Craft 51 Dolphin — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Hip, Slick, and Cool
|Part 2: The boat tracked well, even down-sea, and she turned sweetly, if broadly.|
As the preparatory melee onboard began winding down, Ameli and I briefly examined the Dolphin’s teak-trimmed two-stateroom, two-head interior, with a small third stateroom for crew at the stern. While the raw materials and equipage used were top-shelf, I bumped into a couple of questionable details. One was the fact that the shower-stall walls on the bottom deck were of varnished wood. Although Ameli assured me that they’d been specially treated to resist water, I’d rather see fiberglass or even high-pressure laminate in such an application. Another problem area was the step down that’s required to enter or leave the galley area on the starboard side, opposite the helm station—it’s both lofty and abrupt. For safety’s sake, I’d add a handrail or somehow significantly decrease the height of the step; anything to keep a person from taking a tumble.
Otherwise, I very much liked what I saw. The level of finish in the interior was high, and outdoorsy living was the obvious priority. More specifically, by opening both the glass slider at the back of the saloon on the starboard side and the fold-up window to port, the saloon/galley/helm area becomes part of the cockpit. This lets them join the cockpit’s giant, hydraulically actuated sunpad/lounge that levitates out of the sole, and its BBQ pit and wet bar that are contained within a single console unit on the starboard side. Mix these kinds of amenities with a serious Bose stereo system in the saloon and an Aquos flat-panel TV that rises via push button from a credenza there, and you’re looking at some extreme sun-and-fun potential.
“So, we are finished?” asked Ameli, after conferring briefly with his foreman, who was stuffing tools into a canvas bag. “Yup,” I replied, snapping my notebook shut, “Let’s go.”
Within minutes the Dolphin had turned her tumblehomed tail to the picturesque Cesenatico waterfront, and I was standing at her helm station, with my butt against a fold-up bolster and my hands on a fancy, if nonadjustable, wheel. Thanks to a panorama of windows and windshield panels, sightlines all the way around were excellent, although with our racing-style Flexitab trim tabs withdrawn into the hull by several degrees (see “Two-Way Tabs,” this story), I found I could elevate the bow to such an extent that it was momentarily too high to see over.
A couple of things impressed me as soon as I began leaning on the MAN electronic engine controls. First, the Dolphin’s top speed of 41 mph was sporty and well within striking distance of the performance parameters of stateside lobsteryachts—a tribute to a straightforward, nicely designed deep-V hull form with a 19-degree transom deadrise and slightly convex bottom sections. Second, the boat tracked well, even down-sea, and she turned sweetly, if broadly—again tributes to a well-designed, well-balanced hull. And third, our Dolphin ran softly, dryly, and solidly in the six-footers the Adriatic was tossing our way, thanks in part to a construction regime that includes foam-cored glass stringers and transversals, glass-bonded bulkheads, and a hull-to-deck joint that’s riveted, siliconed, and glass-bonded where feasible.
But playtime was the real hunkered-down kicker. With the side windows open, the slider in the hardtop drawn back, and the whole dang Adriatic, clear to Croatia, in the offing, I put the Mochi Craft 51 Dolphin through a great big pile of figure-eights, U-turns, and downsea beelines—and the test boat performed like a sea-chompin’ champ every time.
Believe it or not, such antics blew bopping the autostrada in an Alfa slam outta the water (no pun intended).
But then what else would you expect from a lobsteryacht, Italian-style?
Ferretti Group USA Phone: (954) 525-4550. www.ferrettigroupusa.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.