Taking The Lead: Giovanna Vitelli of Azimut-Benetti

What has led to Azimut-Benetti’s “all-time excessive” document guide and the corporate ending final yr by growing its lead on the high of the Global Order Book?

I can’t recall when the market has been like this. It has been booming for the previous yr or so. Our order guide was as much as €3 billion after the primary two boat exhibits of the season, the Cannes Yachting Festival and the Genoa International Boat Show (in September 2022). It’s a document for us, not just for the worth of the order guide however particularly for the period, as now we have orders for deliveries as much as 2026 and 2027.

Such an order guide helps us plan manufacturing as a result of we are able to foresee our orders. It’s nice when it comes to worth but in addition when it comes to giving stability for a few years. It’s additionally recognition from the market. Why has this occurred? For all of the business, the pandemic was unimaginable. None of us was anticipating this. It led to individuals rediscovering the pleasure of yachting, being in a spot the place you’re free, each when it comes to the place you possibly can transfer and when it comes to selecting the individuals round you.

This applies from the smaller fashions to the large yachts. We have in all probability been luckier or higher than others in introducing tendencies that grew to become much more well-liked in the course of the pandemic, comparable to this concept to return to nature. Our Benetti Oasis has loved document gross sales. It’s unimaginable. For the Oasis 40M, we needed to double the moulds to fulfill the demand. This has by no means occurred earlier than for a 40m yacht.

Benetti Oasis 40M launched the Oasis Deck

The thought is to have a seashore membership which can be a seashore space, not a cave the place you go inside. Instead, you return to being near the ocean, to the water, having fun with one related space between inside and outdoors, with large home windows that open. This lifestyle-focused design has been extraordinarily profitable, particularly in sure mature markets, with Europe the forerunner. 

So, why has Azimut-Benetti led the Global Order Book for superyachts for 23 years?

It’s a reflection of the enterprise going properly. It’s a mirrored image of being winners available on the market with our yachts, which is rewarding as a result of it means we’re chosen by many homeowners. However, the expansion can’t be quick and massive endlessly, as a result of we need to preserve high quality below management.

We don’t need to develop our services though the market is booming now. We are on the restrict, which is why our deliveries are to date forward. We don’t need to push manufacturing an excessive amount of immediately, however to maintain the state of affairs below management, particularly high quality sensible.

The Group says it has anticipated the tendencies and desires of present house owners whereas regularly buying youthful house owners, with a mean age of 45 for Azimut patrons and 55 for Benetti shoppers. How have you ever achieved this?

It’s attention-grabbing from a social perspective to see how the profiles of rich individuals are altering, and that’s not simply on this business however throughout the globe. In the previous, it took you a lifetime to change into actually wealthy, however within the new economic system, digital applied sciences have modified this.

In Benetti, we nonetheless have the traditional navettas or the Motopanfilo [37M], however within the final 5 years we’ve added some further product ranges extra centered on a way of life proposition, such because the Oasis. Even within the metal manufacturing, the B.Now series, we suggest a extra conventional stern and the Oasis Deck® model, which is extraordinarily well-liked.

Can you inform us extra about your deal with Low Emission Yachts, which Azimut says accounts for over half of its present fashions.

Our new-generation Low Emission Yachts provide appreciable discount in consumption, about 20-30 per cent lower than the market common. This has even began to change into a promoting level. In the Azimut Grande vary, we’ve centered on three components for 10 years. Firstly, the sunshine weight of the fashions because of the in depth use of carbon-fibre, which we produce internally for the superstructure.

Secondly, our hull shapes, together with some which can be patented such because the D2P (displacement to planing), which is much more environment friendly in its newest technology.

Azimut Grande 26M options the POD 4600 propulsion system by ZF

The third ingredient is the propulsion and having one of the best propulsion for the kind of yacht we use. We’ve been pioneers in pods. First, it was with Volvo, such because the triple set up of the IPS on the Azimut line, then it was Rolls-Royce pods on the Benetti Fast series. Now, the brand new Azimut Grande 26M is the primary to have the Pod 4,600 system by ZF.

So, principally weight, hull effectivity and pods. The mixture of the three components brings efficient outcomes when it comes to decreasing consumption, which implies much less emissions — and we’re not speaking a few per cent.

We’re additionally very concerned about concepts for the longer term, so we’re concerned in new fuels, hydrogen and so forth, however that’s the subsequent stage. Today, we consider hybrid electrical propulsion is the reply.

Benetti B.Yond 37M makes use of a brand new Siemens hybrid propulsion system

We lately launched the Benetti B.Yond 37M, the greenest yacht in its class. Its Siemens hybrid propulsion system reduces CO2 (carbon dioxide) by 24 per cent and NOX (nitrogen oxides) by 85 per cent. New purposes are at all times a threat, so it was actually an entrepreneurial resolution. We mentioned it inside the firm, with the gross sales crew initially preferring to have the techniques examined elsewhere.

However, we as a household, particularly my father, have been saying, “If you need to keep forward, you need to take a threat.” We labored cheek to cheek with Siemens and the system proved to work very properly. Of course, it’s rather more work for the technical division, so these steps in know-how are a problem, however that is the way you present you’re a frontrunner.

What are your ideas on the Water Revolution Foundation’s new Yacht Environmental Transparency Index?

People typically discuss sustainability in very generic methods, and I believe we should always all attempt to use figures with an index. To me, the one actual index immediately is consumption, as a result of it’s one thing that may be examined and used to check boats. I believe the business ought to begin to solely discuss numbers and never simply individuals speaking in regards to the “most sustainable supplies” however and not using a tangible strategy. I believe it’s necessary to indicate the actual dedication of the business to this matter.

The 30M is the flagship of Azimut’s Magellano collection

I believe the concept for the Water Revolution Foundation to determine an index is completely the suitable one, as a result of the business doesn’t have one, though I consider YETI consumption is an effective index. I consider it ought to be handed to an unbiased authority comparable to a category society, for instance, so it’s not a part of an affiliation with members and we take away all attainable “second ideas” behind that. I believe the idea is true, but it surely ought to in all probability cross from the Water Revolution Foundation to an unbiased physique at a sure level.

What do you suppose would be the main change in superyachts within the coming years?

I believe sustainability and decreasing emissions is a necessity. We mustn’t go in opposition to the rules, however we do want rules that permit shipyards and engine and propulsion producers the time to adapt to new requirements. 

Even on the affiliation stage, I believe we should always be a part of forces in growing these new applied sciences collectively. In the top, the aggressive benefit you have got in saying you’re the primary with hybrid propulsion or hydrogen is a quick advertising benefit of some days. In an business with excessive funding however few models, we ought to be extra collectively. I’m on the Board in SYBAss (Superyacht Builders Association) and I need to push extra in that course. It’s higher to speculate our energies and cash collectively.

How do you view the Asia market, the place Azimut and Benetti have a powerful historical past and proceed to be extremely popular?

Asia has at all times been a really rewarding market and now we have a protracted relationship with the area. After my father purchased Benetti in 1984, the Hong Kong-based proprietor of Ambrosia was a minority shareholder. He was an excellent buyer of Benetti and fell in love with the corporate, in order that helped us enter the market earlier than others. 

The Oasis Deck choice is obtainable on the B.Now collection together with the 67M

We promote fashions throughout our ranges, each from Azimut and Benetti, into Asia and I consider the house owners there are refined prospects. The mainland China market is but to evolve correctly and isn’t progressing as we had all hoped, for quite a lot of causes together with boating rules and free use of the shoreline. We see Chinese house owners protecting their boats elsewhere. In the quick time period, I don’t see a market of center class house owners shopping for 50-60ft Azimuts and transferring up in dimension, like elsewhere.

Marine Italia is one in all Azimut’s most profitable sellers, primarily based in Hong Kong but in addition representing the model in Taiwan, Guangdong and Singapore. They’ve historically bought a number of Fly and Grande fashions, however are actually beginning to promote extra fashions from the Magellano line, which your father highlighted as one in all his most necessary initiatives in Azimut’s first 50 years. What is the enchantment of this line?

Magellano has been a revolution in yachting, as the primary crossover mannequin available in the market. It was conceived in 2007 and launched in 2009. We have been adopted by many different shipyards, from the small ones to the large ones, and now all people talks about crossovers. The thought was impressed by trawlers, designed for lengthy cruises, the place you take pleasure in quantity and luxury inside.

However, the Magellano is environment friendly in displacement mode and has a bit extra pace than conservative trawlers, so house owners can attain 22-24 knots if they should attain a port shortly or the climate abruptly modifications. 

Azimut’s Magellano 25M revived the collection

The flagship Magellano 30M we launched on the final Cannes Yachting Festival is wonderful and we had double-figure gross sales earlier than it was at any present. I consider on this idea and personally cruised on a Magellano 25M a few years in the past, having spent all my life on planing hulls. I made a protracted cruise in a short while as a result of I needed to take it from our Fano shipyard (on Italy’s Adriatic coast) all the best way right down to the southern a part of Italy and again north and on to the Cannes present.

Many instances, I used to be consuming lunch throughout navigation — it was so nice, even at 21 knots. You can eat and sleep throughout navigation as a result of it’s so easy over the waves. It’s a unique method of cruising. There’s a number of inner house with a recent design, with out that conventional feeling of the previous trawlers.

How have you ever loved collaborating with Vincenzo De Cotiis, whose first yachting initiatives have been the interiors of the Magellano 25M and 30M fashions?

When he began working with us, all the inside magazines within the US requested for an unique as a result of he’s a giant title. He’s an architect in addition to an artist. He designs collectibles and is represented in New York by the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, which is famend world wide. He brings an architectural strategy and a few concepts for the format I wasn’t anticipating and was actually impressed with, particularly as he had by no means labored within the business.

Vincenzo De Cotiis on the Magellano 25M

For instance, on the Magellano 25M, it was the primary time I’ve ever heard any person say to me, ‘In the primary saloon, why do you place the eating desk like this (athwartships), which is a visible impediment when you get in. If you flip it (alongside the centreline), the boat has a a lot wider impact and is rather more nice, with higher service.”

Then once I cruised on the mannequin, I at all times saved it longitudinally, as a result of he’s proper: you don’t have such a giant construction in your view, which modifications the impact of the boat.

He additionally performs lots with mirrors, so that you at all times have a view of the ocean and the sensation of water. On high of that, for his collectibles, he has this concept of mixing poor supplies with wealthy supplies, however these poor supplies are reinterpreted. He advised me, “My favorite materials is fibreglass as a result of I personally convert it by hand and put in some color powder myself, offering this impact, a mix between a textile, a resin, a cloth which doesn’t exist.” 

Interior element on the Magellano 25M

So, the choices embrace this creative fibreglass, which is handmade, based on his recipe! It’s very textural. It has nothing to do with the fibreglass we’re used to and it’s fascinating as a result of it’s such a typical marine materials utterly transformed into one thing you wouldn’t recognise as such. It’s very attention-grabbing.

On the Magellano 30M, the place we suggest each this materials and extra conventional choices, a lot of the prospects went for the design from De Cotiis.

His design may be very refined. It’s a recent inside, however completely different to what you see on different boats, which are sometimes an empty field the place the shopper can play with free furnishings, usually by the large manufacturers like Minotti and Poltrona Frau. I consider the Magellano may be very attention-grabbing as a result of the inside is a recent interpretation however with a really particular persona.

As Vice President, you’re employed immediately along with your father Paolo, President of Azimut-Benetti. What have you ever learnt from him and the way do you’re employed collectively?

I’ve realized from my father that on this market, you win with the product. Marketing is good, however it’s essential to win available on the market along with your boats. Even within the interval of the worldwide financial disaster in 2008 and 2009, we didn’t save one penny in product improvement. That made a distinction. It was a chance to achieve market share in these years as a result of we have been capable of preserve investing in new merchandise. Our focus is to maintain our toes on the bottom and focus on being winners in what we provide to our prospects.

Paolo and Giovanna Vitelli

Since working collectively, we’ve deliberate and managed an necessary change from the founders’ time to the subsequent stage. Today, Azimut-Benetti is a billion-dollar turnover firm. Over 10 years, we deliberate the expansion of our administration, so now we have a transparent governance, the place the household has the imaginative and prescient and we’re nonetheless those to determine on the product improvement. The product is then primarily based on a committee that I coordinate however then delegate and depart house to managers, as a result of that is the best way you develop.

The firm couldn’t exist as a one-man or one-woman present. I consider we’re on the suitable path, as it is a approach to put together the corporate sooner or later for rising greater, perhaps going public or involving extra managers. I believe it is a path for good, sustainable progress quite than protecting the household 100 per cent fingers on and limiting enlargement.

Today, my father is concerned within the strategic imaginative and prescient, happily, however a lot much less concerned within the on a regular basis enterprise. Apart from the B.Yond household, which actually got here from his spirit and imaginative and prescient, he’s not that concerned in the remainder of the product improvement anymore. Sometimes, when I’ve slightly doubt, I’m going to him for recommendation, but it surely’s extra about my private considerations. He’s spending extra time on his hospitality actions, because the household owns a number of accommodations within the mountains, however he retains an eye fixed on the corporate.

This article first appeared on Yacht Style.

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