Vincenzo Poerio joined Benetti in 1993, when the 143-year-old Italian shipyard had fewer than 20 vessels on the water. Today the global fleet of Benetti yachts is near 200, and 44 more are under construction. Poerio, who trained as a mechanical engineer, is always seeking the next innovation, whether it’s a new propulsion system, interior design, or hull shape. —MICHAEL VERDON
I arrived at Benetti when I was 38. I had no experience with yachts. I’d worked at a military shipyard, as a hydrodynamics researcher, and at a yard that converted ships to liquid-gas carriers. My initial goal was to design complete systems. The reputation of Italian shipyards was that they could create beautiful interiors but not functional yachts. We changed that, so now Benetti builds some of the most highly engineered yachts in the world, including the three 300-foot-plus gigayachts in our yards.
One of our most recent custom launches, the 207-foot 11.11, is a great example of where yacht design is headed. The vertical bow has many positive functions beyond aesthetics. These straight bows give more interior volume, plus they make the yacht more stable in rough oceans. On 11.11, the bow also serves as a helipad.
During the recession, the yachting world nearly came to a halt. Instead of retreating, we launched six new yacht series in our Displacement Class in three years. In the last two years, we’ve also launched the Veloce 140 and Vivace 125 series in our new Fast Displacement Class. They have speed, range, and beautiful interiors. The Vivace 125 has a range of 1,250 [nautical] miles at 12 knots and can reach 22 knots. London designers Redman Whiteley Dixon created three different interiors to give these semicustom yachts a bespoke feel. We’re now planning a series of superyachts over 180 feet. It’s a game changer, because it will be a semicustom series in what has always been a custom size range.
We’re also moving forward with innovations in propulsion. In 2007, we launched the first Azipod system on the 213-foot Ambrosia III. We’ve supersized this technology on our new 330-foot-plus Project Zoza. Azipods are steering engine pods that minimize vibration and take up less interior space than traditional systems, and they are much more fuel efficient. They are a breakthrough, not just for Benetti but for the superyacht world.