Story and photos by DinaRella / Professional photos courtesy of Canados/SLT Collection

Master carpenters manufacturing military interceptor vessels put Canados on the map in 1946 with their unique construction quality. Discovering the Italians’ immense talent and technical skills, the shipyard’s trajectory changed direction and yacht production trumped patrol boats. Eight decades and 800-plus deliveries later, today diversification continues and is spearheaded under the leadership of four-time offshore powerboat racing world champion and founder of Oceanic Yachts, Michel Karsenti, after acquiring the company. The catalogue goes by the name Gladiator – a fitting title, on account of its Roman connection and performance-driven credentials.

The 411 Carbon Series revealed back in 2022 was the first Gladiator on RDP radar. It was a catamaran. This next to cross our wake occupies a class of its own. Evolving the concept of the luxury center console, the 493 Grand Sport injects a strong dose of cruiser comfort, sportboat speeds and sophisticated yacht styling all squeezed into 50 feet.

1 Michel and Chiara Karsenti.JPG
2 Gladiator lineup.jpg
3 Gladiator range.jpg
4 493 Florida Edition hull 1.JPG
5 493 Gladiator FE 2024 PBIBS.JPG

Gladiator 493

SLT Collection partner and exclusive North American distributor Paul Burgess explains, “Canados is a historical brand. Michel re-adjusted the whole concept of its building practices bringing in new innovative ideas. Sportboat customers said, ‘We want more comfort.’ And big boat buyers said, ‘We don’t want a captain, crew and all the costs. We want to downsize.’”

“The 493 is like having a 100-foot yacht with a sky bridge in a platform half the size. It gets you to Bimini in an hour. It lets you venture into shallow areas with three feet of water. We spent extra money to make it extra special. Customers look and say, ‘It’s very Vanquish or Riva-eque. It’s very luxurious.’ Then they look at the build quality and say, ‘This is like a Ferretti.’ Then you get to running it, and you hear, ‘This is so Nor-Tech,’” he adds.

Luckily a trip to Italy’s Cantieri Di Ostia port city is not necessary to tailor the 493 to your personality. Sitting down for a chat with Karsenti last year at FLIBS, he proudly told us of his plan for the South Florida showroom at SLT Collection, “It’s the only facility in the country with such a display. We have every piece of fabric, type of material, color paint, and wood essence. We visited Ferrari showrooms and mimicked what they did.”

6 493 Gladiator logo.jpg
7 Canados SLT Showroom.JPG
8 Canados SLT Showroom.JPG
9 493 Cabin option.jpg
10 493 Head option.jpg

Florida Edition
Badged the “Florida Edition” there’s no pink flamingo or gator greeting you on the 65-mph triple Mercury Marine 600 outboard-powered machine, instead what you see is: the table has been turned. Literally! Facing fore to aft, it’s a complete reversal from the smaller horizontal one seen on the traditional European edition in the below photo. As trivial as a table may sound, the layout optimizes finite real estate expanding social zones and was decided upon since boaters in the States favor open entertainment space. The swiveling trio of center bar stools anchoring the summer kitchen is another focal point.

Americans like what’s under the table too. Empty space and lots of it! Because the 493 was originally designed for 725-hp Volvo Penta D11 inboard diesels and JDM surface drives, a mechanically-actuated locker lifts to reveal all rigging components safeguarded behind a protective stainless rail, a Quick MC2 gyro, Dynamica 9kW generator, and an enormous amount of free room where those engines would have been.

Admiring the surrounding Esthec synthetic teak decking is bound to happen while gazing down into the locker. The heavenly looking light-colored floor, soothing to your soles and souls, blends beautifully to the hull’s metallic white paint. It’s like you’re walking on clouds, especially along the noticeably widened sides, studied and engineered to ensure safe passage and the driest ride possible. Beyond the stern, there’s no lack of alfresco space. Sun seekers will want to lay their towels and tequila sundowners on the sizable bow, battle-ready guests on the hand, will gravitate to the helm where the craft’s warrior spirit shines through

11 493 Fore to aft table.JPG
12 493 Florida Edition setup.JPG

13 493 Traditional model.jpg

14 493 Stern stools.JPG
15 493 Florida Edition galley.JPG
16 493 Outdoor galley.JPG
17 493 FE Mezzanine bar.JPG
18 493 Lower storage.jpg
19 493 Faux teak flooring.JPG
20 493 Sunpad.JPG
21 493 Spacious bow.JPG

Racer Helm Relaxing Cabin

The cockpit’s masculine framework is best expressed by the large cut-out window panels, as well as, the contemporary curvatures on gunwale cleats and even the armrests for added comfort. Warrior inspiration on the decidedly dark and light gray silhouette is evidenced in the Gladiator branding on the embroidered triple seat helm and Italian leather steering wheel. And clearly, carbon fiber elements know no end, starting from the sunshade poles to the dashboard and hardtop. But it doesn’t stop up top.

The cabin has its own identity oozing of carbon fiber décor. Go through the manual sliding starboard door and down three steps and it’s everywhere from door handles to the shower and sink vanity in the private head, on point with high-end hotel expectations. First in class in a 50-foot boat to feature twin cabins, the raised queen-sized berth with more than six feet of headroom occupies the forepeak and the smaller guest stateroom is perfect for the kids to hang out in.

22 493 FE ardtop.JPG

23 493 FE Dash.JPG

24 493 FE Helm.JPG

25 493 FE Triple bolsters.JPG
26 493 Rooftop panels.JPG
27 493 Cabin.JPG
28 493 Carbon fiber.jpg
29 Canados 493 Florida Edition.jpg
30 FLIBS with Dustin Simon.JPG

Canados focus is haute couture over high quantity construction. Capitalizing on a heritage rich in art, architecture and engineering, mixed with Karsenti’s passion for performance and boat building – the fresh though timeless Gladiator machines make for a winning army!

Looking back, catamaran fans will like the 411 Carbon Series. Rome-built and rigged by Troy Hannon of Supreme Marine, we covered the Gladiator’s global debut from Cannes.“made-in-italy”-carbon-darlings.1026/