Italian superyacht builder Benetti claims to have opened the 2011/12 boating season with an “unprecedented level” of commercial and productive success.

Speaking at last week’s Cannes International Boat Show, the group announced that 17 new superyachts will be built during the course of the next boating season – nine of which will be steel and aluminium Customs from 50m-65m (164ft-213ft).

Meanwhile, 14 new superyachts – 10 Class and four Customs – have already been delivered to new owners.

Other recent successes for the yard include the opening of a new international office in Hong Kong and the strengthening of its representation in the USA.

The company has also boosted its presence in South America, with representatives in locations ranging from Brazil, Mexico and the Dominican Republic to Venezuela and Panama.

At Benetti’s Italian headquarters in Viareggio, a new dock was recently unveiled which will be dedicated to the production of the Benetti Class range – the collection of yachts from 28m-44m (93ft-145ft) built using composite materials.

The new site allows the company to simultaneously produce three superyachts of up to 43m (140ft), effectively doubling the yard’s current capacity.

In Livorno – where Benetti builds its steel and aluminium superyachts from 45m (148ft) – the company has launched the FB 800 (the first 50m (164ft) Custom superyacht with fibreglass hull and aluminium superstructure).

Just a few weeks after its introduction, a 50m (164ft) FB 801 was sold to a repeat client.