Mochi MaxiDolphin 74 — By Alan Harper
Part 2: Mochi’s new baby is an immensely likeable and useable motoryacht—easy to handle, not too bulky, and mild-mannered at any speed.
Satin-varnished mahogany is used extensively below decks, but with all the daylight available there doesn’t seem to be a dark corner anywhere—or even a slightly gloomy one. Japanese-style cream fabric paneling also helps to brighten the overall scheme, as do the pale tones used for headliners and much of the upholstery. Nowhere is this clever and restful combination of light and shade, of pale surfaces and dark woods, more successfully achieved than in the deck saloon. Whether you’re on the sofa, at the dining table, or at the helm, the glass cockpit bulkhead and huge windows provide an almost 360-degree view. The whole space is flooded with light, which has allowed the stylists to go for beige leather on the sofa, the armchairs, and at the helm—providing a much homier and more domesticated ambience than the usual cream or white. Only the ‘fridge-freezer cabinet in the galley impedes the view; in every other direction you’re taking in the seascape.
The outside spaces are also optimized for sea views. An aft-facing benchseat along the cockpit bulkhead is an excellent place to sit while underway, watching your wake reaching back to the horizon. So is the large dinette in the forward half of the flying bridge, which is shielded pretty effectively from the breeze and has its own bimini. At lunchtime, the cockpit seats and table can be shaded by a clever electrically powered awning that emerges from the flying-bridge molding, while the entire port side of the glass cockpit bulkhead hinges up on a hidden gas strut. This really opens up the main deck layout.
Reached via a hidden companionway on the starboard side of the cockpit, the engine room ought to be small—after all, the accommodation spaces are so big. But it hasn’t worked out like that. Even allowing for a midships crew cabin to provide sound insulation between the machinery and the master cabin, the engine room is a good size for the big, flat-mounted MTU V-12s, which drive conventional shafts through ZF down-angle gearboxes. Headroom is 6'4" minimum, access all around is good, and although the only way outboard of the starboard engine is over the top, fixed stainless steel steps and a platform are provided for this purpose. The stern gear has its own large and well-lit compartment, under the dinghy garage, reached via a watertight hatch on the port side.
At 1,522 hp apiece, the MTUs offer plenty of grunt, and the MaxiDolphin handles it with panache. The hull is a conventional hard-chine shape, with convex bottom panels and a fine entry of around 40 degrees at the forefoot receding to 21 degrees of deadrise at the stern. Acceleration in a sparkling Gulf of La Spezia was brisk, a 32-knot top speed seemed more than adequate, and 25 knots at 2000 rpm proved to be a comfortable cruising speed. She responded willingly to the helm at all speeds and planed down to 16 knots with a little help from the trim tabs. In a head sea—our own three- to four-foot wake—it also paid to keep the bow trimmed down, bringing those fine forward sections to bear. The crosswind had little effect, thanks to the long waterline.
Visibility from the lower helm is superb; you could moor the boat stern-to from here without too much difficulty. Both upstairs and down the driving ergonomics are excellent, like so much else on this highly developed machine.
There are things about the MaxiDophin that people won’t approve of, namely the lack of a bow rail. However, Ferretti of America, Mochi’s importer, reports that all America-bound 74s (and new Rivas as well) will have the rail. In any case, there is also plenty to like, from the obvious and visible (that dolphin-fluke radar mast and clever cockpit sunshade, say, or the beautiful mahogany and stainless steel detailing around the deck) to hidden refinements (like the way all domestic pumps and compressors are installed aft, in the engine room, so your guests will never hear them). And along with bigger gensets and the beefed-up air conditioning, the U.S. standard spec includes another luxury item that European buyers have to write a six-figure check for: Mitsubishi’s sophisticated Anti-Rolling Gyro stabilizer system, which works to keep the boat on an even keel whether at anchor or underway.
Mochi’s new baby is an immensely likeable and useable motoryacht—easy to handle, not too bulky, and mild-mannered at any speed. From below decks to the flying bridge, she’s a pleasure to be aboard. But as so often happens in Italy, all too soon it was time to come in for a late lunch. Langoustines, of course.
MarineMax ( (866) 693-3293. www.marinemax.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.