At every boat show there’s one boat that causes a stir above all others. She may not necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea, but she creates a palpable buzz and makes people talk. At last September’s Cannes Boat Show, that boat was the Kaitos 76 from the Italian yard Cantieri di Pisa, known for its stylish, finely finished Akhir line of motoryachts. But the Kaitos, an Arabic name for a constellation, is no motoryacht. She’s a big, open express—a runabout on steroids—with a reported top speed of 55 knots. That alone probably would have made her the talk of the show, but she also was rumored to have an unusual, ingenious interior.
I made an appointment to tour her on the show’s preview day, before all the beautiful people got aboard. Due to her locked-in location, however, I was unable to do a sea trial, so I arranged for our European editor, Alan Harper, to get aboard the 76 later.
As I approached the 76 on a bright fall morning, I wasn’t exactly blown away by her.
Don’t get me wrong: As you can see, she’s beautiful. But her outward appearance isn’t really unusual. This is your typical European play boat, on which the lucky owner gets to zip from utterly beautiful, painfully quaint Mediterranean port to utterly beautiful, painfully quaint Mediterranean port, while sipping champagne in a large, sun-washed, teak-sole cockpit, complete with dining table and expansive sunpad for the attendant nymphets. For stops along the way, he can avail himself of the tender (here a Nautica RIB with Yamaha 80) hidden beneath the sunpad in the requisite garage for a quick jaunt into town.
It’s all well done on the Kaitos, including an efficient helm complete with networked Furuno electronics and three four-way-adjustable Besenzoni pedestal seats that provide plenty of comfort and good sightlines at rest. Whether you drive, sunbathe, or sip Moet up here, there’s a surfeit of sun for everyone. A bimini top is available, but it’s warranted to only 30 knots. If your inclination is to more speed and fewer rays, a closed-bridge version is available. Either way, it’s no sweat for those at the helm, as air conditioning here is standard.
Below decks it’s an entirely different story. The 76’s interior is daring. Starkly stylish, it’s an amalgam of bleached maple (bulkheads and soles), matte stainless steel, and red leather upholstery. Two semicircular skylights and a translucent bulkhead to port produce a bright space that can be further brightened or ventilated via ports artfully concealed behind translucent panels. The layout is in keeping with the way such boats are used: Owners and guests often party and snack but rarely sleep or dine aboard. So at the foot of the starboard companionway, an eight-person table beneath a large flat-screen TV and a L-shape eight-person lounge to port provide plenty of room for a sizable party to soiree. But should they need more room, there’s an innovative solution immediately aft.
Behind sliding pocket doors lies a full-beam master suite with centerline queen-size bed, port and starboard settees/berths, a shower and sink compartment to port, and a sink and MSD in a starboard compartment that can double as a day head because when you open the sliding doors, this stateroom becomes part of the saloon. But who wants a bed in their saloon? Just press a button on a wireless remote, and it disappears into the aft bulkhead (a Murphy bed!), leaving a platform coffee table flanked by the aforementioned settees and another flat-screen TV in the forward port corner. Voil! You’ve doubled the size of the saloon.
Should you prefer the extended saloon, you’ll appreciate that the forepeak VIP is generous in size and amenities. It has an en suite head with stall shower, port and starboard hanging lockers and settees, a small flat-screen TV, and an automotive-style stereo. Between it and the saloon are a port-side guest stateroom with en suite head and a galley to starboard. While modest in size, and despite the fact that cooking of any substance is rarely done aboard such boats, the galley is equipped with a Bosch four-burner cooktop, dishwasher, microwave, and refrigerator-freezer; single sink; decent counter space and stowage; and like the rest of the below-decks spaces, 6’5” headroom.
Despite her playboy nature, the 76 also boasts impressive engineering. Her Core-Cell and Kevlar layup provides a moderate 32-ton displacement, and all interior sole panels are affixed with hook-and-loop fasteners for maximum accessibility. The bow thruster, trim tabs, and Arneson Surface Drives are controlled by joysticks, and the engine room, accessed through a hatch forward of the swim platform and which you might expect to be an afterthought, is actually quite workable. Even with two 2,000-hp MTU V-16s, there’s good access to the engines inboard and forward, major systems are mounted forward where they’re easily reached, and headroom measures six feet. Foredeck access has been accounted for, too, with wide side decks, molded-in handholds on the window frames, a flat foredeck, and a Maxwell windlass recessed to prevent snags.
Being aboard the Kaitos 76 and not being able to actually run her was decidedly anticlimactic—like taking a beautiful woman to dinner but not back to your apartment. Yet without casting off a line, I could see why this boat had everyone talking, and I had a feeling that when Harper got aboard, he’d be duly impressed as well.
Arneson Surface Drives; Furuno NavNet chartplotter, GPS, depthsounder, and autopilot; 3/LCD TVs; Bose Surround Sound; 2/DVD players; Miele refrigerator, dishwasher, conventional/ microwave oven, ceramic cooktop; 570-gpd Village Marine watermaker; black-water treatment plant; air conditioning; hardtop
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/2,000-hp MTU 16V 2000 M91 diesel inboards w/Arneson Surface Drives
- Transmission/Ratio: Arneson Surface Drive ASD 14BLI/1.57:1
- Props: Rolla 36x26 6-blade
- Price as Tested: $3,910,000 (w/o hardtop)
This article originally appeared in the February 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.