“That is my favourite place on board!” says the owner of the Benetti Tradition Supreme 108 superyacht My Paradis, pointing straight through the upper deck lounge and up the stairs to the wheelhouse and the impressive central helm seat. This owner is, you see, that rarest of beasts aboard a 30-metre-plus yacht: an owner-captain.
He has owned a lengthy portfolio of previous yachts, increasing in size with every purchase, but at no stage did he want to give up the precious independence and control that you get with being the captain of your own ship. The owner-driver model was something he wanted to continue with. “My family have always loved the sea. We love being on the water and we love using the boat ourselves. This has always been the goal for us,” he says.
My Paradis is the first hull in a new composite displacement line from Benetti, building on the success of the original Tradition range, and adding a full third deck instead of a half deck. The early indications are that it will be just as popular with owners – the second hull has already been launched and is successfully cruising, while the third and fourth hulls are in build. The exterior styling has been given a more contemporary twist by Stefano Righini, with some harder angles and edges mixing delightfully with the curves. The huge main-deck windows in the main salon area and further forward catch the eye.
Commissioning a new yacht gave the owner an opportunity to use all his years of experience to create the perfect environment for family cruising, and for this owner that meant My Paradis had to have one outstanding attribute – “this yacht had to be practical, as this was to be a yacht that is used”. The layout was one area in which his ideas about practicality could be implemented. “I didn’t want a big table in the main salon – this is such a waste of space,” says the owner. Instead, the main dining area is outside on the upper deck. “Getting rid of the dining table makes the salon a more sociable place.”
So does he cruise without crew? “This is still a big boat and we do need some help at times, but as a family, with my two sons, we can do most of the tasks on board. The whole family is involved with working the boat. Everyone is helping. This is what we like to do,” he says. “But when there are crew on board I don’t want to them to feel as if there is a huge separation. We are a big family and I want there to be a family ambience on board.” When the yacht, which will only cruise privately, is left for any time, the owner has a skeleton crew to look after it.
A specific request from the owner was to install hybrid power. “For me, it is essential. I don’t want to always take from the ocean,” he says. For normal cruising at ten knots, the yacht’s range is 2,100 nautical miles. Benetti developed a hybrid system using two 35kW motors connected to the twin MAN engines, but also capable of being powered by the yacht’s two generators. The system will be used for night passages at speeds close to seven knots. “I wanted to keep noise and vibration to a minimum while everyone is asleep,” says the owner. It’s certainly a solution that has merits on this score – under way with hybrid drives at almost six knots, there was an eerie silence in the owner’s suite, with the water slipping by outside with barely a whisper as the hull cut through the gentle waves.
Since launch last June the yacht has had a busy first season – a public debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival last September, and another show appearance at Fort Lauderdale in October, as well as a very busy season of cruising. “The yacht was created by my family, for my family,” says the owner. This quirky and characterful My Paradis is fulfilling the brief perfectly, with her owner-captain still, as he has been since the project was first conceived, in the driving seat.
• the full story was first published in SuperYacht World Issue 40.
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