The Azimut Benetti Group’s YachtMaster event returns for its 15th anniversary this year, taking place in Tuscany at the Spa Boutique Terme Saturnia, from 4-6 February.

YachtMaster has long been a way for the group, history’s most prolific superyacht builder, to thank the captains that have the ear of their clients, and ensure the longevity of those client relationships.

The modern captain is also the project manager and treasurer when an owner makes a decision on his next purchase. It is therefore important to curry favour with these most important of decision-makers.

There is therefore, traditionally a heavy emphasis on fun and enjoyment. However, as the complexity of running a superyacht increases ever more, the burden of keeping track of legislative and regulatory changes is also on the rise.

Therefore, the Azimut Benetti team has opted to introduce an educational element to this year’s event, which goes beyond the traditional sponsor announcements. A series of pertinent topics have been selected by the attendant captains and will be debated in academic ‘seminar’ scenarios.

There is always a heavy emphasis on fun at the event.

SYBAss’ technical and environmental director, Chris van Hooren will lead a session on changing IMO legislation and its impact on superyachts. “The coming years there will be increased regulatory oversight in terms of both tempo and volume”, van Hooren warned. “To name a few: Ballast Water Management Convention, MARPOL Annex VI Chapter 3 (NOx), MARPOL Annex VI Chapter 4 (EEDI)”, are all going to influence the way superyachts are managed.

MLC 2006 is a prime example of the impact international conventions can have on our industry, and session moderator, John Cook has said, “Managing superyachts to MLC, 2006 is essential for the yacht charter captain.” Ahead of the YachtMaster session on the subject Cook, of Lesia Employment Services has asked, “What are the best ways to manage the process and what role does each of the crew play in making the process as easy as possible?”

Images courtesy of Thierry Ameller.

There will also be plenty of demand for updates and insight into the confusing world of fiscal management. David Pranzini, who runs Yachtique, has identified the key questions that are likely to be raised: “[Should today’s owners opt for] private use or charter? [Does the Beneficial Owner’s] fiscal residence [have an impact]?”

“In Europe various factors drive VAT & other possible local levies - e.g. the Spanish ‘Luxury’ tax, hence the flag”, Pranzini explains. “Let's discuss the most appropriate tax ownership structure with an outstanding panel.”

This additional facet of the event, in which captains have the opportunity to assimilate a substantial amount of information, will no doubt be of comparable value as their continued business is to the yard. will be providing updates throughout the event, courtesy of @SuperyachtNews.