Aetea Is a Rare Vintage Beauty Built by One of the World’s Oldest Shipyards

The 1981 Aetea is a beautiful classic-style yacht with modern amenities 16 photos
Photo: Barnes Yachting
One of the best things about the contemporary luxury yacht market is its phenomenal diversity. As long as you have enough millions to spare, you can go for anything from wooden sailing yachts and vintage motor yachts to the fanciest new arrivals packed with the latest tech. The Italian Aetea is a wonderful choice for vintage lovers and true yachting connoisseurs.
Aetea is a rare gem in the world of luxury pleasure craft. It's not that old when compared to classic yachts, but it's the model that paved the way for Picchiotti's modern yacht era. This famous Italian builder, one of the oldest in the world, is no longer making boats on its own. The brand is currently part of the Italian Sea Group. Aetea is, therefore, one of the few modern Picchiotti yachts still in operation and a fine example of the yard's priceless heritage.

Aetea came to life in 1981 and has been successfully operating for more than four decades. The elegant silhouette that creates the illusion of fluidity is just under 41 meters (133 feet), proudly flaunting a dark navy steel hull and a contrasting bright-white superstructure made of aluminum. It was designed by Arthur de Fever and refitted by Navinco a decade ago.

Currently sitting in Greece with a UK flag, this vintage masterpiece from the early '80s is not at all outdated. On the contrary, Aetea displays a harmonious mix of classic style elements and contemporary amenities for high-standard comfort. Speaking of balance, it also offers a one-to-one passenger-crew ratio, with generous accommodation for ten guests and ten crew members.

Photo: Barnes Yachting
The five-cabin configuration includes a master suite with a classic forward placement on the main deck. It reveals a luxurious double bed, a lounge area with a desk, and a spacious dressing room. A luxurious perk is that one of the two en-suite bathrooms comes with a relaxing sauna. The other guest cabins are all twins with en-suite bathrooms.

Aetea's main salon feels bright and airy despite the heavy furniture, one of the main characteristics of classic yachts. It includes a spacious lounge area with various seating options and an informal dining area with a circular glass table and calming views of the sea. This area on board is the one that best reflects Aetea's spirit. It's totally different than today's ultra-minimalistic spaces that can feel cold and impersonal. This vintage salon is full of life and memories and doesn't try to hide the fact that it's lived in.

Just like old colonial mansions, it showcases the owner's travels and personal memories through unique and colorful souvenirs, works of art, and pieces of furniture, such as the worn-out chests used as coffee tables. All sorts of works of art and ethnic decorations are scattered throughout, including each of the cabins, which creates a lovely, warm, and homely ambiance. Aetea truly feels like a home away from home and one that is worth exploring, like a museum.

Photo: Barnes Yachting
But this vintage gem is also comfortable enough for today's standards. It boasts generous areas for sunbathing and dining in the open air and also has a jacuzzi. During its latest upgrades, it was also fitted with modern navigation and communication systems, audio-visual entertainment systems for the guests, and several water toys.

Performance-wise, the 42-year-old Aetea is equipped for extensive cruising and can handle even rough sea and weather conditions. Powered by twin MTU engines, it can cover up to 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km) at an economical speed or hit the waves as fast as 14 knots (26 kph).

Aetea marked Picchiotti's debut in the world of superyacht builders at the beginning of the 1980s, which continued with builds such as the 1988 T.M. Blue One and MaRo. Perhaps the most famous Picchiotti yacht ever built is the 340-foot (103.9 meters) Al Said, currently renamed Loaloat al Behar. For decades, this 1982 model was the largest yacht built in Italy. It was owned by the Emir of Oman, which is why it became so famous. After a 2009 refit, it operated as a charter yacht in the Middle East.

Photo: Barnes Yachting
But Picchiotti isn't only linked to the largest yacht ever built in Italy. Back in 1902, it launched the first leisure yacht ever built in Italy, the L'Espresso motor yacht. Other famous projects included the 1905 gentleman yacht Espero and the smaller lake boat Liu, built for Giacomo Puccini.

After the shipyard was acquired by the Perini Navi Group in the early 1990s, the shipyard would go on to launch the acclaimed Vitruvius Explorer Series, which included the famous Exuma (renamed Falco Moscata) and Grace E (today known as Nautilus). The year 2021 marked another turning point in the historic yard's destiny.

Photo: Barnes Yachting
The Italian Sea Group acquired Perini Navi and Picchiotti and is now gearing up for the launch of a new line of Picchiotti yachts. They will be designed by the world-famous Luca Dini and revive the glamour of classic American cruisers from the '60s, which is why the new line is called The Gentleman.

Until these contemporary Gentleman yachts hit the shoreline, vintage gems like Aetea remain the finest expression of the unique Picchiotti heritage.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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