BOAT TEST: LAZZARA 75 LSX
With Italian styling, cutting-edge technology, and quadruple IPS 600 pod drives, the Lazzara 75 LSX is utterly inspiring, gushes DAVID LOCKWOOD.
Boats are like musical compositions created from unsung people in dark places. Individual players come together, performing their own scores, striving to create something special that is a whole greater than the sum of the parts. Think of a drummer hitting a kit, using four separate rhythms to create one beat, or an orchestra striking up.
So it is with boats. Some shout at you with bold and brash (dis)chords, even light shows and other gimmicks. Others look the part but, upon opening the throttles, never hit the high notes. Yet others are lacklustre like, say, piped lift Muzak. Dull ride.
But the best boats are music to the ears. They are sweet symphonies that whisk you away to far-flung lands. They begin in pianissimo while at rest, softly softly whispering come hither; they get louder as you stroll the decks and cockpit at andante or walking pace; and in the living areas they build to allegro, which is quick and bright.
Suddenly, the crescendo - the crowning movement where the orchestra hits its straps. It could be a stellar dining arrangement, a wonderful lunch setting or performance under power that moves you. But moreover, it will be the sum of all these things performing in concert, in synergy, that creates a special and enduring boat.
Gradually, as the shadows and show lengthen and the show goes on, that boat will settle back to a quieter dynamic, diminuendo, a little bit softer now. Anchor down, you head down below to sample the tactile accommodation. Bring on another day. A good boat is given an endless encore.
- Watch the video: Lazzara 75 LSX video review.
Created by an Italian family of virtuosos, the Lazzara 75 LSX is once such composition that hits all the right notes. From the opening stanza, the boat sings sweet melodies. She is at once contemporary and chic, but not so modern as to date. But the lines are just a taste of what's to come.
Accommodating teak decks headed by fore and aft sunpads superstructure, the cockpit lunch setting calls back aft, and then the saloon trumpets it's lounging appeal. Move forward and suddenly, the orchestra comes together in one rousing moment. The atrium-style galley and dinette booms great design. Rather than squirrel away the gourmand, here you can perform in front of a packed audience and indulge those with front-row seats.
Look behind the scenes and the Lazzara is no less impressive. It's a capsule of cutting-edge technology, propelled to hitherto new heights by quad Volvo Penta IPS 600 (435hp each) pod drives, which never miss a beat. The conductor or captain only need wave the batten - the fly-by-wire throttles, wheel and docking joystick - and the engines perform. As I said, music to the ears.
So who is this great composer Lazzara? Though based in Florida, and born in 1991, the American yard has classical Italian roots. Forefather the late Vince Lazzara built a 40ft fibreglass yawl in the mid-1950s that he sailed on Lake Michigan. In 1960, he started Columbia Yachts and by 1967 it had become the largest fibreglass boatbuilder in America, says the blurb.
The yard was sold, pappa Lazzara moved to Florida, and started Gulfstar Yachts with sons Dick and Brad. Gulfstar merged with Viking in 1987, but Dick and Brad saw differently and left to start Lazzara Yachts four years thereafter. Now, three generations of Lazzaras work with a team of shipwrights and craftsmen at a 25-acre site in Tampa to create a boutique range of motor and sportsyachts.
The sportsyachts are denoted by the LSX insignia and come in 75-footer (now also on the drawing board with a Euro-style flybridge) and 92-footer versions. The motoryachts are available in 84 and 116-footer variants. And renderings have been released of a new 76 motorcruiser, too.
Released in 2006, the 75 LSX is ahead of its time. Lazzara worked with Volvo Penta early that same year to design a hull especially for the four forward-facing steerable IPS drives. There is an emphasis on weight saving.
The hull is handlaid, vacuum-bagged composite with unidirectional glass and balsa coring, which is also used for the stringer system, bulkheads and floors. E-glass, carbon and balsa coring are in the decks, while vinylester resin is used to ward against osmosis. Solid glass features on the chines, centreline and impact areas.
As we have documented here before, there can be great benefits to be gained using pod drives over shaft drives. The power-to-weight ratio improves, there's a decrease in drag, you get clean-running underwater exhausts, and the rear engine location reduces running noise and leads to substantial gains in the accommodation plan. Then there is the joystick docking device and the reduced draft, which measures just 1.04m on this 75-footer.
Lazzara goes further, embracing and even advertising the quad IPS 600 installation by way of switchable glass transom panels. Volvo Penta ought to be charged for the exposure, if not the hours spent by crew keeping the red-carpet engineroom spotless. At night, stunning blue LED lights encircling the boat and illuminating the marque's stylised badge will appeal to the glitterati strolling the gangways.
The crew quarters are forward of the engineroom, through a watertight door, boasting twin single berths and a usefully large bathroom with marble vanity, Headhunter head and shower that could double for day-boating duties. Full marks for the opening port and hatch, and the Sea Recovery 130lt/h watermaker so the owners, who have a bunch of kids of different ages in tow, don't have to worry about being waterwise.
But the engineering back in the epoxy-coated engineroom takes some beating. I found fan-forced ventilation, a 5000W inverter for the boat's refrigeration and substantial AV systems, an optional hooker system for diving on the undersides and farther (150m), heavy-duty sea strainers for the 28.5kW generator, 92,000 BTUS of air-con, and all seacocks and wiring are labelled.
The boat also has twin emergency engine-driven bilge pumps, separate black and grey water tanks, 240V water pump with 24V backup, oil-change system, and special Lazzara UltraSound engineroom insulation and interior dampening system. More on that later.
Lazzara and the local owners didn't hold back in the fitout. The boat has an ISIS 500 64-channel vessel monitoring system, the latest in CAN-bus technology featuring push-button diagnostics; ECM outputs from engine monitors, alarms and the generator; tank level readouts; fire zone and bilge alarms; all relayed to a 15in LCD monitor at the helm and 19in backup display in the engineroom.
An Ericson router allows Lazzara to tap into the diagnostics from anywhere in the world and, if they wanted, they can drive the boat remotely. No joke.
There is KVH satellite communications system and television, with a custom AV system comprising six separate Foxtel units so each of the kids can watch their preferred shows, plus German-made Canton speakers, iPod docks and more. Meantime, the navigation gear is the Nobeltec Admiral 9.5 Series, with 72nm radar, chartplotter with World Folio 3D cartography, and depthsounder. An E-Plex electronic system takes care of the lighting circuits.
The boat had one of those wonderful FLIR thermal imaging night-vision cameras which, I'm told, is more than useful for cruising busy waterways like Sydney Harbour while the boat's internal lights are ablaze. Underwater lights are mounted in the transom, where the submersible swim platform is hydraulically operated.
The garage harboured one of those eye-watering William's jet tenders, a 3.2 model, which I have driven to breakneck speeds before. A clever net in the garage roof carries the skindiving gear and more.
DANCING ON DECK
Teak steps traced by high-gloss timber rails lead either side of the garage, atop which is the aft sunpad, to the cockpit. Smart timber side gates lead down broad sidedecks with bulwarks and boarding doors to the foredeck with its not-inconsiderable second sunpad. There are custom cleats and you might notice, round handrails. The devil is very much in the detail on the Lazzara 75 LSX.
A removable Euro awning casts shade over the superlative alfresco cockpit setting that, with lose teak chairs, is set for six to eight guests. Meantime, the customary sundowners can be served from the starboard-side bar with twin stools before an electric window, internal and external serveries, and amenities such as Subzero drawer fridges.
With wide inviting saloon doors, the pied piper calls inside. Here one finds more utility teamed with style, as evidenced by a separate dayhead immediately to port that serves the living areas. A couple of salmon-coloured leather tub chairs and a 105cm Sony flatscreen television face a long ivory-coloured L-shaped leather lounge that begs an embrace. It's also big enough to double as a daybed.
The surrounding 'panorama' glass is generous, framing the views, while subtle downlighting let's you tweak the mood. An electric roof can be opened for more light and natural ventilation, while a twin ivory co-pilot lounge and single Besenzoni helm seat front the space-age dash with pop-up electronics. Retract the nav gear and enter entertainer mode.
It's here that the Lazzara band really starts up. Ahead of the helm is a huge atrium-style galley and dining room that accentuates the sense of space. Calling from down the companionway are five-star amenity. Meanwhile, judicious use of Okoume joinery, a dark African hardwood, frames the windows and opening portlights, cupboards, and dinette.
You can do dinner with six down inside before the oversized galley with bar stool. The dark granite counters are perfect for rolling pasta, while a big spread of Miele appliances - four-burner induction stove, combo oven, dishwasher, upright fridge and freezer (scope to fit loads more) and more - let you weave your magic. Twin stainless steel sinks suggest a commercial cookery, while the laundry had separate Miele washer and dryer.
When you include the aft crew quarters, the Lazzara 75 LSX is a four-cabin boat. Each cabin has an en suite, too. I also like the fact the VIP guest-cabin is the only cabin forward of the atrium-style galley and dinette, so guests are assured privacy in their cabins a great distance from the aft stateroom.
I once landed a presidential suite in a top hotel in Hawaii while on assignment. The full-beam stateroom on the Lazzara is the boating equivalent, with king bed, ottoman and glass desk, dresser or vanity, upholstered love seat, panoramic windows (and opening ports), and abundant storage in soft-close drawers, plus a clothing bureau, linen closet and pull-out clothes hamper in the en suite.
Matching marble flooring and vanity, twin glass sinks, a big shower with body-wash jets, magazine rack and brushed nickel fittings add to the pizzazz in the owner's en suite. The fitout in the remaining bathrooms is no less restrained. But in broader terms, I also like the fact the opposing third and fourth cabins are back aft, outside the stateroom, allowing parents to check on kids or relatives. It's a great family layout.
Switchable glass windows facing the companionway create privacy to the win cabins. Left open, the glass gives the feeling of open-plan living. Each cabin has twin sink beds, taking the sleeping to 10 all told, but Lazzara is a semi-custom yard that cuts and tweaks the layouts to suit. With a fit and finish that's cut above, you only need bolero and the marriage is complete.
With four engines bridled and rearing to go, with a chopper whirring overhead, we zipped about the Gold Coast Broadwater. Although Lazzara talks about 35kts, the boat is a 30-knot sportsyacht in working mode. This mightn't be the clip expected in the flat-as-a-tack Med', but it's about perfect for passagemaking and champagne cruising on our waters.
Two things stood out about the performance. First, as all the furniture is made alongside each hull and then lowered on soft mounts, and due to the aforesaid engineroom insulation, this was a remarkably quiet boat. So agreeable, in fact, it sets the benchmark for motorboats. Second, the hull travels in perfect trim and maintains that thanks to the fuel located amidships and the water forward.
Leaving Sydney for the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, the skipper, who has run many other yacht brands, remarked how pleasant the ride was in substantial 3.5m seas. And with the manoeuvrability of IPS, he zipped inside a towering bar at Port Macquarie without incident. Apparently, the boat used 2800lt for the 384nm Sydney to Gold Coast cruise.
At 24 to 26kts cruise, the four IPS 600s consume 190lt/h, I'm told, giving a safe cruising range from the 90 per cent of the 3100lt fuel supply of about 450nm. Thanks to the aforesaid construction and IPS drives, the 75 LSX displaces just 38,000kg dry and 43,000kg loaded. So she's no heavyweight.
That said, the composite construction, with interior riding atop soft-mounts, quietens the ride and creates a real sense of seaworthiness. The comparatively narrow hull also sluices through the water. At displacement speeds, she will be no less agreeable with drinks in guests' hands.
Although this is bound to be a crewed boat, the IPS Joystick docking device and remote means you can drive the 75 yourself. Add some family and friends and the stage is set. Cast the lines and let the Italian opera begin. They call it la dolce vita and on the Lazzara 75 LSX you are assured a good show and the good life.
Specifications - LAZZARA 75 LSX
PRICE AS TESTED
POA w/ four Volvo Penta IPS 600 engines and options
Semi-custom boat with cutting-edge electrical and electronic systems
Approx $6 million
Material: Composite balsa-cored construction
Type: Variable deadrise hull
Length (overall): 23.39m
Displacement: 36,740kg half-load
Berths: 8 + 2
Water: 757lt (plus desalinator)
Black and grey water: 378lt
Make/model: 4 x Volvo Penta IPS600s
Type: Electronic six-cylinder diesel engine
Rated HP: 435 @ 3500rpm max.
Weight: 901kg (each package)
Gearboxes (Make): Steerable IPS pod drives
Props: Forward-facing Nibral Duoprops
Grant Torrens International,
Sovereign Islands, Qld, 4216
Phone (07) 5577 2299
TRADEABOAT CREW'S VIEW
If you can imagine being shrunk to the size of an ant and crawling inside a Bang & Olufsun hi-fi or TV, well, the Lazzara was just like that. No wires or stuff, just a world of superb design and craftsmanship that is so understated and smart that it became eye popping. There was nothing flashy or cheap. No gimmicks, other than the six Foxtel units hidden in a cupboard so that each cabin could watch their own program. Nothing vulgar or spivvy. It was so superbly low-key and yet totally luxurious in a dimension rarely seen other than in the rarefied world of superyachts.
The exterior was sleek and smart and very 007, but I have seen that stuff before. You have to get on board and then inside for it all to start to impact the senses. All neutral tones, amazing dark walnut lacquered cabinetry which was simply faultless. The leather sofas and chairs might have been trimmed by Rolls-Royce or Chanel. The dashboard and helm had no dials or switches or gadgets that were crammed in to impress. Just black glass screens that lit up with dials, maps and touch pads. Think iPhone meets NASA.
The atrium- style galley was two levels high and I was desperate to throw a filet of beef into the Miele oven and rip the cork out of some Verve. I was already drunk with childlike delight. The cynic in me started to try and find faults, and that was a total waste of time. The glass corridor walls that turned from fog to clear opened the boat to a full-beam feeling. Leather-trimmed lockers and drawers. Crème marble bathrooms with fabulous fittings. Padded walls and ceilings. Silk bedspreads. Look, it just got better and better and there was still no sign of a drink!
Back aft were four Volvo Penta pod drives lined up in a gleaming engineroom with groovy blue lights all adjacent to the skipper's cabin so he could deal with all this. No one upstairs was going to disturb their reverie for a moment dealing with technical stuff, it was just push the levers down and wait a few moments for 30kts to register on the screen. Roaring down the bay with a small photo chopper a few feet above us I felt like James Bond, even though the mirror showed Blofeld.
Boats like these are very rare. Such good taste and superb finishes are seamlessly blended by international boatbuilders with real experience and the effect is stunning. Unless you had an Aston Martin and a cliff-top villa of similar specifications, the rest of the day after disembarkation may leave you more than a touch flat, particularly a few hours later in the check-in queue at the Coolangatta airport. Oh well, dream on.
- By Tony Mackay
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