H1 in ShowBoats International

Posted Date: August 27, 2014     By: Maria Roberta Morso

Sanlorenzo isn’t the type of yacht builder that rushes into new models; there are no regular unveilings scheduled at every boat show, for instance. But during recent months, the yard’s years of careful R&D have converged. New models are launching thick and fast as they come to fruition at the same time.

This past February, the yard launched H1, the first hull of the new SL118 series, which was quickly followed by the first of six SL112s already sold and the new long-range 460Exp in steel and aluminum. The yard is indeed pursuing ambitious goals with both the composite and metal series. While maintaining a strong family feeling, Sanlorenzo explores new roads, such as the 62Steel, a 203-foot yacht designed by Mauro Micheli/Officina Italiana Design. This model will project the Italian builder into even larger territory.

If you were in doubt about how far Sanlorenzo has come over these last few years, take a look at the Top 20 Builders table of the 2014 ShowBoats International Global Order Book (see December/January 2014 issue); Sanlorenzo secured second place after the giant Azimut-Benetti Group.

The company’s new CEO, Fulvio Dodich, has taken a global view since taking the reins of Sanlorenzo a year and a half ago. “We have indeed strengthened our dealer network and established business agreements in emerging markets such as Central and South America, China and the Asia-Pacific area. Sanlorenzo is able to deliver made-to-measure boats, no matter the size,” he said during H1’s press debut in April.

Today the Sanlorenzo range includes 14 models, divided into three lines: the Superyacht line in metal from 131 to 203 feet; the SD series of semi-displacement fiberglass motor yachts; and the SL line of planing fiberglass hulls from 62 to—thanks to the launch of H1—120 feet.

This largest addition to the SL line is an evolution of the SL104, whose lines have been stretched and enhanced by introducing a few cleverly designed features. The concept driving the model’s development is a luxury motor yacht built to a level of quality, customization and performance comparable to a custom yacht, but keeping all the advantages of a production yacht in terms of engineering and delivery time. “Our strength is flexibility in production and a worldwide network of dealers,” says Dodich. “We don’t just offer the client the possibility to choose veneers or fabrics, we actually build the yacht together. [For example] the standard general arrangement of the SL118 developed by the yard has four guest cabins on the lower deck amidships. H1 has the guest quarters in the bow section with crew and technical areas astern.”

The yacht’s profile, designed by Francesco Paszkowski, reveals both similarities to and differences from the SL104. Proportions are substantially the same on both as is the clean profile ending with a raked bow. The main difference is that the SL118’s main deck is full beam at the owner stateroom forward, allowing for greater space dedicated to both the stateroom and the adjoining lounge/study. Both enjoy great views thanks to fold-down balconies, a feature already seen on Sanlorenzo’s bigger metal yachts and a Paszkowski signature.

“The exterior styling is so important; it provides brand recognition,” says project manager Andrea Mottino during our sea trial near Portofino, Italy. “The Italian designer impressed his unmistakable signature to the SL118 exterior line, giving life to an updated version of the purest Sanlorenzo style.

“But H1 is not only a piece of design, she is also an efficient yacht featuring excellent performance,” continues Mottino. “As for the fuel consumption, the yacht’s deep-V hull design utilizes the very latest resin infusion technology with a hybrid carbon/composite superstructure for lightness and so her performance and handling are both impeccable and efficient. The molds were CNCmilled, and the project was developed in 3D for millimeter- perfect piping and cable runs.”

H1 is powered by two MTU 2000 M94 engines delivering 2,636 horsepower at 2,450 rpm for a projected top speed of 28 knots. The shipyard also offers a more powerful version with twin 4000 series, which should deliver 30 knots. For our sea trial, H1 was put through her paces thanks to the varied requests of the journalists on board. She did everything that was asked of her: rapid acceleration, deceleration and comprehensive testing at all speeds. The sea was calm so we tested her seakeeping by repeatedly crossing our own wake at full speed. The mile track we left on the GPS was enough for us to record H1’s performance figures along with her comfortable handling. The planing hull performed well and the yacht showed great maneuverability. The modest fuel consumption of 9.5 gallons per hour at 1,000 rpm and almost 10 knots is notable. It rises to 105 gallons when cruising at 23 knots with the engines pushed at 2,250 rpm. The sound level in the modern and unconventional wheelhouse stayed low, from a minimum of 54dB at six knots to a maximum of 62dB at 26.1 knots.

The wheelhouse features four freestanding, tablet shaped monitors that make all navigation data available. A second station is located to starboard where the captain and crew can monitor an array of information arriving from all systems. During the test, I left the helm to explore both the exterior and interior spaces and to check the comfort level. The overall impression was positive. The interior is supported by aluminum floating frames, ensuring exceptional sound insulation and no vibration.

The interior décor is purposely almost monochromatic to highlight volumes and shapes throughout the yacht. “The forward-looking interior design we realized on H1 in close cooperation with architect Margherita Casprini matches the stylish exterior and perfectly mirrors the owners’ wishes, which were quite clear from the very beginning,” says Paszkowski, describing H1’s understated style. His Florence-based studio is renowned for its fresh yet sophisticated style and H1 is no exception. The distinctly minimalist look relies on the coupling of gray and white hues highlighted by a few colorful details and accessories. Large glazed surfaces, such as the glass box in the main salon aft encompassing the suspended staircase to the sun deck, offer a sense of spaciousness. The elegant geometry of the stairs enclosed in glass makes the stairway a sort of sculpture in itself, enriching the decoration of the main salon. The flooring is composed of polished resin surfaces in a pale gray hue matched to delicate gray leather slabs creating an unusual pattern. Large white sofas that beckon one to relax and a versatile dining table astern compose a cozy and informal setting.

The carefully studied lighting plan concealed behind translucent tissue panels gently diffuses light. Almost no direct lighting has been employed throughout H1. In places where division of space is required, the interior designer introduced what can be considered the most enticing feature on board: double-glazed windows separate the VIP and guest cabins from the central corridor on the lower deck and the master stateroom from its study. Electrically operated Venetian blinds scroll up and down between two glass panes providing plenty of privacy. When the blinds are fully opened natural light can flood the inner part of the lower deck, revealing the generous 25-foot beam. The guest accommodations are located in the hull’s forward section while all service areas—galley and crew quarters included—are amidships. Besides having a functional layout, they serve as an extraordinary interstice between the sleeping area and the engine room.

To make the most of the wide-body configuration, the owners’ suite is located on the main deck and benefits from the extra space provided by two fold-down balconies.The glazed upper part of the balconies can be opened as a normal window without lowering the floor section. Windows are indeed a feature on board H1. The main salon boasts large side windows that can be raised and lowered at the touch of a button. Each pane weighs more than 300 pounds, and the yard developed a sophisticated system to ensure safe operation and a perfect watertight seal when closed. When all of the windows and the rear door are fully open, the indoor lounging area turns into an airy verandah from where to enjoy both sea breeze and open views of the surrounding landscape.

As one would expect, the sun deck that crowns H1 provides maximum comfort. It is accessed from boththe salon aft and the wheelhouse and hosts a secondpilot station and an array of amenities for the guests tobe properly entertained en plein air.

As I completed my tour, Frank Hesse, H1’s captain, pushes the yacht to 26 knots bringing us quickly back to the harbor. Hesse knows both the owner and Sanlorenzo yachts well, having been the yard’s captain for years. “The owner followed the building of H1 very closely,” he tells me when the sea trial came to an end. “We are still fine-tuning a few things, but the yacht performs as expected and we are ready to leave for our maiden voyage.”

 H1 is a credit to the brand, and it seems that she has impressed the market as four SL118 boats have already been sold.

ShowBoats International, October 2014