In recent years naval architects and yacht builders around the world have been researching ways to boost fuel efficiency, in direct response to requests by clients. The trick, though, has been to coax more nautical miles out of the tanks without sacrificing performance. Full-displacement yachts have long held fuel-consumption advantages over semi-displacement ones, but semi-displacement yachts have triumphed where speed was concerned. Could some middle ground be struck? And could it be done while a yacht owner remains fully indulged?
Turns out it could, and megayacht clients like the Brazilian brothers who own Cheers 46 (a Veloce 140 model and the first delivery in the [Benetti] Fast Displacement series) are now reaping the rewards.
The Dream Performance Team
Go back to the fall of 2013. Benetti’s CEO, Vincenzo Poerio, reveals at a press conference that customers have been requesting yachts that cruise faster than the usual best cruise figure. In the sizes that Benetti was building, that figure was generally around 11 knots. They needed to bump it up. Somehow. The kicker? Owners also wanted to burn less fuel. Yes, the ever elusive blend of speed and economy.
Enter a prolific cast of engineers and architects. Start with the Azimut Benetti Group research and development department. Add Stefano Righini, who has penned the lines of dozens of Benettis to date, and Pierluigi Ausonio Naval Architecture Studio. Together, they began investigating options. The solution: Combine the benefits of the round-bilge hull form with those of the planing hull form, along with a bulbous bow shaped much like a wave piercer.
That was a good start.
Benetti wanted top speeds in the 20-plus-knot range, so it brought in Rolls-Royce for its touted Azipull system. In brief, the system recaptures (pulls in) the swirl energy that would ordinarily escape into the slipstream, thereby increasing propulsive efficiency. The Azipull has been proven across commercial and military ships since its release in 2002.
Benetti and its design team performed computational fluid-dynamics tests to determine what hull and propulsion combination would work best. They also did scale-model tests to see how the hull would behave under realistic conditions. These tests revealed that the combined ideas would produce 30 percent better efficiency than traditionally equipped planing hulls.
The 138-foot yacht had her first victory: performance and economy. The genesis of Cheers 46. But there needed to be more to the Veloce 140.
And the results are…
Benetti says top speed for Cheers 46 at one-third load is 21 knots. Under 70 percent load, she reportedly achieves 16.5 knots at fuel-stop power, seeing a range of 500 nautical miles. Power comes from twin 3,460 hp MTU 12V 4000 M93L power plants, the largest installed at Benetti’s shipyard in Viareggio, Italy.
The Dream Design Team
With the hull dialed in to take the owners of Cheers 46 to bucket-list destinations efficiently, the yacht’s owners turned to personalizing the entire platform. They brought in João Armentano, a Brazilian architect and designer. He joined Redman Whiteley Dixon, the design team that Benetti tapped to create decor packages for the series.
Those packages, named Air, Land and Sea, are meant to evoke certain sensations based on their materials. Cheers 46 bears the Air decor primarily through a light-gray-stained African wood called tay. It’s complemented by richer-stained tabu wood.
Adding to the airy feel are the nearly floor-to-ceiling glass to each side of the dining area and a foldout balcony located fully forward on the main deck. If you’re familiar with megayacht trends, you’ll assume the forward area is the master suite. But, surprise number one, it’s a gym. All told, it is not the usual yacht workout area. Extra overhead clearance was needed to accommodate the owners and guests using the equipment, so Benetti had to redo the originally planned height of the room. It’s interesting to note that the gym initially was designed with a sauna and hot tub, but a change of mind led to them being removed. The owners didn’t, however, remove the dedicated massage room to port.
Another surprise comes in the form of the above-mentioned balcony. The brothers had seen the foldout terrace aboard the first Benetti Classic Supreme 132 and requested the same design. So, what appears to be two large stacked ports to starboard in the gym is actually the balcony in the raised position. To deploy it, the ports split like a clamshell, with the top one flipping out and overhead, the bottom one extending out to reveal a teak-lined terrace (see photo on previous page).
Visitors aboard Cheers 46 might be surprised to see the size of the guest accommodations belowdecks. Because the four cabins are accompanied by the master stateroom here, there’s not as much floor space dedicated to them when compared with similar-size yachts with main-deck owner’s suites. However, the two VIPs and two twin staterooms are not cramped. And considering that yacht guests typically spend their leisure time on water toys or in alfresco areas, it’s of no significant consequence.
The beach club is one of those alfresco areas. A bar spans the beam, and sun loungers can be set up on the fold-down teak platform. Here, the owners might have a hint of relaxing on Brazil’s world-famous beaches — and a reminder of the team that brought that vibe to life on their yacht.
The details of decor
Three decor packages created by Redman Whiteley Dixon are available for the Veloce 140. The Air decor is light and contemporary. Land is more classic, traditional or club-like. Finally, Sea straddles the line between classic and contemporary, bringing in elements that could be considered either style.