Uniesse came to America well over three decades ago. Today, the Italian brand continues to emphasize engineering, finish and more stylistic flair than ever.
Last fall, in the midst of the 2018 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, Editor-in-Chief Dan Harding asked me to check out the new Uniesse 56SS (Super Sport) we’d just strolled past. It was late in the afternoon and I was feeling just a tad jaded concerning matters of marine pulchritude. But then again, curiosity springs eternal for the true boat nut. I’d sea trialed the first Uniesse to come to the United States back in the mid-90s and the level of engineering the builder had emphasized back then had impressed me. One wondered what the company was up to now.
I ran into Ralph Barca as soon as I came aboard. He was just stepping out of the frosty, air-conditioned salon of the 56 via a stainless-steel-and-glass Tempesta four-leaf sliding door. Barca had been with Uniesse since the brand’s stateside intro, but never as a principal. In the summer of 2017, however, he and investor David Schwedel had taken over the company and, more recently, they’d partnered with International Yacht Charter to help out with sales.
“In the old days,” Barca enthused, “I was never really able to build the boat I wanted to build. But that’s all changed. Come on, Bill. You’ve gotta see this boat—you’re not gonna believe it.”
Gallery: Uniesse 56SS
The tour that ensued validated the statement. We began in the engine room, wherein resided two 1,000-hp Volvo Penta D13 diesels, close coupled to two IPS drive units that had been installed with easy maintenance (for oil filter changes, fluid top-offs, etc.) in mind. Easy maintenance was also the theme when it came to engine access, thanks to diamond-plate walkarounds. And the level of redundancy seemed remarkable. The bilge/fire system, for example, featured a big, bronze Gianneschi ACB bilge/fire pump, and a second Gianneschi pump for good measure, in addition to a manual Gianneschi bilge pump and a Rule 1,500 high-water backup. Moreover, the freshwater system featured two -Gianneschis as well. And the engine room’s fire-fighting arsenal boasted both a giant Sea-Fire unit and a fair-sized portable.
After perusing the ER, we hit the salon where I examined the meticulous detailing apparent in the large C-shaped leather sofa on the starboard side while Barca hit me with an impressive description of the boat’s construction. Pricey, blister-resistant vinylester resin, he said, had been used in the super-thick, solid bottom, the Airex-cored hullsides, deck, hardtop and bulkheads. Vinylester (along with unidirectional and woven fabrics) had also been used to fabricate the polyester foam-cored longitudinals and transversals that support the hull. And, in keeping with RINA safety requirements, the racy hullside windows were one-and-a-half inches thick and made of curved, chemically-tempered glass fully laminated with a vinyl interlayer.
Detailing belowdecks was equally meticulous. Highlights of the three-cabin, two-head layout included a galley down with an A&G side-by-side refrigerator (easily the largest fridge I’ve ever seen on a boat in this size range), lacquered walls, marble floors and Amare custom-made, RINA-compliant infinity-type portholes in the hullside windows (invisible from outside the yacht).
“You can get IPS, straight inboards or Arneson Surface Drive power packages,” explained Barca.
“Well,” I suggested, “if she runs as well as she looks, you’ve most certainly got yourself a winner here.”
“Hey,” exclaimed Barca, “the top speed we got the other day was 41.8 knots!”
Uniesse 56SS Specifications:
Displ.: 59,525 lbs.
Fuel: 660 gal.
Water: 193 gal.
Standard Power: 2/1,000-hp Volvo Penta D13-IPS-1350s
Cruise Speed: 20 to 35 knots
Top Speed: 41.8 knots
Price: $2.9 million