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BOATS

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Lazzara LMY 64

Turning Point

If you want something different, take the helm of the Lazzara LMY 64, because boatbuilder Dick Lazzara knows just how you feel.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. That’s how celebrated poet Robert Frost put it in his paean to choosing a different path.

Years ago, just before Lazzara Yachts was born in 1990, Dick Lazzara saw an opportunity in the market, and started his company with a vision summed up in a business plan that was similarly plainspoken in its phrasing: “Build a few innovative boats and create a level of customer support that is unparalleled in the industry. Period,” Lazzara says.

Now more than ever, Lazzara sees the business of boating in general following a path distinctly different than the one he’d mapped out in the beginning, one focused on corporate investors and quarterly reporting. “A common denominator is the lack of the maestro in these companies,” he says. “The guy that was the founder, that had the passion for boatbuilding to create the boat—all these guys for generations had a passion for doing what they do, for building boats, and as you get bigger, it becomes a numbers game. Where are the people who are the maestros who are going to guide all these companies?”

It’s no coincidence that Lazzara is called Maestro around his yard in Tampa, Florida, and you can see why if you go through the recently launched Lazzara LMY 64 with him. This boat will let the personality of her owner come through in all aspects of the onboard experience, from the specifications set at the ordering stage to the on-water operation. While interior volume and a smart layout would seem to be all you require for comfortable cruising, this sophisticated motoryacht uses innovative systems to create a driving experience tailored to the needs of the moment.

The Lazzara LMY 64 does some things a bit differently when it comes to the living space and nowhere is this more apparent than the amidships master stateroom. It feels like a room in a house—a large house. As you approach the open door to the stateroom, you will see it, or more accurately, you won’t see it: You actually can’t see the athwartship berth from the passageway. Indeed, there’s some real floor space here. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is uncommon on a 64-footer, and the space itself just feels luxurious.

“It’s just different than what we’ve looked at for so many years, of having the centerline bed,” Lazzara says. “But just because we had a centerline bed as a tradition of boating, it doesn’t mean that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Obviously moving it gives you the expansive room.”

At the head of the king-size berth are three large hullside windows and an opening port, providing some natural light but really feeling more like a living canvas hanging above the berth. The same glass array is opposite, over a desk with plenty of carbon-fiber accents and a pop-up television built in. But the absence of clutter is what you notice. Of course, the master has a a walk-in closet and a head with two sinks and a spacious shower.

The forepeak guest stateroom also offers more floor space than many I’ve seen, and shares the dayhead with a twin-berth stateroom. Another guest stateroom is to starboard, and has a queen berth, closet, and private head with shower.

The main saloon encompasses the helm station and a U-shaped galley forward, flanked to port by companionway stairs leading below. An open galley with two-stool breakfast bar sits abaft the helm station, and a sitting area with a large settee is to starboard. The foredeck has a great alfresco seating area, in case the comfortable cockpit and enormous flying bridge aren’t enough.

The accommodations space is only part of the boat-buying equation, and Lazzara, a former offshore powerboat racer, knows it: There’s also the feeling you get from a boat.

“How are we going to keep the weight down to still keep the speeds and the performance up?” Lazzara asks. “And more importantly, just like in the race boats, how are we going to keep the center of gravity down low, so that the boat has a feel of a bigger boat and a stronger and lighter boat?”

I would describe the vibe of the LMY 64 as quiet confidence—you can feel the stiffness in the structure, which uses prelaminated balsa panels and foam core in bulkheads to save weight. In addition, a lightweight steel cage, wrapped in carbon fiber, stands at the heart of the superstructure sides and overhead to provide stiffness. I spent some time on the huge flying bridge at speed and there was no kind of wobble, though admittedly we saw very calm conditions on our sea trial.

Sound levels topped out at 72 decibels, thanks in part to Lazzara’s system of sound and vibration attenuation, including a patented system of hundreds of rubber pads between the stringer system and the modular units that comprise the accommodations. The engine room shows the level of attention paid to the structure, with every surface faired and finished.

When I first took control of the Lazzara LMY 64, it was from the side deck, where Lazzara and I were enjoying a break from some squalls that blew through Port Jefferson, New York, prior to our leaving the dock. Lazzara encouraged me to use the joystick control from outside, through the window as we transited the fairway. At slow speeds, the Volvo Penta IPS1200s really dug in, responding to light joystick commands positively. This close-quarters maneuvering complemented the open-water performance, where the boat responded well to throttles and helm. We found a nice 26-knot cruise at an 82-percent load that felt right for covering some ground.

The test boat was equipped with a tuned ABT Trac fin stabilizer system that lets the helmsman set the “ride,” as on today’s advanced sports cars. A sport setting let me feel the hull put its shoulder down and lean into hardover 24-knot turns, while a comfort setting took me through those same turns with seemingly no change in heel from running a straight course. The boat is also equipped with Humphree Interceptors to tweak the speed and ride even further.

“The stabilizing system, which we’ve tuned and modified software for, coordinates with the two Volvo IPS drives,” Lazzara says. “So basically the two fins and the two drives are acting like the wing stabilizers and the rudder stabilizers on an F-15, they’re all acting together.”

All in all, the LMY 64 can be a docile and comfortable ride, but she can let you mix up her power and handling with sea and wind conditions when you feel like it. It’s not a bad thing to let a little personality come through every once in a while. And that has made all the difference.

This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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