January 31st 2013. By Diane Byrne.

Chopi Chopi: The Largest CRN Megayacht Yet

A megayacht launch is always an exciting time, and as CRN proved with its launch of Chopi Chopi, the Italians really know how to put on a show.

On average, the christening and launch of a mega-yacht is attended by lots of people. The launch of CRN’s Chopi Chopi, though, was different. There weren’t just a lot of people, there were thousands. Three thousand, to be exact. The craftspeople who did everything from weld her steel hull to install her bridge equipment, their families, the owner and his family, and chief representatives from CRN were all there. So, too, were the mayor of CRN’s home city of Ancona, Italy, and the Chinese ambassador to Italy (CRN’s parent company, the Ferretti Group, is majority-owned by a Chinese firm). Why? Chopi Chopi is the largest megayacht ever launched by CRN.

Measuring 262 feet, Chopi Chopi exceeds CRN’s previous largest build, Azteca, by nearly 20 feet. Here, she’s positioned on the slipway, still secured by brace-like structures along her hull bottom. Other quick facts to put this six-deck yacht into perspective: beam is 44’3”, and about 80 people per day on average have worked on her for more than two years.

Because Chopi Chopi is the first CRN launch under its new ownership, the Ferretti Group chairman, Tan Xuguang, at left (with Ferruccio Rossi, Ferretti Group CEO) flew in from China to participate in the celebrations. At a pre-launch press conference, Xuguang said, “Today is a very special day. We are very emotional today.”

As if a mega-yacht launch isn’t already a festive occasion, Chopi Chopi’s celebration included a marching band, cheerleaders, and plenty of balloons for all the children. There were so many people that the crowd was easily 10 people deep in some spots. No matter if they couldn’t see the performers in full; the colorful pom poms were visible in the air.

The giant structure at left is Chopi Chopi’s bulbous bow. It was the can’t-miss target for the bottle of champagne, looking ever so small in comparison at right, used to christen the yacht. This being CRN, the bottle wasn’t simply broken; its release was followed by the stirring sounds of famous arias pouring from loudspeakers all along the launch site.

For the christening, several members of the owner’s family gathered atop a staircase positioned opposite Chopi Chopi’s immense bow. To the left on that platform, in profile, is CRN’s chairman and CEO, Lamberto Tacoli. He, along with a few helpful hands of the younger members of the owner’s family, let the champagne bottle fly.

And there she goes! Just as quickly as her final brace was released, Chopi Chopi slid down the ways and gently into the water. Because of the breakwater you can see in the background, CRN keeps a few lines still tied to its yachts as they enter the basin. Craftspeople stationed aboard the yacht for the launch then toss other lines to a waiting tugboat, which slowly takes her to her finishing dock.

As soon as Chopi Chopi began turning more in profile as the tug had her under tow, many of the owner’s party and other invited guests couldn’t help but run down the dock to get a closer look. Here, you can appreciate the subtle tonal difference between her hull and superstructure, and her overall long, somewhat curved lines. Chopi Chopi’s styling is by Zuccon International Project.

The three panes of smoked glass you see just below and to the right of Chopi Chopi’s nameboard will let the owner and guests enjoy better views from the dining room, come delivery this spring. The room is flanked by sliding doors, making those smoked panes feel as if the dining area extends fully out to them.

The party was just getting started when Chopi Chopi tasted salt water for the first time. Five hundred guests were invited inside CRN’s shed for lunch, with tables and decorations set up amid two nearly-complete yacht projects. Guests enjoyed samplings from the cuisines of the Adriatic Coast of Italy, where Ancona is located, and Lebanon, where the owner resides.

What party would be complete without cake? Note the rendering of Chopi Chopi atop the portion facing Lamberto Tacoli and the owner’s family. And yes, “portion” is correct—everything rimmed by the ribbon, not just that center section, is cake. Several desserts, again Italian and Lebanese specialties, were available for sampling, too.

To really get a sense of how large Chopi Chopi is, note the craftsman forward on this upper deck. While you might assume it's the level that the mega-yacht's wheelhouse is on, it's not. This is the owner's deck, one level up from the pilothouse. It includes private relaxation areas both inside and outside.

As it has for most of its projects, CRN collaborated with Studio Zuccon International Project for styling and naval architecture. Gianni Zuccon, head of the design firm, says Chopi Chopi "represents an important moment" for his team and "uses a beautiful language that is not aggressive." He adds, "It becomes more and more complex from the bottom to the top."

Laura Sessa Romboli, Chopi Chopi's interior designer, echoes Zuccon's descriptions of the yacht. "Chopi Chopi is not excessive. It's a yacht that I believe will be beautiful for a long time, not just internally but externally, and because of the family who worked with me to translate all their wishes and requirements."

The launch of Chopi Chopi may represent that work on the project is almost complete, but really, some tasks are just beginning. This includes sea trials. The 1,700-ton-displacement mega-yacht is expected to top out at 16 knots at half load, and cruise at 15 knots. With speed dialed down to 12 knots, Chopi Chopi should see a 6,000-nautical-mile range.

Specifications: LOA: 262’0” Beam: 44’3” Draft: 10’8” Displacement: 1,700 tons Fuel capacity: 66,043 gallons

Chopi Chopi should be delivered by May, in time for the owner and his extensive family to enjoy the key summer cruising season. They’ll have several special areas and features at their disposal. All guests staterooms, for example, are on the main deck, rather than below deck. A sauna and massage room are just down a passageway from the tender garage/beach club. As for the owner, he and his wife have an entire upper deck to themselves, complete with a TV room separate from the bedroom—not to mention a private alfresco area and private access to the touch-and-go helipad.

For more information, contact CRN.



Diane Byrne
Diane M. Byrne is the founder and editor of the website Megayacht News. A longtime yachting writer, she contributes to Super Yacht World, Superyacht Business, Boat Exclusive, and other magazines. She is additionally a member of the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors and a founding member of the U.S. Superyacht Association.