Yesterday Renato Sonny Levi was given the Honorary Master Degree in Yacht Design by the University of Genoa on board Duilio (D554) moored in La Spezia.
Renato Levi, born in Karachi in 1926, inherited his passion from his father, an interior designer and manufacturer and enthusiastic yachtsman who worked as the Government’s boat builder in Bombay. Since young age, Renato has been designing boats. He joined the RAF and studied aircraft design in England. Back in Bombay, he was chief designer in his father’s drawing office by 1950. He moved to Italy ten years later to work for Navaltecnica in Anzio.
Known worldwide with the nickname Sonny, he is considered one of the founders of the modern motor yacht industry. During his long and fruitful career, he invented many innovations in the nautical industry and in naval design. Among the most remarkable: the deep V planing hulls, the Delta Configuration hulls and also propulsion systems with surface transmission and supercavitating hydrofoils, combining his Step Drive concept with conventional Z drive. Concerning the design, his projects have always been considered elegant, functional and innovative.
Sixty years after his first projects, his contribution can be considered an important reference by which all the nautical sector is always inspired for innovation and design. His activity in divulgation as well has been very important, with his books “Dhows to Deltas” and “Milestones in My Design”, and many papers published in the most important reviews of the sector.
The ceremony, which included a lectio magistralis by Renato Levi himself, also marked the beginning of the courses in Yacht Design in La Spezia.
To celebrate the pioneer of the nautical industry, the University of Genoa and the La Spezia Foundation Promostudi, with the support of Ucina, Altomareblu and Levi Boats, have organized an exhibition called “Renato ‘Sonny’ Levi, Milestones of Yacht Design”, which is taking place in the framework of the 56th Genoa Boat Show and which will be later moved to the Naval Technical Museum in La Spezia. The exhibition is part of “Ytem – The masters of the Italian nautical industry” and was curated by Giacomo Gori and Massimo Musio-Sale.
Technical drawings and original documents of Levi’s, as well as graphic layouts designed by the students of the master degree course in Naval and Nautical Design in La Spezia and half-hulls created thanks to 3d print will be on display at the exhibition. A floating part of the exhibition will showcase some of the yachts designed by Renato Levi, among which: Delta 38, Drago V4000, and the G.Cinquanta.