Gianni Agnelli dies

Fiat boss and the man who brought the world Stealth and Extra Beat

Friday January 24th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: Italy
Gianni Agnelli, Fiat boss and maxi boat owner, died earlier today in his Turin villa. He was 81.

Agnelli was Chairman of Fiat for 30 years during which time the company his grandfather first started in 1899, acquired the other Italian sports car manufacturers Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati and Ferrari. Aside from manufacturing cars, the Ferrari Formula One team and the successful Juventus football club, Fiat is now involved in the aerospace, power and telecommunications businesses. Although currently going through corporate turmoil, the Fiat group accounts for nearly 5% of Italy's economy.

As a yachtsman Agnelli is best known for his maxis. The 116ft German Frers designed Extra Beat was the first of a new generation of 100+ft maxi yacht. Built in 1987 she was revolutionary in her day for her massive keel, for carrying six tons of water ballast and for her 160ft carbon rig - the biggest ever built at the time.

In the 1990s Agnelli had the sleek 93ft maxi Stealth built at Green Marine. This remarkable boat, like her owner, was hugely stylish - everything on board was black. Usually sailed by a rock star crew led by Ben Mennem and including the likes of Paul Standbridge, Stealth in 2001 was first boat to finish in the Rolex Fastnet Race and first round the island in the America's Cup Jubilee, during which Mr Agnelli resided on Sir Donald Gosling's superyacht Leander.

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