"Go on Ken, put her hard over," said Dick Lazzara, who was sitting beside me, his trademark cigar in hand and a black company-logo baseball cap pulled low over his eyes. As we flirted with 28 knots, I turned the racing-style wheel well to port and felt her bank smoothly. I noted an acceptable drop in rpm, but no evident cavitation. Nice.
"Now just keep her there," Dick encouraged, as we carved a big circle in the water, quickly catching up to our own wake. "Turn the wheel more to port." I did so and was surprised to feel the drives move and our circle grow tighter. I did this twice more, getting our turning radius smaller each time. And when I pulled her out of the turn she came around softly, without a snap or roll, and settled right in, running straight and true.
Lazzara's previous launch was the innovative LSX 75, which featured a quartet of joystick-controlled Volvo Penta IPS 600 drives that made it exceptionally user-friendly. With the 92, Lazzara has taken it to the next level, creating the first yacht to use four of Volvo Penta's new IPS 900 drives.
"When we look back 30 to 50 years from now, the impact of this technology will rank right up there next to the introduction of fiberglass," said Rich Lazzara, vice president of sales and marketing and a member of the third generation of boatbuilders in the family. "The pod system has changed and will continue to change our industry forever."
"We certainly set out to make a statement with the LSX 75 when we released it more than two years ago now," said Dick. "We just didn't want to make [this new yacht], a larger 75. Our objective was to confirm what the LSX line is all about; a highly innovative product that raises the bar yet again for our company."
As with all Lazzara builds, the 92 was conceived, designed, and built at the company's 130,000-square-foot facility, part of their 24-acre industrial complex that juts into Tampa Bay. Hull number one started as a pencil drawing and began to take shape as a clay model, constantly being reworked and fashioned under the expert eyes of the Lazzara design team. From there, a 3D laser camera was used to scan the form. A scale replica was created using the same five-axis, computer-controlled router that would make some of the actual 92's more complex components. Once the design was approved, it was on to the production line.
As the hull was being laid up, a one-piece module, encompassing the interior, deck, and flying bridge, was completed at its own station and included the placement and exact fitting of the Lazzara-built custom furniture. Wire runs were being measured, and all equipment, systems, engines, and drives were installed precisely. Last but not least, vibration and sound dampening were achieved with a series of rubber pads placed wherever a cross member and longitudinal meet between the two pieces of the build. Then when all was ready, hull and module became one.
That vibration- and sound-dampening system, coupled with the underwater exhausts on the quad 675-horsepower IPS 900 setup-which will become available with 700 horsepower this spring-was why Dick and I were able to talk about the new build on the bridge, without having to raise our voices. There was no vibration from the overhead radar arch either. When I slid the butter-smooth electronic controls forward I felt the big boat effortlessly rise out of the hole. We were on plane in about 15 seconds, with seven people on board and full fuel and water. Taking the LSX 92 for a literal spin-well, it was a pure adrenaline rush.
A sleek profile and sexy styling complement the 92's smooth performance. Entry is via the large teak-soled swim platform. Steps on either side lead to the afterdeck area where there is also teak underfoot. A large sunpad is centered directly between the stairways, and just forward is a seating area and a dining table for six. If the sun's too hot, simply deploy the electrically operated sunshade. There is also a flatscreen TV that lifts out of a cabinet behind the table's forward bench seat.
A serene, luxe salon is reached through sliding glass doors. The Lazzara design team works with owners to make sure their individual tastes are satisfied and on this LSX 92, dark wood soles and trim were offset by light-toned leather couches in the sitting area and chairs in the dining space. The bulkheads and overhead were also done in light fabrics. Distinctive sculpted windows on either side, a glass door aft, the forward-swept windshield, and the sizeable sunroof above the helm flooded the interior with light. And the entire vessel, inside as well as outside, is equipped with LED lighting for night illumination.
The starboard lower helm is functional yet striking. Electrically operated, multi-position leather pilot and copilot seats provide comfortable vantage points and an excellent line of sight in every direction. A trio of customizable crystal-clear viewing screens displays everything from engine parameters and monitoring systems to nav information and radar overlays. Here, too, the sound-dampening paid off-at 27 knots, I measured a mere 68 dB(A) at the lower helm and 66 in the salon. Both readings were taken with the sunroof open.
Access to the lower deck is via a portside stairway opposite the helm. If a galley can be called exciting, this one qualifies. The ultramodern area offers a gourmet everything he could need, from abundant counter and stowage space to state-of-the-art appliances.
The LSX 92 has four spectacular staterooms, each with its own en suite head. And whether in the forepeak VIP, located forward of the galley, or in the quarters on either side of the hallway abaft the galley-a twin to port and queen to starboard-or the full-beam master suite, you will be cosseted in luxurious comfort.
But there are a few more surprises aboard the LSX 92. The first is a retractable, teak-soled terrace located off the master suite. Optional arrangements include Jacuzzi/workout room, office, or sauna. When deployed, the terrace sits out over the water. It's an incredible place from which to take a swim, and enjoy a sunrise breakfast or an intimate sunset dinner.
Another surprise is located in the transom garage, which transforms into a 160-square-foot, teak-soled patio with the removal of the PWC and tender. This arrangement takes a bite out of the engineroom space, but all the crucial points of system and engine access are still easy to reach. A large flatscreen TV folds down automatically- bring out the deck chairs and a chaise longue or two, and you have a very special entertainment space.
The LSX 92's state-of-the-art technology and unique features make it incredibly easy to operate. But owners and their crews can attend the three- to four-day course (See "Yacht Yard: Master Class," November 2008) that's provided with ownership of a new Lazzara. The seminars, which take place at the Lazzara complex, are presented by veteran training manager Craig Starns, and cover every aspect of operating the vessel. That means you'll be confidently off on your yachting adventures before the champagne has even dried on the hull.
Lazzara Yachts, (813) 835-5300; www.lazzarayachts.com