Living on the Edge
Within the angular envelope of the Evo 43, a boater may find a new life on the water unfolding in ways he only dared dream.
Have you noticed that some everyday objects have become objets d’art? Design is everywhere around us now, from fashion to furniture, from electronics to commonplace items—if you want, even your disposable pens can exhibit traits of thoughtful creativity, purity of line, and sleek, European feel. It’s a beautiful thing, because good design is really just paying attention to how objects look and feel to a person. It places the human viewpoint prominently and importantly in the engineering equation.
That sounds simple, but for years it just wasn’t the case, particularly on boats. Remember that old sportfish your buddy had? When you tried to drive while standing up on the flying bridge, you found you were forced into an uncomfortable stoop to reach the wheel. What about that dinette where you bumped your knee getting in and out? Every. Single. Time. You put up with it because you figured that boats are compromises, and you’re right, that still holds true.
Expanding decks, an Opacmare transformer in the swim platform, and some clever modular furniture
mean there’s more than one way to have fun on this boat.
Today, there are enough of us that want to use boats a certain way, and builders are glad to oblige. That means bruised knees or sore backs are not worthwhile compromises—nowadays that makes it into the design brief. But the appeal of pleasing design is not evenly distributed throughout the world of boatbuilding. Evo Yachts, a boatbuilder founded in 2015 in Naples, Italy, seems to have gone back for seconds, and maybe thirds, and has introduced its first model with this in mind.
The Evo 43 is first and foremost a dayboat and she makes no bones about it. The idea of sharing the delights of the sea with friends and family is at the core of this design, and deck space on this boat is, in no uncertain terms, the focal point. The cockpit is expandable from 14 feet 10 inches wide to 20 feet 8 inches with the touch of a button. Electric hydraulic rams unfold bi-fold decks from vertical to flat on both port and starboard while the hullsides expand at the aft end of the cockpit.
And then there are the cushions. Sized like twin mattresses, these cushions are covered in sun-ready outdoor fabric and are soft enough to be comfortable for lounging, yet firm enough that you don’t sink in. They can be stacked on deck to yield a daybed or sofa, or tethered overboard as a float. Slide them together, space them out, whatever works for you at the time. And change it up as your needs shift. Now to be frank, these cushions also have the heft of mattresses, which make them a bit ungainly to move around the deck. But the plus side is they don’t seem in danger of blowing away, even under way in a stiff breeze.
The entire cockpit area strikes a very European-design feel, thanks to modular components, specifically fiberglass cubes with padded, hinged tops, stowage inside and modular backrests. These cubes use pegs that lock into unobtrusive deck sockets to allow users to move them around and configure the available space of the cockpit anyway they like. They can be placed around a dining table up near the helm, for instance, or shifted to line the aft end of the cockpit—helpful if you need to corral young children. Or, turn them to face the swim platform and function as lifeguard chairs for when kids are a bit older.
The cockpit sole has flush panels that prop up to create a backrest and leg supports, propping you into the “relax-the-back” position where your knees are elevated to heart level. Thinner cushions line these seats. Add a backrest from one of the stowage-cube seats for a cushioned headrest and you’ll find simple comfort, surrounded by friends and family. To my mind, that’s just what design should do: The boat should meet the desires of the boater.
That swim platform will prove irresistible to kids and to the water-loving adults on board as well, since it has an Opacmare transformer built in. This is a cool addition to any yacht, a big rectangle of swim platform that can raise up on its hydraulic, hinged arms to create a dive platform. It does more than that, too, as it can unfold straight aft to add to swim platform space and even serve as a passerelle. But wait, there’s more (as they say). The transformer also angles aft and down at 45 degrees, submerging to become a ladder-free way to climb out of the water. The coolest aspect of this device seemed to me to be the slats between the hinged arms, which make themselves useful as the rungs of a ladder when it’s elevated, or the planks of the deck when it’s flat, or stairs descending into the water. It’s one of those times design feels just … right, like the opposite of banging your knee.
“We have created a boat for people to use and share with family and enjoy the water and the sun,” says designer Valerio Rivellini of Studio Tecnico Rivellini, who designed the Evo 43. “The technology simplifies the experience and so makes it better.” All the moving parts operate on separate hydraulic systems.
Aft of the helm is a dining table with a lounge on the starboard side and three of those cubes make up the aft seat. Opposite is an al fresco galley with a pair of Kenyon electric grills (for Americans, of course) and a food-prep area with sink. It’s all concealed beneath a huge lid, stretching the full length of the console and I noticed it was not held up with air rams. That’s because any pair of rams beefy enough to hold this lid up would be too strong for a mere mortal to push down to close the lid. And a ram that is strong enough would introduce spider cracks in the fiberglass of the work surface at the mounting point. A solution? Design, of course. Rivellini created a cool, notched chrome rod that props the lid like the hood on your 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto. Just kidding—those cars never had a solution so elegant in its simplicity.
As with the hydraulics, everything about this boat points to using complex technologies to make life simpler. Same goes for driving her, and, with a pair of Volvo Penta IPS 600 pod drives, I found she was responsive and spry. We found a nice 27-knot cruising speed, though she topped out at 34 knots, altogether delightful and dry on a breezy day off Ft. Lauderdale. After all, you can’t look the part if you’re soaking wet.
Another elegant point, the helm is a clean, carbon-fiber console with a single-screen Garmin Glass Cockpit setup, a joint venture between the electronics manufacturer and Volvo Penta. Speaking of elegance and simplicity, the hydraulic wonders continue as you move down the companionway into the forward cabin, where the overhead is 6 feet 1 inch. In the bow, a V-shaped dinette has a hydraulic hi/lo table that makes a sizable berth. The table can also be lowered down to the deck to be completely out of the way as needed.
Our test boat had another berth amidships, 4 feet 7 inches wide, with 2 feet 11 inches of space overhead. The standing area had an ingenious and delightfully salty hanging locker that seemed to be a frame covered in a cool blue nylon fabric with contrasting stitching. The front panel rolls out of the way, revealing a hanging bar. It’s fixed in place, but feels like a modern-day steamer trunk of sorts. The boat has a roomy wet head below.
A sleek automated anchor pulpit and windlass is tucked away but deploys at the touch of a button at the helm. Our test boat had a manual bimini that unfolded from a pocket forward of the windshield, but a hardtop is available. As I write this I’m realizing there are just too many features to list here, and a big reason for that is the boat is semi-custom to the hilt, and available in a wide array of colors and trim packages. David Galante of G Marine, the U.S. dealer of the Evo in Ft. Lauderdale, mentioned a few things he would request for the next boat, such as converting some of the galley console into a built-in companion lounge.
“I spoke to them about some ideas for the design, changes we may want for the next boat,” Galante says. “We had drawings from them within two days of the discussion. Design is what they do.”
And when design can solve problems, why not let it happen? After all, you’ll be able to focus on making the most of the day with the people you brought along. And if that’s not a beautiful thing, I don’t know what is.
Genset: 6.5-kilowatt Cummins Onan, Warranty: One year full warranty, two years on engines, generator and other equipment
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 78°F; humidity: 74%; winds: 10-12 knots; seas: 2-4'
Load During Boat Test
200 gal. fuel, 80 gal. water, four persons.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/435-hp Volvo Penta IPS 600
- Transmission/Ratio: Volvo Penta IPS, 1.82:1 gear ratio
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.