The twenty-second Benetti Yachtmaster, the event for industry professionals held this year against the backdrop of the Venice Carnival, brought together about 200 participants, including 70 superyacht captains and 40 surveyors and stewardesses. A programme packed with meetings, in-depth discussions, and opportunities for networking sparked an interesting debate on innovative solutions to sustainability issues.
The event, which is eagerly awaited by all participants and this year had the claim Yachting Different, focused on the important need to chart the course to a new form of navigation, based on an exchange of views between leading international players in the industry. In the evocative setting of the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, the three days of conferences and panel sessions took stock of the latest eco-friendly technologies available in energy storage on board, in fuels and in services, to ensure that navigation is comfortable, quiet and most importantly respects nature.
Azimut|Benetti Group CEO Marco Valle confirmed the market growth reported by the Group, as well as the solidity and dynamism of a company that has built its success on ongoing investment in innovation and technology.
“Today, the sea and yachts are a dream to indulge in, as well as being a safe investment. The deprivations and restrictions of the last two years have created an almost physical need to find a safe space to live in,” said Marco Valle. “Somewhere to establish physical contact with the outside environment and rediscover the feeling of freedom, which on a boat extends into infinity. These factors have proved crucial in driving a remarkable acceleration in the purchasing process for more sustainable boats and in appealing to new and above all younger customers”.
Benetti CCO Sebastiano Fanizza described the shipyard’s offering in terms of sustainability, touching on the green solutions available not only for the propulsion system, but also for all the components in a yacht, as well as the methods used to build it.
There are many avenues worth exploring to offer owners winning solutions from a sustainability perspective, and for Benetti it is essential to pursue them all: new hybrid and electric propulsion systems, batteries, fuel cells and bi-fuel engines, without neglecting alternative fuels such as hydrogen, biofuels and new synthetic fuels. The objectives set out by the IMO of a 40% reduction in carbon intensity by 2030 and a 50% cut in CO2 emissions by 2050 are a clearly defined target and, although the route to get there is yet to be defined, Benetti has been working for years to achieve these goals.
For Benetti’s engineers, the best answer in the medium term is hybrid electric systems and, potentially, synthetic fuels, biofuels and new technology already available thanks to the know-how gained by the brand from as far back as 2005, with the 65-metre Ambrosia, the first diesel-electric yacht with an azipod propulsion system, through to the 2019 launch of Luminosity, currently the world’s largest hybrid Giga yacht.
With an offering linked to the growing size of boats, Benetti owners can choose whether to equip their yachts with Hotel Mode Zero Emission systems, supported by latest generation high-energy-density lithium battery packs, or with Full-Hybrid systems that are even more effective at reducing environmental impact, as well as offering a zero emissions operating mode when maneuvering in port or for short trips along the coast. The Full-Hybrid E-MODE system in particular, developed by Benetti with Siemens Energy for the new B.YOND 37M, has met with great success on the market, offering an innovative and more sustainable approach to yacht operation.
For Benetti, Yachting Different doesn’t just mean sustainability and energy efficiency, but also augmented reality and artificial intelligence, which when combined with the on-board infotainment systems provide surprising ways to enrich the experience of guests, as well as supporting crew members during maintenance and ensuring greater safety when maneuvering and at sea.
The third and final day of Benetti Yachtmaster 2022 was brought to a close by Azimut|Benetti Vice President Giovanna Vitelli, who presented a summary of the subjects discussed, highlighting the foresight and pioneering spirit that Benetti brings to research into new technology and its mindful approach to the pursuit of innovation. “After these three days of exchanging ideas and detailed analysis of the main innovations in alternative technologies, we believe that the best solutions in a 10-year timeframe are hybrid diesel-electric propulsion systems,” said Giovanna Vitelli, highlighting the importance of changing the approach to energy consumption on board, a strategy that will be further developed with upcoming models.
Turning to services, the Vice President of Azimut|Benetti also underscored the company’s efforts to reduce energy consumption by using carbon fibre in the mid-size category, which reduces the weight of yachts and therefore significantly cuts consumption and emissions.
Benetti is also working with RINA to draw up a boat classification system based on measuring the energy required to build and operate a yacht throughout its life cycle, so creating a full-fledged energy class rating. She concluded by stressing the fundamental importance not only of the quality of the services offered to crew members in shipyards, but also of their professionalism, which is a key factor in the choice of a charter.
The training sessions were interspersed with numerous opportunities for networking and relaxation. As a team building activity, on the second day of the event guests competed in a Dragon Boat race on the Giudecca Canal. Then, with their faces covered by splendid handmade masks and dressed in typical Venetian costumes provided by the renowned Atelier Nicolao, they met up again in the magnificent setting of the Arsenale Basin to watch the highly evocative Nebula Carnival Show, a visionary artistic performance midway between reality and illusion that conjured up on stage fantastic imaginary visions of submerged worlds and future civilizations, framed in a dreamlike narrative. The evening continued with an elegant gala dinner at the city’s storied Casino, in Palazzo Cà Ventramin Calergi, which offers a spectacular view over the beautiful sixteenth century buildings. Not only a magical experience, but also a journey through time that touched on all the different aspects of the city of Venice, offered by Benetti to Yachtmaster participants in the form of the stunning setting prepared for them.
Numerous companies contributed to the success of the prestigious event, including five Giga Partners: Awlgrip, Viraver, Kongsberg, Lusben and Volvo Penta. Yachtmaster also received support from Mega Partners ASEA Power, Boero, CMC Marine, DYT-Sevenstar Yacht Transport, Jotun and Rina. Also present as Class Partners: Asea Nautica, Naiad Dynamics, Seastema, Versilia Supply Service, Videoworks, MTU and Acquera Yachting.