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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Ferretti 592

Italy is renowned for setting the high-water mark in style. From the right slacks to the right hair to the right yacht, it's all got to be impeccable. It was in this atmosphere that I approached the quay in Ancona, Italy, to preview the Ferretti 592. She's a boat in two parts. Studio Zuccon International Project designed the superstructure and interior, while Ferretti Yachts' engineering division put its weight behind the systems (from electrical to plumbing to propulsion) and the hand-laid fiberglass hull. The resulting boat has styling that is both clean and streamlined, with the tried-and-true components and system arrangements that the Ferretti Group has tested across its range.

The starboard-side flying-bridge helm, directly at the top of the molded-in steps, epitomizes the style. I pressed a rocker switch, and a cover lifted to reveal the GenNav 11C display, Raymarine Smartpilot ST6002 autopilot, and analog-style gauges. The Simrad RS82 VHF is separate, protected by a water-resistant, acrylic cover. Keeping it off the retractable panel is smart, since this ensures that its cord won't become entangled between the panel and the molded-in helm.

Another example of the low-profile styling is the radar arch. It follows the boat's lines, yet it's 1'9" above the windshield, so I'd be wary about running it while standing here (the health risks of long-term radio-frequency emissions on the human body are contested, but companies like Raymarine recommend that the radar be placed "above head height"). Also, since the 4-kW radome is so far aft, the bow will obscure objects directly ahead. (Typical radar pans require 12.5 degrees of spread both above and below for their most effective use.) Of course, placing radomes thus is common among other European craft as well.

The sleek styling of the flying bridge extends to the rest of the boat, even the side decks. Beginning just forward of the superstructure, 316 stainless steel stanchions gradually bend forward and outboard while keeping a uniform height off the deck. It's a small detail, but it's the little features like this that give a boat personality.

The interior also benefits from the stripped-down aesthetic. I took in the layout: a saloon with a white-linen divan on either side and a galley down and aft. The divans make for an inviting, intimate spot to chat or look out the oversize windows occupying the length of the superstructure. Two design elements spice up the interior while being simultaneously understated: an oversize pass-through window from the galley into the saloon and a freestanding staircase that has no railing, so ascending it in a seaway could be difficult. The white oak veneer on both elements brings a warmth to the room without being obtrusive.

So Studio Zuccon International Project gave the 592 a sleek (and for the most part practical) design, but what did the Ferretti engineers bring to the table? In a word, uniformity. For instance, everything from the pumps to the refrigerators ran on 24 volts. But there's more.

Ferretti Yachts is one of nine companies in the Ferretti Group (the others are Mochi Craft, CRN, Bertram, Custom Line, Aprea Mare, Pershing, Itama, and Riva). Such a wide range means that Ferretti Yachts can draw on the expertise derived from building everything from high-performance open boats to displacement yachts. You can see the resulting cross-pollination in the 592's engine room, where items like the Kohler genset, Condaria air conditioner, and Groco sea strainers match those in many of the group's other builds, altered only in capacity due to LOA.

Of course, Ferretti engineers also created the hull, a slightly modified version of the warped-hull design of the 591, which the 592 replaces. In two- to three-foot swells, she was smooth with no discernable roll on any heading—and she didn't have the optional Mitsubishi gyrostabilizer system.

At 30 mph, with the MANs turning 2000 rpm, the 592 heeled gently into four to five boat-length circles. When I slowed to 1500 rpm, the circles closed up to three boat lengths. The helm station was smartly laid out, although the BCS hydraulic steering there didn't react quite as quickly as I would have liked. This wasn't true for throttles-only maneuvering, however. With the wheel centered, the ZF electronic throttles twirled the boat smoothly on her axis. When I advanced or retarded the throttles, her movements were precise and articulate.

The fine Italian styling combined with the steady hands of Italian engineers creates a vessel that not only looks smart but performs smartly. I'm sure that for whoever buys her, she'll raise their profile in any marina.

For more information on Feretti Yachts, including contact information, click here.

What's with the Italian hull-side-window wars? Azimut and Ferretti, to name only two, have been at it for years, one-upping each other on the size of their ports. So far no winner has been declared, but there has been one recurring result: The windows keep getting bigger.

The ones that illuminate the master on the 592 measure 36"x46", and each has two ten-inch opening ports set in at the top. The windows are made from 20-millimeter (0.78 inch) stratified polycarbonate, and the entire window unit, including the opening port, is RINA certified for strength. Ferretti says they're even bulletproof. Regardless, watching the water flow by from the master suite is amazing.—G.R.

This article originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.