Sanlorenzo 118

Posted Date: August 08, 2014     By: Maria Roberta Morso, Boat International

If you were in any doubt about how far Sanlorenzo has come in the last few years, take a look at the ShowBoats Global Order Book 2014: Sanlorenzo secured second place behind the giant Azimut Benetti Group in number, and total length, of boats built.

As the yachting market slowly emerges from recession, Sanlorenzo is maintaining a high profile, and new models and launches are coming thick and fast. In February the yard launched H1 – hull No.1 – of the SL118 series, quickly followed by the first of six SL112s already sold and the long-range 460Exp in steel and aluminium. The yard is pursuing ambitious goals with both its composite and steel/aluminium series and, while maintaining a strong design heritage, is exploring new avenues, as demonstrated by the Sanlorenzo 62Steel, a 62 metre signed by Mauro Micheli and Officina Italiana Design.

Today, the Sanlorenzo range includes 14 models, divided into three lines: the line in metal from 40 to 62 metres; the SD series of semi-displacement fibreglass motor yachts; and the SL line of planing fibreglass hulls from 19 to 36 metres.

The SL118 is an evolution of the SL104, its lines stretched and enhanced by introducing a few cleverly designed features. The concept driving the development of the model is to offer a luxury yacht built to a level of quality, customisation and performance comparable to a custom yacht, but keeping all the advantages of a production yacht in terms of engineering and delivery timing.

It’s this boat, the yard’s new flagship, that has brought me to Rapallo, near Portofino. Sanlorenzo CEO Fulvio Dodich is standing in front of the assembled press, revealing the secrets of his yard’s success in a largely limp market segment. ‘Our strength is flexibility in production and a worldwide network of dealers,’ says Dodich. ‘We don’t offer the client the possibility to choose veneers or fabrics – we actually build the yacht together. The standard general arrangement of the SL118 developed by the yard has four guest cabins on the lower deck amidship. H1, the first unit of the new series, has the guest quarters in the bow section with crew and technical areas astern.

‘Sanlorenzo is able to deliver made-to-measure boats, no matter the size, and the SL118 is an example of our approach,’ Dodich concludes.

The yacht’s profile, designed by Francesco Paszkowski, reveals both similarities and differences compared to its predecessor. Their proportions are essentially the same,  with clean profiles ending in raked bows. The big difference is that on the SL118 the main deck has a fullbeam configuration next to the owner’s suite, allowing for greater space for both the cabin and the adjoining lounge/studio. The latter enjoys great views over the water thanks to a fold-down balcony, a feature already on Sanlorenzo’s bigger steel yachts, also bearing the signature of Paszkowski.

‘The exterior styling is so important – it provides brand recognition,’ says Andrea Mottino, the model’s project manager. ‘The Italian designer (Paszkowski) 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 an efficient yacht featuring excellent performance. As for the (efficient) fuel consumption, the yacht’s deep V hull design utilises the latest resin-infusion technology with a light, hybrid carbon/composite superstructure, so her performance and handling are both impeccable and efficient. The moulds were CNC-milled and the project was developed in 3D for millimetre-perfect piping and cable runs,’ concludes Mottino.

The yacht is powered by twin MTU 2000 M94 engines delivering 1,966kW at 2,450rpm, but the yard also offers a more powerful version with twin 4000 series. On paper, the smaller units fitted to H1 should push the boat to 28 knots, but we are carrying complete stores, the owners’ kit, 20 people and lots of fuel, making the 26.1 knots we managed on our calm test day impressive. This slight discrepancy is quickly forgotten, though, as the throttles are pushed to the stops and the Sanlorenzo 118 moves smoothly onto the plane, while still offering a pleasing jolt of acceleration. We start weaving but the flat sea is refusing to challenge the hull’s sharp entry, so we aim for our own wake on a mission to unsettle the ride. We cross repeatedly at full chat but no slam reverberates up through the stiff, resin-infused hull and we pass over serenely.

The mile-long track on the yacht’s GPS shows our crisscross passage, revealing the SL118 as a comfortable, manoeuvrable performer. She’s frugal, too, burning a modest 36 litres per hour at 1,000rpm, rising to 39 when cruising at 23 knots with the engines settled at 2,250rpm. Sound levels in the modern and unconventional wheelhouse stay low, from a minimum of 54dB at six knots to a high of 62dB at our maximum recorded speed of 26.1 knots.

The wheelhouse features four free-standing, tabletshaped monitors that provide all navigation data. A second station is to starboard where the captain and crew can monitor an array of information arriving from all systems.

I leave the helm station to explore. The interior spaces are supported by aluminium floating frames, ensuring exceptional sound insulation and anti-vibration. The interior décor is almost monochromatic to highlight volumes and shapes throughout the yacht. ‘The interior design we realised 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 about the understated style aboard.

Paszkowski’s Florence-based studio is renowned for its fresh yet sophisticated style and H1 is no exception.Distinctly minimalist, the style relies on the coupling of grey and white hues highlighted by colourful details and accessories. Large glazed surfaces, such as the glass box in the main saloon enclosing the stairs to the sundeck, enhance the feeling of space. The elegant geometry of these stairs mean they act as a sort of sculpture enriching the décor of the main saloon.

The flooring is composed of polished resin surfaces in a pale grey hue matched to delicate grey leather slabs, creating an unusual pattern. Large white sofas are perfect for relaxing, and a versatile dining table astern makes for a cosy and informal setting. The carefully studied lightingplan, concealed behind translucent, tissue-like panels, gently diffuses light. In fact, almost no direct lighting is employed throughout the yacht.

In places where division of space is required, the interior designer introduced what could be the most enticing feature on board: the double-glazed walls separating the VIP and guest cabins from the central corridor on the lower deck. Electronically operated venetian blinds scroll up and down in between two glass panels, providing plenty of privacy. When the blinds are fully opened, they allow natural light to flood the inner part of the deck, at the same time revealing the impressive 7.6 metre beam. The guest accommodations are located in the hull’s forward section, while all service areas, galley and crew quarters are amidships, acting as a break between the sleeping area and machinery spaces.

To make the most of the wide body configuration, the owner’s suite is on the main deck forward and opens spectacularly onto the sea with two fold-down balconies. The glazed upper part of the balconies can open as a normal window without lowering the floor section. Throughout H1, windows are a big feature. The main saloon boasts large side-windows that can be raised and lowered at the touch of a button. Each panel weighs about 140 kilos, so the yard developed a system to ensure safe operation and a watertight seal when closed. When all the windows and the rear door are fully open, the indoor lounging area turns into an airy verandah for enjoying both the sea breeze and open views.

As you would expect, the sundeck is appointed to provide maximum comfort. It is accessed from the cockpit and the wheelhouse and hosts a second pilot station and an array of equipment for the guests to use en plein air.

Back in the pilothouse, Frank Hesse, H1’s captain, pushes the yacht back to a top speed of 26 knots as he heads to the harbour. 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 says. ‘We are still fine-tuning a few things, but the yacht performs as expected and we are ready to leave for our maiden voyage.’

This first iteration of the new model is a credit to the brand and has obviously impressed the market – four of the series have already been sold. With an ambitious business strategy allied to a familiar, yet clever and imaginative design DNA, Sanlorenzo is not going to give up its place at the top of the builders’ table anytime soon.

*This article was featured in the August 2014 issue of Boat International.