It’s a long way to go from California to Italy just to build a boat. Then again, Calex, delivered last year by Benetti, is a 220-foot fully custom build—60 feet larger than its owner’s previous superyacht, which was semicustom. It’s also an example of the degree to which an experienced owner will go to ensure the comfort of those accompanying him: not just family and friends, but also crew.
While a larger yacht naturally affords more indoor and outdoor space, this California resident wanted an abundance of both, prioritizing privacy and well-being.
Arguably the best example of this is the owner’s suite, which, in combination with a dedicated alfresco area, is more like a penthouse apartment. Giorgio Cassetta and his team at Cassetta Yacht Designers, which has styled numerous Benettis, penned 1,772 square feet on the upper deck for this, from amidships forward. The owner’s suite includes the master stateroom, an office, a double bath and a walk-in closet. Since the stateroom faces sole-to-ceiling glass forward, 180 degrees of changing views welcomes the owner each morning. The alfresco lounge lets the owner relax in privacy. Accessible from the suite via two curved sliding doors, the lounge has chaises, chairs and a gas fireplace. And, the raised foredeck forward can be the owner’s touch-and-go helipad.
Unwinding in the company of friends and family was also important in commissioning the yacht, whose beach club is one of the more cleverly private places aboard Calex. Beach clubs have become bigger indoor-outdoor areas, especially through the use of fold-down platforms. They enhance the feeling of having a large lounge atop the sea, but they present a problem when owners and guests want seclusion. So with Calex, a single gull-wing door fully aft swings up to yield access. The beach club is still sizable, in part thanks to the yacht’s 35-foot beam. Guests can watch sports on the TV, enjoy drinks from the bar and use the hammam. To take a dip, they can step out onto the swim platform and use the flip-down swim ladder. Boarding water toys is just as simple from the platform.
And boy, does Calex have toys—especially ones that will help guests burn calories. Stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, water skis, electric surfboards, electric foiling boards, a wakeboard and a surfboard are all available. Friends and family craving a little more speed can step aboard two personal watercraft capable of 65 mph. If the toys aren’t enough exercise, gym equipment and a yoga space are on the sun deck, with a nearby hot tub for a post-workout muscle soak.
All of the time and attention put into creating these areas would be for naught if the crew had subpar quarters. Time and time again, well-planned crew’s quarters contribute to stronger staff retention and a better yacht-ownership experience. Sixteen hands, led by Capt. Eddie Cooney, handle operations aboard Calex. While no one will blink to learn that Cooney’s cabin is on the bridge deck, near the wheelhouse and the ship’s office, they’ll definitely do a double take to see its design, along with that of the quarters for the rest of the crew belowdecks.
According to the Benetti Style Department, the owner had a singular focus for their area from the start of planning. The furnishings and decorative materials are similar to those in the two main-deck VIP staterooms and four guest staterooms (two doubles and two convertible twins) on the lower deck. Finally, and wisely, dumbwaiters connect the main-deck galley to the upper decks’ lounging spaces inside and out.
Calex also features sculptures and art pieces the owner has picked up amid his travels. The yacht casts a comforting spell, inviting guests to be as social as they wish throughout the five enclosed decks, as well as outside on the terrace-like areas and fully open sun deck. Movable deck furnishings make it easy to go from big, garrulous groups to cozier conversations. Simultaneously, Calex caters to more secluded downtime, especially for its owner. Ultimately, Calex is built for different needs, including those of the crew.
It’s a long way to go from California to Italy to get all of this. But, especially for this owner, it was worth it.
As much as the owner set aside space for health and wellness, he wanted the interior ambience of Calex to convey a sense of well-being too. Ivory-toned furnishings and warm woods, such as maple and American walnut, create a serene atmosphere, along with a dose of sophistication. The decor is by the Benetti Style Department and the owner’s team.
Calex is Benetti’s first fully custom yacht in this size range to comply with Tier III regulations. Tier III is an International Maritime Organization standard that reduces nitrous-oxide emissions by about 70 percent compared with prior regulations. Calex has a scrubbing system for exhaust gas from the main engines and gensets.
Calex is part of the Northrop & Johnson charter fleet. The yacht is heading for the Caribbean this winter and the Mediterranean next year. A glass elevator and space-planning make the five enclosed decks accessible for wheelchairs. The weekly base rate starts at $680,000.
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