A new entry-level yacht at the bottom of the Ferretti Yachts range, the 500 is an interesting venture from a yard best known for its luxuriously bigger craft.
You develop a sixth sense about these things after a while. We were making something like 22 knots into an already fresh breeze and I had noticed, without consciously processing the fact, that one of the foredeck cushions was getting a little twitchy. Suddenly, its fasteners gave up the struggle, and the cushion shot over the flybridge at head height. Mine was the only head in its path, but I had ducked, automatically, and was already turning back to pick it up, wondering how many of us would be needed to haul it back aboard. They get pretty heavy when they’re waterlogged.
It was a sunny, late-season afternoon in the Bay of La Spezia, Italy, and in lieu of a Covid-canceled Cannes boat, show the Ferretti Group was showing off its crop of new models. The 500 is an entry-level yacht at the bottom of the Ferretti Yachts range, and an interesting venture from a yard best known for its luxurious, and expensive, bigger craft.
A three-cabin, two-head boat, when you step aboard it certainly doesn’t feel like the designers were struggling to remember how to do things on this scale. The heads are maybe on the small side, and the tapered VIP berth is not quite as big as it looks, but generally the design seems determined to bring in as many big-yacht ideas as possible, from the full-beam master with a generous berth and sunken sole section around it—to provide a surprising 6 feet, 6 inches of headroom—to the versatile cockpit sofa, which can be extended aft while the table unfolds and drops down to create a full-width sunbed. A long flybridge provides comfortable seating and sunbathing space for everyone on board, and the salon, with its dinette on the port side, sofa to starboard, and a galley aft that opens into the cockpit, is a bright and airy space.
The standard equipment list is also unusually comprehensive, including the flybridge bimini, the hydraulic swim platform, a Seakeeper and choice of two interior color schemes. There is also the option of a two-cabin layout, and a small single crew cabin packed into the stern.
There is just the one engine installation available, a pair of 550-hp Cummins, but they proved a good match with the 500’s easily-driven hull. It seemed unarguable that on a calm day this would be a comfortable 30-knot boat, happy to cruise at any speed from 18 to 28 knots. As it was, with 3- to 5-foot seas to deal with, it acquitted itself very well, posting a two-way maximum of 29.7 knots with a half load of fuel and proving to be an agile and lively performer, its capable hull ironing out the impacts heading into the waves and tracking beautifully downwind. Visibility from the lower helm is excellent, but I always prefer to drive from up top, conditions—and cushions—permitting.
Yes, about that cushion. It was actually no problem. Ferretti seems to make them out of a closed-cell foam that doesn’t soak up water, so getting it back on board was a breeze.
Ferretti 500 Specifications:
Displ: 47,399 lbs.
Fuel: 370 gal.
Water: 159 gal.
Standard power: 2/550-hp Cummins QSB 6.7
Cruise speed: 25 knots
Top speed: 29.7 knots