Taking The Lead: Giovanna Vitelli of Azimut-Benetti

What has led to Azimut-Benetti’s “all-time excessive” document e-book and the corporate ending final yr by rising its lead on the prime of the International Order Ebook?

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

Such an order e-book helps us plan manufacturing as a result of we will foresee our orders. It’s nice when it comes to worth but additionally 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 trade, the pandemic was unbelievable. None of us was anticipating this. It led to folks rediscovering the pleasure of yachting, being in a spot the place you’re free, each when it comes to the place you’ll be able to transfer and when it comes to selecting the folks round you.

This is applicable from the smaller fashions to the large yachts. We’ve most likely been luckier or higher than others in introducing tendencies that grew to become much more standard throughout the pandemic, equivalent to this concept to return to nature. Our Benetti Oasis has loved document gross sales. It’s unbelievable. 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 concept is to have a seashore membership which is known as a seashore space, not a cave the place you go inside. As an alternative, you return to being near the ocean, to the water, having fun with one related space between inside and outdoors, with massive 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 International Order Ebook for superyachts for 23 years?

It’s a reflection of the enterprise going nicely. 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 house owners. Nevertheless, the expansion can’t be quick and large endlessly, as a result of we need to maintain high quality below management.

We don’t need to develop our services despite the fact that the market is booming now. We’re on the restrict, which is why our deliveries are to this point forward. We don’t need to push manufacturing an excessive amount of in the present day, however to maintain the scenario below management, particularly high quality sensible.

The Group says it has anticipated the tendencies and desires of present homeowners whereas steadily buying youthful homeowners, with a median age of 45 for Azimut consumers and 55 for Benetti purchasers. How have you ever achieved this?

It’s fascinating from a social perspective to see how the profiles of rich persons are altering, and that’s not simply on this trade however throughout the globe. Up to now, it took you a lifetime to grow to be actually wealthy, however within the new economic system, digital applied sciences have modified this.

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

Are you able to 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 supply appreciable discount in consumption, about 20-30 per cent lower than the market common. This has even began to grow to be a promoting level. Within the Azimut Grande vary, we’ve centered on three parts for 10 years. Firstly, the sunshine weight of the fashions because of the intensive use of carbon-fibre, which we produce internally for the superstructure.

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

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 Quick collection. 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 parts 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 excited by concepts for the longer term, so we’re concerned in new fuels, hydrogen and so forth, however that’s the subsequent stage. Immediately, we imagine hybrid electrical propulsion is the reply.

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

We just 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 functions are at all times a threat, so it was actually an entrepreneurial resolution. We mentioned it throughout the firm, with the gross sales crew initially preferring to have the programs examined elsewhere.

Nevertheless, we as a household, particularly my father, had been saying, “If you wish to keep forward, you must take a threat.” We labored cheek to cheek with Siemens and the system proved to work very nicely. In fact, it’s far 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 pacesetter.

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

Folks usually discuss sustainability in very generic methods, and I feel we must always all attempt to use figures with an index. To me, the one actual index in the present day is consumption, as a result of it’s one thing that may be examined and used to match boats. I feel the trade ought to begin to solely discuss numbers and never simply folks speaking in regards to the “most sustainable supplies” however with no tangible strategy. I feel it’s essential to indicate the true dedication of the trade to this subject.

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

I feel the thought for the Water Revolution Basis to ascertain an index is totally the suitable one, as a result of the trade doesn’t have one, though I imagine YETI consumption is an efficient index. I imagine it must be handed to an unbiased authority equivalent 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 feel the idea is true, but it surely ought to most likely move from the Water Revolution Basis to an unbiased physique at a sure level.

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

I feel sustainability and decreasing emissions is a necessity. We should always not go towards the rules, however we do want rules that enable shipyards and engine and propulsion producers the time to adapt to new requirements. 

Even on the affiliation stage, I feel we must always be a part of forces in growing these new applied sciences collectively. In the long run, the aggressive benefit you’ve got in asserting you’re the primary with hybrid propulsion or hydrogen is a quick advertising and marketing benefit of some days. In an trade with excessive funding however few items, we must be extra collectively. I’m on the Board in SYBAss (Superyacht Builders Affiliation) and I need to push extra in that course. It’s higher to take a position 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 very fashionable?

Asia has at all times been a really rewarding market and we’ve 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 imagine the homeowners there are refined clients. 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 language homeowners protecting their boats elsewhere. Within the brief time period, I don’t see a market of center class homeowners shopping for 50-60ft Azimuts and transferring up in measurement, like elsewhere.

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

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

Nevertheless, the Magellano is environment friendly in displacement mode and has a bit extra velocity than conservative trawlers, so homeowners can attain 22-24 knots if they should attain a port rapidly or the climate out of the blue modifications. 

Azimut’s Magellano 25M revived the collection

The flagship Magellano 30M we launched on the final Cannes Yachting Competition is superb and we had double-figure gross sales earlier than it was at any present. I imagine 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 all the way down to the southern a part of Italy and again north and on to the Cannes present.

Many occasions, I used to be consuming lunch throughout navigation — it was so nice, even at 21 knots. You possibly 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 quite a lot of inner area 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 tasks had 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 an enormous identify. 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 around the globe. 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 trade.

Vincenzo De Cotiis on the Magellano 25M

For instance, on the Magellano 25M, it was the primary time I’ve ever heard any individual 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. In case you flip it (alongside the centreline), the boat has a a lot wider impact and is far more nice, with higher service.”

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

He additionally performs quite a bit with mirrors, so that you at all times have a view of the ocean and the sensation of water. On prime of that, for his collectibles, he has this concept of mixing poor supplies with wealthy supplies, however these poor supplies are reinterpreted. He informed 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 combination between a textile, a resin, a cloth which doesn’t exist.” 

Inside element on the Magellano 25M

So, the choices embrace this inventive 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 fully transformed into one thing you wouldn’t recognise as such. It’s very fascinating.

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

His design could 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 unfastened furnishings, sometimes by the large manufacturers like Minotti and Poltrona Frau. I imagine the Magellano could be very fascinating as a result of the inside is a recent interpretation however with a really particular character.

As Vice President, you’re employed instantly together 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. Advertising is good, however you should win available on the market together 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 realize market share in these years as a result of we had been in a position to maintain investing in new merchandise. Our focus is to maintain our ft on the bottom and focus on being winners in what we provide to our clients.

Paolo and Giovanna Vitelli

Since working collectively, we’ve deliberate and managed an essential change from the founders’ time to the following stage. Immediately, Azimut-Benetti is a billion-dollar turnover firm. Over 10 years, we deliberate the expansion of our administration, so we’ve 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 go away area to managers, as a result of that is the best way you develop.

The corporate couldn’t exist as a one-man or one-woman present. I imagine we’re on the suitable path, as it is a strategy to put together the corporate sooner or later for rising greater, perhaps going public or involving extra managers. I feel it is a path for good, sustainable development somewhat than protecting the household 100 per cent arms on and limiting enlargement.

Immediately, my father is concerned within the strategic imaginative and prescient, fortuitously, however a lot much less concerned within the on a regular basis enterprise. Aside 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. Generally, when I’ve just a little doubt, I’m going to him for recommendation, but it surely’s extra about my private issues. He’s spending extra time on his hospitality actions, because the household owns a number of inns within the mountains, however he retains a watch on the corporate.

This text first appeared on Yacht Model.

For extra reads on Leaders, click on right here.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *