It should probably come as no surprise that a major philosophical design element behind the new Italia 14.98 is simply beauty. “The boat was designed around the concept of being…an elegant boat, going fast through the water,” says designer Maurizio Cossutti. “We’re seeing some of our competitors going in the direction of upsizing boats—wide boats, heavier boats.”
This can’t be said of the 14.98. In both of its versions—the cruising Bellissima or the racing-oriented Fuoriserie—a certain greyhound leanness defines its profile, with a fine entry, a nearly flat sheer that helps create the impression of relatively low freeboard, and a smooth run aft that ends in a lovely, soft lift to the saucer-shaped, vertical transom. Besides being just plain pretty (OK, pretty sexy), the fine entry forward helps minimize slamming in a headsea, and the comparatively narrow stern sections mean less drag and more speed.
The build is a blend of fiberglass, carbon, and PVC core, aiming for a strong structure with minimal flex. The deck is laid inside the hull, bonded and laminated together, forming one monolithic structure. Hull and deck are vacuum-infused vinylester with PVC densities depending on location, says Erik Haaland, sales director of David Walters Yachts, the North American dealer of Italia. Load and through-hull areas are solid GRP (fiberglass).
“The structural grid is a mixture of GRP and carbon fiber and produced as a separate element that is bonded and tabbed into the hull, ring frames, and stringers,” Haaland says. “There are ring frames at the bulkheads and longitudinal stringers in the hull that are 100% carbon fiber. These are tied into all structures on the boat, so all hull and rigging loads are connected together and to the keel. Bulkheads are fully tabbed into the hull and structure.”
There are two cockpit and deck layouts. In the cruising Bellissima version, all lines lead aft beneath the deck to emerge through a bank of organizers and jammers in front of two primary winches adjacent to one another on each coaming and within close reach of reach of the two helms, enabling shorthanded or singlehanded sailing. The mainsheet moves through a single block on the floor of the cockpit; the self-tacking jib operates on an athwartships cabintop track forward.
The Fuoriserie version sports six winches—two up in the pit, two mid-cockpit, and two aft—and lines, still led beneath the deck, exiting to accommodate each winch position. The mainsheet is controlled via a beefy full-length traveler on the cockpit sole; the jib is handled on two relatively short tracks inset and forward on the cabintop, allowing for close sheeting angles.
It’s worth noting that owners can have it both ways; for instance, the boat in this walkthrough video is a Bellissima version with a teak cockpit and luxury interior, but with the Fuoriserie deck layout and rig for racing.
Both boats have twin helms controlling a single rudder, and both enjoy the ample drop-down swim platform.
Both boats have keel-stepped masts that stretch to 70 feet; the cruising version is a three-spreader aluminum, while Axxon Composites built the carbon version on which racers can use a square-top mainsail to increase sail area. Rod rigging is standard with the option for EC3 carbon rigging. Forward, the furler is recessed just behind the integral bowsprit, which is 6 feet long on the racing version and 3 feet 3 inches on the cruising model.
Under the boat, the standard keel shape is a T with a lead bulb, but owners can also opt for a shoal draft L-shaped keel. Depths range from 9 feet 6 inches for the standard racing keel to 6 feet 5 inches for the L-shaped shoal draft.
If she’s elegant on deck, the 14.98 takes it to another level down below. The warm yet stylish vibe comes from interior designer Mirko Arbore, featured in Forbes in 2019 as, “the coolest Italian designer you’ve never heard of.” Recessed lighting is dominant throughout, much of it behind a series of thin slats along the interior sides, which draw the eye forward and harken to Arbore’s use of screens in his designs that grace palaces in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and elsewhere. Textures are subtly mingled; the Forbes story best describes the overall impression of Arbore’s “particular brand of spectacular, yet sleekly understated style.”
Functionally, the layout is rather traditional, with a nav station and chart table to port, L-shaped galley to starboard, C-shaped dining area and settee opposite. Two nice-sized cabins aft share a head in the main salon, while the master suite forward, with a centerline double, has a luxuriously appointed ensuite head.
We haven’t sailed this boat yet; that’s soon to come, so stay tuned.
LOA 53’ 6” (racing) 51’ (cruising)
LWL 43’ 2”
Beam 14’ 3”
Draft 8’ 3” (standard) 9’ 10” (race), L-shape 6’ 5” or 7’ 5”
Displacement 22,002 lbs
Sail Area 1,432 sq ft (main and jib), asymmetrical sail area 2,238 sq ft
Engine: Volvo Penta D2-60 with saildrive, optional D2-75 with saildrive.