DELTA 23 “Cristina”

DELTA 23 “Cristina”

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There are boats and then there are boats! Mike went to the Southampton Boatshow in 2010 to view the current cabin style ribs in particular the Zodiac hoping that in a few years time after depreciation he might be looking to buy a good 2nd hand example…..in Mikes own words this is what happened next.

"I found many of the boats completely souless, including the Zodiac… then I saw the Levi Corsair in all its glory with its massive price tag! So I researched Levi, managed to buy both of his books (expensive, but still available in English from Italy) found the web site ‘Altomareblu’, and chatted to James. He mentioned the Delta 24 (as he called it back then) and I flew to Italy to view the boat, James collected me from the airport and I went to view the boat. I decided on that trip that the boat was needing too much work and maybe not as good condition as I wanted… I kept looking and also liked a Levi Parteno craft synthesis, a lovely boat and good value, but this sold before I could view. In the end I decided it would be nice to own a boat that I could tow and would make an interesting project. Money changed hands and two weeks before Christmas I decided to go to Italy to collect the boat. I needed a trailer quickly, ordered one on the Monday picked it up on the Thursday and drove to Italy on the Friday! Arrived in Latina Sunday evening, loaded the boat by lunchtime Monday and caught the ferry back to the UK on Wednesday morning, 2600 miles in total, an interesting drive!
The boat is currently in my garden and I need another frost to be able to bring it back to the front of the house as I have decided that I need to sub out some of the work in order for the project to be completed"!

Mike Collins

Refurbishment of Delta 23 "Cristina"

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Renato (Sonny) Levi.

Renato Levi, known to all as Sonny, was born in Karachi, India in 1926.
His father ran a shipyard in Bombay(now Mumbai), so Sonny naturally took an
early interest in boats & ships.

Sonny became an apprentice in his fathers shipyard in Bombay, but with the coming of World War 2, he joined the RAF, becoming a Pilot Officer. No doubt his interest not only in boats but also aircraft was heightened by this part of his life.

Sonny became primarily interested in marine design, especially in relation to smaller, fast craft, and the ability of such craft to withstand the varieties of sea conditions often encountered. He designed craft for his fathers yard during the 1950’s, but moved to Italy in 1960. In Italy, Sonny managed Cantiere Navaltecnica (Canav), in Anzio.

No one of a certain age can forget “A’Speranziella”, built by Canav to Sonny’s design for the 1961 Cowes-Torquay Race. She finished sixth, after experiencing mechanical problems, but had led the race for a considerable distance, dueling with the eventual winner “Thunderbolt”.

After partially re-building the boat in light of the experiences of 1961, success dawned with a win in the 1962 Viareggio-Bastia Race. Further developments resulted in great success with “A’Speranziella” winning the 1963 Cowes-Torquay Race.

Sonny became a world renowned designer of fast craft largely as a result of these successes, and the many fast craft he designed culminated in the 1965 launch of
“Surfury”, often thought of as one of Sonny’s most memorable designs. This boat
made a name for herself, winning Cowes-Torquay in 1967. “Surfury” was the first of Sonny’s much lauded Delta designs.

This success brought more commissions, and Levi designs were sought world wide,
where fast sea-going boats were needed.

In the 1980’s, Richard Branson commissioned Sonny to design “Virgin Atlantic
Challenger II”, which was successful in recording the then fastest trans-Atlantic crossing, despite contaminated fuel issues en route. This famous boat was certainly a fabulous marker in Sonny’s career. “VAC II” not only had its design by Sonny, but also the Levi Drive system too.

Developments in high speed propeller and drive systems have been part of Sonny’s
great contribution to fast boat development over the last forty or more years.

Martin Napier

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