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Above and B.Yond

With vast volumes, innovative decks and an intriguing interior layout, Clare Mahon reveals Benetti’s new 37-metre B.Yond is rewriting the rulebook for smaller superyachts. No wonder shipyard owner Paolo Vitelli is getting one for himself.


Photography by Giovanni Malgarini, Stranhero, Michael Locci

21 February 2023

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Paolo Vitelli, Azimut|Benetti Group’s President, and his daughter Giovanna, currently the group’s Vice-President, have fond memories of the family dinner when longstanding Azimut and Benetti designer Stefano Righini began laying out his vision for a new Benetti series that could offer everything from larger onboard spaces to lower emissions.

Righini and Vitelli were so enthusiastic they stayed up late exchanging ideas on a whole new way to distribute volumes.

Righini has since passed away but the new Benetti B.Yond, a 37-metre, five-deck displacement yacht with naval architecture by PierLuigi Ausonio, remains as his farewell to the Group.

In just under 400 gross tonnes, the Benetti B.Yond offers onboard spaces like an owner’s cabin with a private deck, fold-down bulwarks and easy access to the water, all with an almost dizzying array of choices for custom layouts and options, including electric propulsion.

“We are committed to product and planet,” Giovanna Vitelli says.

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“The E-Mode Hybrid propulsion system we designed with Siemens Energy makes her the yacht with the lowest emissions in her segment – up to 24 percent less CO2 and up to 70 percent less NOx.” Hull #1 in the series, Goga, was originally destined to be the Vitelli family yacht.

“My father conceived her for his own use and needs. For him, it was very important to stay below the 40-metre mark because we love to go into small Mediterranean harbours, stay close to shore for lunch, or explore,” explains Giovanna.

“So, the volumes come in height not length – gross tonnage is truly the parameter that people pay attention to now.”

An 8.6-metre beam gives stability and plenty of volume for owners to play with. High freeboard, an almost straight bow and vertical windows give a sturdy look, but the stack of decks says this yacht is more about space than go-anywhere navigation – Benetti has dubbed the B.Yond yachts Voyagers, not Explorers.

There is also an interesting layout. Boarding the yacht aft, you first arrive on a terrace where you can walk up to the spaces usually found on the main deck or down to an open air garage/gym area. It’s all part of Righini’s dimension-bending approach to volume maximising.

Benetti has renamed the offset deck levels, saying the saloon is on the upper deck while the guest cabins and an optional guest lounge are on the main deck. The garage/gym is unenclosed, with folddown bulwarks for launching a 6.5-metre tender and an array of toys.

A few more steps down and you’re on the swim platform with its adjacent small beach club space. The bridge and an optional owner’s suite are on the bridge deck, and there’s also a large sundeck. The engine room and crew quarters are deep inside the hull on a service level.

The main saloon is bright and airy, thanks to large windows and the fact it is essentially a half-deck. With a living area and a bar aft and an open staircase at the centre, you can look straight through to the foredeck, where curved sliding glass doors open from a dining area onto a large space with a spa pool.

Goga has been entirely furnished by Italian company Giorgetti Arredamenti, with a grey, blue and white colour scheme that is nautical yet contemporary.

The interior walls on Goga use a sustainable reconstituted wood – part of Benetti’s desire to offer owners interior finish options that reduce environmental impact. The guest staircase leads down to the guest cabins and lounge on the main deck, or up to the bridge deck. On the main deck, owners can choose to have four or five cabins, and there are options for side terraces as well. The crew has a service staircase to the crew mess, galley and cabins.

Goga’s bridge deck features the bridge forward and a spectacular full-beam owner’s suite with its own private outdoor space aft. Perched at the top of the yacht is a sundeck with a bar, dining area and lounge, which make the most out of the air and views. Goga’s engine room carries not only the traditional MAN V12 diesels and SCR system but also the electric E-Mode hybrid system.

The captain can switch from mechanical to electric propulsion, and the yacht can function in four different modes depending on the combination of engines in function.

“We’ve developed the system together with Benetti,” says Paolo Menotti, Managing Director of Siemens Energy’s Milan office. “Our marine propulsion systems are tried and true, having been installed on ferry boats. We’re very happy to have Benetti as a forward thinking partner in the yachting sector.”

The opportunities for efficient cruising are extensive.

“It’s a full installation by Siemens Energy, who is a big player, rather than us putting together the different pieces,” Giovanna explains.

“Let’s say you’re sending the boat to Mykonos. You’re joining later, so the yacht doesn’t need to go fast. You could run on one engine and your electric drives that are supported by batteries. In that way, we believe we can reach up to 9,000 nautical miles.”

In full-electric, enhanced-comfort mode, the yacht is quiet with zero emissions, so theoretically you could visit marine parks and other protected areas.

With the latest lithium batteries that recharge in just three hours, you can also enjoy eight hours of genset-free autonomy in eco-cruise hotel mode with lights, air conditioning and the like running.

Eco-transfer mode uses one of the traditional engines, with the rest of the yacht’s power coming from the electric motors, while extended-range mode utilises the traditional diesel engines with the generators switched off. In this mode, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 10 percent and NOx emissions by up to 76 percent, and the yacht has a range of 6,600 nautical miles at 10 knots or up to 8,200 nautical miles at 9 knots.

System redundancy and long-range, low-emission cruising capacity are real pluses for reaching remote areas where the fragile beauty of nature can be enjoyed and respected – appealing when exploring the more remote corners of Australia or visiting eco-sensitive areas like the Great Barrier Reef, while still operating with minimal footprint compared to a conventional superyacht. With the B.Yond, Stefano Righini wrote the final chapter in his long collaboration with the Azimut|Benetti Group.

The yacht’s unprecedented distribution of space and volume and its innovative propulsion options are a legacy that assures Righini will cast a long shadow while leaving a reduced carbon footprint in the world of yachting and beyond. Paolo Vitelli is down for another of the nine units already sold in this series. A backing that says as much about his respect for Righini’s work as it does the environment.

 

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