A Benetti Sail Division primer
Just as you should never judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge the Benetti Sail Division by its name. Sure, the company was founded as Benetti’s sailboat division. And yes, a renowned sailboat designer is creating its new line of boats. But the yachts that this yard has designed and built are pure motoryachts.
PastEstablished in 1978, Benetti Sail Division launched as part of the larger, more recognizable Fratelli Benetti shipyard, which at the time focused solely on large steel motoryachts. Benetti Sail Division was exactly that: a division of the parent company dedicated to building aluminum sailboats.
But the relationship was short-lived. In 1981, Riccardo Benetti broke off from the main yard, which concentrated on the large steel yachts that Benetti continues to build today. But as aluminum sailboats began to fall out of vogue in favor of FRP, Benetti Sail Division changed tack and began to do refit work on older Benetti motoryachts. Thus began its metamorphosis into a motoryacht builder.
When Fratelli Benetti moved away from rounded-stern designs in the mid-90s, Benetti Sail Division stepped up to fill the gap. The company launched St Raphael in 2007, Evergreen in 2008, and Grand Cru in 2009 with what became its trademark canoe stern, a feature that remains part of the company’s portfolio on megayachts from 80 to 131 feet in length.
“It was a slow and natural progress, and the name remained unchanged even though the business idea had diverted [the yard] into a completely different field,” explains Silvia Corbetta, Benetti Sail’s marketing manager.
Now, after 30 years of building all varieties of vessels, Benetti Sail Division emerges with its line of Logica yachts that pay homage to the company’s sailing history while focusing on an engine-powered future.
PresentLuca Brenta had never designed a motoryacht. He has only designed critically acclaimed sailboats, including the famous Ghost, a passagemaking 122-foot sloop outfitted with both the ultimate in luxury and technology and launched in 2005. Until now. Simone Marconcini arrived at Benetti Sail Division in October 2009 from the Finnish sailboat builder Nautor Swan to become managing director. There he had worked with Brenta on a one-off project for a very demanding owner. Not surprising then that he selected Brenta to design the Logica series.
“Luca Brenta with his calm, professional, and open-minded approach has always been able to listen carefully to the clients’ needs being able to turn the client’s dream into a real and feasible project,” Corbetta explains. “For all these reasons when last year Benetti Sail Division decided to refresh its product range, Simone Marconcini approached him again to propose a collaboration. Luca Brenta accepted this challenge, and with a great enthusiasm and team spirit he started to work hard on the new Logica project.”
Each Logica incorporates a number of elements borrowed from sailboat design. The bow is sleek and angular; it looks like that of a sailing vessel. The vessel’s center of gravity is lower than that of a traditional multi-deck motoryacht and closer to that of a sailboat. With full-displacement hulls, Logicas are designed for long journeys: At cruising speed their range should exceed 3,500 NM.
The Logica series began with a 105-footer, but has since grown to include vessels at 96, 105, 147, and soon, 126 feet. Each will be less than 500 gross tons and have a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. The variations in length have been designed in response to the particular demands of customer, who, Marconcini expects to be 40- to 50-year-old former sailors, who have children and are looking to take a step forward in size and amenities.
“With the help of a professional from the world of sailing design—who has never been influenced by the motoryacht world before—we are sure that this new solution can come out as ‘virgin eyes and mind,’ able to exploit new innovative solutions both in terms of external lines and interior layout and design,” says Corbetta.
Inside, Brenta designed Logica yachts to be filled with light. There are large windows but no structural bulkheads on the main deck. On the lower deck, prism skylights—a classic sailboat feature—will reflect the light into corners that are typically dark. The owner’s cabin and bath will also feature skylights. “Windows increase the feeling of space inside,” Brenta explains.
Logica yachts will also feature a number of design characteristics that aren’t new but also aren’t commonplace. The tender garage is in the bow, beneath a pool that will be available on larger versions. Accessible by a gull-wing door on each side it, will hold the crew’s tender on one side and personal watercrafts and other toys on the other. On designs over 115 feet, the transom door conceals the increasingly popular beach club including a sauna and gym.
FutureSo now Benetti Sail Division has a fresh portfolio of yacht designs to face the future, despite these turbulent economic times. “The company does not intend to passively endure the effects of the crisis in this field,” contends Corbetta. “It wants to do all that is within its power to exploit this period of great changes.”
One way is for its new generation of managers, including Marconcini, to stay ahead of the trends and technologies with new product series, including the Logica and the World Traveler series, which are explorer-style vessels ranging from 80 to 131 feet. But, though the company is expanding its customer base, Benetti Sail Division is still committed to current customers who want a classic yacht. The rounded stern vessels and its World Traveler series, a more traditional explorer megayacht available in lengths from 80 to 131 feet, will still be available for interested customers.
“Benetti Sail Division’s potential client generally has a strong nautical culture and a genuine passion for seafaring,” says Corbetta. “The Benetti Sail Division yacht is indeed elegant and discreet [but] does not want to show off wealth and eccentricity. It captures the attention [by] its class and understatement.” Benetti Sail Division is also developing a U.S. strategy, the first step being the introduction of Logica followed by a service center network.
Over the course of 30 years, Benetti Sail Division has been a sailboat manufacturer, a refit yard, and is finally now a megayacht builder. With the Logica series, Benetti Sail Division has devised a niche concept that combines its past while looking to the future: a megayacht with sailboat influences. As we go to press, contract negotiations are nearing completion on a Logica as well as a more traditional rounded stern yacht. A new Benetti Sail Division 96 Logica is now in engineering phase and will represent the successful start of yet another era for Benetti Sail Division.
Benetti Sail Division
(+39) 0584 39 01 94.
This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.