Patricia — By Diane M. Byrne
— September 2002
Seeing Is Believing
|Benetti’s aptly named Vision line shows owners it knows what they want in a semicustom yacht.|
Giving a product line a bold, imaginative name is nothing new. For years marketing executives have sat around long conference tables conjuring up snappy monikers for everything from vacuum cleaners to cereal. Take Eureka's "cyclonic" cleaning system, for example--it leaves little to consumers' imagination, so they're apt to believe in its cleaning power even before plugging it in. And how many of us have enjoyed (or perhaps still enjoy) a hearty bowl of Rice Krispies--with milk, of course, for the ultimate "snap, crackle, and pop" effect? In each case, the product name conveys more than an image, it conveys a promise.
Whether or not Benetti president Paolo Vitelli and his creative team sat around a long conference table when they came up with the name Vision for the yard's newest line of semicustom fiberglass yachts, the name is fitting. Not only does it aptly describe the beauty of Patricia, the first of the line, but also it reveals how well Benetti has tapped into the psyche of semicustom yacht buyers.
While this Italian yard had long focused on building aluminum and steel yachts from 50 to 70 meters (about 164 to 230 feet LOA), in the mid-1990's it recognized an increasing demand among buyers for lower-maintenance and lower-priced yachts. Thus was born the Benetti Classic line of 35-meter (about 115-foot) fiberglass yachts. The yard built these in series to have more control over design and construction costs, yet offered owners a choice of three interior layouts for some customization. The line was a success: The yard has delivered more than a dozen Classics and expects to deliver about seven more between now and the end of next year.
Benetti soon realized that it needed a way to keep its Classic owners in the family and simultaneously saw an opportunity to reach new buyers. After all, megayacht owners, like other boat buyers, often step up to larger and more technically advanced craft after a few years, and the yard knew some owners wanted a larger semicustom yacht than the Classic line offered. And that's where the Vision line comes in: providing the benefits of the technology and lifestyle offered by bigger steel-and-aluminum megayachts yet still in a lower-maintenance package.
Since yacht owners are traveling farther afield these days, Patricia, the first yacht in the Vision line, has transatlantic range. With her twin Caterpillar 3508s, she reportedly enjoys a range of 4,000 NM at 12 knots (top speed is said to be 15 knots). Koopnautic stabilizers should ensure comfort while underway at any speed, as should extended bilge keels to either side of a nearly full-length central keel.
Thanks to the exterior styling of Stefano Righini, who has designed nearly every Benetti regardless of size or material, Patricia embodies a profile marked by an expanse of windows on both the main deck and upper deck, making the Vision appellation fitting. A fixed hardtop on the sundeck lends sporty appeal. As for internal architecture, realizing that potential owners might put their yachts into charter, Benetti and Righini planned the Vision line to comply with the MCA Code governing the safety of large yachts. To that end, Patricia features items such as automatically deploying fire doors throughout, particularly in the central stairwell, which wraps around an elevator connecting her three decks.
This article originally appeared in the December 2002 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.