Aicon 64By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
What the heck is a "Euro-style" yacht? Oh, I've seen the term used in an endless array of boat tests and reviews (I've used it myself here and there). I think if a craft has some soft, sweeping lines, elliptical side windows, and shapely soft-leather furnishings, the boat automatically gets dubbed Euro. But is it fair to lump a builder's vision of a particular vessel into a genre just for the sake of comparison? In the case of the Aicon 64, which comes to us via Sicily, the characterization is anything but what I described above. And she may indeed change all of our expert opinions on what constitutes Euro.
The first thing that struck me about the 64 was her interior. While I wouldn't call it stark, it is minimalist. Upon entering through her stainless steel sliding cockpit door, which is constructed in-house at Aicon, I found a couple of small chairs flush to port and facing starboard, with a retractable TV between them. The look is attractively understated and contemporary. This area could definitely handle a settee, but I think the form-fitting chairs open up this side of the saloon and complement the starboard-side L-shape lounge. The lounge offers a great vantage point for watching the TV as well as enjoying views out the expansive side windows, which are curved, but not the elliptical shape that has become de rigueur. Aicon's CEO, Marc-Udo Broich, explained that he wanted to create a bigger interior here and believed that too many contours in design and furnishings take away usable space. It's this philosophy that led to the 64's linear look inside. An oak-plank sole (it can be carpeted) offers another textural element that accents the standard high-gloss cherry interior, and together they create a loft-apartment look. (The sole, while just sanded and smoothed while I was aboard, was going to be sealed to prevent spills from turning into stains.) One person that was onboard during my visit referred to her as a "man's boat," perhaps due to her minimalist interior appearance. But I'd characterize her as pleasantly clean and uninterrupted. In fact, you can view straight from the 64's shaded teak cockpit all the way through the saloon, dinette, galley, and lower port-side helm station.
Many builders see the saloon as the indoor party place, but Aicon takes a different approach. "Where do most people gather in a house?" Broich asked. "The kitchen," I replied. And with that question answered, the 64's galley-dinette layout was explained. The starboard side's low-profile island separates the two areas but enables and encourages interaction during the meal-prep. I've been on several similar-size and -class craft that enable you to compartmentalize the dinette, galley, and lower helm with doors and screens, but Aicon wanted to open up this space. Broich says that he felt this layout was superior, as many owners at this size craft run the boat themselves and have neither a full-time captain nor chef. Our galley was well equipped, offering a Kenyon four-burner cooktop, Whirlpool dishwasher, Kitchen Aid (soon to be Gaggenau) microwave, and easy-to-clean stainless steel prep table. Despite the area's minimalism, the glass-topped island and dinette table and the high-gloss joinery reflect the abundant sunlight that enters the side and front windows, creating a warm, upscale environment.
That feeling is carried over to the full-beam (17'4") master with a berth that is slightly under king size and low profile because, as Broich commented, "People want to fall into bed, not step up to it." It's only 15 inches from the sole to the top of the berth's platform (add five more inches to the top of the mattress). Headroom here averages about 6'8". Once you step out of bed, you can take in wonderful vistas from the two 33-inch Nemo portholes that flank the berth. Make sure they're not open while underway, though, as they are only about two feet above the waterline. Still, the 64 has a Class A CE rating, which means she qualifies for unlimited ocean voyages. The master also features a walk-in closet and drawers that average 32 inches wide and 14 inches deep. The en suite head, also with 6'8" headroom, offers a Tecma MSD and stand-up shower with seating for two.
The master stateroom is impressive, but guests in the forepeak VIP will feel like kings, too. It features a step-up queen-size berth, en suite head, and seven-foot headroom. Just aft and to port is another stateroom with two single berths that are a great fit for the kids. The forepeak features two closets, while the kid's room has stowage above the outboard berth as well as a small closet.
Besides an original interior appearance and an upscale, contemporary layout, the 64's got performance, thanks to standard twin 1,350-hp MANs with walkaround access. My test day was cut short due to an electrical problem that prevented the engines from starting. However, PMY was back on the scene to get the numbers when the engines were fixed a couple of days later. The 64 made an average top speed of 39.7 mph with a fuel burn of 125.2 gph with the diesels turning their rated 2300 rpm. Although her engines were making rpm, they seem to have been burning about 15 gph less than those MANs should at WOT. I suspect she may be slightly underpropped. With engines cut back to 2000 rpm, she hit a comfortable cruise speed of 33.8 mph with a fuel burn of 91.4 gph. Taking into account her 965-gallon fuel capacity, the 64 can travel more than 320 miles at cruise speed before needing a pit stop, which is plenty of range for a cruise down the coast for a weekend with friends.
So, what is Euro? Damned if I know anymore. Although the Aicon 64 comes from Europe, she's taking the concept of Euro-styling in a new direction, and I think that's a positive thing. It helps prevent the homogenization that can cause something good to transform into a fad or flavor of the month. Perhaps the 64 represents the next evolution in European yacht styling.
When you take into account her progressive look, well-arranged interior space, large outdoor entertainment areas such as the flying bridge with grill and wet bar and room for more than a dozen guests, cockpit for alfresco lunches, and admirable performance, the Aicon 64 may just be redefining the Euro look. Perhaps, nuovo Euro?
This article originally appeared in the April 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.