24 October, 2017
Navetta for long cruising
The latest model of the successful Italian builder has it all: distinctive design, comfortable interiors and excellent performance
Italian yacht builder Sundeck Yachts specializes in semi-displacement navettas. Their first model has swept Italian yacht lovers off their feet. We tested it in Cannes and can understand why. The 17.35-meter long yacht is a seriously looking boat obviously designed for long voyages. The maker describes it as a modern classic and we agree: strong bow, minimalist antenna mast and shiny stainless steel railing give the yacht classic, somewhat military look, while large windows on the hull and around the main deck soften things up a bit. The hydraulic, submersible aft platform serves as tender lift and storage, and allows access to the double skipper’s cabin. The staircase leading to the main deck are starboard, and the aft part of the main deck is completely covered by the aft part of the fly bridge. Aft on the main deck is a cockpit with one sofa that seats 3 or 4 and a foldable table. Side passages leading from the cockpit to the bow are safe, wide enough for two people to walk side by side, and still wide enough for safe passage when side doors are open.
On the bow there’s a large sun pad and the anchor, hidden in a tiny storage compartment – one of many details that show the effort behind this model. The fly bridge can be accessed from the main deck bow and is unexpectedly large. The aft part of the fly bridge is spacious and left empty on purpose, for the owner to customize, while on the bow there is the secondary command post, a sofa and foldable dining table that can be lowered into a sun pad. Overall, the exterior is impeccably designed. The main deck interior is accessible via an aft glass door, which – unlike on most other yachts this type are not sliding, but open outwards. The galley is interesting, with wooden covers for all elements when not in use, and connected by two steps with the salon and the dining room. This space is furnished with a sofa and another foldable table, which can be lowered and connected to the sofa to form a bed. Across the salon there’s another sofa that seats three, above which there’s a large LCD TV. The salon is connected to the interior command post, equipped mostly with Raymarine instruments and touchscreen multi-functional displays. Elevated above the main deck, the command and the salon post enjoy excellent visibility in all directions, especially toward the aft, which comes in handy when sailing onto the dock. On the lower deck, accessible via a staircase, a short hall connects all the three cabins and the day head on the left side.
The VIP cabin is in the bow, as expected, and equipped with a double bed same size as the one in the master cabin. The master cabin is as wide as the hull in the central part, equipped with a very large double bed and a sofa, and has large windows that stretch all the way from the floor to the ceiling. The third cabin on the 550 is a double guest cabin, which also has a private head. Two main features of the Sundeck 550 are fuel efficiency and excellent performance. We tested the yacht in Cannes, very early in the morning, before strong north-western wind challenged us. The sea was not perfectly calm, but the 550 held her course steadily, with little to no rolling thanks to the Seakeeper gyroscopic stabilizer. Fuel efficiency was surprisingly good even with waves crashing straight into the bow – equipped with two FPT ENT N67 570-hp engines, at six knots of speed and @ 1000 rpm we logged in 0.58 miles per liter of fuel. Fuel efficiency reached maximum @ 1200 rpm (8 knots of speed, 0.46 miles per liter), and we started planning at 14 knots and @ 2200 rpm. Maximum speed we reached on the test was 23 knots @ 2900 rpm in less than ideal conditions die to strong wind and waves. Declared maximum speed of the model is 26 knots @ 2950 rpm. Sundeck 550 is an interesting yacht that belongs up there with the best navettas available at the moment and based on this first model, we can’t wait to see what Sundeck has in store next.