REVIEW: ABSOLUTE 60 FLYBRIDGE

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JOHN FORD / SUPPLIED

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

Italian boat builders bring flair and ingenuity to their designs. John Ford reports how the Absolute 60 Flybridge has brought its own sense of style to local waters.

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HIGHS

  • Big volume boat with generous living quarters
  • High standard of fit and finish
  • Stylish design

LOWS

  • Cruising range is limited

REVIEW: ABSOLUTE 60 FLYBRIDGE priced from $2.68 million

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In reviewing terms, I worked my way through the ranks to arrive at this Absolute 60 test – having ‘graduated’ via my past experiences on the 40 and 50 versions.

If memory serves, those boats drew nothing but praise, so it was a pleasant surprise to find this larger boat is the best so far.

And it’s not even the longest model in the range, so maybe there are even more surprises to come?

THE BUILDER

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Over the years, Absolute has risen to become a significant player in the luxury powerboat scene, and in many ways, its ascension must be galling to some long-established marques.

Based in Piacenza, south of Milan, the company was established in 2002 when founders, Marcello Bè and Sergio Maggi, left renowned builder Gobbi to strike out on their own.

In just 15 years the pair have grown Absolute from their Italian base in to be amongst the largest builders in the world big boat market.

Along the way, their innovative designs have picked up international awards for excellence, confirming the company’s goal to produce world-class vessels capable of performing in varied conditions around the globe.

Although a landlocked town 100km from the coast might seem a strange place for a shipyard, I’m told the secret is being close to supply chains for a lot of raw materials – so we can assume the highway system around Genoa is better than ours.

Plus, cheap industrial acreage on the Italian coast is almost non-existent.

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Right from the start, Absolute hulls are designed around Volvo’s IPS drives, so all models in the range – apart from the 40 Fly – use this rotating pod system to achieve economy of fuel and precise docking.

As much as 30 per cent better fuel economy is claimed, and that should make significant savings on running costs, even when factoring in extra maintenance the pods seem to demand.

Absolute’s ‘Integrated Structural System’ of construction bonds the internal bulkheads, sandwich walls and floor of the interior to a hand-laid hull to form a rigid and robust entity.

Benefits include more living space, improved sound insulation and reduced vibration.

THE LOOK

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From certain angles, a set of large mirrored windows along the sides of the salon create the impression of a lightweight flybridge floating freely above the deep side of the hull.

Bright white sides are intersected by large dark windows in the master and bow cabins, which afford wonderful views from below.

The bow looks voluminous at rest, and it’s not until the boat reaches cruising speed that it rides high to reveal lower deep-vee sections, designed to cut through waves.

The swept back windscreen and targa arch add to the sporting Italian flair of this boat – this is fresh styling that should prove timeless through the years.

THE LAYOUT

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Three cabins, plus crew quarters, provide sleeping accommodation for eight, plus enough room during the day for entertaining friends.

There are three bathrooms, three outdoor spaces (including three huge sunpads), as well as a large single level saloon that flows through to the cockpit.

It’s a great mix of shaded and sunny spaces for year-round boating.

A teak clad swim and entry platform sinks 800mm below the surface on a hydraulic ram and has a 450kg capacity if you want to easily store a decent-sized inflatable.

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Should this platform prove too low for some docks, there’s also a passerelle with automatic handrail that extends 500mm past the swimplatform at deck level.

Owner-operators can make use of the twin beds plus shower and head for extra guests or younger family members.

Lounges around a teak table make the cockpit an ideal breakfast location and the extendable sunpad at the transom will beckon for a mid-morning nap.

There’s even an electric privacy shade to lower down if the sun (or the neighbours) become too annoying.

BIG ENTERTAINER

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Entering the saloon, a sliding glass door is easily wide enough to bring the outside in and makes a socialising precinct right through to the helm.

Lounges either side greet you as you step inside, with a U-shaped white leather six-seater on starboard, around a marble-topped coffee table, while opposite is another two-seater.

Those big windows brighten the space and afford ever-changing views, while a 50in television and Bose sound system will entertain on rainy days.

Further forward, it’s a small step up to the portside dining area and well-equipped starboard galley. Here I found lots of cupboards for extended provisioning, a full-size Waeco fridge/freezer, four-burner Bosch cooktop, dishwasher and microwave.

With the addition of a couple of folding chairs, there would be room for eight around the large, folding table.

DOWN BELOW

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A sturdy stainless steel rail protects the stairwell leading to the three cabins below, where the roomy VIP cabin in the bow has an island queen bed angled so the bedhead is under the starboard window.

This affords a view forward through the portside, leaving the narrow space ahead for a long vanity and large mirror.

This cabin has its own ensuite with glass enclosed shower and very modern fitout.

A smaller guest cabin has twin beds and shares its head with day guests.

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Light shines in from two portholes, and a full-length wall mirror gives the feeling of a larger space.

The layout and contemporary fitout of the master cabin give a welcoming feeling of a space.

The designers have targeted this zone as a private, secluded place to relax or work, with a comfortable L-shaped lounge under a set of windows, a desk/makeup vanity, a large storage cupboard and walk-in wardrobe.

In the private head are his-and-her sinks, and a dark grey tiled shower with porthole and shelves.

TIME TO RELAX

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Walkways on both sides of the vessel lead forward from the cockpit to the Portuguese bow, where a sunpad boasts three recliners, ahead of a forward facing lounge.

Up on the flybridge is yet another outdoor entertaining space and a helm station under an optional opening hardtop.

There’s room to relax and frolic, with an open deck to the rear for storage or dancing in the moonlight. A lounge wraps around a large teak table, and drinks and lunch are taken care of with a Dometic barbecue , fridge/ freezer, icemaker and sink.

Yet another sun lounge sits alongside the helm, while a freshwater shower is there to cool you down, too.

The lower helm has a carbon wrapped dash and a pair of black leather chairs.

Vision is from the helm is excellent, and a door opens to the starboard walkway for easy docking, which – when combined with a bowthruster and IPS drive – should get you into the narrowest berth in a howling wind.

Twin 16in Garmin screens sit centre in the dash for GPS, sounder and radar and there’s an engine room camera to keep an eye on things down there.

The Volvo drives have the optional cruise control and anchor lock, and it comes with digital throttles and shift as well as joystick control.

Equipment at the upstairs helm is similar, but with a single Garmin screen.

THE RIDE

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The twin D13-IPS950 Volvos are 12.8L dual-stage turbo, in-line six-cylinder engines rated to 725hp each side and they were almost silent at rest, plus vibration free through the rev range.

Planing speed was 18kts at 1800rpm, and we settled into a slow cruise of 23kts around 2050rpm where fuel consumption hit 187L/hr for a range of 265nm.

The boat seemed happiest at a cruise of 26kts with fuel usage of 215L/hr and a 261nm range.

Steering was smooth and predictable into both slow and fast turns, and the ride over harbour chop from ferries and cruise ships was soft and easily manageable.

At rest, we sat calmly with a slow roll from some of the more prominent wakes.

THE WRAP

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Pricing starts at $2.68 million for a basic boat with the 725hp engines.

With options like the hardtop, bow thruster, hydraulic platform, Volvo digital anchor system and more, it’s a touch over $3million.

Absolute’s 60 has a very social and livable layout and is equipped well for days on board with family and friends.

Overnight accommodation for eight will make an ideal getaway for more extended stays.

With a CE B rating, it is designed to handle seas to 6m and gale force winds, so it’s suitable for coastal cruising to places like Port Stevens from Sydney.

However, most owners will be happy to stick close to home for the joy that just being on the water brings.

SPECIFICATIONS

PRICED FROM

$2.68million

OPTIONS FITTED

Hardtop, bow thruster, hydraulic platform, Volvo digital anchor system and more

PRICE AS TESTED

$3,078,367

GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP

TYPE Flybridge Cruiser

LENGTH 18.4m

BEAM 5.05m

DRAFT 1.48m

WEIGHT 33.95 ton

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 8(NIGHT) 14(DAY)

FUEL 2400L

WATER 680L

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL VOLVO D13 IPS 900

TYPE Six-cylinder, twin turbo, fuel injected diesel

RATED HP 725hp

DISPLACEMENT 12.8L

GEAR RATIO 1.70:1

PROPS IPS P4

MANUFACTURED BY

Absolute, Italy

SUPPLIED BY

Premier Marine

Sydney Boat House

Unit 4, 2 Waterways Court

Rozelle NSW 2039

Ph 02 9328 0999

Web premiermarine.com.au

Check out the full review in issue #499 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.

 


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