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Platinum

Similar, but different; familiar, yet unique. Platinum may be the latest in Benetti’s Golden Bay series (Hull No. 8) but she is, of course, a totally custom build. It is only from the basic elements of her plan and profile that you can tell she is a member of the family. In every other respect she is absolutely her own mistress.

Launched last fall, she made her first public appearance at September’s Cannes Boat Show and enjoyed the ultimate gratification of being the debutante who’s the center of attention. She was the largest yacht there—by a considerable margin—and dominated the show’s superyacht quay at the seaward side of the harbor with regal poise.

Built for an experienced owner and long-standing Benetti customer, Platinum was designed from the outset with the comfort of guests in mind. “A yacht should be luxurious, something which inspires you. Ordinary life is boring brown,” he said. A superyacht holiday is arguably the ultimate holiday, and a guest on one has to feel ultra-special. Accordingly, the owner worked closely with Benetti’s design team to create an interior that has more than a touch of the Palais de Versailles about it, with French-influenced detailing in the fine woodwork—mostly burr oak, tinted to different shades—the bolster-end sofas, and ruched curtains. Even the neo-classical table lamps have a touch of Sevres about them, and each of the guest bathrooms features a different Italian marble, including some rare, black Portoro and beautifully veined white Carrara.

The ultimate layer of luxury, though, has to be the sheer acreage of gold leaf: some 40,000 sheets, apparently, each individually applied by a craftsman. It is everywhere—highlighting the moldings around the deckhead panels, providing lustrous edging to the cabinetry, decorating the floor of the skylounge bar, and even providing a slightly delicate-looking surface for your drink on some of the side tables.

“I wanted Platinum to feel special,” confirmed her original owner, an architect and property magnate from Japan. “The gold leaf gives her a unique atmosphere; it is light but also warm.”

All this sybaritic indulgence is not to suggest that the yacht feels old fashioned, however. Some of the chairs may look like they’re straight out of the 17th century, but the styling of the joinery is completely up to date (just look at that curved desk in the owner’s office), and the gloss-lacquered deckheads are a signature feature of the modern superyacht, producing a brighter ambiance and creating that illusion of extra height.

Having made the guests feel special, the designers turned their attention to making sure they had enough to eat. One of the great joys of superyachting is having an excellent chef on hand, and Platinum not only boasts a truly impressive galley on the main deck but there’s also no shortage of places to dine. The main, 12-seat table in the middle of the main deck is perhaps the obvious choice, but if it’s a nice evening, why not try the equally impressive, open-air dining table on the upper deck? For an alfresco lunch with an unbeatable view, there is the big eight-seater on the sundeck, and when you want to be closer to the water in a pretty anchorage, the cockpit table is equally comfortable. For a private breakfast in harbor, how about the semicircular dinette up forward, away from the curious gaze of passers-by? With so many options, the chief stewardess and her team might be kept busy chasing the guests around the boat, but that’s sort of what guests are there for.

It’s a similar story when it comes to relaxation. The main saloon is roomy and bright, with plenty of comfortable and sociably arranged seating, and a big plasma TV. The room is served by its own bar on the port side. Upstairs, there is a more private but still surprisingly spacious upper saloon, spanning the full width of the deck, with doors leading outside to the upper dining table, and its own big, inviting bar.

Sun worshippers will, of course, head further up, where those golden yellow cushions beckon, inviting everyone into the hot tub. There’s another, more elevated sunbathing area aft, which has free-standing sunloungers and removeable railings to enable it also to serve as a touch-and-go helipad.

If lying motionless isn’t your thing—or at least not while you’re on holiday—the deck crew will be pleased to fire up the toys for you. Platinum has a big tender garage aft, which houses the six-meter Nautica RIB and its ancillary skis and wakeboards and also has room for kayaks and an extra personal watercraft. Up on the foredeck, shielded by the deep bulwarks, sit a couple of Yamaha GP 1300s PWCs and the rescue RIB, ready to be launched by the hydraulic crane.

And so to bed. Platinum can sleep as many as 14, although one of her double berths is a sofa bed in the owner’s office, on the starboard side of the upper deck. With its big windows, semi-private access to the day head and showers compartment, and an elevated view, this actually makes a pretty good cabin. Down on the lower deck, arranged symmetrically around a central lobby, are two doubles and two twin-berth cabins, each upholstered in a different color and each with a different shade of marble in its ensuite head. The twin cabins each have a fold-down Pullman berth.

That’s the main guest accommodation. On the other hand, accommodations for the main guest—that’s the owner—are found in the huge master suite on the main deck. It spans the full width of the yacht, and has paired heads compartments either side of a large bath and shower room, as well as its own sauna. Enormous windows admit plenty of sunlight. There’s a writing desk and an occasional table, plus a big central bed.

Building Platinum on a proven hull design with a fine, seakindly entry and plenty of waterline length meant that Benetti’s engineers could afford to be pretty confident about range and performance with their chosen powerplants: twin 396-series MTU V-12s. These produce 2,250 hp apiece at a relatively relaxed 2100 rpm, and give the yacht a maximum speed of more than 17 knots, although she’ll spend more time cruising at around 14 knots. Her range at 12.5 knots is an impressive 3,500 nautical miles.

Platinum’s original owner, who saw her through the build process, also helped design her interior and worked with the shipyard on her detailed specification, has already parted company with his yacht. Soon after the Cannes boat show she was put on the market, and her new owner lost no time in making his move. It’s hardly surprising, a brand-new Benetti seriously for sale. Back then such opportunities didn’t come around that often.

Platinum may be a member of the Golden Bay family, but it’s a notable family with an illustrious lineage. The care that has gone into her concept, fit-out, and finishing has endowed her with real individuality and character. She can justly claim to be unique, and can certainly offer a unique superyachting experience.

This article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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