The Ferretti 550’s maiden voyage spanned more than two months and 1,500 nautical miles. Starting in July, she meandered from Cattolica on Italy’s east coast down the Adriatic seaboard, around the stiletto-heeled boot of the country, past Sicily and through the Strait of Messina, and up the west coast to the Italian and French rivieras, before arriving for her debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September.
STEADY AS SHE GOES
Never award points for fast and furious when it comes to flybridge cruisers, for which performance should always be more stately than startling. Ferretti Yachts’ design team clearly agrees with me because there are no engine options for this model. Twin 715 hp Cummins diesels, straight boxes and shafts deliver a top speed of 30 knots and a comfortable fast cruise of just over 25 to 26 knots, all perfectly acceptable for a model with a full-load displacement of around 66,000 pounds — and perfectly on message when it comes to brand DNA.
On the face of it, helm areas aboard Ferretti’s yachts haven’t changed too much, and for good reason. Fashion has never been allowed to get in the way of sensible ergonomics. The wheel, with that double-F hub, has looked the same for more than 20 years. The shifters and thruster toggles are precisely where they should be: easy to handle for the helmsman, but not where anyone else can accidentally nudge them. A breaker panel is right by the helm too. Both the 550’s main deck and flybridge helms are to port, but below, the shifters and thruster controls fall to the right hand; above, they go to the left hand to ease the docking process.
ON EVEN KEEL
Do you have family members who would like to cruise with you but regularly suffer from mal de mar? If so, opt for the Seakeeper 9 gyrostabilizer. It takes a half-hour or so to spin up to operating speed, and then it really works. If you haven’t cruised with one before, trust me. The unit doesn’t take up much space and can reduce boat roll by as much as 95 percent. During my time behind the wheel, I spotted some particularly lumpy water, a disturbed pocket of crosscurrents well offshore. I stopped us right in the thick of it. If you weren’t paying attention, you never would have known.
This yacht represents the builder’s return to the under-60-foot market with a striking design developed by Ferretti’s in-house team, along with Studio Zuccon International.
EVOLUTION OF THE SPECIES
Ferrettis have been among the most desirable flybridge motoryachts for around three decades. Here’s how its 50-somethings have evolved over time. Their lines have become less aggressive, more timeless. The windows are bigger, and, with the advent of hull windows, there are more of them. Main salons have more light, and visibility is better. And foredeck terraces have emerged, adding a new dimension to on-deck real estate.
All Ferrettis have fabulously big flybridges. Choose between the standard cloth Bimini top or a full hardtop.
The hydraulic bathing platform on the 550 is big enough for a Williams 325 jet tender, now almost de rigueur for a motoryacht of this size.
A docking station on the aft deck is optional. The Side-Power bow thruster is standard, and you can get a stern thruster too. (You don’t need the latter — until, of course, you need it, if you know what I mean.)
FAVORITE SPOT OUTSIDE
Aft-deck sofas are my favorite places aboard, and the one on the 550 ticks all the boxes. In marinas, they’re the place to watch the world slide by, the place where I like to indulge two perfectly compatible passions: books and coffee.
The layout of the Ferretti 550 is all about connecting to the tranquil waters around you, as well as to your friends and other guests on board.
ROOM FOR A KING
You’ll find great headroom in the owner’s stateroom, which is three steps down from the bottom of the companionway. I’m a half-inch north of 6 feet tall, and I had a full palm width to spare between the top of my head and the headliner just about everywhere in the master. That sets this yacht apart in this size range. The owner’s wardrobe is big too, and I love the two-seat booth seating and table to starboard. (A sofa’s an option.) Plenty of leather detailing and stainless steel complement the full-beam mirror behind the bed.
Building A Loyal Following
Ferrettis are well-built, meaning they are expertly crafted and solidly engineered without being inefficiently heavy. And this builder always designs its yachts for cruising speeds rather than top speeds — because that’s what’s really important for flybridge cruisers. Quality control and after-sales service have always been to a high standard too, which almost certainly accounts for the brand’s owner loyalty. (Ferretti claims 90 percent of clients are repeats.) I recall visiting all three of Ferretti’s production facilities a few years ago and being impressed from design through pre-delivery checks.
Open living is what everyone wants aboard these days, and the Ferretti 550 has it. The design of the big aft-deck door works with the main salon and aft-deck soles, which merge at a discreetly engineered gutter without any step. It all makes for great continuity between the inside and outside. The one-space perception is enhanced further by a dark lacquered panel that extends from the cockpit deck head into the main salon, and it includes striking strip lighting. Similarly, I really appreciated the way the teak decking was taken through into the galley aboard our test boat, but I can also see the challenge to that beautiful look: Having bare teak in a food-preparation area could end up looking grubby. The alternative is to opt for a galley sole the same as the one in the rest of the salon.
The first thing I noticed in the main salon was the uninterrupted views in all directions. The large glass sections really wow. Look at how big those salon windows are and how relatively little the pillars and mullions are around them.
COOL AND CALM
Ferretti interiors always shout quality, and this one yells with the best of them. Leather is one of those touch points this brand has always done beautifully. Twenty-five years ago, most Ferrettis would have had high-gloss cherry wood and heavily wrinkled, rich cream leather upholstery. Today’s decor aboard our test boat was ultra-cool, smooth gray leather with reverse-stitched seams and silk-lacquered, rift-sliced walnut veneers, all beautifully contrasted by taupe and dark chocolate lacquerwork.
Ferretti offers the 550 with an option for a crew cabin or overspill area in the transom. Most stateside buyers will likely be owner-operators and are more apt to use this space as a large lazarette for stowing fenders, extra lines and the like.
|Ferretti 550||Manufacturer Supplied Numbers|
|LOA||16,82 [m] – 55 ft 2 in|
|Max beam||4,82 [m] – 15 ft 9 in|
|Draft||1,51 [m] – 4 ft 11 in|
|Laden displacement||29.960 [kg] – 66,050 [lbs]|
|People on board||14|