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May 2005

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news



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Article by
Franca Urbani

Vincenzo Poerio

Livorno Challenge

The fifth Yachtmasters Azimut/Benetti took place in Chamonix this year and was a "high in altitude" event either on sport or on cultural point of view.

Cheerfulness and enthusiasm marked the first day dedicated to the skiing - race organized for Benetti's captains and sponsors as well equipped as downhillers: they were actually unrecognizable, while attention and interest marked the second day when the very elegantly dressed guest speakers took turns to make 14 speeches in the nineteenth - century - styled conference - hall of the Majestic Hotel.

The organization of the event offered by Azimut/Benetti together with the sponsors Asea, Boero, First Call, Dockwise, Yacht Transport, Caterpillar, Club 328 and VT Naiad was perfect as usually it is. Bert Nieuvenhuizen, marketing manager of Boero said us: - This sport event have got a so great echo in the nautical field that many firms decided to invest in advertising relating their own image to that of both captains and Azimut/Benetti yard.

The engineer Vincenzo Poerio, general manager of "Cantieri Benetti" opened the meeting giving meaningful data of the developing trend of the international superyachts' market: the 2.481 units of the year 1995 get up to 5.272 in 2005 with an increase of 112%. Superyachts over 70 metres in length are contrariwise 250.

Besides building new yachts Azimut/Benetti wants to offer its own customers better and better assistance services by developing the service network divided into warranty, maintenance, and refit & spare parts activities. Moreover, the shipyard intends to invest in training; for this reason a training school for crews founded together with UCINA actually works in Viareggio. Among the most considerable investments in marinas there are to be noticed both the construction of "Porto di Varazze" and "Porto di Livorno", the greatest challenge indeed. Mr. Poerio closed his speech giving great attention to the human resources involved in building year on year even greater yachts: in building yachts from 24 to 150 metres in length the number of the units varies between five and fifty people. Since the market is more and more interested in even greater yachts Azimut/Benetti has set up a joint - venture with Fincantieri: yachts over 70 metres in length will be designed at Fincantieri in Trieste but built at the yard in Muggiano.

Then the engineer Salvatore Pisciotta general manager of the "Shiprepair Yacht Service Refit" in Livorno took the world and explained to us: "Our group aims to maintain a leader position in the various international boats shows classifications in which the Azimut/Benetti has been classed first. With regard to the human resources in Livorno the today's 1.300 working units will raise up to 1.800 people, having spent 26.000 hours in "training courses". While the engineer Pisciotta was speaking and images and data were passing on the screw right behind him it was possible to understand that the realization of the world - wide greatest superyachts' building and assistance centre was and is a huge challenge indeed. This venture has already required an investment cost of ?75.000 millions.

Livorno is a historic city lying in a central and strategic zone of the Mediterranean Sea costs. The new relaunch project regarding the Marina of Livorno was born thanks to an agreement between the Italian Government, the region Tuscany and the commune Livorno. The production areas are addressed to build steel and aluminium yachts up to 70 metres in length, while the building of fibreglass yachts remains in Viareggio. In the "Porto di Livorno", the greatest assistance centre facing the Mediterranean Sea, a new public marina will bear; the project will feature an urban renovation too. With regard to the shipyard in June huge sheds will actually ready to build any type of yacht. As it was already possible to understand from the renderings on the screen, in addition to, the project layout features both a private marina providing 2.500 berths and a residential area including stores, offices, fleets and arrangements for crews.

Also the speech by Andrea Piantini, marketing manager of Fincantieri, made bystanders feel interest in the way he spoke of a new age while remembering a lot about the past of this famous group: two hundred years of history, 7.000 ships and 30 superyachts launched. Fincantieri is the leader group in the cruising ship market segment and represents the world - wide Italian excellence in both researches and construction thanks to features like high - technology, beautiful - designing, high performances, reliability and efficiency. The strategic joint venture between Azimut/Benetti and Fincantieri signed on 24 October 2004 at Fort Lauderdale features an exchange of know - how between the two groups since Fincantieri has a unique experience in building big ships as well as Azimut/Benetti has in building leisure yachts. This collaboration will going to develop passion for quality and detailing by building great - finished yachts delivered in the shortest time. Moreover, the full reliability of this great group will be provided focusing the attention on customers. Eleven speeches followed wholly dedicated to the leisure crafts question. At the Yachtmasters event we met Professor Dario Boote that teaches Shipbuilding at both Engineering and Architecture; moreover, since 1991 he teaches at the ex "Scuola Diretta a Fini Speciali" in La Spezia, namely the Naval Engineering of today.

I asked him something about the yearly most interesting news: "Born in 2000 in Santa Margherita as professional up - to - dating meeting for Benetti's captains, the Yachtmasters has made great strides thanks to skills and eye of the organizers Alexandra Guillard, for example, and of the marketing manager, the engineering Stefano Grasselli" The report of the engineer Lorenzo Pollicardo - UCINA - about the most meaningful news concerning either the current or the future rules regarding superyachts was as well interesting as many other speeches introducing fully new themes. Doubtlessly the most meaningful contributes of the whole day was the introduction of either the joint venture between Azimut/Benetti e Fincantieri made for building yachts over 70 metres in length or the new shipyard in Livorno providing the latest structures like the new sincrolift of 2.500 tons allowing the maintenance of yachts up to 70 metres in length.

I would underline the importance of this joint venture with Fincantieri that can boast yachts like "Trinacria", still one of the greatest yachts today and the very famous "Destriero" that won the "Nastro Azzurro" as the transatlantic "Rex". Embarking on this enterprise the Fincantieri can effectively acts against all its rivals while boasting a unique experience in building either great high - tech ships like military ships or giant cruising ships or the latest fast ferries: in this building field the Fincantieri competes with the Italian Rodriguez.

Among the eleven speeches it is to be noticed the shipboard database of "Idea" that Azimut/Benetti fit up aboard all its yachts. The system manages all fittings and equipments on board relating with technology and set up of all yacht's components, from the engine to the washer. Moreover, two speeches about dynamic and static anti - rolling systems were very interesting too: the first of them concerns active fins while the second regards the latest anti - rolling system when a craft is at the anchor. This system bases upon the principle of increasing the additional water masses, so - called water ballasts, achieved through two immersed ports that, when opened, let water flood into the vessel increasing water ballasts, that the craft has to lift while rolling. Also the final introduction of the Sacn -Eye, an equipment by Boero providing the painting quality control, from the inside structure up to the external area, was very interesting."