Absolute’s Navetta models have proven extremely popular in a relatively short space of time. The first Navetta model, the 58, made its debut at the 2014 Cannes Yachting Festival. The second model, the Navetta 52, was shown at Cannes the following year. The flagship Navetta 73 premiered in 2017, and now comes the Navetta 48, which reportedly is already sold out for a year’s worth of build slots in Italy.
The Navetta 48 is well-proportioned and immensely practical. She shares the same design cues as her sisterships: a snub bow and chine cheeks, a high foredeck, deep side decks, a near-vertical windscreen with shade from the deck above, a big flybridge and plenty of glass. And even though she’s the smallest Navetta, she offers many of the same onboard comforts as the rest of the line.
Her aft galley is on the same level as the aft deck, with the lounge and bridge raised a couple of steps. The décor is soft and subtle, a mix of high-gloss paint and various oaks. The bridge console sits over to starboard. Just to the right of the wheel there’s a full-height mostly glass side-deck door, an exclusive pantograph design used throughout the range. To port is an opening window, but the real wow factor is the windscreen, which is a 108-inch-wide piece of mostly flat and near-vertical laminated glass. From anywhere on board, the views forward are superb, and at the helm, they couldn’t be any better.
As for layout, the Navetta 48 has three staterooms and two heads, with an optional crew cabin aft. That aft cabin could be used for teenagers or guests, since it has a head and shower, and windows set into the transom. It adds $18,900. Any child or teenager is going to love the adventure of being in the captain’s cabin and, should this 48 ever have a lonesome crew or captain of her own, I don’t see them complaining.
The master stateroom is forward and down several steps from the salon, a position similar to where master staterooms are placed on many mega-yachts. Now, I can’t remember going into any stateroom aboard any yacht and not being able to point forward or aft with some accuracy, despite at times, and particularly on bigger yachts, not necessarily knowing which is which. But such was the case with the Navetta 48.
The stateroom door sits squarely on centerline, but the rest of the space is asymmetrical. The bed is positioned on something approaching a diagonal, allowing for awesome views out the 44-inch-wide windows.
Twenty-two-inch-tall portholes are on both sides and open for fresh air. You couldn’t get much more light into that space without peeling off the foredeck.
The other two staterooms — with a double berth to port and twin berths to starboard — have hullside windows that are just as big. Consequently, the whole lower deck feels light and bright. Headroom is more than 6 feet 3 inches in the owners’ and VIP staterooms, more than enough for my 6-foot-1-inch frame, and I barely had to stoop in the twin-berth stateroom.
When it comes to power, all Absolutes use Volvo Penta IPS engines. The Navetta 48 has twin 435 hp IPS600 D6s. During my time aboard Hull No. 1, the boat topped out at 27.5 knots with the engines spinning at their maximum 3,700 rpm. She wasn’t that heavy — no hardtop, no Seakeeper 6 gyrostabilizer, and no tender weighing as much as 660 pounds — and we had just four people aboard.
Full up, her fuel tanks carry 475 gallons, so at my preferred dawdle of 10 knots and a burn rate of around 6.5 gallons per hour per engine, she would run for some 330 nautical miles, figures that exclude a 10 percent reserve. Go slower and the range really stretches out. With the engines at 1,600 rpm and moving through the water at around 8 knots, she would run happily for 520 nautical miles. Or at a more brisk 18 knots and nearly 3,000 rpm, the range would be about 250 nautical miles. Take your pick.
She ran smoothly and predictably in a flat-calm Mediterranean Sea with barely a breath of warm Côte d’Azur breeze. Steering was precise with the IPS installation, and docking was easy with the twist-and-nudge joystick.
The 48 may be the smallest in Absolute’s Navetta line, but she has all the features and seakeeping that her larger siblings offer. She’s easily handled by a cruising couple too. Just choose a waypoint and go.
The founders of Absolute all started their careers at Cantieri Gobbi. The president of Absolute Yachts is Angelo Gobbi, who started building boats almost by accident in the mid-1960s. The son of a farmer, his first business was an automotive body shop that used polyester resins and fiberglass. When a small boatbuilder went out of business, he acquired its GRP molds. Scroll forward to 1970, and he had graduated to building bigger and better models of his own design — mostly trailerable craft popular on the lakes of northern Italy. At its peak, Cantieri Gobbi employed around 130 people and was producing around 900 boats a year. Azimut-Benetti acquired it in 2001 and rebranded it Atlantis. Two of the most experienced Gobbi technicians left in 2002 to start Absolute Yachts; Gobbi’s daughter joined them a year later, and he bought in as the largest shareholder in 2006. His first task was to help design the factory and 12-acre site that Absolute occupies today, just 8 miles north of Gobbi’s home village, Carpaneto, in the Emilia-Romagna region, about 80 miles from Bologna.
To ensure its vessels are ocean-ready, Absolute Yachts uses a “multidimensional grid system” construction process. Internal supports are built at the same time as the hull and deck mold. The internal supports are inserted into the hull while still in the mold, and are affixed with fiberglass. When the deck is placed into the hull, it goes through the same process, creating a monocoque structure.
Inside Absolute Yachts
Absolute Yachts, a northern Italy-based boatbuilder, opened in 2002. It employs around 250 people at its yard in Piacenza, which is about 40 miles southeast of Milan. All yachts are designed in-house: eight flybridge models from 45 to 72 feet length overall, and four 48- to 73-foot Navettas. Sales manager Cesare Mastroianni says Absolute builds about 85 boats per year, roughly half flybridge yachts and half Navettas. Trends suggest that capacity could double during the next five to 10 years, he says, with the builder expecting to stick with designs 80 feet length overall and smaller given that its site is close to 100 miles inland.