Among Absolute’s two world premieres at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival, the 56 Fly is a new offering from a company that lives halfway between Lake Garda and Genoa, and a long way from any navigable water. Never mind.
Absolute has been producing quality motor yachts with a dash of that much-vaunted Italian flair since Sergio Maggi and Marcello Bé founded the company in 2002.
Each Absolute learns from the model that went before. This is very apparent in the appearance of the boats and the 56 Fly is no exception, developing its pedigree from both the Fly and Navetta lines, and presenting something that is both “new” and grounded in experience.
Step aboard, either via the slide-away passarelle or up the steps from the swim platform and there’s much to explore on all three decks, while there’s the option of driving from either the lower helm or the flybridge.
On the move, the 56 Fly proves to be an exceptionally well-mannered boat. We were in the Tat Hong Channel on a beautiful calm and blue-sky day, so the biggest waves to contend with were our own wake, which we crossed and recrossed without even noticing, pushed along by a pair of Volvo D8-IPS800 engines.
In a tight turn, the boat shows no inclination to slip or slide. From a standing start, the boat planes at a little over nine knots, which translates into remarkably good fuel consumption. Absolute quotes 8.3 litres/nm at an optimum cruising speed of 19 knots and 2,500rpm.
For travelling in and around any of the regular near-metropolitan cruising areas in Asia, you’ll never suffer from range anxiety. Coastal cruising over longer distances is achievable too when your range is 550nm at 10 knots.
Sun and Shade
Starting with the outdoor areas, the cockpit is a big social space, with modular and movable furniture than can be configured as you wish, while it also benefits from the clear aft balustrade introduced on other recent Absolute models.
The next space to explore is the flybridge, which seems to offer everything. There’s modular movable seating aft, a grill/galley/bar unit immediately forward so that you won’t have to go too far for a refill, a covered table and sofa seating to starboard, even more sofa seating adjacent to the two-seat helm position, and forward sunpads, too. There are at least 15 places to sit or lie on the flybridge alone.
It’s hot today, so we head down, step inside and soak up some cool! The galley is immediately inside the saloon, properly positioned to serve both the cockpit and the lounge and dining areas, and is fully equipped with name brand appliances, and even a wine fridge under the pilot seat.
The driving position provides excellent visibility for both helmsman and co-pilot, and there’s immediate deck access via a side door to starboard.
Social space on the foredeck has become an ever more popular feature on motor yachts. Once the province of the crew and the anchor windlass, the foredeck is now “usable space” and constitutes a valuable contribution to onboard functionality.
The pointy end of the Absolute 56 Fly offers sofa seating, casual dining and convertible sunpad configurations, with a shade sail that can be erected in mere moments.
In fact, if you count the all the seating and sunpads in the four social areas — cockpit, saloon, foredeck and flybridge — there are at least 30 seats and places to park yourself, and that’s just sitting or lying down. This boat could happily host a 40-guest function without even thinking about it, so it’s a party boat, too!
Right beside the helm is the companionway to the accommodation, and we are really unsure which is the master suite and which is the VIP. They are both sufficiently big and luxurious.
In fact, the full-beam master is in the bow, where it’s apparent that the vertical stem design is not merely fashion; it is practical, too, allowing the suite to go ‘all the way’ forwards where a swept bow would have reduced the available space.
The master suite is the main beneficiary of the boat’s enormous hull windows, making the space the opposite of dark-and poky, and there are opening ventilation ports as well. The VIP suite is also full beam, with a practical separate shower/toilet arrangement, and in the space between the two suites is a further twin cabin and a third bathroom.
The décor in the lower deck is restrained and elegant, with both dark and light wood tones echoing the finishes of the surfaces and bulkheads. The effect is delightful and stylish.
Absolutely every available space has been turned into storage, so bring luggage! A weekend on board could involve swimming, hiking, lazing, cocktails and formal dinners — and Mademoiselle can be ‘best dressed’ for every occasion!
Interestingly, interior spaces, including the suites and cabin, are designed on an uninterrupted flat surface. There are no steps, meaning you’ll never stub a toe, nor will you ‘miss a step’. It’s an important design feature, and very much understated.
There’s no doubt that Absolute build good-quality boats. You can tell by touch — the touch of the surfaces, and the touch on the helm.
They are built using Absolute’s Integrated Structural System, or ISS, which is a custom optimised modular process that ensures superlative quality control at all stages of construction, from hull to fit-out to interiors.
The exterior design of all their boats is highly distinctive, unlike many brands that use multiple designers. The oversized hull window panels are echoed in the saloon windows, which drop down to really “let the outdoors in”. The bulwarks have been replaced with railings which make the sides more visually transparent, and the cockpit sides are perforated for a similar effect.
At the end of the day, so much is a matter of taste. Ask yourself, ‘what do I want to do with my boat?’ because there’s no such thing as “perfect”.
Sure, there are certain criteria that must be met — floating and moving are two of them — but if you’re looking for a day out on beautiful beaches, a coastal cruise, a weekend or overnight marine glamping experience, a party boat for sunset cocktails with umpteen friends, or even a quiet dinner venue — social or business — then look no further. And the Italian style is included!
This article first appeared on Yacht Style.
For more yacht reads, click here.