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.
During the fourteenth edition of Italian Film Festival Cortinametraggio, a movie “The Master Bridge (La Plancia)” was premiered as a tribute made by the Ferretti Group to the genius of Carlo Riva, two years after his death.La PlanciaA 15-minute film celebrates the historic headquarters in Sarnico and Carlo Riva’s famous futuristic office the Plancia, overlooking Lake Iseo. The latter was designed by Riva himself along with architect Giorgio Barilani, and is considered an authentic architectural masterpiece. Carlo Riva was so fond of it that even after he sold the shipyard, he rented La Plancia and continued to use it as his office for almost ten years.The short film also highlights the history of the entire shipyard, telling the story of a young filmmaker, played by actor Gabriele Stella, in search of the secret and the essence of the Riva myth.Following an enlightening tour among the yachts under construction and an interview inside the Plancia with an enigmatic Giorgio Marchesi, who plays the shipyard manager, the young filmmaker grasps the enchanting power of the most famous speedboats in the world. Indeed, master craftsmanship with cutting-edge technologies and innovative design remain the distinguished features of the Riva brand, with such famous people as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who used a Junior as the tender of their yacht, Sean Connery, who owned the historic Rudy model, and on to Sofia Loren and George Clooney listed among the brand’s clients.One of the oldest boatyards in the world, Riva, was established in 1842 on Lake Iseo, in Sarnico-Italy. One hundred years later, the already recognised brand became to a synonym of elegance, status and perfection under Carlo Riva’s direction. Riva’s creations became the object of desire for the aristocracy, successful businessmen and movie stars. For instance, next month, RM Sotheby’s will auction one of the notable vessels built then for Princess Grace Kelly and Primce Rainier III.
April 22, 2019
The hugely popular 40ft-plus power segment is set to exhibit at the 2019 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS), with a multitude of international debuts, Australian launches, and Queensland firsts.“The 40ft-plus segment offers an extremely diverse and versatile selection of boats,” said SCIBS General Manager Johan Hasser, whose team is preparing to host more than 45,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors at the event from May 23-26, 2019 in Queensland, Australia.The Whitehaven Company was established by Keith Hanson to fill what he believed was a niche in the market for high-end boats that would reflect their owners’ visions. The boats are built in Taiwan with Keith’s son, Ryan overseeing the team of boat builders. The Harbour Classic 40 concept was drawn by highly respected New Zealand yacht designer builder Bill Upfold, with Australian naval architect Misha Merzliakov reimagining her for discerning Australian day boaters. Merzliakov is based in Brisbane and has traditionally designed large motor yachts both here and overseas. You can see the enthusiasm in the design and listening to him, it sounds like he has borrowed design elements from all over the place. There is a chance that such an approach could deliver a Jekyll and Hyde result, but like a mad scientist, he has mixed the elements together with a fine touch.The Harbour Classic 40 is a sophisticated and supremely comfortable 40ft dayboat, which combines the aesthetic and timeless appeal of a gentleman’s cruiser with the benefits of high-tech design and engineering, constructed with an expertly-designed hull for a quieter ride.Except much-anticipated Harbour Classic 40, the all-new Whitehaven 6100 Coupe with its incredible superyacht-inspired Euro Edition styling package will be presented.“These vessels represent close to two years of R&D and production, and we are very proud to bring them to SCIBS,” Whitehaven Motor Yachts Managing Director Bruce Scott said.Below decks, the galley is bathed in natural light, enjoys a line of sight to the helm and all the mod-cons of boutique apartment living for a perfect day or weekend on the water. Accommodation is flexible depending on owners needs with the ability to sleep up to six aboard, so friends and family are always welcome.Offering single or twin-engine arrangements, owners can prioritize pace and maintenance to suit their boating lifestyle. Either way, she'll achieve 25 to 30 knots to find that ideal anchorage in time for sunset cocktails. Underpinning the boat in standard guise will be a single Volvo D6 480hp shaft drive with ZF gearbox. The first boat built has received an engine upgrade in the form of a Cummins Q6.7 550hp engine. It is quiet and unassuming and the performance perfectly suits the leisurely nature of the Harbour Classic 40 and will see you cruising from bay to bay in comfort. Elegant, refined, so well suited to a more leisurely pace of boating, the Harbour Classic 40 represents the romance of yesteryear with the precision engineering, power, and performance that are synonymous with all Whitehaven vessels.Each Whitehaven Harbour Classic 40 will be a customized masterpiece, brought to life for her owners with the personalized approach, precision and pride that are hallmarks of Whitehaven Motor Yachts.@Photos by Whitehaven Yachts
April 22, 2019
Visitors to this years’ Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show will have the opportunity to view Longreef Yacht’s newest addition, the Longreef 60 SX Flybridge. She is a super luxury boat and was designed through feedback from 400 boat owners. The result is a super-refined boat providing functional glamour and grandeur. She easily accommodates two families across three luxurious bedrooms including a full-beam owner’s bedroom amidships. Double Pullman bunks in the downstairs lounge and in a crew cabin aft of the engine room make this one of very few 60s that will comfortably sleep 10. Her main deck layout makes her one of the most social and comfortable boats on the water with an indoor/outdoor layout, giant swim platform, a sun lounge on the foredeck and a huge flybridge for maximum views. Bi-fold tinted glass doors open to provide a shared space between the comfortable interior and the aft deck. The super-large flybridge with its bimini cover is reached by a staircase from the aft deck. The Longreef 60 SX Flybridge is powered by a pair of Cummins 550 hp diesel engines. Anyway, it will be the outstanding debut for the 60 SX in Queensland.@Photos by Longreef Yachts
April 22, 2019
Russian billionaire banker, Oleg Tinkov, whose net worth is estimated at $2.3 billion by Forbes, has ordered the first private 77-metre icebreaker yacht dubbed La Datcha. She is set to become the first private luxurious ice breaker, capable of exploring the furthest destinations possible. Planned for delivery in autumn 2020, the yacht is being built as a part of Damen’s SeaXplorer series in the Netherlands.The explorer is being built as a part of the businessman’s luxury recreational project La Datcha, consisting of several holiday hikes in ultra high-end destinations. La Datcha will be available for charter according to Tinkov’s interview with Forbes, at a price starting from € 690,000,000 per week. Meanwhile, the owner himself is planning to spend up to 20 weeks a year on the yacht. The six-deck expedition yacht will feature a 14-metre beam, along with a draft of 6.5 metres, adding up to interior volume of 2,560 GT. She will also boast a speed of 14.5 knots. In fact, it is an expedition yacht, able to break ice up to 40 centimetres thick and maintain autonomy at sea for up to 40 days.Thanks to generous storage spaces, a wide range of equipment and tenders can be housed on-board, including 2 helicopters, 1 submarine, 1 VIP tender / rescue boat, 1 beach lander tender, 1 dive support tender, 4 waverunners, 2 expedition ribs and 2 snowscooters.The yacht’s custom interior design by Amels and Damen will be trademarked with full height windows of the observation lounge, main saloon and the owner’s suite and an observation deck upstairs. Expedition Yacht 77 will come with hot water Jacuzzis — 1 indoor and 1 outdoor, a sauna and steam bath, massage room and a fully equipped gym.La Datcha Expedition Yacht 77’ six guest cabins, including 2 master suites and 2 VIPs, offer accommodation to 12 guests, along with a crew of 25. Each suite comes with a bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe.Tinkov plans to premiere the vessel at Monaco Yacht Show 2020. After that, he is going to tour the 77-metre across Mediterranean, Seychelles, Madagascar and then Kamchatka and Kuril Islands, with the yacht to be seen in the Antarctic in January 2021. Tinkov also ensures, according to Forbes, that a Russian businessmen from the Forbes list has already expressed interest in renting the boat for six months, while Microsoft founder Bill Gates wants to sign up for a three-week charter.Photos via La Datcha
April 22, 2019
A new-build 27.02-meter hull by Italian shipyard Canados Yachts has been sold by Northrop & Johnson is set for delivery in 2020 as a Canados 888 Evo model. In 2018 Canados 888 was awarded as Most Functional Yacht. Also in May 2019, the first Canados 120' Caesar should be delivered.Canados is one of a few Italian builders capable of producing one-off versions of its models that are fully customized with tailormade interiors. One of the yacht’s most exceptional features is her four-meter tender garage accommodating a Williams 3.85 meter jet tender, and a Seakeeper gyroscopic stabilizer system. She comes with a hard top that provides guests with ample shade when enjoying her gigantic flybridge.The Canados 88’ is the direct evolution of the Classic 86’ of which 46 have been delivered. One of the Canados clients had four 86’s built over the course of 13 years! The interior of the Canados 888 Evo is being conceptualized by Rome-based designer Michela Reverberi. All in-house built furniture has been designed with rounded edges equipped with indirect strip LED lights which, when lit in the dark, give the impression that the furniture is floating.Built with an Aramat/Kevlar hull and superstructure, the 88’ Evolution comes with a reversed deck saloon overlooking the water and gigantic saloon floor to ceiling windows. The main deck layout remains an example of practicality with its oversize saloon with direct sea view, thanks to the cut-down bulwarks, dining room, Boffi galley, day head and crew dinette in the wheelhouse. On the flybridge, guests will find two corner sofas with drinks tables looking out over the stern. Another L-shaped sofa is placed on the port side and looks forward to the central alfresco dining area, where eight guests can savour a meal beneath the hardtop that folds back to let in the sunshine. The accommodation total is for eight guests across four cabins. The lower deck still offers its reputed four cabin layout with a VIP to the bow, two twin guest cabins to the sides and the full beam owner’s suite in the centre. Bathrooms are equipped with custom-made wash basins in Striato Olimpico marble.She capable of cruising at 27 knots and can reach a top speed of 32 knots, the Canados 888 Evolution 48 is powered by two Caterpillar C32 Acert 1,925hp diesel engines. The asking price was €5,240,000@Photos by Canados Yachts
April 19, 2019