One of Europe’s oldest luxury yacht builders, Benetti’s varied portfolio includes semi-custom and custom luxury yachts and superyachts constructed in FRP, aluminium and steel. A member of the Azimut Group, Benetti is a world leader in terms of the total length and units of yachts over 24 metres it has in its order book at any given time.
History of Benetti Yachts
In 1873, Lorenzo Benetti founded the shipyard near the shipbuilding centre of Viareggio, Italy. After Lorenzo’s death in 1914, it passed to his sons, Gino and Emilio, who renamed the shipyard Fratelli Benetti, or Brothers Benetti, and their four sons soon joined the family business. The primary focus was on building commercial sailing vessels and navy ships until the 1950s when the company split the business between commercial and leisure vessels. The leisure yacht business, led by great-grandson Lorenzo, took off in the 1960s when Fratelli Benetti began to design and construct yachts in steel with wood-panelled luxury interiors called the Delfino model.
The Tirreno and Mediterrano models followed, the latter lifting Benetti beyond the 30-metre mark. By 1980, Benetti had become the world’s most active builder of yachts of 24 metres or more, receiving worldwide attention for delivering the staggeringly large for its time Nabila (now Kingdom 5KR) to Adnan Khashoggi in 1979 at a steep loss. The ruthless contract for this project eventually forced the yard into bankruptcy in 1984.
The Turin-based fibreglass boatbuilding company Azimut was the successful bidder for the Benetti assets the following year. Azimut’s owner, Paolo Vitelli, provided the historic company with the technical and financial support to expand its operations. Today, Benetti operates four shipyards, located in Viareggio, Livorno and Fano, Italy. Originally concentrating on metal boats in the 40 to 50 metre range, Benetti branched out to include several models of composite displacement motor yachts to fill the gap between large Azimuts and small Benettis, as well as develop much larger yachts in steel and aluminium. In 2020, the builder delivered three yachts of more than 100 metres. The Azimut-Benetti Group is the world’s largest superyacht builder by total length of yachts under construction in BOAT International’s Global Order Book and has been since 1999. It remains a family-owned company with Vitelli’s daughter, Giovanna, acting as Group Vice-Chairman
The company’s philosophy is to celebrate Italian excellence. Benetti also prides itself on innovations like BEST (Benetti Exclusive Sea Technology), the proprietary platform it utilises to integrate its yachts’ onboard electronic equipment and systems. The Group has extensive in-house design and styling services and also owns the Lusben yard for repair and refits.