A retro appearance and modern amenities proved an elusive combination for Edward Walson during the five years that it took him to find his dream boat. “I’d looked at top American brands like Hinckley and Italian names like Riva and Pershing,” says Walson, a cable television entrepreneur from Pennsylvania. “But they really didn’t have what I was looking for.” Another Italian brand did, but only recently.
At last year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Walson took delivery of the new Mochi Craft 51 Dolphin, the brand’s first design since being acquired by the Ferretti Group, the Italian boatbuilding consortium.
“It’s a gorgeous piece of art in its own right,” Walson says of the Dolphin. “The best way to describe it is that it has traditional American lobster boat styling with plenty of Italian flair.”
That flair comes from designer Brunello Acampora, head of Victory Design, a naval architecture firm in Naples. “This is not a classic lobster boat in the conventional sense,” says Acampora, stating what would be obvious to anyone viewing the Dolphin’s transom garage for the tender, its foldout sun lounge, the foldaway doors and sliding sunroof that open the cabin to the outdoors, the leather dashboard on the helm, and the flawless teak and oak joinery throughout the three-stateroom cabin. “There are many great engineering aspects beyond the styling,” says Walson, who confirmed during a shakedown cruise from Florida to the Bahamas that the Dolphin handles well in rough water and reaches a top velocity of 40 mph.
With a fleet that includes Riva, Pershing, CRN, Ferretti Yachts, and Custom Line, the Ferretti Group produces some of the most stylized boats on the water, but the Mochi Craft brand is a significant addition to the collection. Once Ferretti’s leading rival in the flybridge motor yacht market, Mochi was on the decline when Ferretti acquired it in 2001. “Most people would be happy to get rid of a competitor,” says Ferretti USA CEO Bob Fritsky. “But Norberto [Ferretti, chairman of the Ferretti Group] respected the Mochi name and wanted to keep it alive.”
Ferretti followed the introduction of the 51 Dolphin last year with the European launch of the Mochi 72 Dolphin, which will make its North American debut this year. Like the Mochi boats of old, the 72 has a flybridge, but it also was designed with the same New England– style curved sheer and curved tumblehome as the 51. “[The 72] is a completely different boat,” says Acampora. “But you can’t miss the fact that it’s a Dolphin.”