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Skyler: The highly sensual 38m yacht from Benetti

Skyler is a yacht that has to be experienced with all the senses — not just seen and heard, but also felt with your bare feet — to be fully appreciated. Tactility was a key part of the owner’s brief for what would become hull No 3 in the 38.1 metre Benetti Fast 125 series, coming after 2015’s Iron Man, with her superhero-inspired interiors, and Constance Joy, which stole the show at the 2016 Cannes Yachting Festival with her distinctive bright red hull.

Subtly decorated with a thin blue waterline stripe and crisp white topsides, Skyler is set apart from her diverse sisterships by an emphasis on rich textures that runs throughout her interior. This theme is evident on all decks, from the dark blue leather lining on the central staircase and foam-backed wood flooring in the dining area to the silk woven into the deep pile carpets in the master suite and main saloon.

British design studio RWD brought its extensive superyacht experience to bear on the Skyler project, with Tanganyika frisé, glossy ebony and Thai woodwork offsetting the pale furniture and nickel detailing. This simple and contemporary décor was based on the Air configuration, one of three preliminary templates (alongside Land and Sea) that the studio created for Benetti and which clients can choose from to customise their yacht. Leather ceiling and wall linings add to the light and relaxed ambience on board Skyler.

She’s quiet, too. For a yacht that packs more than 5,200hp into the engine room, Skyler is remarkably serene underway, not just in the saloon but below decks too. The yacht features the Rolls-Royce Azipull Carbon 65 propulsion system, which uses steerable thrusters coupled to twin 2,636hp MTUs instead of standard shafts, and Benetti’s technical team remarked that this, combined with her fast displacement D2P hull form, delivered outstandingly low levels of noise and vibration even at top speed.

Following her sea trials, it’s no surprise that Sklyer earned the RINA Comfort Class certification. Manoeuvrability is another advantage of the Azipull system, with the thrusters controlled by a joystick in the wheelhouse. This makes mooring up a much smoother experience, for guests and crew alike.

Moving forward, the side-loading tender garage is not only home to a pair of jet skis and a Williams Dieseljet 565, it also adds a welcome noise buffer amidships. Guests dozing in the three double cabins and one twin cabin on the lower deck will notice the difference.

Her elegant styling comes courtesy of long-time yard collaborator Stefano Righini, who drew up the lines for Skyler back in 2015 as an alternative to Iron Man’s streamlined exterior. He describes it as a “more classical design”.

The lightweight carbon and epoxy resin superstructure has been given a raised brow, which helps to reduce glare in the wheelhouse, while further aft a modified arch increases the size of the upper deck windows. Both modifications have been carried through to hull No 4 in the series, Lejos 3, which splashed in Viareggio in May.

The benefits of the extended windows are most noticeable in Skyler’s light-flooded upper saloon, with freestanding furniture from Sutherland and Meridiani, long blinds and a 75-inch television. As a result this relaxed and comfortable space can easily become an onboard cinema.

Benetti has already proven its flexibility in transforming this space on the Fast 125 — the owner of Iron Man chose to fit it out as a workout space. On Skyler a smaller superyacht gym has been created amidships on the upper deck with an Octane Fitness cross-trainer and floor-to-ceiling mirrors.

Outside, there are four distinct areas for relaxing, starting with the superyacht beach club and its teak-lined bar. Al fresco dining is offered on the bridge deck aft, where custom deck chairs surround a circular dining table inlaid with glass and stainless steel.

Up on the sundeck, action revolves around the bar, which is shaded by a convertible Bimini. Bar stools by Glyn Peter Machin and custom Minotti armchairs provide plenty of relaxation options. Meanwhile, a forward-facing perch with three more stools provides the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset with a cocktail or overlook the foredeck, its built-in superyacht spa pool and surrounding sunpads.

Another feature that sets Skyler apart from her sisterships is the pair of port and starboard superyacht balconies that fold out from the master suite at the touch of a button, leaving the owner spoilt for choice when it comes to breakfast spots. His culinary interests can also be seen in the custom galley, which has been fitted with a marble-clad table and an island breakfast bar.

The attention to detail is carried through into the crew quarters, most notably the captain’s cabin, which features fine leather and rosewood. Two further cabins and a mess in the bow mean that Skyler can comfortably accommodate five crewmembers.

For Captain Jeffrey Foerster, Skyler stands apart from the previous models in the Fast 125 series. “What makes her different is how much involvement the owner has had in terms of the interior design, as well as the layout of all the exterior decks,” he says. “The general layout has not changed too much; most of the changes were to do with the soft goods, but the exterior deck layout and furniture was pretty heavily customised by the owner.”

With all these fixtures and fittings, it would be reasonable to expect a drop in cruising performance, but Benetti has more than offset the extra weight through its innovative lightweight drive train. Developed in collaboration with Rolls-Royce and installed on all models in the Fast 125 series so far, the Azipull C65 uses carbon fibre throughout, even on load-bearing parts. Vincenzo Poerio, Benetti’s CEO, is in no doubt as to the advantages, adding: “Efficient and lightweight propulsion is key to reducing the environmental impact of a modern yacht.”

His words are backed up by Skyler’s cruising range – 1,540 nautical miles at 12 knots, despite a total fuel capacity of just 30,000 litres, setting a new standard for the Benetti Fast 125 fleet. This will be put to good use this summer, when the owner plans to explore the Mediterranean, before moving her to Florida and cruising down to the Caribbean in time for the winter season.

Two further hulls have been sold, taking this semi-custom series to a total of seven yachts under development. And with the clever alterations and variations seen on Skyler, future owners can be sure that they are working with a tried and tested yet highly flexible platform — a thought to engender peace of mind as well as soothe the senses.

First published in the August 2017 edition of Boat International

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