Established in 1873, Benetti went a long way from building wooden boats to posting a €1 billion turnover in 2008. Stronger than ever, the Italian group is now on its way to expanding its reach into the 100-meter plus market, tightening its grasp on yachting.



Benetti's story starts with its foundation by Lorenzo Benetti in 1873 to manufacture local wooden boats. After WW2, the need for wooden boats had disappeared and the company started building steel, pleasure crafts. By the 1960s, it was creating some of the world's first superyachts.

Its strongest push came with the acquisition of the yard by Azimut in 1985, resulting in the Azimut Benetti group, which still exists to this day. Propelled by commercial successes and a cooperation with then unknown designer Stefano Righini, the group went on a buying spree. 

Amongst its purchases, the Gobbi shipyard, which manufactures its Atlantis range today, Fraser Yachts, the brokerage house, as well as Marina di Varazze and the Royal Yacht Club in Moscow. By 2008, the group built its way to a €1 billion turnover.



As the subprime crisis hit yachting, leaving many shipyards to shut down, the whole market, including Benetti, which was able to push through strongly nevertheless. Amongst yachts built in that period were Staluppi's 61-meter Diamonds are Forever and Nick Candy's 63-meter 11-11 amongst others.

By 2016, Azimut-Benetti's turnover had risen again to near €700 million, marking 3 years of consecutive growth. Throughout this time, Benetti's most visible products, 30 to 60-meter yachts remained highly attractive to charter clients, some of which started buying them again as the market picked up.

Whilst most visible through Benetti yachts in the mid-size range, the group's influence on yachting spread deeply throughout the market in different spaces. Azimut, a leader in the construction of yachts of up to 30 meters, has become a reference in the space, acting as a gateway drug to the group's yachts.



Through its full ownership of Fraser Yachts since October 2017, the group controls Fraser Yachts, a brokerage firm also active in yacht management and crewing. By extension this provides the group with first-party data on client behaviour as well as deeper insights into yachting, knowing first hand how other competing shipyards perform.

"This recent acquisition is part of the strategic plan of our group to offer superyacht owners not only the most beautiful yachts, but also the utmost service" commented Azimut-Benetti's president, Paolo Vitelli, when the group bought out V.Ships' minority stake in Fraser in 2017.

 
Skewing towards small to mid-size yachts of up to 60-meters, the Azimut-Benetti group had grown its position in the sector to the point of building the most meters out of any shipyards for 19 consecutive years. Its impact on the megayacht market, however, remained immaterial leaving Northern European shipyards like Lurssen, Feadship and Oceanco to dominate the space.

Benetti's first attempt to enter the space came in the 1980s. At the time, the yard had secured the build of the 86-meter Nabila for Saudi businessman and arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi, the 8th largest yacht in the world. The yacht was later purchased for $29 million in 1987 by Donald Trump and renamed to Trump Princess.



For decades after, Benetti stayed away from new builds of this size, leaving the market to other shipyards. Recently, however, yachting changed and the megayacht space entered into an upswing, leading to Benetti coming back into the size range. This first took the form of the 90-meter Lionheart, delivered to British businessman Philip Green in 2016.

The yard's current flagship, however, is about to be eclipsed by a 107-meter yacht launched in December 2018. More significantly, this will be the first yacht out of 3 over 100 meters to be delivered by Benetti over the coming months. Amongst customers for one of these new hulls is Australian billionaire and serial yacht owner James Packer.



Benetti's ambition to takeover one of the remaining parts of the market is not unfamiliar to other shipyards. Dutch shipyard Heesen Yachts, backed by Russian billionaire Vagit Alekperov, has also built a new dry dock capable of building yachts of up to 85 meters back in 2016.

Meanwhile yards known for megayachts such as LVMH's Feadship have started expanding their influence downward with projects such as Feadship's Lagoon Cruisers of 34 meters in length. Results of these strategies remain to be seen in coming quarters, however, even now over half of yacht gross tonnage is built by just 10 shipyards.

Latest News

Fiji to complete the first green marina in the region by 2020
By November 2020, new superyacht marina should be completed and open for yachts on Navi Island (Fiji). Located in a 10-minute drive from Savusavu Airport, it is set to become one of the region’s first green facilities.The 150-berth Marina is conceived as one of the first eco-friendly yacht harbours in the world, by forbidding the use of disposable plastic bags on its territory. What is more, the marina and associated resort will be powered by renewable solar energy.Nawi Island Ltd’s Managing Director Mike Gann commented: We intend to be one of the first green marinas in the world. In doing so, the development on the island will be powered by renewable energy, namely solar. We are also putting in place an organic wastewater treatment system for the whole island and in addition, the company is using sustainable and organic building materials on the island.The marina’s berths will be able to welcome boats from 10 to 60 meters in length. In addition, fuel and power connections along with fire service pedestals, wastewater pump-out, ferry and taxi pontoon and a 75-tonne travel lift will be provided.The yard will offer repair and maintenance services, a hard stand, pull-up fuel and wastewater pump-out, and long-term dry storage. The marina will also comprise a hotel with a spa and sports facilities, 38 private villas and a yacht club.The works should be completed by early 2020. The official opening should take place ahead of the 2021 America's Cup yacht race held in New Zealand.
Amels launches its largest superyacht to date
The 78-metre Full Custom superyacht project by Dutch builder Amels has touched water for the first time. The vessel is the builder’s largest superyacht in terms of interior volume. Earlier launched at Damen hull-building facility on the Danube, the 2,850 GT yacht features Espen Øino design and naval architecture and interiors by Zuretti Interior Designers. She is scheduled for completion in 2021, following transport to the AMELS outfitting yard in the Netherlands.Although several Amels superyachts including the 83-metre Here Comes The Sun and the 82-metre Ilona outdo the new-build in terms of LOA, the new Full Custom project features larger Gross Tonnage to make her the largest Amels superyacht once delivered.Espen Øino comments on the project’s details:The layout with the big pool on the upper deck with the boats below either side, but they are all hidden so you don’t see it. And of course the balconies with the direct access from the cabins out which you can spot very easily and it’s actually looking pretty amazing. The contract for construction of the vessel was signed in 2017, during the Monaco Yacht Show. Representing the owner, Andrew Tree of Superyacht Technical Services commented:This truly custom yacht, with stunning design both inside and out, could only be achieved with the greatest collaboration, having the very best of European design and the highest quality of construction and management.
The world’s largest ketch Aquijo arrives in Antigua
The largest private sailing ketch in the world, the 86-metre superyacht Aquijo has been seen arriving in Antigua to take part in Antigua Charter Yacht Show taking place December 4-9.Video: Dutch YachtingThe 6th largest sailing superyacht in the world, Aquijo was built in 2016 out of collaboration between two Dutch shipyards, Oceanco and Vitters. Vitters developed a custom steering system specially for Aquijo. It transmits the hydrodynamic forces on the rudder blades directly to the steering wheels on the flybridge, thus providing the helmsman with immediate feedback and a feeling for how the yacht is moving through the water. German studio Dölker + Voges was responsible for her interior design, whilst Tripp Design Naval Architecture styled her exterior. The yacht comprises 4 decks and accommodates up to 12 guests across 17 cabins. On-board, Aquijo offers space and amenities normally seen on motor yachts, comprising guest elevator, interior and exterior dining for up to 24 people, 3 outdoor bars and a beach club with steam room, sauna and ocean view Jacuzzi. craftsmanship.The package of Aquijo’s toys and tenders includes and does not confine to 3 tender boats, 1 jet ski, 4 kayaks, 2 wakeboard, 3 water skis, 3 stand up paddle boards, 8 diving packs etc.Featuring a mast of of 90 metres, Aquijo boasts a maximum speed of 17.5 knots.The vessel is available for charter from EUR 450,000 per week in winter season.Photos via Y.CO.
ER Yacht Design presents 61m sport superyacht concept
Vancouver-based studio ER Yacht Design has unveiled a 60.5-metre sport superyacht concept Shotel. Designer Ivan Erdevicki conceived the project with aggressive sporty lines to be a part of the studio’s Gotham sporty yachts series.The superyacht would be built in aluminium and carbon fibre. The model’s key trademarks are spacious aft open deck areas with fold-down hull sides, large swim platform and beach club.Meanwhile, the main deck aft is integrated with the cockpit deck that comprises a spacious saloon and dining area. Alongside the pilothouse and captain’s cabin, there is the sky lounge sitting on the upper deck.With a beam of 10.5 metres and interior volume of 780 GT, the yacht can accommodate up to 14 guests across a full beam master suite on the main deck forward and six double guest cabins on the lower deck. The bow deck with two launching cranes can house an eight-metre tender, rescue RIB and jet skis.Shotel will boast a maximum speed of 24 knots and cruising speed of 18 knots, also featuring a range of 3,800 nautical miles.
First Otam 70 HT sold and under construction
Italian builder Otam has announced sale and construction start of 21-metre fully customised motor yacht. The sleek project was designed in Otam’ collaboration with Tuscany-based BG Design Firm.BG Design specialises in custom yacht design, from tenders to superyachts. The aggressive profile and refined detailing of the new Otam 70 HT are strongly inspired by luxury automotive and aeronautical design. The yacht is conceived as a high-performance output of design and engineering, combining Otam’ design DNA and ‘slippery’ new hull lines by Umberto Tagliavini Marine Design.From a practical standpoint, the vessel will feature a LOA of 21 metres and a beam of 5.35 metres, offering unlimited customisations within. Key features will comprise a transom tender garage, stabilisation system and Otam’s large volume engine room.Already sold to the final client and currently under construction, Otam 70 HT will make her international debut at the 2021 Cannes Yachting Festival.