Can one man’s dream make a destination?

Near Genoa, Portofino is a beautiful fishing village and upmarket resort famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity visitors. With visually stunning, underwater attractions like the statue of ‘Christ of the Abyss’, it is a popular destination for diving enthusiasts and a regular stop off on the superyacht circuit. The resort is so pretty it has even been recreated by Disney around the harbour at Tokyo DisneySea in Chiba, Japan!

Everyone has dreams, and in the superyacht industry some might say there are occasional delusions of grandeur. In an arena where grandeur is definitely encouraged I don’t see a problem with this.

Giovanni Copello, owner of Yacht Club Portofino is one such man with a grand dream, whose hard work and commitment has paid off, proving however ‘off the cuff’ his ideas were, he is definitely not delusional!

Five years in the making, Giovanni’s dream was to turn Pitosforo, the oldest and he says, most beautiful club in Portofino, Italy in to a yacht club with a difference. Combining the usual members only VIP lounge areas for captains and owners to relax and do business in, with the services of a yacht agency. But wait, there is more…

Going against the grain Giovanni also wanted to make his precious club available to everyone, while still providing a haven for his luxury yacht clients.

Talking to Yachting Pages, Giovanni said, “My dream was to open the best yacht club in Italy and for everyone to be able to share in my dream. By day the club is open to yacht members only, giving captains, owners and crew a space to relax and enjoy themselves, we have inside and outside seating areas facing the harbour, a bar stocked with the finest drinks and the fastest WiFi in Portofino. Non-members can visit as long as they are invited, and pay a small fee of course. By night the club is open to all, adding to the evening offer in the area and making Portofino ‘the destination’ to go to outside Genoa itself.”

Giovanni went on to mention, “There is still an exclusive members only area to make sure my regular yachting visitors can enjoy the same benefits whatever time they visit, and I have a series of private rooms that captains and owners can book, but the rest of the club is open to everyone and has already become a ‘go to’ venue for celebrities, tourists and locals alike.”

It is important to Giovanni that other established businesses in the area support his venture and he has spent many hours talking to restaurants along the harbour. “I wanted to compliment other businesses and provide something new, not take custom from my friends”, the entrepreneurial Yachting expert explained. “Therefore I provide top quality light bites at my establishment and encourage customers to eat their main meal at one of the excellent local restaurants. This partnership with the local eateries is working very well.”

This success story doesn’t end here, and in honour of Giovanni’s unstoppable enthusiasm and entrepreneurial mind set, his first customer, the sailing yacht Ohana provided him with an excellent opportunity. Not one to sit back and wait for his business to thrive, Giovanni spoke with the captain and owner of the 60 metre superyacht and quickly spotted a mutually beneficial idea.

The Ohana was going to be put out for charter and needed to make an impact on the luxury yacht scene; Yacht Club Portofino needed exposure on the same stage. A partnership was born and in just a couple of weeks S/Y Ohana will be entering the St. Barthes regatta in the Caribbean, followed by the Loropiana regatta three months later back in Italy. The yacht is fully sponsored by Yacht Club Portofino and a number of co-sponsors, which Giovanni was quick to engage. Yachting Pages and the Superyacht Owners’ Guide join brands such as Kappa and Cabestan in supporting the enterprising partnership and whose logos can be found on the really rather fetching team shirts.

Portofino is already known as a luxury destination on the Italian Riviera, and with the exposure the superyacht regattas will certainly bring, it is building its reputation throughout the superyacht community. It seems one mans dream can ‘make’ a destination.

For more details about Yacht Club Portofino please contact Giovanni 


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