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Motoring / Yachts

Sanlorenzo’s SD118 Is a Remarkable Balancing Act

The Italian builder’s SD118 has already received multiple orders in Asia through regional dealer Simpson Marine, with the semi-displacement model offering enormous volumes and potential for customisation as well as clever use of asymmetric design.

Sep 28, 2022 | By Clare Mahon

Shown again at the Cannes Yachting Festival after her debut in 2021, Sanlorenzo’s SD118 balances a classic exterior design with a new interpretation of interior spaces that turns expectations for yacht interiors on their head. In fact, this 36m yacht is built in durable GRP and has an almost 8m beam and a volume of 290GT due to an innovative design solution that lets the skylounge steal the show from the main saloon.

Bernardo Zuccon, son of Gianni and Paola Zuccon who founded the Italian design studio Zuccon International Project, penned the yacht’s exterior. This second-generation yacht designer is more than a chip off the old block; he’s a talent in his own right as shown by his clean, horizontal lines for the SD118.

Note the two-level foredeck, with the lower area accessible from the master suite.

Classic, but with modern verve thanks to an almost vertical bow, the yacht has three decks plus a sun deck that’s well integrated into the whole, leaving the yacht looking light. Zuccon remarks on how this yacht is a development on Sanlorenzo’s SD line of semi-displacement yachts.

“The SD118 project is a further step along the path that we embarked on with the SD96 and confirms my deep commitment to this type of navetta yacht. The term navetta calls to mind a romantic time when people headed off to sea for the pleasure of navigation more than for a desire to arrive in a destination, a time when people enjoyed the voyage and their onboard lifestyle,” he says.

“I wanted to stay true to certain aspects that characterise navetta yachts in general and the SD line in particular. However, I also wanted to continue my research into new ways of enjoying life at sea, which is why I chose to use an asymmetric layout aboard the SD118.”

Sanlorenzo SD118
The sun deck can be set up for sunbathing and casual dining.

In fact, while the port side of the upper deck features a side deck that leads continuously from stern to bow, the starboard side is widebody. But more on this unusual yet very practical and space-maximising layout later.

Appeal in Asia

Simpson Marine’s Nick Stratton, Sanlorenzo Asia Sales Manager, confirms that multiple units of the SD118 have been sold in the region, the first of which is due to arrive in the summer of 2023.

“Sanlorenzo is without doubt the top Italian yacht brand and the appeal to buyers here lies in their low production numbers, high quality and excellent service,” Stratton says.

Sanlorenzo SD118 stairway
Staircases are key to Sanlorenzo’s artistic interiors.

“The SD range, while also being popular among new yacht owners, has a strong appeal to existing yacht owners. Characteristics of this range are economical cruising speed, long-range ability, wider beam and more interior and exterior volume. These tend to meet the demands of owners who have owned yachts before and have a very clear vision of what they want and how they will use the yacht.”

Boarding the SD118 from water level when it is at anchor is like conquering a private island. It’s also a very easy conquest, due to fold-out side terraces that open off the transom. With the terraces open, the entire stern area converts to become a 20sqm beach platform suspended just above water level.

Sanlorenzo SD118 open stern
The aft sides lower to form a three-sided beach club.

The transom itself has a hydraulically operated central section that lowers into the water, so launching toys and other craft stored in the garage is quick and easy.

Beside the terraces, there are shelves for storing scuba gear, sunscreens and the like. From this very enjoyable platform area, symmetrical staircases lead up to the aft cockpit where the yacht begins to reveal her vocation for easy, relaxing life at sea.

Interior Customisation

The cockpit has a fixed couch that faces the saloon through sliding glass doors that open wide, but from there the possibilities for personalising the yacht become almost endless, as Stratton confirms.

Sanlorenzo SD118 cockpit
The aft cockpit offers a large social zone with the option for loose furniture.

“There are few limits to what can be achieved, especially at this size range,” he says. “As brand representatives, our enjoyment comes from spending time with owners, really understanding their requirements and then, through the design phase, bringing these ideas to life.”

Sanlorenzo’s customisation process foresees five stages through which the builder develops a personalised space plan that identifies the customer’s ideal number, size and type of cabins, while also delineating special-purpose areas for sport, entertainment or relaxation needs.

Sanlorenzo SD118 salon
The saloon culminates in elegant, curved staircases to the upper and lower decks.

“We have a variety of different SD118 layouts in the discussion phase, some with more cabins, some with less, or they have bigger galleys, Jacuzzis, gyms, spa rooms and so on,” Stratton says.

On top of the choice of layouts that Sanlorenzo offers, part of the beauty of the SD line is that there’s also a choice of top designers for interior fittings.

Sanlorenzo SD118 salon
Photos show a Patricia Urquiola interior.

Owners can opt for interiors by a wide range of designers including Bernardo and Martina Zuccon, Daniel and Michel Bismut, Guillaume Rolland from Liaigre and Patricia Urquiola, who has already collaborated with Sanlorenzo on the interiors of their SD96. Access to such world-class studios assures owners of beautiful, chic and customised results.

Owner’s Suite Supreme

Fore on the main deck, past the galley and the lobby, lies the owner’s suite. With a large walk-in closet, this full-beam cabin has a walkaround bed placed slightly to port, leaving plenty of room for seating to starboard and an office area overlooking the water to port.

Sanlorenzo SD118 owner cabin
The main-deck owner’s suite features an inward-facing bed.

The bathroom has separate toilet and shower compartments divided by a sliding glass door, while a central corridor leads to a private staircase that runs directly from the cabin to the forepeak.

Usually an out-of-the-way area used primarily by crew for storage, the forepeak is easily accessible and very enjoyable as an owner’s outdoor getaway that can be set up for reading, sunbathing or simply enjoying a priceless moment of peace and quiet. From the forepeak, owners can continue straight up to the upper deck where the yacht’s social spaces really hit their stride.

Sanlorenzo SD118 owner cabin
The office in the full-beam owner’s suite.


On most yachts, the main-deck saloon is the largest space and the social centrepiece, but the SD118 has a skylounge that steals the show. Zuccon’s design for the upper deck has an innovative asymmetrical layout where a port-side passage leads fore to aft, but to starboard the interiors are built out to the side of the yacht.

Sanlorenzo SD118 upper deck
Aft view of the skylounge and the covered aft upper deck.

Zuccon calibrated interior weight distribution so the SD118 is well balanced, even though this large living space is asymmetrical. Add that the portside gunwale folds down to become a balcony and you have a skylounge that is extra-wide during navigation and feels practically infinite when the yacht is at anchor, with the balcony down and the sliding glass doors open.

An additional exterior foredeck lounge area in front of the bridge and an aft dining area shaded by the sun-deck overhang make the upper deck a space that invites all aboard to stay all day and well into the evening.

Sanlorenzo SD118 upper deck
The skylounge on the upper deck has open doors to the portside walkway.

The sun deck, with its breezy views from on high, is the icing on the cake of a yacht that already offers all the outdoor spaces, both private and convivial, that you could ask for. This area can be set up for sunbathing and casual dining under the hardtop.

Lower Deck

Further guest accommodation on the lower deck includes two spacious VIP cabins and two doubles, all of which are en-suite and can be appointed to suit the owner’s taste and needs. In fact, as per Sanlorenzo’s customising options, these spaces can be set up as something other than cabins such as a massage room or a gym.

Sanlorenzo SD118 vip cabin
Lower-deck cabins can include two VIPs and two more doubles.

The crew area, also on the lower deck, has cabins for up to five, enabling a two-to-one guest-to-crew ratio that assures comfortable, luxurious long-term stays. All work paths are to port so crew can go about their tasks without disturbing guests, a setup that assures privacy and the best onboard experience for all.

True to its navetta yacht typology, the SD118 was created to navigate at length in total autonomy. Combined with the MTU and Cat engine options, the efficient hull design developed by in-house by Sanlorenzo helps give the yacht a 3,000nm-plus cruising range at 11 knots.

Sanlorenzo SD118 stairway
The first Sanlorenzo SD118 in Asia will arrive in 2023.

That creates broad horizons, anything from island hopping to getting away from it all, for owners that want to cruise to their heart’s content while enjoying all the comforts this yacht offers.

The Sanlorenzo SD118’s large interior volumes, top-notch roster of interior designers and long cruising range have made it a huge market success, proof that this asymmetrical yacht has balanced all the key elements that yacht owners are looking for. And soon, thanks to Simpson Marine, you’ll be able to see what’s so right about asymmetry with your own eyes.

This article first appeared on Yacht Style.

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