As we motored away from the dock on the Sessa Marine Fly 45 with five people aboard, I was pleasantly surprised by how easily the flying bridge accommodated this small crowd. Sessa must have thought long and hard when its design team laid out this area, pushing the lounge as far astern as it could go. I measured 11 feet of space from the base of the seat to the forward lounge alongside the skipper.
Many manufacturers dedicate a large open space on the after section of the flying bridge for stowing a tender, but Sessa has focused on providing space and comfort for the passengers. In addition to the L-shape lounge, with stowage in its base, the company has placed a convertible lounge forward of the helm. If you sit facing aft, you can chat with the skipper. Prefer lying down and stretching out? The backrests swing forward to port and out of the way to create an area that will handle at least three adult sunbathers. When you’re on the upper bridge deck, you’ll think you’re on a boat that’s 10 feet longer.
This yacht’s spacious flying bridge is just one aspect that will attract North American buyers. The other is her extensive list of standard equipment. Other notable features include the stern half of the hydraulic swim platform, which lowers into the water to make it easy to load a tender. This vessel also comes with air-conditioning and an upgraded genset. On the flying bridge, Sessa specified a Bimini top and a fully equipped entertainment center, which sports a grill, refrigerator drawer and sink. To make life easier for the helmsman, she has a bow thruster, which helps the Volvo Penta IPS600s cope with currents and brisk winds.
|Test Conditions: Speeds were measured by GPS in the Atlantic off Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in one- to three-foot seas and 10-knot winds, with a three-eighths load of fuel, a one-tenth load of water, and five people on board. Fuel consumption was calculated by the electronic engine-monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the upper helm.|
Assuming that most owners will drive from the upper helm, I did the same. The Fly 45 ran at a reasonable 4 degrees of inclination at planing speeds and had a top hop of 31.1 knots (at 3,530 rpm). When I backed down the motors to 3,000 rpm and her speed dropped to 24.5 knots, she rode smoothly in all directions. Sometimes the flying bridge on a boat of this length can make her feel tippy, but I never got that sensation here. Pod drives let the designers place the engines low in the boat and put the fuel tanks as close to amidships as possible, creating a favorable center of gravity. Combine this with a sharp entry and 14 degrees of deadrise aft and you’ve got a boat that will get you home comfortably in a seaway.
Driving from the lower helm, I had a good view when turning the boat in all directions. An aft-facing camera mounted on the trailing edge of the flying bridge eases the helmsman’s anxiety when he has to dock from the lower station. I liked the dark colors Sessa uses at both helms to cut glare, but I had one gripe. At both stations, there’s a two-person seat, but a centrally positioned steering wheel prevents two adults from sitting side by side.
The salon seems to be made for the way Americans entertain. In addition to the one in the galley adjacent to the lower helm, there’s a second refrigerator, plus a separate freezer, in the portside cabinets aft. You don’t usually find this much cold stowage on a 45-footer. The retracting flatscreen TV is across from the starboard-side lounge. If you prefer to wind down in the cockpit but still covet privacy, you’ll like the three-position shade, which pulls down from the overhead and secures in three locations on the cool-looking composite rear flying bridge supports.
Primary access to the engine compartment is via a hatch in the cockpit sole. The genset is forward to port; the water heater, air-conditioning compressor and Besenzoni hydraulic pump are in a row outboard of the starboard engine. Accessories installed on the transom are easy to reach, but I’d relocate the fuel/water separators for the engines and generator from their current position, which is far forward on each side of the compartment. Owners might be reluctant to crawl up there to maintain them.
Sessa offers the Fly 45 with a choice of general arrangement plans. If you go with three staterooms, the galley is on the salon level. My test boat featured this option, and one of the after staterooms (both have two single berths) converts to a single queen. The forward master cabin has twin hanging lockers, plus stowage drawers in the base of the queen-size island berth.
Both the day and master heads have folding acrylic shower doors. A cover folds down over the commode in each area, so a person can sit down while showering. I also noted that each head had an air-conditioning duct, which will quickly get rid of vapor that collects on the surfaces.
Sessa builds the Fly 45 with a solid-fiberglass bottom and foam coring in the topsides, stringers and deck. The hull and deck are bonded, screwed and then sealed with fiberglass tabbing around the interior perimeter. This vessel is homologated in Europe’s Category B for recreational boats, which means it needs to withstand 40-knot winds and 13-foot seas.
Stylish inside and out, roomy and comfortable, the Sessa Marine Fly 45 gives buyers another worthy alternative in this popular segment of the market.
DISPL.: 31,967 lb.
FUEL: 336 gal.
WATER: 148 gal.
TEST POWER: 2 x 435 hp Volvo Penta IPS600 diesels
STANDARD POWER: 2 x 435 hp Volvo Penta IPS600 diesels