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BOAT TESTS

Benetti Delfino 90

Oftentimes when a boatbuilder updates a line, it does so with just a few tweaks and alterations to previous models.Indeed, Benetti did just this with the Classic 121 (previously called the Classic 120) and Vision 145, when it debuted plans for its new semi-custom megayacht line at Cannes this year.

However, the other five boats in the range, which is now called the Benetti Class, are brand new. They include the 90-foot Delfino, 105-foot Tradition, 131-foot Classic Supreme, 140-foot Crystal, and the 164-foot Vision Supreme flagship. But when looking over the list, some readers may recognize the Delfino name and suspect that she isn’t all-new. That’s because she shares the appelation of a 66-foot Benetti that was built from 1962 to 1969. So the question is obvious: What, if any, of the original remains?

After examining Stefano Righini’s exterior design, my answer is not much. For starters, he stretched her to 90 feet LOA and added nearly six feet to her 16'4" beam. Many basic layout features have also changed. For instance, instead of having tenders on the flying bridge, there’s a waterlevel tender garage. The rakish profile does bear vestiges of her predecessor, but details such as a semicirclular wheelhouse windshield and finlike superstructure supports are definitively modern.

So are her construction materials. In place of the old Delfino’s steel and aluminum, the new boat offers a hull that is entirely FRP composite (as do all boats of the Benetti Class). And of course, the new 90 is more powerful: She comes standard with twin 1,015-mhp Caterpillar C-18s (1,150-mhp C-18 ACERTS are an option), a bit more than the twin 480-hp Detroit Diesels of the past. The base engines give her a predicted top speed of 16.7 mph (14.5 knots) and a cruise speed of around 15.5 mph (13.5 knots). Benetti predicts a maximum range with the standard engines of about 1,650 nautical miles, due in large part to a generous 4,253-gallon fuel capacity.

The new Delfino’s interior layout includes room for ten guests in five staterooms (as opposed to the older boat’s four staterooms), and there are also accommodations for up to three crew in two cabins, each with en suite head. To keep all the modern appliances going for this many people, a pair of 40-kW gensets is standard.

But really, isn’t it a bit of a false comparison to put a mid-century, 60-somethingfooter beside a truly modern megayacht? You bet. Yet every once in a while, it’s nice to see how far a boat builder, a brand, and your own view of quality have come in 40 years.

This article originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.