While out to dinner with the Benetti Yachts team in South Beach, I was told, repeatedly, that I had to see Mr. Loui for myself. Mr. Loui, as it turns out, wasn’t a person; it was a yacht—specifically, Hull No. 2 of the Mediterraneo 116 series. It was built in Italy and delivered to her Mexican owner in 2017.
When I met her in person—all 116 feet 5 inches of her—she certainly felt as big as some of the other models in the Italian builder’s Classic displacement series. That series includes the, ahem, “compact” Delfino 95, as well as the Fast 125, Supreme 132 and Diamond 145 flagship, among others. Featuring a prominent bow, you could easily tell from a glance that Mr. Loui was all Benetti—in a word, bellissima—with striking exteriors courtesy of Italian designer Giorgio Maria Cassetta.
Until you stepped inside. There, it became evident that the boat’s DNA had been injected with an even higher dose of quality; that is, more so than Oli, or Hull No. 1, which had been purchased by the nephew of Mr. Loui’s owner. Of the 11 yachts bought by Mr. Loui’s owner, this was his first Benetti.
No stranger to customization, Benetti’s in-house team collaborated with the owner’s personal architecture firm, Ezequiel Farca. Together, they worked off a design scheme that called for a bespoke interior—with the décor dominated by marble and lacquered wood—and added several unique features on the request of the owner, including an elevator, spaces for grandchildren and family members and overall accessibility for both crew and an owner-operator. (Mr. Loui’s owner holds a captain’s license and likes to personally drive his yachts.)
“In terms of design, that was our guide,” said Ana Elena Torres, an interior yacht design specialist with Ezequiel Farca. “We had to consider a lot of things before day one to make sure these changes were going to be possible.”
Eyeballing the finished Benetti, it was hard for me not to be impressed. An elevator compartment measuring just over 4 feet by 4 feet had been installed, so it would be easier for the owner to access each deck, including the upper sun deck. This addition came at the expense of only a pantry on the main deck, and some staircases were adjusted to make room for it.
With five cabins that can comfortably accommodate a total of 12 guests (two more than Oli), and seven crew in four cabins, the focus was clearly on living spaces—or rather, how to make them “infinitely livable,” added Torres. Indeed, the owner likes to spend more than half a year aboard at one time. After seeing Mr. Loui in person, I can’t blame him. —Simon Murray
Benetti Yachts, 954-687-9436; benettiyachts.it
DISPL. (approx.): 500,000 lbs.
FUEL: 33,000 gal.
STD. POWER: 2/1,600-hp Caterpiller ACERT C32
CRUISE SPEED: 10 knots
TOP SPEED: 15 knots