the engine room is also new, as are the ventilation trunks with integrated chaise lounge.

YME: Pier, you must be delighted with the refit?

PLLP: Masquenda is a very versatile yacht and I am definitely very happy with the final outcome. All the design team worked very well – Nauta, Misa and Rogantin – and my life on board with my family and friends last summer was just what I had envisaged when we started out on this adventure!