The owner of Benetti's 11.11 sought a 'polycentric' family yacht. And he got one.
By Jill Bobrow
Eleven is an evocative number. The Fibonacci sequence’s first two digits are 1 and 1. It is a master number in numerology, whose practitioners believe that events linked to the number 11 occur more by design than by coincidence. Armistice took effect on the 11th hour Paris time of the 11th day of the 11th month. If you happen to glance at a clock and the time is 11:11, you are supposed to make a wish. So, why is the 207-foot (63-meter) Benetti named 11.11? This much we know: The owners’ daughter’s birthday is November 11.
The provenance of 11.11 seems to reflect a dash of destiny combined with a strong dose of determination. I spoke with the owner aboard his yacht in Miami. Enjoying a sunny afternoon from the pillowed comfort of the aft settee on the upper deck, he talked fast, bristling with enthusiasm.
“I was in Sardinia, chartering [183-foot Benetti] Galaxy. Anchored nearby was the [213-foot] Benetti Nataly, and I was drawn to her strong exterior profile. She had an axe bow, and I had never seen that on another Benetti,” he said. “After some investigation, I found out that Benetti had Nataly’s near-sistership, Hull FB 265, in build in Livorno and that the owner who initially commissioned her wanted to sell.”
A perspicacious buyer, he took over the build in 2014 when it was about 40 percent complete, thus saving a lot of time on the engineering and mechanical fronts. Enamored of the bluff bow for aesthetic reasons, he also liked that the configuration reduces the upward push of wave action and allows for more stable cruising. Plus, the yacht’s wide beam delivers a lot of living space and further enhances stability. Another check in the plus column is that 11.11 is a quiet boat. The yacht has advanced sound and vibration insulation technology. For example, her soles, bulkheads and overheads are floating.
The original interior décor and exterior deck layouts were not to the owner’s taste, so he made significant changes. No stranger to building and interior design, 11.11’s owner is a real estate developer of international high-end properties. With FB 265, he brought in his own design and project management team. The target date for completion was an enterprising 10 months. Benetti’s workers had to scurry to fulfill all the demands, and made it.
Having a family-friendly boat was of paramount importance. The owners’ daughter was a baby at the time of the build, so precautions were made to ensure her safety and comfort. As 11.11 is also offered for charter, her appointments had to suit multiple purposes.
The original interior was planned with heavy, dark woods and fabrics. It was redesigned with a bright art deco-inspired interior. The predominant color scheme is now black, white and silver, with colorful art pieces to offset the monochromatic palette. Much of the art has a whimsical touch. For instance, Tracey Emin’s piece behind the bar in the upper salon says “Move me” in neon script. In the main deck salon is a Dominic Harris black touch-screen panel embedded with interactive digital butterflies that take flight via human touch. This novelty delights the owner’s daughter and just about everyone else who plays with it.
11:11 is the owner’s third yacht. He has been hands-on in the design and décor of them all. He describes his other yachts as “amazing” and says, “I wanted this yacht to be amazing too, but this time I valued functionality over the look of things. I did not want any hard edges. Everything had to be curved and soft for my daughter to be able to bounce into things.” Concessions such as Scotchgarding fabrics for a baby-friendly yacht aside, 11.11 still exudes a sophisticated elegance.
The sundeck was a redo. From the bridge aft, it was redesigned to incorporate a mosaic-lined pool with cool-to-the-touch limestone steps surrounded by a sunbed.
“The sky deck originally had a gym, but we changed it into a personal kitchenette, the owner says. “My wife is a practical Aussie who wants to be able to make some quick meals and snacks for our daughter. She doesn’t want her to grow up thinking that only the chef cooks. She wants her to see that mommy cooks too.”
Also on the sundeck is a bar—one of many stipulated in the revamp—made from sandblasted and fluted white Italian stone. A spa is also on this deck with a treatment room, steam room, massage bed and heated towel cabinet.
The owners’ domain sits below the sundeck and is referred to as the upper deck. An unusual configuration is the raised teak deck, which stretches all the way from bow to stern—perfect for a promenade. This deck also includes a sky lounge with bar that opens onto an outside deck with a dining table and a bar made from Italian fluted stone. “The Great Gatsby” inspired the barstools. The black, white and stainless custom table is decorated with a series of crystal vases that contain only purple flowers. The master suite, forward of the lounge, has a 180-degree panoramic view overlooking a private Jacuzzi and sunbathing area. The headboard is tufted white leather with art deco rays emanating upward from the corners, emblematic of Hollywood’s heyday. The circular lighting sculpture above the bed is made of copper feathers plated in oxidized gunmetal.
The main deck has a salon aft and a VIP suite forward that is nearly tantamount in size to the owner’s stateroom. The other four guest staterooms are on the lower deck. All have the same attention to detail in their décor and design as the rest of the yacht.
“I always aim for a polycentric experience when I create a project, be it a jet, yacht or home,” the owner says. “You need to smell, touch and hear the creation. Furniture should be tactile and make you feel safe and comfortable whilst being beautiful. On a moving vessel, this is even more important. Everything needs to look visually stunning, feel inviting and comfortable, and smell incredible.”
With the original FB 265, there was a plan to keep a Rolls-Royce Phantom in the garage. The owner of 11.11 saw no point in carrying an automobile aboard, but he did see the merit of a limo tender, and he commissioned Benetti to create its first. The fiberglass tender is 26 feet 3 inches (8 meters) long and has a diesel stern drive.
Clearly, 11.11 benefits from a practical approach, but as this owner readily admits, “It’s all about your senses coming alive in what you see, touch and feel. That is when you have the best experience of your life.”
I checked my watch: The time is 11:11. Someone got his wish.
The owner's insight on life aboard 11.11
Waking up around 8 a.m., depending on my daughter’s timings, we’ll ponder the landscape of wherever we’ve docked or anchored, followed by a light breakfast. I’m usually in the office taking care of things before a walk around town. A rosé-soaked lunch with guests on the upper deck usually leads to an afternoon playing on the toys, from Sea-Doos and Seabobs to the climbing wall or floating couch. By sundown, we’ll go ashore and buy linens, glassware and souvenirs to mark the trip. We may stop in at a local fish restaurant and stroll the town again slowly. Shopkeepers seem able to sell me so much more after some wine.
To have the ability to change your backdrop daily and truly explore the world is what life is all about, and the crew of 11.11 takes service and hospitality to new levels. The meticulous care taken of our family and guests is not found in any resort or hotel I’ve ever stayed at, and being able to see the world with family and friends, who all have their own space and peace but can reconvene in the communal areas with ease, is so enjoyable. I have an office on board so I can be ‘on’ when necessary and straight back to ‘off mode’ moments later.
My favorite spot during the day is on the sundeck, swimming with my daughter in the pool and relaxing on the giant day beds. The kitchen/dinette adjacent to the sundeck was probably one of the best decisions we made—the perfect, protected respite for kids to watch their favorite shows on the TV, then go straight back to the pool for more swimming. And the outdoor bar next to the pool is ideal for cocktails as the sun goes down.
With 11.11, I’ve fashioned a beautiful home that just happens to be on water. Cabin fever can be a threat on a boat, so creating the feeling of your own space is so important. I’m proud our guest accommodations can be fully occupied, yet we can still feel like we’ve had independent days while on the same boat.
Traveling aboard our ‘home away from home’ has been fabulous so far with plenty of highlights, such as Pig Beach in the Exumas [Big Major Cay]. We were enchanted by Anguilla for its incredible sand. Portofino was superb, as was Ibiza. We’re excited to take her to Montenegro, where my wife’s family originates, and someday we’ll venture to Norway to see the northern lights. With 11.11, everything is possible.
For more information: +39 0584 3281, benettiyachts.it; 1111voyager.com
UPDATE: 11.11 is now available for charter through Y.CO in the Mediterranean for 650,000 EUR per week.
For charter information: +377 93 50 12 12, y.co