To marine industry insiders, the name Lazzara has a certain magic that stretches over two generations and four decades. Inextricably linked to the modern boating world, the Lazzara family have been innovators quick to explore new technologies. The first yacht from its new Tampa, Florida, facility was the Lazzara 76, designed by Dick Lazzara, with distinctly soft-edged Euro-styling and the host of innovations to be expected in a Lazzara product.

One of the phrases that pops up regularly in conversation with the Lazzaras is "water-accessible." What is meant by that is the 76 is intended to allow owners and guests to be close to the water, which is, after all, why people buy boats. The 76 introduced the Sport Deck transom, which included twin garages for water toys and diving gear, as well as an integrated winch system for retrieving watercraft and tenders.

The game plan of Lazzara became evident early in its production when it created four "generations" of the 76-foot design. The intention was to combine the benefits of production-line construction with the flexibility of custom design. The 76 was available with side decks or, in a version called the Grand Salon, with a full-beam house. Six different interior arrangements were available and the bridge can have widely varying arrangements.

All the Lazzara yachts share a unique propulsion system called the LSR (Lazzara Shrouded Rudder) which uses a welded stainless-steel skeg with an integral prop shaft just forward of a rudder that has a curved mantle on top. Combined with shallow prop tunnels, the result is an extremely efficient drive system that is also highly maneuverable in close quarters. The propeller is protected from damage by the skeg, and the yacht can operate in shallow water with aplomb.

The 76 and the 80 share the same hull, with an additional 6+ feet of running surface aft that provides the cockpit on the larger yacht. The larger yacht sacrifices the twin garages in favor of the cockpit, although ample storage remains for dive gear and other water toys.

Newest addition to the Lazzara option list is the Cabriolet Pilothouse, which provides the best of an enclosed skylounge with the fresh air of an open flybridge. The keys to this dual personality are the electrically retractable windshields of three-eighths-inch tempered glass that slide smoothly downward, leaving only a small venturi windscreen that is dark tinted. The aft window also drops down out of sight, and the side windows slide open on smooth tracks. With the fiberglass hardtop for sun protection the pilothouse turns into an al fresco atmosphere that can be closed at the touch of a switch.

On the other hand, the Skylounge arrangement is an elegant living area for guests while cruising. With full air-conditioning and heating, the all-weather enclosure allows owners to select more delicate fabrics and fine leathers without worrying about weather damage from open windows. The arrangement is slightly different, too, with twin chairs to starboard rather than a bar with stools and, in the Skylounge, a game table between the chairs hides a pop-up television that can be viewed from the L-shaped settee. A wood veneered writing desk is forward to starboard, and a lacquered cabinet to port hides a refrigerator/ice maker and bar.

The Grand Salon adds about 20 percent to the salon area at the expense of the side decks, which end just aft of the lower helm, which still has doors on both sides to the foredeck. The salon layout remains essentially the same in either version, with a U-shaped couch to port, a built-in sofa opposite, and a bar area facing the large windows to starboard. The dining area is at the forward end of the salon with seating for six and separated from the galley by a built-in buffet and bookshelf. On our particular 76, the owner chose to finish the interior in birdseye maple, although a variety of woods are available from traditional teak and mahogany to pale ash. Combined with the coarse and almost raffia-like fabrics that serve both as upholstery and wall coverings, the result is a casual yet elegant look that is likely to wear well.

The galley is separated by bulkhead from the salon but, since the Sky Lounge layout on our test boat eliminates the need for a lower helm, the galley is country-style and open facing forward over a breakfast bar and stools. The area once allocated to the lower helm now has a large dinette under the raked windshield to starboard, creating a casual dining area with a spectacular view and the airiness of a conservatory. The galley has a full-size SubZero refrigerator/freezer aft and all of the usual amenities from trash compactor to convection oven are standard, although the compact television in a swivel cabinet will be a welcome addition for bored chefs waiting for the bread to rise.

The master suite and two VIP staterooms have a private circular stairway from the salon that leads to a large foyer that conceals the washer/dryer and vacuum storage. The master suite spans the full beam, with a California king bed aft, a sofa and bureau to port, and a vanity and armoire to starboard, while a huge walk-in closet has enough hanging space for liveaboards as well as built-in shelving. The master head is oversized, featuring twin Corian sinks and a Jacuzzi tub with double shower heads.

Forward, two mirrored VIP staterooms have queen beds and en suite heads with showers. Two more staterooms are in the bow, reached via stairs from the lower helm, and can be used for additional guests or crew. The starboard cabin has bunk beds and a private head with compact stall shower, while the forward stateroom, which is likely to be claimed by the skipper, has a double bunk and a more spacious head with stall shower. To port of the stairs is an area that can be fitted as a study or office with computer, desk, and settee with storage. On our particular 76, which is headed for Venezuelan home waters as well as Caribbean cruising, the area held a huge SubZero freezer and an additional washer/dryer.

The aft deck is furnished with a settee and table to starboard suitable for open-air dining, a more intimate loveseat to port with a cocktail table and a wet bar forward with dual ice makers that will keep pace with the steamy Venezuelan weather.

Standard power on all Lazzaras, a pair of MTU 12-cylinder 1,150-horsepower diesels, are installed in a spacious engine room, which is a fine example of a seamanlike installation. Twin workbenches are aft on each side, with a pair of Onan 20-kilowatt generators in sound shields underneath. All the surfaces are glossy and molded, and even the bilge is finished in gleaming white gelcoat. All the fuel manifolds are neatly labeled, the electrical system is flawlessly installed in looms and easily traceable, and there is ample room to reach all the important maintenance areas.

Each Lazzara is delivered superbly-equipped and includes twin generators, bow thruster, twin davits, stabilizers, anchor windlass and an electronics package thoughtfully assembled and installed by Larry Smith Electronics including a Simrad color radar, Laser Plot chart plotter, Northstar GPS, Icom VHF, Robertson autopilot, Furuno color sounder, Furuno weather receiver, SeaTel satellite TV, Vicon security camera system and more.

Of particular note is the ISIS (Integrated Shipboard Information System) that collects, monitors and displays a vast array of ships systems from the engine status to tank levels and, of course, all alarms. The system stores 5,000 hours of operational data, allowing future owners to review all the system "log books" that are tamperproof. Even better, the SeaCheck program allows a technician at the Lazzara factory to diagnose the yacht's performance via modem regardless of where the yacht is in the world.

Beautifully built, thoughtfully designed and equipped with the most advanced systems, it's obvious from the Lazzara 76 that this family hasn't lost its magic touch.

Boat Specifications

Length75' 11" (23.14 m)
Beam19' 1" (5.82 m)
Draft4' 6" (1.34 m)
Fuel1,700 gal.
Water350 gal.

Lazzara Yachts
5300 West Tyson Ave.
Tampa, FL 33611
Phone: (813) 835-5300
fax: (813) 835-0964