You can really feel his energy when you talk to Tim Ciasulli. The founder of Planet Honda holds four offshore-powerboat-racing world speed records, one time hitting upwards of 180 mph. Ciasulli is as passionate about Italy and of course yachts as he is speed. In fact, he took delivery of his new dream, Rebeca, in September. The first Benetti Oasis 40M, she offers a new lifestyle concept that amplifies contact with the sea. Notably, the multifunctional beach area offers an incredible 969 square feet (90 square meters) of open space just a few steps from the water. Ciasulli spoke with us via video call, the first media outlet to learn about his and his wife Rebeca’s experiences so far.
MegayachtNews.com: This yacht is the antithesis of your passion for speed. What did you like the most to select it?
Tim Ciasulli: Yes, I got four speed world records in the ‘80s! (With his smartphone, he shows us a room full of prizes and pictures. Then he points to a picture of him passing in front of the World Trade Center in New York.) It was two days before 9-11… we set a speed world record there, and that is the most significant to me… I spent part of my life going fast, and sadly I’ve lost many friends, and I probably wanted to slow down, but I also have a five-engine boat (above). It is painted the same color as Rebeca, and we are going to tow her behind Rebeca. She runs 100 mph. So when I want to go fast and I want to reach a port 30 miles away, I can easily be there in 20 minutes.
Rebeca really mirrors our lifestyle. Lifestyle has become more casual. We are not moving around as much as we used to do. This is the perfect timing for what is going on in the world. All cities now are empty, New York is empty, Boston is empty… there are more people in the countryside, and lots of people are thinking to move there because they just want to get out of the big cities. So this casual lifestyle that this yacht affords is just perfect.
MegayachtNews.com: What do you most appreciate about life onboard?
Tim Ciasulli: The most striking difference between this boat and many others are the blurred lines between inside and outside. From the moment I get out from bed and put my feet on the teak floor and look through this big window in the stateroom, I’m already outside—and I like being outside.
There are so many different areas to enjoy while underway. If you don’t want the wind, you go to the back, you move to another side if you want to be shaded. On the huge area in the front on the sundeck, we had a party with 25 people, and it sounded like we had only few couples. It was a great feeling. Besides this, in most yachts you can’t sit in the back while they are underway, or you don’t want to be out there very long, because there is a fair amount of spray and the exhaust doesn’t smell good. On this boat, you are facing backwards instead of forward, and you’re right at the water level. You feel like you are on a surfboard, and this is a great place to be. There is no fuel smell and no noise.
MegayachtNews.com: Since the yacht started on spec, did you ask Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture for changes?
Tim Ciasulli: It was very bold for Benetti to hire somebody like Enrico Bonetti to design the interior, since he has never done a boat before. I think that is the reason why the interior turned out incredible. We visited his office in New York City several times. He is a genius, the way he looked at space. One of the things that he noticed in other boats that he visited was how cluttered they were. On the Oasis, spaces and volumes are huge, so you feel like you are on much larger boat. Not a 40-meter but a 50-meter!
Some of the changes that we made—I think it came from his lack of experience with boats—was regarding the storage. We added some. One of the other things that we did was take a design cue from the round circular light in the saloon. I’m in the automobile business, and it reminded me of a wheel. I said, “We can carry this forward to the master stateroom.” So we put a round mirror that you look at as you walk into the bathrooms and the closets. That turned to be just a great design element. It really tied everything together.
MegayachtNews.com: What was your reaction when you first stepped aboard?
Tim Ciasulli: We saw the boat in so many stages, but when we saw the boat in Viareggio, it was like, WOOOOW! A 40-meter boat like a 50-meter. Benetti really did a brilliant job. A Dutch-quality boat in an Italian boat… I was speechless. With my eyes wide open, I said, “this is my boat, this is beautiful. This is the best-selling boat that Benetti ever made.”
MegayachtNews.com: Did you sit in the captain’s chair and run the yacht? That helm station is really futuristic….
Tim Ciasulli: Yes, absolutely! And it’s very, very easy to maneuver her. When people see the steering position, they say, “Wow, we haven’t seen anything like that!” But the biggest “wow!” comes from captains who have been running my old-style boat, where there aren’t floor-to-ceiling windows. I’ve find my crew love to be in that room. We enjoy sitting up there, too, watching the captain navigate. In Portofino it was very easy to back the boat in; I was impressed.
MegayachtNews.com: Are you leaving the yacht in Italy, or will you transfer the yacht from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean?
Tim Ciasulli: The plan was to ship the boat back, but we are planning to have a little time spent at the coast of Sardinia and Elba. The coast in Italy is spectacular! We love exploring.
Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture bonettikozerski.com