Peter Valentino shares his experience of the Azimut | Benetti Yachting Gala
Not all boat builders and ship yards enjoy the economic position Azimut | Benetti do, and the Yachting Gala that goes from peak to peak over a period of a few days is a testimony to that. Last year’s was organised in Sardinia, or rather, to be specific in Porto Cervo. It was obvious just from the onset that Azimut | Benetti’s long lasting relationship with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda that started decades ago was still vibrant. A relationship that started with the launch of the Destriero; under the club’s patronage and with the sponsorship of the Aga Khan that went on to cross the Atlantic in a record time. Those were the days when Italy had money, when the Italian lira was stronger than the Great Britian Pound. Italy had so much to be proud of. We all know what Italy went through since, and Azimut | Benetti was not just a survivor but indeed a family concern owned and run by a gentleman with the figure of a patriarch who still has futuristic visions. Certainly one of the companies that can proudly fly the ‘Made in Italy’ flag.
It’s good to know a bit of history, but let me just briefly run you through the Yachting Gala. The event in Porto Cervo was witnessed by over 700 guests; so, those who are acquainted with the marina know that an event with such a large number of visitors isn’t a common occurrence. The club was geared up for this, and the berths at the marina used by Superyachts were vacated to harbour the vast range of Azimut | Benetti models. As many of you know I’m not into power boats very much, but then of course I can easily compare and appreciate. I was sure that I was told that we’d see around 8 different boats – well, yes, 8 different models but probably with three or four of each, with different configurations and optional choices. Incidentally, the first stall we met was offering delicious Italian gelato – keep in mind this was a ‘Proud to be made in Italy moment!’
We then walked around, in boat show style. We were able to board, in order, any of the boats we wished to view and of course we were greeted by an expert who could really well explain. It wasn’t done in a boat show style where you feel the person showing you around wanted to sell to you; it was really a matter of getting the visitor to enjoy the day. We could even pre book a sea trial on the boats that interested us. I didn’t have much difficulty because I opted to board the Magellano which I must say motored brilliantly along the Maddalena. Back ashore, we the visitors were all tranquil and happy to be enjoying the luxury offered by Azimut | Benetti.
The second day peaked during the Gala Dinner. I won’t comment on what some wore, or didn’t; but I can tell you that I’m quite sure we all enjoyed the ambiance, the live music, the talented singers and the fireworks, but maybe; to the client or prospective client the best part was in Dott. Vitelli’s speech that echoed the company’s consistency, strength and motivation. He wasn’t trying to sell, he was merely telling his story; one that can assure a client that Azimut | Benetti have a future to look forward to, with thanks to a strong past.
Previous Yachting Gala events were successfully organised in the best destinations; well, yachting generally takes you to these. It’s a lifestyle. Portofino, Cannes, Viareggio, Montecarlo, Rio, Capri, Porto Cervo and Monopoli, Puglia in 2018. I encourage those of you who are thinking of purchasing a boat to be present at the next Yachting Gala – it’s the perfect ambience to freely view and compare models in a private setting. It’s the time of year to appreciate the ‘made in Italy’ concept and to see, touch and try the latest from Azimut |Benetti. It’s easy and the first step is to contact Esprit Yachting.