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The Italian leg recently drew to a close of the 2018 Benetti Yachtmaster, the three-day event organised by Benetti for superyacht captains, attended by over 200 professionals from the yachting world.

After welcoming over 1,000 participants from over 40 different nations in its previous 17 editions, from February 7 to 9 Benetti Yachtmaster paid a call on Castelfalfi, a medieval town in the Tuscan hills. The Italian event for 2018 confirmed everyone’s expectations and was one of the best attended gatherings of industry professionals, organised by a private shipyard, to bring captains and crew up to speed on all the novelties in the world of Benetti and at the same time offer a series of panel discussions and networking opportunities.

Against the backdrop of Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, opportunities to meet at the event were organised in alternation with others for team building, attended by over 200 people, mostly superyacht captains, but also engineers, industry operators, journalists and suppliers of crew and onboard services. The event opened with an important presentation by Benetti General Manager Christos Ramnialis, who gave a heartfelt and engaging speech in which he described Benetti’s growth strategies and how Yachtmaster plays a key role in them. He took pains to stress how “Yachtmaster has become, year after year, an essential part of Benetti’s development strategy. Tackling subjects such as training for captains and their crew has the twin benefit both of helping professionals who must keep up-to-date to offer efficient service, and of helping Benetti learn about the perspective of captains and crew. This constant feedback is what allows us to grow and improve.”

There was a packed programme of workshops and conferences at the event, with speakers who provided interesting food for thought on the subjects of charter guidelines in the Mediterranean Sea and social security contributions for seamen in France. Participants included not only crew members, project managers, surveyors and owners’ representatives, but also customers of Lusben and Fraser Yachts, the world’s leading yacht service provider. The most successful workshop based on its popularity was about “Cyber Security”, featuring a fascinating demonstration by international cyber security expert Cal Leeming. With the help of moderator Fiorenzo Spadoni, Italy Yachting Centre Manager for Rina Services, Leeming demonstrated the precarious state of cyber security, as implemented by the technology-based devices that should facilitate our daily lives, and how saving passwords, bank codes and confidential information in the digital memory of these devices always creates a risk for privacy. Another workshop popular with the public was “Leading Millennials”, with Karen Passman from Impact Crew and captain Luca Triggiani in the roles respectively of moderator and panelist. The aim of the seminar was to promote the culture of the sea and a maritime career with the youngest crew members.

Extremely useful, as always, were the B2B meetings, involving live demonstrations organised with official partners Awlgrip, Boero, Jotun, Rolls-Royce, Slam, Viraver, Sevenstar, Dockwise and Peninsula Petroleum and official sponsors Cgt, CMC Marine, Fraser Yachts, Lusben, Valletta superyacht, Mtu, Naiad Dynamics, Rina, Sea Sat Com, Team Italia and Yachtique.

The classic ‘live’ moment this year was dedicated to interviews given by three captains to three trade journalists about their life and working experiences. Maria Grazia Franco, the captain of Stella Maris, a 72 mt VSY superyacht, was interviewed by Justin Ratcliffe and explained to the public her experience as captain of 2.114 GRT superyachts. Roberto Cuomo, the captain of M/Y Skyler, the third Fast 125’ unit built in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, offered insights based on his vast experience and technical knowledge about a high technology yacht. Finally, Ed and Mary Krieg, respectively captain and chief engineer, presented an interesting photo report on their storied career sailing around the world on board a Benetti Classic.

The Castelfalfi event was also attended by Benetti Delfino 93’ owner and SeaNet CEO Matty Zadnikar, who commented: “Extending the invitation to owners was a brilliant idea by Benetti. A close knowledge of the boat, its secrets and its peculiarities is the prerogative of captains and crew, but it is also very useful for owners, who clearly play a very important role in managing a yacht and often don’t have time to keep up-to-date with the latest novelties. Events like Yachtmaster help to build closer and more productive ties between shipyard, owner and crew, as well as to gain a better understanding of owners’ needs.”

Roy Deas, who works on the M/Y Jazz of Monaco (a Benetti Tradition) and is one of the youngest Benetti captains, said: “This is a key event, because it offers both an opportunity for crew members to meet, as well as giving people a chance to share opinions and experiences, and likewise to learn new details about Benetti growth strategies.”

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