Sessa 45 Fly
The new Sessa 45 Fly, launched in 2011, is now available in Hong Kong – and it offers plenty for first-time yacht buyers to enjoy, including huge social areas.
The Sessa range of Italian-built yachts offers buyers plenty of style and some nice design touches that make this yacht a fine performer a great choice for a first-time buyer in particular. Combined with the good looks are enough in the way of performance credentials to ensure a great wind-in-your-hair experience while cruising some of Hong Kong’s best shorelines.
For our test day, we had light breezes of about seven to ten knots and calm waters out of the Clearwater Bay Marina in Sai Kung. The plan was to cruise out to the Ninepin Islands Group – a representative way on a representative day that such a yacht would be used.
From the outside, the designers at Sessa (much of the work is done in-house) have worked hard to combine their functional touches with a sleek style that could proudly recall Italian flair. The 45 packs in a lot of space, and on a smaller yacht, it’s no mean feat to put that space into a package that’s eye-catching.
Stepping on-board, the first thing you notice is the very large swim platform, easily capable of handling either a jet ski or as mentioned on the brochure, a 2.6-metre Williams jet tender. The platform extends well back from the transom and also the full beam of the yacht, yielding enough room to open up a deck chair and lounge about at anchor – not bad at all for a 45-footer. The swim pad lowers into the water to let the operator launch or retrieve tenders with ease.
Moving up to the aft cockpit, you find one of the many stars of the Sessa show. A large area has been created with a settee and requisite fold-out table that offers seating for up to eight at a pinch. A very nice touch was the inclusion of a drop-down sun shade net-screen that locks on to the black pillars that support the large overhang. There are two sets of locks, so guests enjoying the aft cockpit can let in partial sun or enjoy complete privacy.
Heading through the straight-line set of sliding doors (reflective, for added privacy for those in the saloon), one finds a very stylish mix of colours and materials that lend a very classy air without being ostentatious or overbearing. A mix of steel, mirrors, glossy wenge and matt finish walnut create a very sophisticated look that is also soothing. Owners can choose other finishes, but the Sessa look that I saw on this 45 is certainly one that will hold up over time.
The main saloon area is nicely done, with comfy settees and adjustable table to starboard and a countertop with retractable TV to port. As our test boat was very new to Hong Kong, the TV hadn’t been installed. However, this port side area also contained a secondary fridge and freezer, cleverly tucked into the lower shelving and disguised with mirror finishing. The complete electronics control panel is right at the starboard side main entrance for ease of access.
Inside the saloon and main deck helm station, you come to appreciate the large side windows of the 45. The view of the sea is spectacular, no matter where you sit or stand. The designers at Sessa have almost managed to create the sense of internal space as you’d have on an open motor yacht.
The main deck helm, aligned to starboard, has excellent views both forward and to the sides – the window mullions have been kept appropriately sized so you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable driving the boat from this level. The leather finishes on the dash should do well to keep glare down, while the mix of chrome-finished analogue dials and Raymarine readouts give a slightly retro feel to the helm station. The seat adjusts electrically. A slight worry was the loose feeling on one of the handholds that support you as go down towards the galley and cabin.
The galley on our test boat was located down the stairwell, yet positioned under the windscreen for maximum light. There is an option to have a third cabin placed in this spot, but given the head room restrictions, I doubt Hong Kong buyers would be interested.
The mix of materials and style continues down to the cabins, where there is a large and very comfortable master cabin forward with ensuite, while a twin cabin (which could easily be a double) is back and to the left. There was plenty of storage space for guests to put clothes, and both baths have sit down covers for the toilet seats that let occupants shower while seated. All very classy, though I did wonder about the lack of locking mechanism to hold doors open.
While evenings may be frittered away at anchor in the main saloon, most time spent on a Sessa 45 Fly will surely be in the spacious external deck areas, of which there are plenty. Moving from the aft cockpit area forward to the bow is made a bit tricky by the relatively narrow passage and the lack of a handhold on the roof area. There is a price to be paid for all that interior volume!
Once at the bow, sun worshippers will have plenty to praise. The twin pads are big enough for two without squeezing, while the built-in drinks holders and speakers right next to the holders makes this an excellent place to hang out and work on the tan.
But the real deal with the Sessa 45 is the flybridge. This is where plenty of partying will be going on. The access steps from the aft deck are a bit steep, but there is sufficient handholds and security to get up without worry. Once up, you get the feeling that you’ll be spending most of the day up here. If being up top on a boat is your idea of fun, then you’ll certainly be won over by this flybridge. Thanks to that large overhang, there’s plenty of room on the aft area, with very comfortable settee and table space for up to eight people. Facing them is a electric grill, sink and fridge for constant entertaining. Naturally, speakers are everywhere.
Forward, there is the starboard helm, from which the pilot can see nearly everything apart from the area just aft of the transom. A large settee adjacent to the helm can be quickly transformed into a very large sunpad that abuts the forward windshield. At speed, you’ll get plenty of thrills up here.
The bimini top can be manually folded down. It is an option, but it will certainly be a must in tropical conditions.
On the go
Exiting the Clearwater Bay Marina, Michael Lieu showed off the boat’s manoeuvrability with the IPS joystick in full gear. In addition to the joystick, the 45 Fly also comes with bow thrusters, which puts a lot of tight control at the fingertips of the owner. After filling up at the fuel dock, it was off to the Ninepins. A boost to the throttle, and we were accelerating nicely to about 18 knots at 2600 RPMs. Our test boat was equipped with twin Volvo Penta IPS 600s, with a top speed of over 30 knots and a cruise speed of around 25 knots. Sessa has a long relationship with Volvo Penta, and the hull on the 45 Fly is IPS optimised.
The 45 exhibited a certain amount of bounce, though easing back a little on the throttle does help plenty. However, with calm conditions and a bit of trimming, the 45 should be provide a comfortable ride at reasonable speed. For an extra HK$300,000, the 45 comes with an optional gyro stabilizer – one of the smaller yachts to have such an offer. This would be a sensible addition for the sake of guests’ enjoyment as the 45 also exhibits a fair bit of rolling motion when still.
One the way back from the Ninepins, I had a go at the wheel. From the Flybridge, the visibility is excellent and relatively unimpeded looking aft. Throttling up yields a good surge from the engines, with relatively quick acceleration. A few turns showed that handling was easy, with a bit of feedback coming into the wheel when completely hard over, a nice touch for the helmsman.
Overall, the speeds on the Sessa 45 Fly are more than adequate for day cruising around Hong Kong, and with a 200 nautical mile range at cruising speeds in the mid-20s, an owner should have no trouble reaching the cruising areas of the Riau islands from Singapore (paperwork notwithstanding).
Thanks to the excellent lines of sight from both helm positions, the 45 Fly from Sessa is a great first yacht. It opens up plenty of chances to explore while letting guests and owner arrive in confident style at even the most up-scale marina. The other good news is that our test boat was actually a stock boat, meaning that prospective owners can arrange a viewing of their own directly.
In Hong Kong: www.promaxmarine.com
Technical Specifications – Sessa 45 Fly
Capacity (guests): 12
Cabins: 2 (3)
Engines: 2 x Volvo IPS 600s
Fuel: 2 x 636 lts
Fresh water: 560 lts
Black water holding: 165 lts
Grey water holding: 160 lts
Tender: Williams Jet 2.65m