Art Meets Innovation in the Sanlorenzo SL78

The SL78 packs mega-yacht design features into Sanlorenzo’s entry-level hull.

July 6, 2017
Art Meets Innovation in the Sanlorenzo SL78 Jim Raycroft

Being an entry-level model at 78 feet length overall can only be a good thing for a new yacht. That size means the baby in the family gets many of her larger sisterships’ features. With the Sanlorenzo SL78, the superyacht influence includes a flybridge with square footage similar to some 90- or even 100-footers, an open-plan salon filled with Italian designer décor and a full-beam master suite.

The Italian builder was clearly thinking big on the SL78. Her charcoal-gray flybridge is nearly two-thirds of the yacht’s 80-foot-10-inch length overall. And the SL78 Sag Harbor edition has a hydraulic-electric radar arch that folds toward the deck to reduce its height by a good 5 feet. There are also nice design touches, including a glass-walled staircase, louvered sunroof, drop-down swim platform and country kitchen.

This motoryacht is the next generation of the builder’s fiberglass planing range, and the SL78 runs well, reaching 29 knots with her twin 1,620 hp MTU 10V 2000 M96L diesels. This yacht looks fast, which makes sense, because she is fast. Plus she’s stable underway and at rest in a chop, thanks to CMC stabilizers. The builder put together what it calls the Raymarine Diamond Edition electronics package, covering everything from GPS and radar to thermal imaging and chirp technology, which makes the SL78 a fairly intuitive vessel to drive, ­either by wheel or joystick. Sanlorenzo of the Americas did a comprehensive job of Americanizing its Sag Harbor edition with redundant pumps and U.S. systems, keeping the boat familiar and operational.

Sanlorenzo SL78
The Sanlorenzo SL78’s flybridge measures nearly two-thirds of the vessel’s length overall. Jim Raycroft

Origin Story

Sanlorenzo launched in 1958, but the Italian builder has experienced serious growth in the 12 years since Massimo Perotti became the majority shareholder. Perotti is a longtime executive in Italy’s yachting sector, and Sanlorenzo has seen a consistent upsizing under his leadership. In 2007, the builder launched the SD92 and 40Alloy, both of which garnered design awards, and three years later, it introduced the 46Steel (151 feet), its first steel displacement yacht. Two years ago, ­Sanlorenzo launched its 460 Expedition, and last year, it opened a superyacht shipyard in La Spezia, where it now has a 210-foot superyacht under construction.


The glass wall and staircase along the starboard-side have several functions. They enhance the onboard ambience, for one. Surrounded on three sides by sheets of glass and with stainless-steel edges on the steps, the staircase would be at home in any contemporary urban residence. The floating wooden staircase also provides an unbroken view of the water through the exterior window. The steps are the only access from the main deck to the flybridge, leaving the cockpit and flybridge less cluttered. And because the staircase is indoors, it’s ideal for going up and down in foul weather.


Fort Lauderdale-based designer Marty Lowe used the Sanlorenzo’s 23-foot-long open salon to masterful effect, filling it with Italian designer brands to create a midcentury, modern look. The off-white leather Minotti sofa, RH Modern coffee table and Poltrona Frau dining chairs create a casual but stylish sensibility. Oak joinery and white centerline ceiling panels with black-slate side panels accent the décor, while the irregular plank sole (which intentionally shows saw marks) creates a rustic feel. Add the 6-foot-10-inch headroom, glass stairway and four side windows, and the SL78’s salon is the living room of any relaxed stylista’s dreams.



Sanlorenzo of the Americas opted for a country kitchen and day-head on the Sag Harbor edition. The open galley joins with the starboard-side helm area, which has a breakfast table alongside it. Appliances include a 30-inch Miele cooktop, a Miele speed and convection oven, a Sub-Zero upright fridge-freezer and an InSinkErator garbage disposal. The deep stainless-steel sink from Barazza would be a fine fit in many home kitchens.

Sanlorenzo SL78
Retractable roofs are de rigueur these days, but Sanlorenzo created a louvered one, giving owners the ability to incrementally let in or shut out light. Jim Raycroft


The full-beam master suite has flanking windows. A vanity and desk are on one side, and an en suite head is on the other. The head, with Emperador grigio marble countertops and twin sinks, has an enclosed toilet on one side and a glass shower stall on the other. The electrically operated curtains are ideal for privacy. All linens and the 100 percent, high-absorbent cotton “waffle” towels are standard and come from Tuscany, through Miami-based Privilegio Milano.


Like Sanlorenzo’s SL86 and SL118, the SL78 has a relatively lightweight yet strong, vacuum-infused hull and superstructure, floating soles and ceilings to lessen vibration, and such details as stainless-steel hardware, windows and other finishing pieces.



One of my favorite features on the SL78 is the louvered sunroof. Instead of retracting open the way most automatic sunroofs do and flooding the area with light, the louvered aluminum slats open like an overhead shade and filter light into the forward part of the flybridge. Owners can dial in as much or as little sunlight as they and their guests would like.


The movable Roda lounges on the flybridge let owners configure the area as they wish; the seats can be set up for a cocktail cruise or cleared for a dance floor. Sanlorenzo used glass-paneled railings at the after end of the flybridge so the view is never lost.


The wet bar is the cockpit centerpiece, with an Indel Webasto ice maker, Frigonautica fridge, Kenyon grill and space for a 40-inch flat-screen TV. The bar also has two stainless-steel stools bolted into the deck.

Sanlorenzo SL78
The salon of the SL78 is spacious and bright. Jim Raycroft


The bow on the SL78 is redesigned largely from Sanlorenzo’s previous entry-level model, the SL72, changing it from a mostly working space to an all-out social area with a six-person lounge and lift-up teak table. Canvas provides shade for those dog days.


Redundancy is what turns the Sanlorenzo SL78 Sag Harbor edition from an Italian beauty into a bona fide, go-anywhere bluewater cruiser. The yacht has a “tropical” air-conditioning system with two chillers, producing an atmosphere-altering 120,000 Btu, a welcome relief when you get into the lower latitudes. In addition, there are backup gray- and black-water pumps, and two 21.5 kW Cummins generators to ensure everything stays on when you’re far from shore. This yacht is also equipped with double-gang 110 V/60 Hz sockets for use with U.S. appliances.

Sanlorenzo SL78
The Sanlorenzo SL78’s master stateroom is full-beam. Jim Raycroft

The Sag Harbor Edition

The Sag Harbor moniker is both specific and random. Sanlorenzo has a summer office in the posh Long Island, New York, seaside enclave, and the company knew that the only way to get the new SL78 to fit under the Sag Harbor bridge was by offering a retractable radar arch. The builder developed an electric-hydraulic folding mast that creates a maximum bridge clearance of 20 feet 4 inches. That not only gets the boat under the Sag Harbor bridge, but it also opens up a world of access to more remote waterways with low clearances.


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