Montecatini Terme played host to the European edition of A|B Yachtmaster Europe, the second of the three events in A|B Yachtmaster 17, which for the last 17 years Benetti has been organising for its captains.
The programme featured various training initiatives – workshops, conferences and interviews –, as well as moments dedicated to exchange views with sponsoring businesses, networking opportunities and team building activities.
More than 200 guests, from a remarkable 19 different Countries, met at the Grand Hotel la Pace in Montecatini Terme: captains and crew members (engineers, officers and stewardess), plus surveyors and owners’ representatives. They were joined by several selected representatives of the press, partners and sponsors.
There was a packed workshop and conference schedule, with speakers offering insights on a series of current issues with practical implications. The subjects discussed included information security, the role of communication in crisis management, optimum crew management and yacht chartering from legislative and tax perspectives. The novelty at this year’s event was the day-long session dedicated exclusively to internal crew, stewards/stewardesses, organised on a joint basis with PYA (Private Yachting Association): four workshop sessions dedicated to service standards, etiquette and communication, care and maintenance services, leadership and team building. The aim of the event, the only one of its kind today, is to provide Benetti crews with consistent service standards and procedures. This need is clearly a felt one, so much so that attendees expressed the desire to extend the session at next year’s 2018 event to more than one day.
There were also 3 ‘live’ interviews, an on stage comparison between three journalist and as many experienced captains (American the first, the second Lebanese and the third and last Italian), a moment that had a remarkable response. The respondents talked about their experiences as Benetti captains tackling issues linked to different countries, cultures and legal systems.
Workshops and conferences were, as usual, accompanied by opportunities to socialise and have fun, as well as team building activities.
Azimut|Benetti was extremely satisfied to see attendees’ loyalty continue to grow, so much so that this year Benetti decided to recognise its most loyal captains, establishing three new attendance categories: Commodore, for captains who have attended 17 events; Ambassador, for those with 13 Yachtmasters under their belt; and Champions, for captains who have attended at least 7 events. One of the newly appointed Ambassadors, captain Andrea Segato, described what he thinks is the true reason for the event’s success: “What Benetti has done with Yachtmaster anticipates the more recent initiatives of the various social networks. Benetti was the first to create a network of links and connections, bringing together captains, sponsors, surveyors, companies and various other sector professionals. In a certain sense they were the precursors of today’s world.” On the subject of professional content, he added: “Offering the opportunity to meet other captains, surveyors and suppliers is essential, because it provides a way to start assembling an increasingly broad body of information. In this way, if the effective need arises to look at a particular subject in more detail, you already have a headstart in terms of knowledge.”
Another enthusiastic voice was that of Alessandro Gallifuoco, Quality and After Sales Manager at Benetti and the manager in charge for the Yachtmaster: “This year’s Yachtmaster Europe went beyond our expectations in terms both of attendance and variety of provenance of the audience and the sponsor base. This internationalism is also reflected in the interviews we arranged with the captains, specifically to transfer to attendees an overview of the Benetti experience. Traditionally, Yachtmaster has always been more of a community than an event: attendees identify with belonging to an extended community that revolves around the Benetti brand and its yachts.”