Gabriele Ferlazzo looks out over four Azimut AZ 50 Flybridge Collection yachts, moored in the Milltown Marina at the foot of Granville Street, overlooking the Fraser River. The sea crafts are sleek, almost post-modern in design, and the Azimut 50 is specifically designed for the Pacific Coast region. Ferlazzo’s role today, as Area Manager, Americas, is to meet and greet dignitaries and VIP potential clients, and he is enthusiastic about the job: “These are 100 per cent Italian-designed boats, and made especially for this market.”
It took the company, itself founded in 1970, with a key 1985 acquisition of the famous boat-building business Benetti (founded 1873), until now to come to the West Coast, and for one very practical reason. “The seasonal weather on the northern Pacific Coast until now dampened the market for luxury craft like ours,” Ferlazzo points out. “But, our research was telling us that, increasingly, people are spending the temperate months here, and then taking their boat either to California or in many cases, to Florida, for the winter months. So introducing our brand here did make sense at this time.”
The boats define sleekness, and great care was taken to maximize an open-feeling living space, with multiple windows increasing the brightness and expansiveness. There are colour and equipment options, of course, but each boat has both a cockpit and a wheelhouse, so it can be navigated from two different levels. Dinette, saloon, galley, master and guest cabins, two full baths with shower, freshwater and seawater systems, a comprehensive firefighting system, and more—it all adds up to a living space that can accommodate six to eight people quite easily, and for extended periods of time. Say, two months? “Oh, absolutely,” says Ferlazzo. “One could say it is impossible to tire of being on this boat, out on the open sea.” Fair enough. It is certainly easy to picture the scene: pinot grigio well chilled in the galley fridge, a fish line caught that morning being grilled on the electric grill as the sun heads to horizon, worldly cares seemingly a mirage as you ponder what the next day’s catch might be.