Fiftieth anniversaries are among the most highly celebrated occasions, and no wonder. In marriage, spending 50 years with one person says a lot about commitment, loyalty, and love. It should come as no surprise then that gold is the gift given to commemorate this anniversary; it's intimately connected with strength and perfection.
With all due respect to tradition, Sanlorenzo has its own idea of what the symbol of such an achievement should be: onyx. Or rather, Onyx, the second launch in its new 40 Alloy series, which debuted in late 2008, the same time the Italian yard was celebrating its 50th anniversary. The all-aluminum, semidisplacement, 131-foot series marks a decisive change in styling and interior features for the yard, in keeping with its philosophy that every yacht should be tailored to each owner's wishes.
While Mario Giornati, Sanlorenzo's public relations and press office manager, says the yard has long enjoyed relationships with experienced owners, he admits that the traditional white fiberglass yachts of its past don't always appeal to today's buyers. They increasingly demand inventive styling, unexpected touches, and more entertainment space. They want a yacht that's basically a floating villa.
The moment you lay eyes on Onyx, Sanlorenzo's new approach is obvious. Clad in metallic paint reminiscent of her name, she exudes a contemporary flair. This was heightened at the Monaco Yacht Show last September, where she made her debut and I got aboard. She was docked next to a similar-size yet more conventionally styled yacht. Her sleek, streamlined profile stood in marked contrast to the other yacht's squared-off deck levels, and she also appeared to provide more volume.
That latter point is key. The problem with some sleek megayachts is that they aren't terribly roomy inside. In fact, despite their hundred-foot-plus LOA, some border on claustrophobic on the second deck level, particularly at the helm. I stand at a petite 5'2", yet even I've felt squeezed and have wondered about the comfort of the captains, since the overhead doesn't rise much above the swept-back expanse of windshield glass. But Sanlorenzo steers clear of that problem on the 40 Alloy series. You'd never know it by looking at the yacht from the outside, but inside at the helm, which is open to the skylounge, the overhead slopes upward, and gently so, as it travels aft to the doors leading out on the deck.
Speaking of the skylounge, which is up three steps from the helm, it's actually a double-duty space, serving as a relaxing space as well as the only interior owner and guest dining area. That's right, there's no country kitchen or even combo saloon-dining area on the main deck, the way there is on every other builder's offerings in this size range. And this is just one of a handful of unanticipated design elements aboard the yacht. Two tables to starboard that accompany a long settee convert to a rectangular high table via a leaf for mealtime. A dumbwaiter brings food and refreshment from the lower-deck galley in the crew area. (And unlike some other European-built yachts featuring galleys down here, this one is a healthy size with an equally healthy-size crew mess.) Whether the room is used for dining or relaxation, anyone seated is treated to near-360-degree views because of the low windows. Three skylights, framed in leather, spill more brightness into the area, and the aft side windows lower to allow fresh breezes in.
This article originally appeared in the February 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.