at the 2015 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
President of Azimut-Benetti USA
Azimut is bringing five new yachts to Ft. Lauderdale, are there any design trends that have been implemented in these models?
I don’t want to sound arrogant but we are trying to influence the industry rather than being influenced by it. There have been many features, especially in our flybridge range that have become industry standards, starting with structural windows in the hull, that’s one example of something we did and now it’s very popular.
What were some areas you tried to improve on with these new models?
We are investing an enormous amount of money in lighting. That means increasing natural lighting by using large windows to bring in the most light possible. We’ve even gone ahead and hired a consulting firm that specializes in residential lighting and the result is extremely impressive. The 72 Fly has some artificial-light features that have never been seen before in boats of this size.
There is a science behind light. We’re learning that science by bringing experts on board and putting science into our boats. And you’ll see that in our accent lighting and the way the light interacts with different surfaces and pieces of furniture. From the headboards to the ceiling there are a lot of backlit features.
Is there another area where Azimut is focusing on innovation?
We’re working a lot on the lounging spaces. We’ve extended the surfaces of our flybridges. We’re talking 15 to 20 percent more surface aft. That space is being used more often for lounging spaces even on smaller boats. The Azimut 50’s flybridge is comparable in size to the flybridge of a 65-footer six or seven years ago.
That seating area can allow six people to sit around, chit chat, smoke a cigar, listen to music, whatever. In the past, a tender and an ugly crane was the primary use for that space. The bow space is becoming more important too and that’s because the social aspect in North and Central America is really important. In these markets family is so important; here boats are the instruments that bring people together. The more you create areas where your 15-year-old kid can spend alone time with friends, without being under the eyes of their parents, the more the boat becomes family friendly. So that’s why you’ll see couches and a bimini top where sunpads used to be.
I’m noticing more and more builders are utilizing an open floor plan, is that something you expect to continue?
I think so since more and more people are demanding the same comfort on their boats that they experience in their homes. That’s one reason why we’re working very hard to eliminate steps. Ten years ago you would go on a boat and you’d spend half your time going up and down steps. Every cabin would have two steps. But on our new 72 Fly, for instance, from the saloon door to the lower deck there are no steps. It is one level.
Do you have any advice for people looking to make the most out of their time attending the show?
I really like to check out the gear and accessories. I always check out the engines and electronics, which is probably because I have a background in service. I like to see the show like anyone else. Usually the best time to visit the tents is early in the morning because the crowds are smaller but all the products and vendors are there.
What about for fun while visiting Lauderdale?
Ft. Lauderdale really is the Venice of America, so seeing the city from a paddleboard or kayak is what I would recommend.
Peter Van Lancker
- Builder: Azimut
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.