Such conservatism even extended to the marketing of the yachts: Sanlorenzos were always built in small, limited numbers and were never heavily promoted, which explains why they rarely appeared outside of Italy. New models were rare, and the facility in Ameglia in which the company began was never significantly expanded or upgraded.
All that changed in 2004 when Massimo Perotti, formerly the head of the Azimut division of the giant Italian boatbuilder Azimut-Benetti, purchased Sanlorenzo from Iannetti. He immediately set upon an aggressive expansion plan that includes not only an extension of the current fiberglass model line but also major forays into large alloy- and steel-hull yachts and the creation of two new facilities in the yacht-building center of Viareggio in which to construct them, only steps from the water, where the semidisplacement, alloy, and steel yachts will be built. Perhaps most important, the plan includes an alliance with Carroll and Viking that will give Sanlorenzo its first permanent foothold in the States.
While construction of most of the existing models—a 62, 72, 82, 88, 100, and 108—will continue for now, only the larger models, namely 88 feet and larger, will be exported to the United States. The big news is the four new models, which can be divided into two groups. Emphasizing volume and comfort are 92- and 122-foot semidisplacement models in fiberglass that will be built at the Ameglia facility and 151- and 173-foot yachts with steel hulls and aluminum superstructures that will come out of the new facility in Viareggio. New all-aluminum alloy yachts of 125, 130, and 138 feet will also be built in Viareggio. Each model will be highly customizable. To make all that happen has demanded major capital investment: 6 million euro (about $7.6 million at presstime) on product alone and another 10 million euro (about $12.7 million at presstime) investment in plants and other production-related expenses.
As to production times, the first 92 should be in the United States next spring, and the first 122 should launch in early 2008. The 130 will hit the water shortly thereafter, followed by the all-alloy 138 and steel-hull 151 in mid-2008. Of course, during that time Sanlorenzo will also be expanding its presence outside the United States, especially in Europe. But all eyes will be on the joint venture here, wondering if two heavy hitters can make beautiful music together.
Viking by Sanlorenzo
This article originally appeared in the November 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.