Steering from the flying bridge, I put the Uniesse 65 through her paces in Port Everglades, Florida. The seas were calm, so I took a good long look at the Uniesse's fine lines-the way the main deck's cabin sloped gently up to the large forward windows, providing a perfect spot for the sunpad, the curving pattern of the teak walkways that lead forward to the Lofrans windlass sparkling in the sun. The dining table and seating area abaft the helm beckoned with the promise of comfort and companionship. Just beyond the bar with its electric stovetop grill, refrigerator, and ice maker, I could see the 1,200-pound Opacmare davit.
After running her up to her wide-open throttle speed of 31 knots, I brought the optional twin 1,360-horsepower MAN V12 engines down to 2100 rpm and the big boat clipped along at a steady 28.4 knots. At 1900 rpm, she maintained 25 knots. Allowing for an approximate 10-percent safety margin, the 65 should have a range of about 265 nautical miles at this speed.
As the wind rushed past me, I looked again toward the bow, and noticed something very unusual: The sunpads were still firmly in place. "Uniesse is obsessed with details and quality," said Ralph Barca, vice president of Uniesse Marine USA, headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale. "Take those sunpads, for example. We designed a latching system so you never have to worry about them blowing off." A small thing, perhaps, but indicative of Uniesse's core values.
"Our attention to detail starts with our marketing strategy," said Barca. While many builders employ a dealer network, Uniesses come factory-direct. "This allows us to make sure that the customer gets what he wants." According to Barca, this includes being able to take care of all service and warranty needs, as necessary.
Since nowhere is detail more important than in the building process, the Lombardy, Italy-based yard's philosophy is to construct a strong shell where the glass-to-resin ratio is as balanced as possible. This means strict and focused attention from the beginning of the build. "Our bottoms are solid, almost two inches thick, and we're willing to give up some weight there and make it up in other places," said Barca. Those other places include the stringers and web-frames where Uniesse uses glassed-in Airex closed-cell foam with biaxial fabric. "Airex is impervious to water, so not only do we get the lightweight structural integrity we need, but there's no chance of any degradation taking place anywhere in the all-important grid system." And to get the rigidity and strength in the hull sides, 5/8-inch-thick closed-cell foam is used there as well-which also helps with sound attenuation.
Detail matters below the waterline, too, and care is taken in the design of the 65's running bottom. Starting with a 64-degree entry, the hull transitions to about 26 degrees amidships. At the transom, 14 degrees of deadrise supplies the extra lift for a more efficient cruising speed. The 65 is also equipped with a small keel that helps her track straight and true.
While these details are for the most part unseen, it's hard to miss the amenities and special features that make the 65 MY an exciting yacht to own. For example, deck-level doors on either side allow easy access to the wide walkways that are surrounded by a 11/2-inch diameter stainless railing. A teak swim platform with port and starboard stairs allows for easy movement from the dock or water to the afterdeck. A table with seating for eight, under the bridge overhang, awaits that special alfresco gathering.
A hefty stainless steel-framed sliding door leads to the salon, where a single-level layout features the clean, modern lines of Italian styling. Dark wenge wood soles offer a pleasing contrast to white oak bulkheads and the cream-colored leather couch, chair, and ottoman to starboard. "This is the décor this particular owner wanted," Barca said as he gestured to the light and dark woods. "However, we'll create any statement our customers want. Unlike some builders, we're not limited to four choices." Directly opposite, and spanning the length of the seating area, is a finely crafted, low-profile entertainment center with plenty of stowage. Large windows on either side create a light and airy space.
The galley is forward to starboard and is offered in two layouts. On this boat, the galley was semienclosed with extra overhead cabinets. There was plenty of serving area between the solid-granite countertops and the bottom of the upper cabinets. Miele and Bosch appliances, and even a deep fryer, come as part of the well-equipped galley. The other design option is an open plan that keeps the spacious feel of a one-level layout, with a galley opposite the dining space.
The lower helm is to port and forward of the dining area and offers a multi-position, electrically operated leather seat with excellent forward sightlines. Access to the accommodations deck is just forward of the galley. In the forepeak VIP, there's a centerline berth and en suite head. There are two twin guest cabins and an over/under stateroom. The full-beam master suite is amidships, with a king berth to starboard, en suite head, and separate lounge area with table to port. All of the staterooms offer sufficient stowage, excellent headroom, and a continuation of the topsides décor. "We offer many options for furnishing the 65, including eliminating the over/under stateroom and expanding the owner's suite. We can do that and a lot more," Barca said.
If you're interested in a cruising yacht in the 60-foot-plus range, there are many quality builders you can choose from and-in the current economy-the onus is on each builder to prove why its boat should be at the top of your list. With the 65, Uniesse has made its case.
Uniesse Marine USA, (954) 759-3424; www.uniesse.com