I always experience a sense of anticipation whenever I travel to Rimini on the east coast of Italy to sea trial a Ferretti motoryacht. It might be the influence of the food or the magic Italian light that makes even the ordinary look exciting, but I always know that with a Ferretti, I will be in for something special. In this case, it was not only the latest Ferretti but also the largest yacht in the range. The style of the new 880 may not be too far away from normality, indeed the Ferretti style has always been low key, but you always know that they are on top of the latest trends.
Ferretti makes inspired use of the internal space on a yacht and the 880 is no exception. Then there is the Ferretti quality-this is a motoryacht that exudes quality in a way that is carefully understated. The style is smart but not extravagant, very well thought out, with the intent that this yacht will never end up as last year's look.
Norberto Ferretti, the head of the Ferretti Group that is now one of the largest yacht builders in Europe, makes no secret of his desire to make his yachts not only look good but to function properly.
"The yacht that only looks good soon produces a dissatisfied client, so we spend a lot of time making sure that our yachts work well and are practical to use in sea and in harbor", Ferretti said.
I have to agree that the 880, the flagship of the Ferretti fleet, is one of the most comfortable yachts I have tested. And while I can criticize the design in some minor areas, this is a yacht that will give owners a great deal of pleasure.
Let's get the criticisms out of the way first. I would like to see a handrail on the internal stair up to the flying bridge to give better security if the boat is rolling at sea. However, the 880 is offered with Ferretti's new Anti-Rolling Gyro (ARG) stabilizing system as an option, so if the yacht is kept upright by this ARG system, then a handrail may not be necessary.
Finally, there is a whining sound from the ZF gearboxes at intermediate speeds. You notice this particularly in the master cabin and the crew's quarters because the V-drive gearboxes are forward of the engines near the engineroom's forward bulkhead. Ferretti is pressing ZF for a solution.
Now for the good points and there are plenty of them. The polished cherry furniture blends with stunning tan leather settees. Horizontal fabric sections are set into the paneling to create a lighter tone without losing the richness of the overall look. As always, it is the small considerate touches that impress. You see these executed to perfection in the saloon window blinds that are cleverly designed to offer the option of translucent or opaque blinds or, of course, they can be fully open.
In the saloon, the lounge area is aft and a dining table for eight is forward. The inlaid table has beautiful leather-upholstered chairs surrounding it to create an elegant dining ambiance. Food preparation takes place in the galley behind the pilothouse, separated from the saloon. For more relaxed dining, you have two other choices. There is a round teak table in the cockpit, or you can climb the stairs from the lower bridge deck to the flying bridge, which has its own dining area served by an outdoor galley complete with an electric barbeque grill and a bar counter.
Opposite the galley is a foyer that gives access to a door leading to the deck on the starboard side, as well as to the day head. It is also from this foyer that stairs curve down to the peace and quiet of the staterooms. There are four staterooms arranged in a conventional layout that has the master stateroom amidships, the VIP forward and two twin cabins in between. These staterooms all have their own en suite heads-little gems with green marble countertops, with polished wood and brass fittings adding to the visual appeal.
The master stateroom has two of these attractive heads, one with a shower and one with a combined bath and shower. This "his and hers layout features separate head access and a large walk-in closet located behind a screen that forms the headboard for the king-size bed. This is a wonderfully private room with a beautiful vanity to starboard, a cozy loveseat to port, and an additional closet for essential clothes stowage.
One of the nice features about the VIP stateroom is the rectangular shape of the large bed, a change from the rounded beds found on many yachts. Rounded beds may look good, but they are not that comfortable for sleeping because you run out of foot space on the sides. The finish of the VIP stateroom is very luxurious, designed to give a generous feeling of space. The two twin-bed staterooms match the style of the VIP, so that other guests will not feel deprived when they are offered this level of luxury in smaller accommodations.
The crew is almost as well cared for with two en suite single staterooms and a small galley/dining area, positioned between the master stateroom and the engine room. The entrance to this area is from the cockpit so that the crew can move around the 880 without intruding on the guest areas. You could house a couple of children in these cabins, too, if you plan to operate this yacht without a crew.
The controls are certainly set up for easy operation at the flying bridge helm situated to port and at the lower helm. Bow and stern thrusters make docking a precise operation and the electronic MTU engine controls give a smooth response. A unique feature of these controls is the emergency stop system. If you see something ahead that you do not like when traveling at full speed, just pull the control levers right back and the electronic controls will bring this yacht to a smooth but rapid halt without damage to the transmission.
The entrance to the engineroom is also from the crew's quarters and here I found a clinical cleanliness that suggests good reliability. There is stowage in the large locker under the transom for a PWC. Ferretti gains this extra space by taking the moderate-V hull lines aft under this platform. The deadrise is 12 degrees at the transom with the V-shape getting deeper as the hull runs forward, ending up as a fine bow that produces a smooth ride in waves. Combine this gentle hull shape with the Anti-Rolling Gyro system and it's likely that you will hardly find a ripple on the surface of your cocktail at sea or when at anchor.
Twin 2,030 hp 16V MTU diesels give the 880 smooth performance. We recorded speeds over 30 knots heading down wave, and averaged 29 knots both ways, on sea trials. Range is estimated by Ferretti to be 370 miles at top speed, and 400 miles at cruising speed. The handling is crisp and precise, and the response makes you feel like you are driving a sport boat rather than a large luxury yacht.
I love this flagship design from Ferretti. It has a great balance between understated luxury and comfort. The exterior is smart enough to impress and the performance fast enough to excite. There is an undeniable feeling of spaciousness on board, and I can't think of a yacht I have been on that left me feeling so relaxed. There was a strong temptation to disappear over the horizon with the Ferretti 880 while we were out on the Adriatic for our tests, but reluctantly the harbor and the flight home beckoned.
Contact: MarineMax, (888) 71-YACHT; www.marinemaxyachts.com.