The recipe behind the fascinating Brenta 80
by Emilio Martinelli
photo Linus Lintne
“We are not inventors. We interpret existing themes and it’s essential that we act with great respect for everything marvellous around us”. Lorenzo Argento is clear about the philosophy that has produced the many projects to emerge from the Brenta Design stable, particularly the latest one, the stunning Brenta 80. This craft is remarkable in that it brings together Hanse founder Michael Schmidt who now owns Michael Schmidt Yachtbau, the ground-breaking Brenta Design and English archistar, Sir David Chipperfield.
“It all started with a draft that Schmidt showed us two years ago,” says Lorenzo Argento. “It was very vague but Michael’s spec was very clear: he wanted an 80’ cruising yacht that would be comfortable, elegant, spacious and contemporary. However, it also had to have retro lines. We don’t like the term ‘new classic’, however. I prefer to just revisit the healthy concepts of the boats of yesteryear”.
The first area to receive the treatment was the coachroof which has vertical sides, a solution that brings with it several advantages. “You can have real portholes for a start,” continues Argento, “and they bring light in and improve ventilation. Just like the gullwing hatch on the coachroof does: this is a feature that isn’t used much anymore but has a lot of positives to it.”
He continues: “That’s where the three-tier deck level originates. Aft, in the area of the large terrace, the bulwarks are almost 60 cm high but taper to 30 cm at coachroof level amidships. I think this is the Brenta 80’s real strong point: we intersected a coachroof reminiscent of the boats of a century ago with a triple-tiered deck. That really modernises the deck plan and injects new life into the coachroof”.
Michael Schmidt, who Argento describes as an excellent sailor, specified a single central cockpit but the yacht can also be built with a double one (separate working and guest). The central cockpit also has a very positive knock-on for the interior arrangements – the engine room beneath it is simple in the extreme like the Brenta 80 itself: the engine delivers nine knots and there’s also a generator and a few hydraulics. All very simple and easy to manage as per the commission.
This is also a comfortable boat. “The master suite is aft, then there the galley and crew cabin, a huge saloon and two guest cabins forward,” says Argento. “This is where Sir David Chipperfield, who owns a B42 daysailer, came into his own. He liked the design at once. The first thing he said was ‘We’ll make it a soft boat inside as well’”.
And that is just what he did as the interiors follow and make the most of the hull lines – the seat of the leather sofa narrows forward, for instance. It’s all very simple but cocoon-like too with fine touches such as the Franco Albini chairs, strongly-grained American walnut and leather accents. Overall the interior is a million miles from the usual stereotypes thanks to the vision of Michael Schimdt and Brenta Design’s creative philosophy. The result is, as Lorenzo Argento would say: “An example of what can be designed and built in the third millennium”.