Never change a winning hull

corsair sonny levi

LIKE MANY BEAUTIFUL STORIES, the one of the Italian brand Levi Boats began over a good glass of wine. Two friends met around a table. They were Antonello Villa and Martin Levi, son of the historic designer Renato “Sonny” Levi, who designed legendary boats such as the Corsair, A’ Speranziella, and the G50 owned by Gianni Agnelli.

Levi Boats

During their encounter, the two friends came to a conclusion: the hulls designed by Sonny Levi were still highly appreciated in the yachting panorama and would be so for a long time. So, what about combining them with contemporary engines and drive systems? Originally a dream, a suggestion, Levi Boats quickly became a reality. Between 1999 and 2000, the first dream which came true was the Corsair, a boat manufactured first in England by Viking Marine and then built in Italy, first in Versilia and then by the masters master shipwrights and craftsmen of the Cantiere Nautico Portegrandi of Gilberto Crosera.

Corsair by Levi Boats

Featuring a partially renovated style and propulsion, the Corsair became one of the very few boats in the world to be still in production without substantial alterations since 1963. We are talking about a boat that masterfully combines elegance, extraordinary seaworthiness, and exciting performance. It is not a coincidence that Sonny Levi designed motorboats for the Aga Khan, for the Shah of Persia as well as a record-breaking boat for the British tycoon Richard Branson. The story of Levi Boats therefore begun in Venice with the Corsair Classic, combining the original projects of Sonny Levi and very limited use of computerized designs. A small makeover and a new engine allow the great classic to return, ready to make other boaters fall in love. A boat that has always been highly appreciated and sought after, especially in the United Kingdom.

le immortali lorenzo argento Sonny Levi

Levi Ribs

Moreover, in order to open up to contemporary yachting trends, the company also launched a LeviRibs range with a completely new RIB fitted with a hull designed by Levi Designs: it is called PMP 8punto5 and is the result of over 60 years of experience in the design of high-performance racing and recreational boats. The hull is by Levi Designs while the structural design is by Olivari Engineering, with exterior design and project management by PMP Design. The Corsair Classic is the model which most of all represents the continuity with the past.

RIB Sonny Levi
Foto di Andrea Muscatello

But there is more. With Pasquale Mario Passalacqua (PMP Design) a new chapter has been inaugurated: the Corsair Sport. A sportier design, as the name suggests, and a line reminiscent of Gianni Agnelli’s G50 are the key elements of this boat. Like the G50, the exterior lines are inspired by offshore models, as shown by the central console. Below deck, however, there is room for a cabin with a double bed and separate bathroom. The first unit is currently under construction, but already has all the credentials to be a worthy heir of the “Levi” dynasty. Legend has it that the G50 was considered as the “perfect boat” by Gianni Agnelli.

Levi boats corsair sport PMP Design
Corsair Classic (sinistra) e Corsair Sport (destra)

Renato “Sonny” Levi

Renato “Sonny” Levi (1926-2016) was born in Karachi, India, where the family had been running a shipbuilding business under the Afco brand since the 1920s. He then studied aeronautical engineering and worked in the shipyard with his father. The turning point? In 1950, when he met Attilio Petroni, of Navaltecnica di Anzio, with whom he built “A’ Speranziella”, a 40-knot motorboat (which were many for the time) and with whom in 1963 he won a super classic offshore boat: the Cowes-Torquay in England. In 60 years of activity, he has designed more than 1,500 boats and his hulls have represented the sports boat par excellence of entire generations of yachtsmen.

Gregorio Ferrari



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