Giovanna Vitelli to LN: “This is why Benetti returned to Genoa after 7 years”
Liguria Nautica Interviews Giovanna Vitelli, vice president of Azimut Benetti Group. on board the Benetti Oasis 40M, the flagship of the 60th Genoa Boat Show. "It is a time of great euphoria for the mega yacht industry"
“It is certainly a time of great euphoria for the mega yacht industry.” Giovanna Vitelli, vice president of Azimut Benetti Group, joined us on the sofa of the immense beach area on the megayacht “Rebeca“, the Oasis 40M, flagship of the 60th Genoa Boat Show.
With a view of the splendid infinity pool of the stern, Vitelli spoke to us about the market, in particular in the sector for yachts over 24 metres, in addition to sharing with us the philosophy behind the design of the Oasis 40M and the Azimut Magellano 25M.
The messages shared by the vice president of Azimut Benetti are positive and optimistic, speaking about a sector in constant growth and statistics showing that the desire for boating is increasing. Azimut Benetti has registered a “boom in sales between spring and summer“. One statistic over the others, speaking of the Oasis 40M, Giovanna Vitelli said, “We are negotiating the sale of the fourteenth unit.”
[interview transcript translation below]
LN: We’re back on board the Benetti Oasis 40 metre, the flagship for the 60th Boat Show in Genoa and we’re talking to the vice president of the Azimut Benetti group, Giovanna Vitelli. Thank you for having us. Ms Vitelli, what a surprise, this year Benetti is back in Genoa and in style with the flagship.After seven yours you are finally back.
GV: Well you’ve always seen us here with the Azimut brand, and with Benetti, we really wanted to come back. And certainly this is a moment of great euphoria for the mega yacht industry, and our shipyard has been in the top ranks of the industry for the last 20 years, alongside some of the top producers in the world. In particular, notwithstanding the virus, we’ve delivered 56 units over 24 metres this year. So, it is a market that’s here and it’s a market where we are still present even today and we’re going to have a number of vessels coming out in the next 18 months, many of which cover this segment. And what’s more, we have a boat that breaks all the rules, and from a commercial point of view it has gone far beyond our expectations. So it is nice to show off this gem that, because of Covid, was not able to go around to other boat shows, so it is great that we were able to bring it here in Genoa for its premiere.
LN: Great. This is the first boat show in the world after Covid. We are seeing quite a few people on the piers. What do you think? How do you think it’s going this year?
GV: First off I will share what I noticed from the summer market. There is a lot of desire for boating, I confess, notwithstanding my fears during lockdown. But it’s easy to understand because a boat is a safe place and lets you escape in safety to be with a few selected people, and you can even have them tested them. So it’s the safest and most pleasant place to be in the summer. So we’ve had a huge boom in sales over the summer. I’m not so sure what the autumn will bring. The Boat Show seems to give us the same indications. Today is Saturday, the weather is nice, although it’s not fantastic, we had wind and thunder overnight, and yet it still sold out. We’ve already made a couple of sales in the first few days but it is still early to tell. We’re missing the foreigners though, but it’s good that we were able to keep this boat show. And thanks to the organisation because the challenge of organising this with Covid was extreme. Well done.
LN: Yes, even the visitors are responding well. They’re all coming to take a picture of the flagship at the boat show. And it was about this innovative boat that I wanted to ask you how this idea came to be and if there’s anything else that you’d like to share about the lucky owner?
GV: The idea came about a few years ago, by thinking about how often owners wanted more of a beach area overlooking the water – a beach area which is often sacrificed on boats of this size. You would have to go down stairs into what I call a basement area, or there were open platforms, but before being able to enjoy the sea, we had to use a crane to remove tenders and other things, So there was always some sort of compromise. This was a technological challenge, where we put the tenders somewhere else, and created this large area which allows for a continuation from the boat to the sea. It wasn’t chance that we chose the name Oasis. Because this is what we wanted to create, something that makes one autonomous, independent, and happy creating an oasis of wellbeing surrounding them. This same principle inspired the interiors as well, responding to this feeling of understated opulence and elegance. And we have to say that this first owner who bought it, is an American who was world champion in offshore speedboat racing. It’s great to have managed to find an owner who goes from a philosophy of speed to a pleasurable lifestyle like this. And it makes us proud that he doesn’t want to get off any more. And this Americans faced quarantine and allowed us to showcase the boat here. He will then continue sailing, but I think he will spend a bit more time here. The boat was launched at the end of August and we brought it here for the first time to show the world. We’re currently in talks to close a deal on the 14th sale of this type of vessel. And this is pretty much all I can say about this new model.
LN: Talking about new models, nearby we also have the Azimut Magellano 25 metres. This boat is a floating work of art. What can you tell us about this emblem?
GV: This boat this is another novelty we’re presenting at the boat show, under the Azimut band, and is the flagship of the Magellano collection, which comes from the idea of a small boat for long cruising. It was a bit of a technological challenge, because it’s hull allows us to go in displacement, so slowly, consuming less fuel, if you decide to do so. But if you want to reach Sardinia with 24 knots, you can. It is a hull that we patented under the name of Dual-Mode, because it allows for this double option. And this double nature, of a fascinating boat from the past with an innovative, modern heart, can also be seen in the exterior design created by Ken Freevok, who is well known in large yachts and sailboats. I have to say I am fascinated by his Maltese Falcon, for those who still remember. Regarding interiors, it was challenging, we called someone who’s never designed for a boat before. Yes he is an architect, but first and foremost an artist. We told him to interpret for us this traditional concept with an innovative spirit for the interior as well. The boat is very interesting, indeed we’ve sold our fifth unit in just a few weeks. This fusion of art, culture and design deserves some attention. So we wanted to celebrate with an unusual launch, and so this afternoon, we’re presenting, at 4, a short film by the film director Gabriele Muccino who will tell us a bit about this Italian world of creativity and excellence that manifests in this work of art.
Video Claudio Colombo