Carla Demaria On How Bluegame is Disrupting Yacht Design with BGX Series
Bluegame CEO Carla Demaria is confident the brand’s flagship BGX70 will enjoy a similar response in Asia as it has in Europe, due to a huge beach club that leads into the saloon and guest cabins, a signature design that will also be seen on the BGX60.
Carla Demaria admits she has heard a lot of praise for Bluegame’s flagship BGX70, which has a well-earned reputation as one of the most innovative motor yacht designs of recent years.
The BGX70 has a low, sleek, stealth-like exterior, a strong, seaworthy hull designed by Lou Codega, and can power up to about 30 knots with 1,000hp IPS350s
Its lower deck starts with an enormous beach club that flows directly in to the main saloon, which itself leads forward to the guest cabins or upstairs to the more subdued main deck of the explorer- styled motor yacht.
Yet despite the BGX70 winning awards held during last year’s Cannes Yachting Festival and this year’s Boot Dusseldorf, Demaria says her favourite reaction to the boat was from a prospect-turned- client at Cannes, where the model made its world premiere and won Most Avant-Garde Yacht at the World Yachts Trophies.
“He is a well-known yachtsman and he told me, ‘This is exactly the boat I have been looking for, for many years, and have never been able to find’,” says Demaria, who was appointed Bluegame CEO in early 2019. “In less than two hours, he bought one, downsizing significantly from the boat he owned.”
Two units had been sold ahead of the BGX70’s show debut before further sales were secured at Cannes, the subsequent Genoa International Boat Show and Monaco Yacht Show, and this year’s Boot Dusseldorf, during which it won the Custom Yacht category at the 2020 Motor Boat Awards.
Demaria describes the connectivity of the lower-deck saloon as “the milestone of the BGX project” and is confident the BGX70 will also sell in Asia, with a unit potentially exhibiting at the Hong Kong Yacht Show (November 19-22) according to Simpson Marine, the brand’s Asia dealer since this year.
“When the BGX70 makes its debut in Asia, we are convinced it will receive the same consensus,” says Demaria, a member of the Board of Directors at Sanlorenzo, Bluegame’s parent company.
“Walking from the beach area through the saloon and accessing the owner’s cabin is a unique and awesome experience. You feel the continuity between the outside and inside, no barriers aft or sideways. And you can experience this same extraordinary feeling sitting in the saloon while cruising.”
SANTELLA, ZUCCON PARTNER – AGAIN
Demaria is an industry heavyweight, having been CEO of Monte Carlo Yachts from 2008-18 after over two decades with Azimut Benetti Group, and last year she finished a four-year term as President of UCINA (Italian Marine Industry Federation).
However, Luca Santella is the heart and soul of Bluegame, which the two-time Olympic sailor founded back in 2004. An architecture graduate from Florence University, Santella represented Italy for 16 years, competing at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics in Seoul and Barcelona respectively, before making his name in yacht design.
After Bluegame’s fortunes fluctuated in its early years, the effects of the Global Economic Crisis eventually led to Santella putting the company on hold in 2012 and he later became Design Development Manager at Sanlorenzo.
His achievements include conceiving the hugely successful SX (Sport Explorer) range, designing the SX88 (2017) and SX76 (2018) with Zuccon International Project. Meanwhile, in the background, Bluegame was revived and officially relaunched in 2018 as a Sanlorenzo brand.
Santella, 58, and Bernardo Zuccon overhauled former Bluegame models to create the BG42 and BG62 ‘Sport Utility’ yachts, which both feature naval architecture by renowned American designer Lou Codega and were unveiled at Cannes in 2018.
However, it was the BGX70 – using the same line-up of designers – that really put the new and improved Bluegame on the global yachting map, with the eye-catching flagship echoing the styling of Sanlorenzo’s SX series, which Santella himself had inspired.
“BGX70 is a completely different project to BG62 and BG42, which are well defined open boats,” Demaria says.
“However, the DNA of the two ranges is the same and includes a seaworthy hull design for a comfortable ride, large ‘beach’ areas open to the sea, generous forward lounge areas, connected cockpits, fantastic helm station positioning, great attention to details, high- quality construction and understated elegance.
“BGX70 keeps all of these characteristics, but the main design inspiration came from the desire to bring the ‘outside’ inside, letting the outside environment enter inside the boat through innovative and truly unique architecture.”
‘TRULY UNIQUE ARCHITECTURE’
Much of the architecture that enabled the saloon to lie below the height of the beach club was down to Codega and his work on the positioning of the engine room, which was key to the BGX70’s pioneering layout.
Using Volvo Penta IPS drives meant the engines could be positioned under the teak-covered beach club and free up space forward for the saloon.
The expansive aft deck features a large hatch for the engine room and is big enough to fit a 13ft RIB, which once deployed, can open up an enormous beach club sheltered by bulwarks and featuring a large barbecue and wet bar to port.
To starboard, external steps up to the main deck, but on the BGX70 boat, the lower deck is the main living area.
Forward of the saloon on the lower deck, the owner’s suite has a forward-facing double bed to port and a dressing table cum desk to starboard
Sliding doors open up to the saloon, which is just a couple of steps down, and it’s here that you realise how unusual – how refreshing – it is to be standing or seated on a sofa at sea level.
As well as comfortable sofas and chairs, the saloon offers a sensational infinity view aft, through the beach club, plus sea views either side, where you can watch the water just feet away, lapping at the hull below.
As the idea of a sea-level saloon sinks in, it’s then equally intriguing to be able to walk through a door into the master suite, a location that has its perks but also privacy risks. Make sure you’re wearing more than Y-fronts when you wander out for your morning coffee, just in case any early risers are loitering in the living room.
Moving on, the full-beam master suite has a forward-facing bed to port and benefits from large hull windows either side, although the starboard arrangement, where you have to walk around a three- sided desk/vanity table to access a walk-in wardrobe, feels overly complicated and creates potential access issues.
On this unit, the ‘middle cabin’ (bottom) is designed as a private lounge connected to the owner’s suite
The forward VIP suite (level) has an aft-facing bed
The ensuite bathroom is forward of the bed and features twin sinks, a head and bidet, and a very large shower.
Forward on the starboard side is a flexible room that can be accessible from the owner’s suite and set up as either a private lounge with C-shaped sofa, a study or a children’s room, with a sliding screen in the bulkhead providing connectivity or privacy.
Alternatively, it can be sealed off from the master suite, accessible only by the forward staircase, and used as a third guest cabin with either a forward-facing double or twin beds running athwartships. The neighbouring bathroom can be designed as an en-suite or closed off and accessed like a day head.
Like the master suite, the forward VIP cabin is full-beam and has an ensuite, but with an aft-facing bed. The crew cabin is in the bow.
The main deck features an aft cockpit (bottom) that can be further shaded by a bimini; The interior dining area (level) benefits from outdoor views each side and aft
NOT THE MAIN DECK
There are three guest staircases up to the main deck, from the beach club, saloon and the forward hallway aft of the VIP cabin. If the lower deck seems to offer more than expected on a yacht of this size, the main deck feels otherwise. If anything, the space is underwhelming and reveals the emphasis on outdoor living over interior volume.
The layout is conventional enough, starting with an aft cockpit with a forward-facing L-shaped sofa and rectangular table.
Sliding doors lead into a white-ceilinged interior that starts with a dining area comprising an L-shaped sofa, rectangular table and three stools, which could also be used in the cockpit, meaning six people could comfortably eat inside or out.
The interior has a slick, white galley along the starboard side and a neatly disguised drop-down TV that lowers behind the central helm seats.
The owner or Captain will enjoy the helm station, which has twin carbon seats, a carbon dashboard with three Garmin screens, and fantastic 360-degree views through the rear-inclined windshield, side windows and aft through the dining room and cockpit.
The foredeck is the main ‘fixed’ outdoor lounging area and features an elaborate arrangement of sunpads beside and forward of two square tables. The high-low tables can even be lowered and covered by sunpads to create an even larger lounging zone, while a bimini can also be fitted to cover the area.
The most ardent sun worshipper can even choose to access the roof, where sunpads can be fitted between the carbon hand rails on each side.
DISRUPTION TO CONTINUE
The BGX70 can also motor, hitting 30 knots with twin 1,000hp IPS350s, with the kind of reassuring ride you’d expect from a Codegadesigned hull, yet another plus point for a yacht that has many of them
Ultimately, though, it’s the aft-facing, sea-level saloon and the sheer connectivity of the lower deck that offers owners a spectacular platform for waterside living.
“Our clients love the unity of BGX70, the only yacht in its segment offering this extraordinary connection between the beach area, saloon, owner’s cabin and more. There’s also the Bluegame DNA such as generous cockpit and bow lounging areas, fantastic helm station and high-performance hull,” Demaria says.
“I was also proud at the awards in Dusseldorf when the panel described BGX70 as ‘bold and brilliant’ and said it ‘demonstrates there is still room for genuine innovation in a class where evolution rather than revolution is the norm’.”
Bluegame is extending its range with the upcoming BGX60, which will exhibit at October’s Genoa International Boat Show and is designed to offer the same concept, features and basic layout as her big sister, but in a smaller scale and with slight changes to the middle cabin.
The brand is also working on other projects in both the BG and BGX ranges in sizes that will not overlap with models from Sanlorenzo, whose smallest model is the SX76, which has an overall length of 76ft 7in.
Furthermore, Demaria revealed that Bluegame is following through on her bold announcement at Cannes last year that the brand would not only enter the powercat market but dominate it. “I confirm Bluegame is developing a new range of disruptive, very luxurious, innovative and highly sustainable multihulls,” she says.
For now, the BGX70 is not only the flagship but the embodiment of a brand that’s daring to design yachts differently, by focusing on modern yacht owners looking for openness, flexibility and life close to the water. “Each area of the boat has a very strong appeal to me,” Demaria says.
“Each is particularly suitable for different moments of life on board, like waking up early, walking through the saloon to the beach club then diving in the calm water.”
As it was for her client, the BGX70 seems exactly the yacht the CEO has been looking for.
The original article first appeared in Yacht Style Issue 54 (Charter Issue 2020) – see below:
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Yacht Style has released Issue 54 (July-August), its Charter Issue for 2020. Flying Fox, the world's largest charter yacht, stars on the front cover of the 208-page magazine, as the 136m megayacht prepares to return to Asia later this year.