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.
Security matters and finding ways to protect their assets, crew, and guests from such dangers as pirates or paparazzi, have been in focus of the yacht owners for years. Security systems deployed onboard normally depend on the owner’s profile, the assets in question and the locations a system would be operating. Increasingly, the owners order security systems that can automatically monitor, detect, track, classify and alert operators to approaching objects in the proximity of a yacht. There are some technical devices, normally deployed for better protection.When it comes to paparazzi, one of the most helpful device would be anti-drone protection. Such equipment would detect and identify commercial drones within a 20+km range, providing GPS positioning of both drone & pilot together with the drone’s speed and heading. When a real drone has been detected, the system enables creation of a 500 metre plus electronic ‘exclusion zone’ around the yacht. Once the drone approaches this zone, its control/video signals would be blocked, forcing it to land or return to operator. One of the most popular examples of anti paparazzi protection on a superyacht, is Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich chosing to install a special shield system against paparazzi on his 162.5-metre Blohm+Voss superyacht Eclipse, built in 2010.According to The Times, the device is capable of fixing the activity of the photosensitive elements on digital cameras, and disables them with a direct laser beam. The system works under both automatic and manual modes.The fourth in his private fleet, Eclipse was famously built for Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich and the owner of Chelsea football club, as the largest yacht in the world (at that moment), a title that she held until the delivery of the 180-metre Azzam in 2013.M/Y EclipseEclipse also comes fitted with an underwater mini-boat and two helipads in case of emergencies. The initial price of the yacht was rumoured to amount to € 350 million, but additional equipment might have increased her value to € 800 million.According to Forbes interview with Johannes Pinl of superyacht privacy and protection company MARSS, nowadays onboard CCTV, access control (door locking systems) and deck mounted pressure sensors likely to ‘form the basis of most standard superyacht security packages.’These will be connected over an onboard network and managed from the bridge or a central control security room. Long-range daylight and thermal imaging cameras can have a dual function for both navigation and security use cases. Such cameras can be equivalent to military specification and are mounted on the mast to provide a long distance visual capability around a vessel.He also stresses out that the key important thing is ensuring awareness among the crew to increase reaction time and make better decisions based on a clear assessment of a situation.Meanwhile, one of the recent security devices installed by MARSS on a 100-metre plus superyacht, was NiDAR 360° degree surveillance system integrating multiple sensors to provide automated monitoring, detection, tracking and classification of objects in the vicinity of a vessel.Operating autonomously at 24/7, NiDAR tracks both known and unknown surface and air objects. Smart software algorithms automatically analyse and rank threats, triggering alerts to notify crew and security personnel as required.
July 23, 2019
French high fashion house Chanel has launched its own yacht club at Shelter Island, New York. The space was arranged to celebrate the 20th anniversary of iconic J12 watch by Chanel, whose original design had been inspired by the J-Class racing yachts.Photo: Dave Kotinsky/WireImageThe area lays within a famous Sunset Beach Hotel on Long Island owned by a real estate mogul André Balazs, along with The Chiltern Firehouse in London, Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, and The Standard hotel chain. Photo: Sam FrostThe press release states:The J 12 Yacht Club reflects a modern-day interpretation of a yacht club, as only Chanel could imagine it. From the shores of Shelter Island Sound, visitors will be immersed in Chanel's take on island living, complete with customised umbrellas, coolers, surf boards, badminton and ping pong.The area also comes fitted with a stylish games room featuring a selection of classic board games. The brand has also taken over the Sunset Beach boutique, creating a one-of-a-kind space for guests to discover the new J 12 collection. The yacht club was open to public from July 17 to July 21, 2019, while July 20 saw the celebration of the J 12's 20th anniversary with fashion celebrities on the guest list and a performance by a superstar musician Billie Eilish.Photo: Sam FrostThe high-fashion conglomerate Chanel S.A. is one of the most influential and commercially successful fashion houses in the world. With the brand value estimated at $ 9 billions, Chanel is ranked #79 in the list of World's Most Valuable Brands 2019 (Forbes). The company is privately owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer, who was an early business partner of Coco Chanel.
July 23, 2019
Dutch builder Royal Huisman has revealed its latest superyacht concept ahead of Monaco Yacht Show 2019. The 88-metre sailing superyacht Project Lotus is conceived as a twin-mast Dyna-Rig vessel.The project features design by British ThirtyC Design, along with naval architecture by Dykstra Naval Architects, based in Holland.Project Lotus will be highlighted through complete customisation, open spaces, reduced complexity in terms of both rigging and crew as well as an engineering package that fits both luxury and agility on the water.More information on the project shall be expected at the start of the Monaco Yacht Show 2019, where some of the largest premieres of 2019 have already been confirmed for participation.In the meantime, the builder is busy constructing the 55-metre superyacht project Phi at Vollenhove facility.
July 23, 2019
Italian leading yacht builder Benetti has delivered the eighth hull in Benetti's Fast 125 Series, Project BF108, or Bangdang.The project has been overseen by Jim Evans, Managing Director of SuperYachtsMonaco. Bangdang features dynamic exterior profile with clean sporty lines by Benetti’s long-term collaborator Stefano Righini.The 38.1-metre yacht’s standout features will comprise a large sun deck with a spa pool surrounded by sunpads, a vast beach club venue with a bar area and multiple outdoor areas for dining and socialising in the sunshine.The interiors of Bangdang were developed from the boards od British design studio RWD, bringing modern minimalistic profile based on their contemporary Air theme, also complimented by light eucalyptus and bay wood throughout.Spacious and open, Bangdang will be able to house up to 11 guests across 4 cabins including and a full-beam master suite on the main deck, along with accommodation for a 7-person crew on the lower deck.One of the model’s trademarks, the state-of-the-art propulsion system with steerable carbon thrusters, was developed in collaboration with Rolls-Royce. The Azipull C65 system improves manoeuvrability whilst reducing fuel consumption for smooth and efficient sailing.Thus, Bangdang is a high-performance yacht, propelled by twin 2636hp MTU 12V2000 M96L engines to a top speed of 24 knots and a cruising speed of 12 knots under range of 1,750 nautical miles.
July 22, 2019
A renowned tennis player Rafael Nadal ranked 2nd in the men's singles rating, has commissioned an 80 Sunreef Power catamaran with Polish multihull specialist Sunreef Yachts. It has been earlier rumoured in the press, that Nadal has put on sale his 23.5-metre MCY 76 Beethoven asking £2.3million.While Nadal’s fully customised vessel is due for 2020 delivery, the first unit in the range will debut at Cannes Yachting Festival 2019.The model’s distinctive features comprise stainless steel portlights, high bulwarks and subtle ambient lighting. She comes equipped with a garage for a tender and Jet Ski, as well as numerous other water toys.The vessel comes with a number of options for the upper deck, including a waterfall-fed spa pool, upper helm position, bar area and retractable hard-top.The 23.5-metre provides accommodation for up to 12 guests and four crew members. Her power options can be chosen from either twin 575hp engines or twin 1,200 hp engines.Nadal commissioned the yacht after chartering a number of Sunreef catamarans and meeting yard founder and president Francis Lapp at last year’s Cannes Yachting Festival. Rafael Nadal expressed himself: As someone from an island as I am, the sea is part of our lives and it’s not a secret that I love the sea. Every time I am at home in Mallorca I try to go out and find that time where I can just enjoy my time on a boat. I am very happy to be on board of this Sunreef Yachts family.With 82 titles overall including 18 Grand Slam victories as well as a record 34 ATP Tour Masters 1000 titles, Rafael Nadal is one of the world’s most renowned and highest-paid athletes. The 3rd all-time leading tennis player in terms of earnings, Rafael Nadal earned $35 million in 2019 only, according to Forbes.
July 22, 2019