The new Lazzara 74 owes its existence to what I'll call, for want of a better phrase, the Upstairs-Downstairs Syndrome. It's something that most of us in the yachting business know about, but it's rarely discussed because, well, it's just kind of private.
The essence is this: American yacht owners are egalitarian in their yachting; Europeans are not. On many American yachts, the captain and the crew are accepted as part of the "family, with their quarters within the guest areas of the yacht. The owners have no problem with the crew passing through their living areas and, in fact, often include the crew in the cozy atmosphere of the open country galley.
Europeans, on the other hand, often don't want to see the crew at all. Crew quarters are usually forward, with access only through foredeck hatches, and the crew never, ever wander through the saloon unless serving the guests.
The management team at Lazzara Yachts, led by company president Dick Lazzara, saw Europe as the next target and, with that in mind, considered the Upstairs-Downstairs Syndrome. Lazzara's 68 Sports Yacht was proving very popular, particularly at a price point of nearly $2 million less than the Lazzara 76s and 80s that had helped establish this third-generation family-owned company.
To provide the separate crew quarters needed for Europe, Dick Lazzara re-purposed the popular transom garage area of the 68 into a comfortable two-bunk crew quarters, a spacious head with shower, and a direct passage from the stern into the engineroom.
The result is the Lazzara 74, a yacht that can be handled by an owner, yet which has comfortable crew accommodations separate from the living areas. Dick Lazzara expects that this is likely to appeal to Americans as well, particularly those with teenagers who want their own "apartment" in the stern.
To solve the problem of storing the tender, he penciled in a wide transom platform, and to eliminate the need for a crane, he made it hydraulically submersible so the tender can float off and on easily.
The first 74 went to Marco Petricca, the Lazzara dealer in Venezuela. "South Americans also want to keep the crew separate," said Petricca. "Besides, I love that wide 'beach' platform. With the tender and its chocks gone, we can put chairs on the platform and lower it so our feet are in the water on hot days."
With large sliding doors to the after deck, the 74 is like other Lazzara designs that blend the interior and exterior into a seamless unit that emphasizes ease of access to the water; the outdoor entertaining area is protected by the bridge overhang. In this case, a passerelle has been added for stern-to mooring.
Anyone familiar with the Lazzara 68 would be able to find his or her way around the 74 in the dark, although the company does modify the layouts to suit each client. In this case, the interior was finished in a warm pecan, which accents the brightly colored dÈcor and furnishings. "Other boats may be more serious," says Petricca, "but we wanted this to be a 'happy' boat. It's about Caribbean fun."
In the inviting saloon are an L-shaped sofa in the port corner and a pair of loose chairs to starboard, all with views of the flat-screen TV in the after corner. A dining table can expand to handle six, and a built-in buffet with a mirror increases the visual space of the area.
Forward of the saloon, the mood turns casual with a country galley combined with the lower helm. The galley fills the port side, with a planked sole for easy cleanup, granite counters and a center island. A dinette and table curve around so guests can keep both the chef and the skipper company, and a day head is to starboard. Take the steps down from the galley, and you'll pass into a media area with a settee, flat-screen TV and desk for computers, although some owners may choose to finish it as yet another guest cabin.
The leather-lined dash is designed with today's large-screen electronics in mind, and the Stidd helm chair is close to the sliding pilothouse door-which makes shorthanding convenient.
Backtrack into the saloon and down the circular stairs and you'll find three guest cabins opening off a central foyer. The master suite spans the full beam aft, with a centerline berth, vanity/desk to starboard and a swoopy almost-Deco settee to port. Certainly the most striking feature is the pair of oval windows on each side, which give this stateroom an unexpected openness this deep in the hull.
The master head is equally opulent, with twin sinks and a spa bathtub in a setting of marble; opposite is a spacious walk-in closet.
Two VIP staterooms are just forward, essentially mirror images of each other with large double berths and private marble heads with showers. There's yet another guest cabin forward with twin bunks and a head with shower.
Marco Petricca's 74 had the standard arrangement on the flying bridge that puts a pair of crescent-shaped settees with tables under the hardtop, although he opted for single and twin Stidd seats forward instead of both singles. The port settee can be traded for a wetbar, and there's room aft for a sunpad or barbecue console.
With more than 50 years of boatbuilding expertise in the Lazzara family, it's no surprise that the construction is at the industry forefront, utilizing everything from five-axis milling machines to tough but light Kevlar and graphite reinforcing. Sight down the hull or the house, and a mirror finish shows how much time was spent getting each mold perfect. Inside, the joinerwork is as good as any in the world. But there's a lot you can't see, too, like rubber doughnuts every 24 inches underneath the inner structure, to isolate the interior of the yacht from transmitted sound and vibration.
Like the 68, the new 74 also gets a pair of Caterpillar C-18 1,000 hp diesels, but without the transom garage, the engineroom is spacious. There's ample room for a watermaker, a Trac stabilizer system and the standard 27kW Onan generator, although our test boat also had a backup 13kW genset. One item unique to the Lazzara is the Integrated Shipboard Information System (ISIS) that collects, monitors and displays the ship's systems, from engine status to tank levels and, of course, all alarms. The system stores 5,000 hours of operational data, allowing future owners to review all the system "logbooks".
Underway, the 74 has all the grace and nimbleness of the 68. The MaxPower bowthruster gets the boat in and out of tight slipways, but, once on the open sea, this is a yacht meant to run and run.
The performance numbers are self-explanatory, but the charts don't show how comfortable the Lazzara 74 is at around 2100 rpm, eating up the miles at 25 knots with an engine-saving 86 percent load factor.
While the Lazzara 74 was intended to satisfy a European and South American clientele, I think it's going to find ready acceptance among North Americans wanting a little separation from crew or teenagers. You could even use the added living quarters for a mother-in-law.
Contact: Lazzara Yachts, (813) 835-5300; www.lazzarayachts.com