With a subtle nod to expedition yachts, Custom Line creates a small ship in a megayacht package.
Two schools of thought have emerged over the past few years regarding expedition-style yachts. One holds that if an owner is going to convert a ruggedly built commercial vessel to pleasure use, then the majority of her lines need to be softened to more closely reflect the traditional yacht-cruising lifestyle. The other school says that owners should leave well enough alone, preserving the stalwart seagoing looks rather than giving them the smooth "wedding cake" effect (as some naval architects and yards have termed it) of a typical white megayacht.
The same philosophies are espoused regarding boats that are built from the keel up to convey a hardy, go-anywhere attitude. And don't even get the debaters started on the topics of high-gloss interiors and adding sunpads and Jacuzzis on deck--they'll never see eye-to-eye.
Or will they? Even though they approach these issues from opposite points of view, each of these schools of thought is basically saying the same thing: that the concepts of shippy styling and luxury luster just don't blend.
Don't tell that to Custom Line. Even though the Italian yard is known for its sleek, high-style custom megayachts--and for its affiliation with the Ferretti Group, which is equally renown for sleek cruisers--it's adding a line of yachts with more broad-shouldered appeal than sex appeal. Indeed, with its Navetta series, named for a traditional Italian boat that's more like a small ship, the yard intends to show how a yacht owner can enjoy a little of both worlds at the same time.
The Navetta line was introduced last year with a 27-meter model, and while a second one has been built, the new 30-meter model shown here (about 101 feet LOA) is the one that's catching on with more buyers. Sunshine of Spain was delivered last year, and Hulls #2 through #6 are in various stages of construction. Most feature a dark green hull like Sunshine of Spain, although deep blue is also available; either way, the effect is appropriate for a vessel that straddles the line between the yacht world and the ship world.
Given the slight nod Custom Line makes toward the latter, you might expect the Navetta 30 to be a full-displacement yacht. But the yard gave her a semidisplacement hull form with hard chines. Her all-fiberglass construction may also strike some buyers as being a result of her yacht roots, but remember, many commercial fishing boats made on this side of the Atlantic have been all-fiberglass, too.
Twin 1,300-hp MAN D2842-LE 404 diesel inboards permit a 20-knot top speed and a 16.5-knot cruise speed, according to Custom Line. Her fuel capacity of 3,300 gallons, which permits a range of 750 NM at 15 knots and 1,040 NM at 13 knots, encourages leisurely, full-coastal exploration more than the "over to Bimini for lunch" style of travel. (Twin 1,200-hp MAN D2842-LE 406 diesel inboards are also available, which permit a 19-knot top speed and 16-knot cruise speed, according to Custom Line.)
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.