The sleek Akhir motoryachts from Cantieri di Pisa have always looked like they were going 100 knots, even while sitting dockside. The new 140-foot model, with the same low profile and even more length, appears capable of warp speed. The first in the new line is Element, built for a Lebanese owner residing in France.
On a visit to the Italian yard last year, I had a chance to view the new hull, just pulled from the mold. As streamlined as Element is above the water, she is even more so beneath. Her planing hull has straight buttock lines from amidships aft for minimum drag. Propeller tunnels allow the use of larger propellers with added blade area for improved efficiency. The tunnels have been modified from those used on earlier Akhir models, and should offer little, if any, added resistance. Element makes 28 knots with her pair of MTU 16V 4000 engines, according to the builder. Reduction gears are mounted independently of the engines, with flexible couplings between the engines and gears, to help reduce the transfer of noise and vibration from the engines into the yacht's structure.
A return trip to Pisa last spring allowed a tour of the nearly completed Element. This time, it was her clever split-level design that caught my attention. Many times, such low-profile designs result in limited interior headroom and poor visibility from the helm and other interior spaces. The Akhir 140 looks, at first glance, like a raised pilothouse yacht, but she is a full trideck.
Element has good headroom throughout, and a remarkable 8 feet of headroom in the on-deck master suite. Visibility from the lower and upper helms is very good. The flying bridge deck is stepped so the open guest area abaft the helm has bulwarks high enough to be safe without looking overly tall from outside.
In addition to the master suite, five guest staterooms are belowdecks. Four are half-beam rooms amidships. The fifth is a full-beam VIP suite with a large office/sitting area, a whirlpool tub and a cabin-size hanging locker. The VIP could easily serve as a second master stateroom.
Crew is accommodated in four cabins with upper-and-lower berths, and in a captain's cabin abaft the pilothouse.
The interior is finished with limed teak, a unique look I don't recall seeing before. It is a non-traditional choice, but is well suited to Element's modern styling.
Cantieri di Pisa introduced a 125-foot version of the yacht in addition to the new 140-foot model, filling the gap from its Akhir 110. The yard is also developing a line of open yachts. The first models, to be introduced in 2003, are 60- and 76-footers. A 95-foot model is expected to follow in 2004. All will have MTU power. -D.D.