BOAT TEST FERRETTI 470
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie it’s a Ferretti. But the new entry-level 470 cruiser wills even more pleasure seekers to the fold, writes TONY MACKAY
Italy's Ferretti Group is celebrating 40 years in business and has produced a magnificent book that outlines its current range of stylish high-performance cruisers designed to dazzle even the most jaded onlooker. I always get slightly suspicious about companies that call themselves 'group', however, the Ferretti stable has some highly respected names such as Bertram, Riva, CRN, Pershing, and Mochi Craft to name a few, and all these brands command respect in any port. With the pooled knowledge of these various companies, the Ferretti Group sounds like a rather formidable force, and indeed it is.
The flagship is the rather splendid Altura 840, which offers an experience similar to being dropped head first into a James Bond set, landing in the master suite and watching the sparkling waters slide by the picture windows at 30kts. The book is filled with page after page of glittering images, fabulous cabins, lithe women sunbathing on teak decks, martini glasses with olives, shaken not stirred. The only thing missing was little old me. Pity.
While one dare not mention the term 'entry level', our test boat was the junior Ferretti 470, a flying bridge cruiser that will allow urban sophisticates the opportunity to test the waters, as it were. Clearly she shares many of the design and styling concepts that flow through the whole range, this time in a package that allows 'walk on/walk off' boating for the 'time poor' executive couple. A pre-packed picnic, some chilled champagne, the tanks full of diesel and you are away, linen shirt wafting in the breeze, and the faint aroma of an expensive suntan lotion enhancing the experience. Which way to Portofino?
A LANGUAGE OF ITS OWN
Ferretti has a division of the group they call Advanced Yacht Technology that supervises the design of all their group's products. Ordinary, old-fashioned mortals such as I will be dazzled by terms such as 'natural internal luminosity' and 'Computational Fluid Dynamics' and 'kinematics'. Having made a Ferretti purchase, you will fling these terms with alacrity into your next cocktail party chatter. I have used them and people now think I am highly intelligent as well as charming. Forgetting all that, perhaps we should climb aboard and have a little look.
The first impression of the 470 is sleek, slim and with huge glass areas, hence all that luminosity. This is a boat for sun lovers, either on the huge open flying bridge or partially sheltered in the cockpit. The integrated swimming platform has an entry gate on the starboard side and in the middle is a passarelle or electric gangplank, which suits Mediterranean mooring situations but is redundant for Australian conditions. Unless, that is, you have recalcitrant guests, wish to re-enact a Captain Hook moment and make them walk the plank. Could be amusing…
The laid teak cockpit is adequately sized and has fixed seating either side of the 'gangplank', which we are reliably informed you can delete and enjoy a full-width seat instead. Under the portside seat cushion is a hatch into a voluminous storage lazarette that is actually set up as a crew's cabin with bunk and head. Other than those with a coffin fetish, it would be an uncomfortable evening without sedatives and the space might best be left to fenders and assorted equipment.
The galley is located back aft of the saloon and is to port with an opening window that folds up to the ceiling and exposes the area to the cockpit. Picnic preparations or a salubrious cocktail arrangement can be orchestrated without leaving the conversation of the guests. However, the eye is drawn past the galley and into the long saloon with its enormous glass areas, particularly the single-pane windscreen.
The word panorama comes to mind but I have now, in fact, discovered Ferretti's so-called advanced luminosity. It all gets rather clever at this point as the whole space is cunningly connected from the helm to the cockpit yet can be divided into a variety of multipurpose areas.
I do like a boat with a saloon that allows guests to face each other during drinks or conversation. Forward of the galley to port is a wave-shaped sofa, which will easily seat six people in leather-bound luxury. A very snappy coffee table electrically raises and opens to convert to a dining table and Ferretti makes this little piece of engineering.
Opposite to starboard is another sofa for guests to join the conversation or collapse for a snooze. Aft of this is the bar/entertainment unit and this will allow most guests to enjoy the movie without ending up perched at odd angles.
Forward of the main portside sofa, one steps up to the helm station, a raised platform that gives headroom to the two guest cabins below. The helm section fronts the massive windscreen and two huge side windows for a truly impressive view. With two large wipers on each side it was reminiscent of, dare I be so common to say, a luxury coach, er… bus. You get the picture?
It is a fabulous and unimpeded view, although, I would hate to have to replace the glass. The saloon has huge, sweeping side windows that are equally impressive. The downside is that there will be quite a heat in full summer, hence the two side hatches, which may or may not be adequate for natural ventilation. Or turn on the air-conditioning.
Ferretti uses the same styling features throughout its range and it is a pared-back luxury look with leather and teak cabinetry in satin-finished simplicity. All the styling is sleek and simple, which is typical of many Italian designers and has been copied often. Soft crème leather, light-textured carpets and brown leather highlights give the cabin a feel of restrained luxury, although, it may suffer if a small child with crayons is allowed off the leash.
The dash panel is another unusual finish being hard, but with a suede-like feel that has been seen before in some high-end Italian sports cars. The mushroom colour is very attractive, anti-glare, and this finish is repeated on the starboardside panel, which has chrome barometric instruments located forward of the teak map-table cabinet.
The helm station is well laid out with the Raymarine navigation package mounted in perfect vision on the upper dash pod. Just below are the Cummins SmartCraft electronic engine-monitoring panels, while the lesser controls for Side-Power bow and sternthrusters, bilge pump schematics, ignition and autopilot are on the flat metallic panel in front of the signature Ferretti helm.
Electronic controls with very snappy levers suit the high-tech styling of this control station. Control of circuit breakers and electrical equipment is located on a side panel, next to the seat. This is all well laid out and the voltage displays are clear and effective, however, the breakers themselves are in two languages, which make the print slightly harder to read. A minor deficiency.
The helm seat will fit two people, Mr and Mrs Bond, both keeping a sharp eye through the picture windscreen, and hopefully not arguing about the destination. Having arrived, the skipper can remain in this comfortable perch and preside over the guests while keeping watch as to who is doing what to whom in the bay - always a most fascinating pastime.
The headlining of the saloon is a fully moulded gloss liner and I'm not sure if I prefer this to the padded types usually fitted. Yet it is very connective from the cockpit right through to the windscreen and the flow-through of the cabin is impressive. Our galley slave, only one will fit in the alcove, can direct productions to the saloon or the cockpit with equal ease.
The opening aft window brings outdoors in and a clever glass table for use in the cockpit is mounted under a teak counter top. It is just perfect for those who understand the benefits of pre-packaged, gourmet food that simply requires displaying on a stylish platter. Not to say a more ambitious chef will be retarded from creating a feast from scratch, with cooktop, convection microwave, and dishwasher mounted under the Corian bench top. For those that detest galleys below decks, this will be a joy to work in.
Forward from the saloon and helm, one moves down into a lower lobby with four doors. Forward is the master cabin with a queen-sized island bed, two hanging lockers and long, slim window ports on either side. A small opening section will admit fresh air in conjunction with a hatch over the bunk, although the volume of air will be limited. An en suite is well equipped and comes complete with a bidet for more stringent hygiene requirements. A separate shower stall is fitted with a glass door and chrome fittings compliment the teak floor and trims.
Two twin-share guest cabins are aft on either side and are more or less a mirror image of each other. The bunks can be joined to make doubles and there are hanging lockers and two portholes for fresh air. Being partially under the saloon, they are not huge but offer an effective use of the hull volume and will certainly provide a comfortable evening. Invited guests will be clever to grab the portside cabin as it has a larger locker and two cabinets at the foot of each bunk with a larger foyer space. The better of the two.
Irritating guests may be housed in the crew cabin aft where their complaints cannot impede the owner's sound sleep. A second guest head and shower is similarly equipped, but sans bidet. A teak floor, modern oval basin, chrome fittings and mirrored cabinets are part of the tasteful appointments. A circular shower stall reminded me of the freezing tubes on Lost in Space and I waited for someone to beam me up or Cryovac me. Walt Disney would love it!
Possibly my only criticism of these cabins is the fact that, like the head linings, they are all moulded GRP and then fitted with trims and some cabinetry; this system gives a slightly plastic feel rather than cabins that have been fully trimmed and upholstered. Perhaps I am a little old fashioned? It just seemed a little 'production line'. Meanwhile, invited guests are unlikely to be upset about a few nights in an air-conditioned Ferretti 470.
Back in the laid teak cockpit, a large hatch allows you to pop down into the engineroom and check on the twin Cummins QSC 600hp diesels and associated equipment. A single fuel tank of 1600lt is forward of the engines with two water tanks located on either side. The 9kW Onan generator is to starboard and the batteries and various ancillary equipment are all very well installed, as one would expect from a builder of this calibre.
The hull and propulsion engineering is supervised by the Advanced Yacht Engineering division of Ferretti, while the superstructure and interiors are under the supervision of the Studio Zuccon International Project, whoever they may be. Presumably with all these designers and engineers on tap, not to mention the expertise of Mr Cummins and company, one should simply slam the lid shut and get on with the actual boating. Mind you, it is always wise to dip the oil, check the coolant and have a little snoop around irrespective of all the designers and their assurances.
The flybridge makes full use of every inch of space, mostly for entertainment purposes. A large aft sun lounge, a dinette and table to port, a fridge/bar unit and the helm station with electrically opening dash panel are all surrounded by a very large reverse-sheer Perspex screen, which sweeps aft to reduce wind and spray to the whole area. Like most European boats, one is on the bridge rather than in it; these areas being reasonably shallow to keep the height and proportions under control. Hence such a large screen is required to shield the passengers from the elements - wind and spray whooshing around at 31kts.
Aft is a low-rise radar arch and I am reliably informed that the latest radar models will not "fritz" your brain, however, I would ensure that the unit is off before sitting on the bridge. My behaviour is eccentric enough without the radar exacerbating my current problems. This is an entertainer's bridge, one for seeing the sights, enjoying the sunshine and the wind in your hair or what is left of it. There is no provision for a dinghy or davit and, presumably, a small tender will be brought onto the swim platform or left at home on most day trips. Let's face it, who wants to get off?
FIRST PASTA POST
With the Cummins burbling away, a skipper at the helm and 1200hp electronically connected to the throttles, I found a comfortable seat on the flybridge and we set off on Sydney Harbour for the photo shoot. You can be rest assured that there is no shortage of performance or handling capabilities with the Ferretti. With a 13-degree deadrise, V-bottom warped hull with spray rails, and the big Cummins pushing 22 tonnes through the water, you will make light work of most conditions.
This type of hull does tend to lean heavily into troughs and when on the bridge, the angle of heel may cause some mild alarm for the uninitiated. She had a tendency to stay in this position for longer than I expected but was corrected by a swift application of the helm. This did not seem to worry our skipper or the Ferretti expert on board, but I found myself hanging on to a rail.
Slicing through chop, turning into swells and roaring down following seas posed little problems, with an absence of cavitation and vibration. All those designers must know what they are doing and who am I to be a critic? Similarly, a discussion of the lines and styling may evoke various responses and I should leave these decisions to the buyer.
Possibly it could be said that the hull is slightly disproportionate to the size of the cabin and perhaps it is the huge glass area that makes this appear so. I did feel that the Perspex screen on the flybridge was overly large to my eye, although practical in use. Now I can feel an imminent lightning strike from Studio Zuccon Project so you make up your own mind.
Underway, according to the official Ferretti factory-supplied figures, we were using 50lt/h at 1500rpm for 10kts and 120lt/h at 2100rpm for 15kts. At the 75 per cent rating the Cummins sit on, 2400rpm will give a brisk 21kts while consuming 160lt/h. Top speed is a very sparkling 31.5kts at 250lt/h, says Ferretti, so will be used only for a quick whoosh past slower friends while waving arrivaderci.
The Ferretti label offers prestige and quality to the discerning buyer, brimful of Italian styling and flavour. With a $1.5 million price tag it is on the expensive side compared to local offerings from Riviera and Maritimo and the Euro is no help here. Those not impacted by price considerations will be happy with their choice just as they will carry their picnic on board in a Louis Vuitton backpack, wearing a Borsalino hat, eating off Rosenthal china, and listening to the Bang & Olufsen Hi Fi. It is all a matter of choice.
Specifications: Ferretti 470
PRICE AS TESTED
$1.55 million w/ twin Cummins QSB 600
Raymarine package, Onan 9.0kW, air-conditioning, electric passarelle, bimini, sternthruster, radar, Sat TV, leather upholstery, and ice-maker.
Material: Multiaxial fibreglass
Type: Warped Hull w/ 13.5-degree deadrise and spray rails
Length overall: 14.65m
Hull length: 14.45m
Weight: 22.8 tonnes (laden)
Berths: 6 in three cabins
Holding tank: Not disclosed
Make/model: 2 x Cummins QSC
Rated HP: 600
Max. RPM: 3000
Gearbox (make): ZF
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