Atlantis 55 — By Alan Harper —
Part 2: For all her style and panache, the Atlantis 55 is primarily as a family cruiser.
Venturing down below you’re faced with a feast of textures and finishes, from stainless steel fittings to matte oak paneling, coconut matting on the floor, and leather and rope weave upholstery. But the overall effect is low-key: Calming and vaguely Asian, it offers plenty of rewarding detail to the design-savvy eye without ever pretending to be anything other than a practical interior in a boat built for cruising. So while the starboard-side galley features a dramatic black laminate worktop, it also offers plenty of practical stowage space both at eye level and below the worktop, including a thoughtfully provided slot for the worktop infill panels that cover the cooktop and sink.
Practicality remains the theme throughout. Atlantis describes the 55 as a “two-master,” not a reference to an optional schooner rig but an admission that it will be hard to choose between the amidships and forward cabins. The amidships stateroom will be adopted by most owners, with its big, offset double berth under the cockpit sole and standing headroom on the port side, but the forward cabin runs a close second. Both have roomy en suite heads and as much practical stowage space as possible, both in the cabins and the heads.
The third cabin, a twin on the starboard side between the midships master and the galley, is under the helm and so somewhat challenged for headroom over the berths. It has the least stowage, with just long, thin lockers by the door and two drawers, but it would make an ideal kids’ cabin. And besides, the day head opposite has spare lockers. On an American boat this head will be used as a laundry room instead.
For all her style and panache, the Atlantis 55 is primarily as a family cruiser. You can see this even in the engine room, where V-drives keep the six-cylinder Caterpillars low and level to maximize cockpit space and forward enough to allow for a decent-size tender garage, which can swallow a nine-foot inflatable.
Those Cats certainly make their presence felt, however, with significantly high sound levels under all that domed glass. (See the specifications box for details.) Extra soundproofing will help, and, apart from that vision-impairing mullion, there is certainly nothing wrong with the other aspects of the 55’s driving experience, with its precise electronic controls, light hydraulic steering, and respectable 32-knot top speed.
In a way, the Atlantis 55 is like an exercise in nautical Darwinism. To survive in the high-pressure world of Italian boatbuilding, a yard cannot produce a craft that looks like a floating rocket ship but falls down when faced with the realities of life afloat. But it’s also not enough merely to turn out practical family cruising boats. They have to look like a million bucks as well. The fittest species now is the one that most successfully manages to combine style with substance. Those disparate strands of Italian boating philosophy are increasingly intertwining, and perhaps never more so than on the 55.
This article originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.