Living Out Loud

The first Benetti B.Now 50m comes to life

Wide shot of Iryna

Benetti's 49.9-metre Iryna is all about outside-the-box thinking. Risa Merl gets behind the lines...

“The owner of this yacht needs to love exterior living,” says Benetti project manager Azurra Beani of the first B.Now 50 series yacht named Iryna. “Forty per cent of the living spaces on board – 380 square metres – are exterior areas,” she adds.

Fittingly, Beani has begun the tour not in the main salon but outside on the upper aft deck, just one of the many expansive and customisable outdoor living areas that typifies the B.Now range. All of the yachts that have been ordered thus far in the B.Now 50 range will have different sundeck layouts and stern configurations, with many taking advantage of Benetti’s lush Oasis Deck with its extending side platforms and infinity pool.

Soft seating, exterior upper deck

The upper deck is just one of the expansive outdoor areas on board

The upper deck is just one of the expansive outdoor areas on board

The steel-and-aluminium B.Now series is born of a collaboration between the Italian yard and UK design house RWD, who created the exterior and general arrangement. The hull design came from P.L.A.N.A., working with the Azimut-Benetti research and development department. Prior to this, RWD designed Benetti’s successful GRP-built Oasis range.

“You can see that Iryna... is a product that ultimately has an emotional impact”

“The initial brief for the B.Now range was to design and build a new series of modern motor yachts that were unmistakably a Benetti, while combining British understated elegance and Italian flair,” says Mark Gardner, head of exteriors at RWD. “Every boat in the range uses the same design ingredients, but we have been able to tweak them to suit the design brief of each model. You can see that Iryna is part of the B.Now family, but we were keen to make sure that the 50M is visually dynamic, full of subtle form movement and is a product that ultimately has an emotional impact.”

Iryna from the back

Each B.Now 50 will have different stern configurations

Each B.Now 50 will have different stern configurations

Benetti gave the designers a limit of keeping the 49.9-metre yacht’s volume under 500GT while urging them to create a sense of spaciousness in the living areas, particularly the common areas like the main saloon.

“Fitting everything within 500GT, you have to be clever,” says Roberto Corno, Benetti sales director. “We tried to not give too much space to the hull, but to have the superstructure be proportionate to the hull. Thanks to the design of RWD, when you see the boat, it’s very balanced between the hull and superstructure.”

Iryna from above
Iryna from the side

Iryna is the first in the B.Now 50m series

Iryna is the first in the B.Now 50m series

Low slung with powerful haunches and a long foredeck, the yacht has sleek automotive-inspired proportions. Other than the obvious lifestyle elements such as the aft infinity pool, a defining exterior feature is the aft main deck glass fashion plate and its detailed connection to the hull windows.

“We spent a lot of time refining the surfacing [of the superstructure] to be a key element of the B.Now series,” says Gardner, who describes a process of fine-tuning proportions and simplifying forms and shapes while making sure to retain Benetti’s distinctive DNA. The result is a yacht that is easily identified as being part of the Benetti family, but with a modern twist.

The contract for hull one was signed in 2019 before Covid-19 struck, and the brief was developed with the owner, a Benetti client whose previous yachts included both Azimuts and Benettis. Beani served as the project manager on some of his previous boats, which aided in continuity of communication and an understanding of what the owner wanted for his new vessel.

Though pandemic-period restrictions at the Livorno yard meant that construction was paused for upwards of three months, Benetti continued to work with the owner from afar so when work was allowed to resume they could hit the ground running with the many customisations the owner had requested. The most challenging aspect of the Covid-related delays, says Beani, was finalising classifications and certifications in the lead up to the yacht’s delivery just after Christmas as most offices were closed. It was a push to complete all of the certifications in less than a week, she says, but once sorted, the owner was ready to put his new yacht to the test.

The yacht is, in essence, a floating extension of the owner's life on shore

Soft seating, exterior upper deck
Soft seating, exterior upper deck

Iryna's outdoor spaces spread over 380sqm 

Iryna's outdoor spaces spread over 380sqm 

“Coming from smaller Benetti, when he got to step on board he was very excited, like a kid in a candy shop,” says Corno. “He started a holiday immediately, pushing the crew to leave right away for Turkey.” But Iryna is not simply a holiday retreat to be used a few weeks out of the year. The owner plans to live on Iryna for an extended period of time, spending at least two months every summer on board. The yacht is also integrated into the owner’s daily life — according to Beani, the owner keeps Iryna moored near his house and goes on board nearly every day. The yacht is, in essence, a floating extension of his life on shore.

Item 1 of 3
Main saloon showing map on wall and geometric TV stand

Custom made carved wooden maps grace the saloons on board

Custom made carved wooden maps grace the saloons on board

Exterior of main saloon showing beige sofa on deck

Plentiful al fresco dining is found throughout the exterior decks

Plentiful al fresco dining is found throughout the exterior decks

Wide shot of exterior main saloon seating on deck

Working with Benetti’s in-house design team, the owner briefed a contemporary interior with a light colour palette to create an open feel. A flaxen-shaded Tanganika Frise in a matt finish is the primary wood choice on board. This is contrasted by richer smoked oak, also in matt. Built-in furniture is combined with loose furnishings from Visionnaire and other Italian brands. The expansive glazing in the main-deck living areas plays up the brightness of the white-clad walls and furnishings. A few dramatic touches, such as a reflective table and geometric TV stand stand out against the white-leather sofa in the main saloon.

Main saloon interior lounge area showing white sofas and chairs

Palladium leaf finish can be seen in the ceiling over the dining room

Palladium leaf finish can be seen in the ceiling over the dining room

The owner’s list of customisations for the yacht spanned from the technical to the ornate. A palladium leaf finish was chosen by the owner for the ceilings to demarcate the yacht’s most important areas. The lustrous silver detail can be seen overhead in the ceiling recesses of the dining area, main saloon, upper deck saloon and the over the bed in the owner’s cabin.

Owner's suite showing silver ceiling over bed

With its cool blue colour scheme, the master cabin is a haven of calm for the owner

With its cool blue colour scheme, the master cabin is a haven of calm for the owner

Part of the platinum family, palladium is a precious material and is very delicate in leaf form. “It has to be worked entirely by hand,” says Beani. “It’s made by creating little 10 by 10 cenitmetre pieces that are all applied by hand.” The rest of the ceiling is covered in an ivory-coloured leather, tanned using natural processes.

Dining table in main deck area

The copious amounts of marble found throughout Iryna, are actually faux ecological stones, like Dekton and Silestone — composites made from a mix of natural and recycled materials. Such stone substitutes are beginning to rival granite, marble and quartz in popularity as they are less expensive and more durable and eco-friendly.

Exterior overhead shot of Iryna

Dekton, for instance, is naturally stain proof without the need for sealant, fireproof and UV-resistant, so it won’t fade over time. “The owner chose eco-friendly stones as it was positive for the environment and much easier to maintain,” says Beani. “This material was new to us at the shipyard, but after this project, we have proposed it to other clients and are now using it in a lot of other boats. It’s impossible to distinguish it from natural stone.” Used on the main-deck forward bulkhead in the dining area, the ecological stone catches the eye as you step on board.

Other innovations on Iryna fell on the technical side, with the owner specifying a priority on noise and vibration reduction. Meeting this aim started early in the design stage, with Benetti subcontracting a studio dedicated to noise and vibration dampening. The results met the mark, with the the decibel readings coming in below what had been contractually agreed to.

Item 1 of 2
Inside Iryna's wheelhouse

The technical spaces on board are to a high finish 

The technical spaces on board are to a high finish 

Inside Iryna's engine room

The yard was also challenged to add in an elevator that would be subtle, rather than a focal point, running from the lower to upper deck, no mean feat in a yacht this size. Another task for Benetti was to enhance privacy on board — an important requirement to the owner. On the aft upper deck, for instance, a custom-made canvas enclosure slides down to block off prying eyes so the owner and his guests can still dine al fresco while in port.

External dining space on upper deck

“The upper deck skylounge is also very private as it can be closed off from the main stairwell,” says Beani. The skylounge is a relaxed space, with beige sofas and bespoke wood creations, such as the coffee table featuring carved koi fish, and a wooden map of the world on the wall. Further forward on the upper deck is a gym with en suite shower room, which can be converted to become a fifth guest cabin. Beani also notes that as the balcony of the owner’s suite is built into the superstructure it is much more private than a fold-down balcony.

Item 1 of 4
Upper deck lounge with beige corner sofa and wooden map on wall

CAPTION HERE

CAPTION HERE

Alt view of upper deck lounge showing koi carp table