[Words, David Robinson; Photos, Sanlorenzo] The new SL102, described as the world’s first asymmetric yacht, was initially described as “a risk” by Massimo Perotti, Chairman and CEO of Sanlorenzo, the Italian builder that specialises in forward-thinking design.
The Asymmetric Yacht Arrives
Just two months after its world premiere at the Cannes Yachting Festival, that ‘risk’ has been more than justified, with 11 orders taking the production schedule well in 2020. Furthermore, in good news for this region, hull number three is heading to Asia and will exhibit at the ninth Singapore Yacht Show from April 11-14, 2019. With the pioneering layout that bucks the long-established formula, the SL102 also won its first award in Cannes, earning the Innovative Trophy at the World Yachts Trophies, while Perotti revealed that 92ft and 112ft asymmetric designs models are in the pipeline.
The essence of the yacht’s asymmetry is the use of just one side deck, starboard side. The space that would have been used for a portside passageway is incorporated into the saloon and master suite (as per the European layout). Sanlorenzo’s objective with the single deck was to increase the interior space – it gains about 10sqm – and create better access to the outdoor areas.
Car designer Chris Bangle is credited with the idea of an asymmetric yacht before Zuccon International Project, in collaboration with Sanlorenzo, incorporated the concept into the exterior design and naval architecture, with Lissoni Design handling the interior layout.
Zuccon, represented by siblings Bernardo and Martina Zuccon, deserves immense credit for its work to disguise the yacht’s asymmetry from the outside, creating an exterior profile that looks surprisingly similar on both sides. The fact that the handrail on the starboard side is matched by a decorative version along the port-side windows is just one example of how this has been achieved. Despite such challenges, the SL102 is very much a Sanlorenzo design, with the hull shape, hull windows, superyacht styling and the flybridge roof all reflecting the builder’s DNA.
In boarding the SL102, it takes a while to absorb the asymmetric concept. In fact, you only properly notice it when looking from the cockpit, from where you see the starboard passageway and, to port, the remarkable flybridge stairs and full-beam saloon.
The yacht embodies indoor-outdoor living in its cockpit and saloon arrangement. The cockpit itself is relatively conventional with a forward- facing couch, two separate tables and loose chairs. This outdoor area is almost completely covered by the flybridge and when the four sliding doors are put aside, it becomes part of one massive living area with the saloon.
The saloon benefits from great design elements on both sides. To starboard, a double door opens up to the side deck, where the bulwark can become a drop-down balcony – an idea that Sanlorenzo first employed on its 40Alloy super yacht in 2008 – and create what the yard describes as a “modern villa on the sea”.
The combination of open doors and balcony expands the views and welcomes in sea breezes and natural light, so the placement of sofas on both sides of this beautiful channel works brilliantly.
The port side of the saloon is dominated aft by the glass-enclosed flybridge stairs, a piece of art in itself, while forward is an area that can be used for a dining table or however the owner wishes. After all, Sanlorenzo prides itself on its ‘made to measure’ service.
Another great touch here is that the hull side – which would be the bulwark on starboard side – can be electrically lowered to expand the view. As such, the owner of hull number one has a low table in this area to enable a clear view through almost full-height windows. Essentially, though, the saloon is a clean space that can be arranged as an owner sees fit.
To starboard is a small hall that leads left to steps to the raised pilothouse and forward to the large, well-equipped galley, which also leads down to the crew quarters in the bow of the lower deck. From the saloon, the portside hall leads to the dayhead, stairs to the lower-deck guest cabins and forward to the master cabin, which like the saloon, benefits from the extra width offered by the absence of one side deck.
As you enter the master suite, the en-suite bathroom with his-and- hers sinks is to port, while right is a long cupboard offering plenty of storage. The main bedroom features an aft-facing double bed and big windows either side as well as forward across the foredeck. There’s also private access via a door to the starboard walkway.
It’s worth noting that the on-deck master cabin features in what Sanlorenzo describes as the European layout, whereas its American market option has a large country kitchen in this area. In both cases, the guest cabins on the lower deck comprise four similar-size double rooms, making the most of the yacht’s 23ft-plus beam.
There are actually two ways of reaching the flybridge – the showpiece stairway from the cockpit and also via portside stairs from the foredeck. The large flybridge itself features a second helm station, while as a semi-custom yacht, the furniture -sunpads, seating, tables, bar – can be arranged according to the owner’s wishes.
The design of a small stairway from the flybridge down to the foredeck is a winner for guests, while crew are able to access the top deck via the raised pilothouse. Along with the design, the performance is also impressive for such a large yacht, which offers two MTU 16V engine options. The more powerful 2,434hp version delivers a top speed of 29 knots and a cruising speed of 26.
The SL102 is already proving a major milestone in Sanlorenzo’s steady rise in the superyacht sector, where it’s already established as one of the world’s most prolific shipyards. And with the innovations also shown in the burgeoning SX series and the EXP explorer series, Sanlorenzo is proving that it’s as innovative as it is popular.