The new Ferretti 870 draws heavily from the Italian yard’s many years of experience building motor yachts, and offers owners plenty of performance as well as luxury living on board.
Many motor yacht designers focus on the style when they develop a new design and there is no doubt that making a yacht look good, both inside and out, is important to impress the client. However so many designers seem to run out of ideas when it comes to the practical side of motor yacht operation. If a yacht is going to be successful a new design has to not only look good but it also has to perform and be practical. Perhaps most important of all, it has to be designed so that the owner/skipper can operate the yacht effectively and efficiently. There should be pleasure in operating the yacht.
It is in this last aspect that many modern designs are found lacking. It was therefore a joy to sea trial this new Ferretti yacht and find that it was a pleasure to drive, and that it had so many practical features. It shows that it is possible to produce such a yacht that also manages to look good. With this new 870, Ferretti has turned up trumps and produced a worthy flagship design to add to their range.
At 87 feet long this yacht is close to the maximum size that can be accommodated without having to meet the stringent MCA requirements of larger yachts. This gives the designers more freedom and you find so many small details in this design that all add up to make the difference. Ferretti have been in the business of building motor yachts longer than most yards, and it shows. Rather than developing new design concepts, they build on what they know works well, with each new design getting better and better.
We put the 870 through a challenging sea trial. The wind was blowing close to gale force and there was considerable doubt about the wisdom of going to sea. But with the wind off the land, and starting to die away close to sunset, we gave it a try. The result was one of the best sea trials I have had for a long time; exciting enough to put this yacht through a challenging test and rewarding because the yacht came through with flying colours, proving that here is a yacht which can cope with both the rough and the smooth.
You can see the Ferretti difference on this yacht with the steering. Ferretti has developed a differential steering system designed to reduce the heeling of the hull when it is turned at speed. With this system, the inboard rudder of the two is turned according to the helm requirements but the outboard rudder only turns a few degrees in the same direction. The reasoning behind this is that it is the deeper inboard rudder that does most of the work when turning whilst the outboard rudder mainly generates lift, which is what causes the yacht to heel. It may seem like a small detail but it certainly works and produces what seems to be a much more comfortable and controllable turn.
This variation in rudder angle can be achieved with modern ‘fly by wire’ steering systems. Another point with the ZF steering system fitted is that there is feeling in the wheel. Let go of the wheel in a turn and the wheel will return gently to amidships, just like the old days when there was a direct link between rudder and wheel. Again it may seem a small detail but it adds to the pleasure of driving this yacht when you have feel in the steering.
So many yachts that I do sea trials on have poor visibility from the lower helm, but again Ferretti has recognised this problem and fitted a wide central windscreen with very slim pillars so you can get a clear picture of what is going on outside. With a top speed of just over 30 knots, it really helps to have a clear view of where you are heading.
Coming out of the harbour at Cannes along the French Riviera for our sea trial, we were met by a considerable swell. The 870 eased through these large waves and then we could gradually build up speed as we came under the shelter of the land. Running flat out in the lively conditions, the 870 was a joy to drive and the performance was much more exhilarating than you might expect from what looks like a comfortable – even sedate – motor yacht. It was really sporting performance and I think that much of the joy of driving this yacht comes from the responsive steering; you really feel in control even when powering through waves.
We did not have the gyrostabilisers switched on during this sea trial, so we could not test their effectiveness. Of course, there was some rolling when we were beam on to the waves that no doubt the stabilisers would have neutralised. Overall, the movement of the yacht in the waves was comfortable with very limited slamming and the pitching motions could be calmed by using the flaps. The hull has a deadrise of 12-degrees, which is normal for this class of yacht and this, combined with the fine bow entry, gives adequate cushioning in head seas. It felt like driving a sports boat rather that a motor yacht with luxury accommodation.
The power is well tamed when maneuvering in the marina and a trolling valve can be used to give subtler handling. This, combined with a bow thruster, gave all the control needed, even with the fresh winds blowing. It also helped that the visibility from the upper helm station was good. There is also a control panel in the aft cockpit for use when mooring stern to.
As far as the propulsion is concerned, Ferretti stuck to convention, with a straightforward shaft system linking the two MTU 2000 horsepower diesels to the propellers, thus ensuring reliability. The engine compartment is pristine clinical white. Across the forward end of the engine compartment is the deep fuel tank that creates a sound barrier between the engines and accommodation and the sound levels are some of the lowest recorded throughout the staterooms and deck saloon. A good feature was the fitting of that most reliable of all fuel gauges, a sight gauge tube attached to the side of the tanks.
The designers have separated out most of the auxiliary systems from the main engines and put them in what they call the systems area. This is where you find the generators, water maker and air-conditioning. The crew cabins are located in this aft area so that they are close on hand to service the systems. With a side door to the galley and wheelhouse at main deck level, the crew can carry out their duties without impinging on the guest areas.
These guest areas are wonderful. Large windows in the saloon let in plenty of natural light and the bulwark height has been reduced in the area of the dining table so that there is a great view outside when seated. The well-equipped galley is just forward of this dining table so that food can be served hot from the stove. Forward from the galley, a door leads into the wheelhouse where there is a corner table and settee that could be a breakfast area or a crew mess room, depending on how the boat is being used.
In the saloon, it is all luxury with white leather settees around a coffee table facing the rising TV on the starboard side. There are bar facilities in the lockers below the TV. The sliding aft doors open out into a generous cockpit where there is a small bar counter in the corner and a dining table matched to the transom settee.
The rear end of the flybridge extends over this aft cockpit, so there is ample sun protection here. The extended flybridge also creates space for tender stowage. Forward, close under the arch mast there is a hot tub and then a table and seating with a barbecue counter on the starboard side. Here there is a double grill, ice maker and fridge so this is a great open air living area up here and there is an optional fixed Bimini with an opening centre to give sun shelter as required. At the forward end there is a reverse angle windscreen that gives some wind shelter at the helm, located on the port side.
There are internal stairs down to the lower helm and then a further stairway down to the staterooms. The amidships master is wonderful, a haven of piece and quiet with stunning views out of the large side windows. The Danish owner, who was on board during our test, was enthralled by these deep windows and said he spent much of the time at sea in this cabin. The aft end of the master has a nearly full width bathroom with double wash basins, with the remainder of this aft space occupied by a walk-in closet.
Moving forward there is a double guest cabin to port, a twin cabin to starboard and the VIP stateroom in the bow. Each of these cabins has its own ensuite bathroom with marble tops and wooden decks. The level of luxury is generous. Throughout the accommodation the styling has been kept fairly neutral with off-white panelling to give a feeling of space matched with wood trim to add to the luxury feel.
In the wheelhouse there is just a single helm seat, which leaves little scope for guests to get involved with the action; a settee along the rear of the space would be a welcome addition. Ferretti has designed an attractive dashboard that houses the four main navigation and monitoring displays. The controls are mounted on the flat of the dash and they all come readily to hand when required.
With the tender stowed up on the fly, Ferretti can use the space aft to create a beach club, with a garage door folding down to create a large play area. Alternatively, this area can be used to stow a jet ski, diving gear or other toys.
With a cruising speed at a comfortable 25 knots, the 870 has a range of about 370 miles but of course this can be stretched out at slower speeds. This is a hull that performs well at all speeds although in the fresh winds there was some spray at lower speeds when the bow drops.
The Ferretti 870 is a masterpiece of detailing – you can sense how this design has evolved from long years of experience. The 870 is also something of a chameleon. Alongside, it looks as though the accent is totally on comfort rather than performance, but out at sea the yacht is transformed and it performs in a very agile way. The styling and interiors have been done by Zuccon International Project, but the main design laurels must go to the Ferretti subsidiary, Advanced Yacht Technology, which was responsible for the hull design, the propulsion and the detailing. This motor yacht sets new standards in practical detail design that should serve as a lesson to other designers who focus only on the style.
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