A Fresh Perspective
Meet the Absolute 60 Fly, and see how a motoryacht may change your thinking.
Confession: I’ve never really been crazy about flying-bridge motoryachts.
What I mean to say is that I like them—after all they’re boats. And the engineering on many of them is incredible.
But they’re just not generally my first choice. In the grand scheme, a boat is a conveyance and as such needs focus. The boats I’m talking about: the larger motoryachts that, to my mind, always seem to be trying to do too much. There’s always entirely too much stuff on them, usually things like flatscreen TVs and such, put there with the intent of helping everyone onboard forget they’re on a boat. Sometimes I think of it like commuting in a Winnebago, and that’s not the on-the-water experience I’m usually after.
So when I got on the Absolute 60 Fly in Varazze, Italy, a town on the Ligurian coast about 20 miles west of the 54th International Boat Show in Genoa, I was prepared to smile and enjoy myself (job requirement, you see) and find some great points to share, knowing full well that the boater in me would have a hard time getting excited (must keep it professional, after all). Here’s what I found out.
The Absolute 60 Fly joins a rich stable of models from this Italian manufacturer. With no fewer than seven flying-bridge offerings ranging from 40 to 72 feet—to say nothing of seven sport models (comprising sport yachts, plus a sport cruiser and a cool 40-footer in the sport line) and a new Navetta line just launched at Cannes last year for longer-range cruising in a fast-trawler style—Absolute Yachts shows no intention of slowing down.
“Along with the other boats we have in the range today, the 60 Fly is really the culmination of a very focused strategy by Absolute that started a little over three years ago,” says Constantinos K. Constantinou, CEO of Absolute Yachts North America. “We wanted to reinvent the product, to give it a new identity, and the needs, expectations, and requirements of the U.S. market played a wider role in that process. The boat’s space, the functionality, the actual layout, the emphasis on spatial arrangement, lots of natural light, and, no less, the actual construction and equipment of the yacht itself, are inherent to Absolute’s philosophy and Italian design DNA, but also very much driven by what the U.S. boater and customer is expecting to see.”
At its state-of-the-art shipyard in Piacenza, Italy, Absolute creates handlaid solid-fiberglass hulls and adds in the proprietary Integrated Structural System (ISS), a combined construct of parts made of composite sandwich and plywood including interior bulkheads, that is bonded to the inside of the hull to provide additional stiffness and strength as well as reduce sound. The result is a solid platform on which to build an interior.
Belowdecks the 60 Fly has a three-stateroom, three-head layout. The master is amidships and makes the most of the hullside windows. Its queen-size berth is slightly off-center to make the most of the space, giving room to a leather sofa to port and a vanity with a stool that stows beneath it. The head is roomy with double sinks and a shower with bench. The forepeak stateroom angles its full-size berth so the hullside windows in the starboard bow are over the head of the berth. Even the starboard-side double guest stateroom has a couple of round windows and generous headroom to go with its head, which has another entrance off the passageway so it doubles as a dayhead.
When I initially approached the boat, a large reflective panel on the transom caught my eye. This was a window into the generous crew’s quarters located abaft the engine room. The space features a pair of twin berths and a wet head, and there’s access both through a door from the swim platform and through the engine room. Rather than consigning crew to a fiberglass cave, that window makes a huge difference to this space—in fact it could serve as additional guest accommodations on an owner-operated boat. And without guilt!
Up one deck the 60 Fly has an inviting saloon, with a U-shaped settee to starboard and a love seat to port with a pop-up Samsung television behind. The entire space is built with matte-finish canaletto walnut, which has a distinctive contrasting grain that’s finished in relief for an interesting texture. Corners are radiused and edges are beveled so no one finds out just how hard that walnut is when seas get sporty. There’s a simple oak sole, and the seating surfaces are leather. There’s a marble cocktail table (also with radiused corners) that breaks up the wood grain distinctively.
Large windows line the space on either side, but they’re separated by substantial pillars masked by interior joinery—one glass-fronted locker is dedicated to stowing wine and cocktail glasses. Don’t forget: There is a flying bridge above to support, after all. One feature I found noteworthy—and like all the other nuances of design onboard, you won’t notice it unless you look for it—is the headroom. It’s 6 feet 6 inches and prevents that oppressive roof-coming-down-on-your-head feeling that no one likes.
Forward and up one step (the overhead rises here too, to 6 feet 7 inches) you’ll find a U-shaped dinette and an open galley to starboard, just abaft the double helm seat. The galley has lots of lockers, a standing Waeco refrigerator and a Bosch four-burner cooktop and microwave, as well as a sink and a Corian countertop. The leather-covered polished-steel grabrail around the galley counter is a nice accent that’s a functional reminder: You’re on a boat. But it goes one better. The galley window and the window opposite over the dinette open, allowing soft sea breezes to ventilate the space. Again, you’re on a boat.
Forward of the galley, the helm dash has carbon-fiber surfaces and expansive flats for a pair of large Garmin touchscreen displays. Switches, engine displays, automotive-style air-conditioning plenums, and cupholders are all around, as is a flat horizontal shelf just below the helm—it’s as though it were designed for people and their stuff! Binnacle and joystick are far to starboard, near a starboard-side door (with a cool pantogrpaph hinge) that opens to the side deck for easy docking.
Driving the 60 Fly is an experience. The boat is responsive to engine controls and feels like it lunges ahead as a single, solid piece without hesitation when the levers are pressed forward. The wheel is small and racy and let me make the most of our IPS 950s as I took her through S-turns on a cool day with a light breeze and just a hint of chop. The IPS 950s moved her through the water with quiet purpose. We found a comfortable cruise at 2100 rpm, which translated to 24½ knots.
The engine room on the 60 Fly fits plenty of equipment around a pair of 725-horsepower Volvo Penta IPS950s (Volvo Penta D11 diesels matched to IPS2 pod units). A 16-kilowatt Mase generator had been installed, but Cesare Mastroianni, sales manager for Absolute, noted that a Kohler unit would be used on boats bound for the U.S. Likewise the Clima 50,000-Btu air-conditioning system would be replaced with a Dometic system: Marinair or Cruisair. The mains were 20 inches apart and getting to the duplex Racor fuel-water separators, a pair of large sea strainers placed on centerline between the drive units, and other service points seemed like it would be pretty easy. A pair of fuel tanks were mounted at the forward end of the space.
I haven’t even gotten to the exterior spaces yet, and the 60 Fly has them all. One area where I think I could get used to spending some time is the foredeck, which has a padded sunpad forward with hinged backrests to allow three sunbathers the option to sit up or lay flat separately. The cupholders are made from inserts that also include slots to hold mobile phones, testament to the understanding the design team has for the lives we lead.
Beneath the sunpad cushions and easily accessible is a lifering in a recessed niche, a terrific seamanlike touch, as well as lockers on either side for fenders, docklines, and such. Abaft the sunpad is a built-in settee placed along the leading edge of the windshield, a delightful spot to sit and enjoy the view while underway. Of course forward of the sunpads is the Quick windlass and attendant ground tackle, with a chain locker hatch to starboard and beefy hardware.
The cockpit is delightful and shaded and has a wide transom settee and dining table. A vertical shade can be deployed from the overhead to create privacy when docked stern-to. And three steps down takes you to the generous swim platform.
But it was on the flying bridge where I truly learned the error of my ways. This is a good one to learn on, with a portside helm with a couple of bucket seats with bolsters. There’s a a companion settee and sunpad to starboard, and, just behind the seats, a full alfresco galley console with fridge and ice maker, electric grill, and sink. A U-shaped dinette was opposite the stairwell to the cockpit. Abaft the radar arch, though, was where the possibilities really opened up. The afterdeck, after all, can accommodate a tender, or a pair of chaise longues, or a Jacuzzi, or a full barbecue. It’s a terrace of sorts and what the owners will do with it is, of course, up to them. And maybe it’s that promise that this flying-bridge motoryacht holds, and it’s not too much at all.
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Generator: 1/16-kW Kohler, Warranty: 2 years
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 62°F; humidity: 73%; seas: 1-2'; winds: 8-12 knots
Load During Boat Test
355 gal. fuel, 90 gal. water, four persons, 300 lb. gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/725-hp Volvo Penta IPS950s
- Transmission/Ratio: Volvo Penta IPS2 with 1.70:1 gear ratio
- Props: Volvo Penta IPS P4 propset
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.