The Custom Line Navetta 28 from Ferretti boasts superyacht flair in a very efficient package.
There may be two sides to every story, but there are definitely two sides to Custom Line. The Italian yard made its name with a range of craft which were among the first truly substantial motoryachts of 100 feet or more to offer genuine fast-planing performance. But then came the Ferretti Group buyout and the appearance of the Custom Line Navettas—slower, more comfortable yachts with beamy, semi-displacement hullforms, upright profiles, and an emphasis on luxury, which offered a more relaxed approach to cruising.
There are two sides to the Navetta story too, and they don’t become apparent until you step aboard one of the company’s yachts. I remember the first time I did so. It was at a European boat show, and once I found myself on the upper deck, with its private saloon adjoining the wheelhouse, and its elevated aft deck, I didn’t want to leave. It was a revelation to find such a superb setting onboard a craft of such modest dimensions, and the experience underlined the way that good design can turn a small space into a special place, or make a small yacht seem so much bigger. Indeed, none of the Custom Line models are particularly big—the largest in the current range measures just 107 feet overall—but they all seem to think they are.
Even the new Custom Line Navetta 28 has a certain authority and presence. She takes her styling cues from the current flagship, the Navetta 33, sharing her businesslike profile and pleasingly seamanlike flared bow, while the spectacular, glass-sided upper dining saloon, complete with dramatic curved doors, is also inspired by her bigger sister. The 28 is every inch the little superyacht, and as you explore the interior it’s sometimes hard to believe that she’s barely 90 feet overall.
In proper superyacht style the interior décor can be customized—oak floors in place of carpets were this owner’s preference—and the saloon is offered in two different layouts, one emphasizing seating space and one with a bar facing aft into the cockpit. Interior spaces are generous. Up on the main deck the master suite is bright and well proportioned, with large side windows and an enormous bed, while down below there are two VIP cabins amidships and two twin-berth en suites, each with a Pullman option and each big enough to be fitted out as a double if you prefer. The beds are all 6 feet 4 inches long or better, and headroom too is a generous 6 feet 6 inches or more practically everywhere.
There are also no fewer than five crew berths in the bow, in three en suite cabins, while in addition to a large cockpit and the foredeck seating, there is a secluded relaxation area up on the sun deck, where you can even have a hot tub, if you want. Little superyacht? Yes, but the more you explore, the less that “little” seems appropriate. The vessel even has a superyacht spec, with fin stabilizers fitted as standard as well as Seakeeper gyros. The only thing the 28 seems to lack is length.
Although of hard-chine design, the hull has a substantial skeg down below, so like all Navettas the 28 is a semiplaning yacht. At displacement speed—just under 12 knots on this waterline length—she cruises economically, and if you push on through the revs she picks up her skirts, even heavily laden as she was for our trial, which took place off the Cote d’Azur. We clocked a maximum of 16.1 knots, with 10 degrees of trim tab applied. With tabs up the maximum was only 15.3—but for cruising it makes more sense to throttle back. By our quick, back-of-an-envelope calculation, the difference between 12 and 14 knots is 300 miles of range and 50 gallons per hour, which in reality means that a 50-mile passage would take about 35 minutes longer while burning 170 more gallons of diesel. That’s not a small difference. I don’t know about you, but I can’t really imagine ever being in that much of a hurry. Besides, the longer the trip, the more time you have to enjoy it.
And there’s a lot to like. The 28 is a pleasure to be aboard, and quiet at any speed. We recorded just 54 decibels in the master cabin at WOT, which dropped to a barely audible 47 decibels at 12 knots. In the VIP suites on the lower deck, sound levels were inevitably higher, but they still topped out at just 64 decibels at cruising speed. If a true cruising yacht is one in which all the guests can get a good sleep on a night passage, then the Navetta 28 certainly qualifies.
Indeed, soundproofing is one of Ferretti’s strengths. Not only are the fuel tanks positioned to insulate the accommodation from the machinery, but anything that makes noise, from water pumps to generators, is installed well aft, far from the guest cabins. Another strength is product design, as shown in the 28’s cockpit sofa, which can be configured in five different ways. And although this yacht is undeniably a high-end luxury item, simple practicalities are among its strongest suits, from the voluminous stowage cupboard opposite the galley to the platforms at the quarters for mooring the tender to the added security of the Portuguese bridge.
Then there is the dual-mode transom; the Ferretti team is very proud of this, and rightly so. The transom hatch is hinged with retractable pins at both the top and bottom, controlled by a central actuator operating substantial steel rods. It can be folded down via the bottom pins to make a beach area, while a section of teak deck can be unshipped from the roof of the garage and slotted in to almost double the beach area’s size.
To launch the tender, the hatch is closed, the bottom two pins are disengaged while the top two slide into place, and the hatch opens upwards. The aft platform lowers into the water, flooding the stern dock, while a supporting cradle descends and the tender floats free [check out a video of this transom in action at www.pmymag.com/nov15]. Once the yacht is underway again and the transom secured, the dock drains automatically via one-way valves. It all sounds simple, and it actually is. It’s also safe, and clever, and perhaps the most interesting thing about it is the simple mechanics of the design, which offer built-in reliability and ensure that the pins can only move in pairs. Switching the actuator to a middle position engages all four, to secure the hatch for sea. It’s a tour de force, an impressively creative piece of engineering which would be worthy of note on a superyacht twice the 28’s size.
And if you think you’ve read that line before in this article, you’d be right. Quite a lot of things aboard the 28 seem to have been borrowed from larger yachts, whether it’s the glass-sided upper dining saloon, the soundproofing, the spacious airiness of the master stateroom, or even the seamanlike flare to that elegant bow. It’s not just the 28 that thinks she’s a superyacht—you will too.
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The Custom Line Navetta 28 boasts an admirable level of feng shui when you examine the interplay between her main deck and the cockpit. Note the bar in the aft portion of the interior in the lower right layout option, which can service both areas. Functional design like that comes from experience.
Generator: 20-kW Kohler
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 72°F; humidity: 56%; seas: 1-2'
Load During Boat Test
3,125 gal. fuel, 429 gal. water, 9 persons, 2,600 lb. gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/1,200-hp MAN V8-1200 diesels
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF 2000 V
- Props: 6-blade Nibral
- Price as Tested: Upon request
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.