Calling All Cruisers: The Schaefer 560

Schaefer Yachts enters the U.S. market with a solid 56-foot design.

Schaefer 560, Schaefer Yachts
The 560 is new in the U.S., but the Brazil-based company has built 3,000 vessels.Norton Jose

Attention to detail is the driving force behind the Schaefer 560. Many builders say as much, but my sea trial of this yacht was the first time a shipyard’s namesake called to make sure everything was going well. Márcio Schaefer “is a boater first, then a businessman,” says Samuel Brito, the Brazilian builder’s CEO of U.S. operations. He says Schaefer is hands-on as chief designer, and his three facilities allow him to source, construct and quality-control just about every component of his yachts.

The 560 is the first Schaefer design to enter the U.S. market. One of nine Schaefer models ranging from 32 to 83 feet length overall, the 560 has several alfresco areas, including family-size foredeck sun pads, bow bench-style seating, a hydraulic swim platform for beach access, an L-shaped cockpit ­settee with wooden table and an open flybridge. Sliding open the aft cockpit door and panels makes the main deck one indoor-outdoor entertainment space.

Schaefer 560, Schaefer Yachts
Salon seating includes an L-shaped settee to port with an armchair flanking a foldout wooden table. Two ottomans stow under the table, effective as seats or footrests after a long wheel watch.Norton Jose

Just inside the door is a portside galley with sink, microwave, fridge, freezer and cooktop. The galley’s location makes it easy to serve guests in the main salon and cockpit. An island contains a raised-glass shelf for serving and secures the branded glassware and mugs and cups in drawer cutouts. The lower helm ­station has two 20-inch multifunction displays plus autopilot, VHF and joystick for close-quarters maneuvers.

There is a three-stateroom, two-head layout belowdecks with a forepeak VIP and island berth, and twin-berth ­staterooms abaft and to starboard. The full-beam (16 feet, 3 inches) amidships master has a double berth and en suite head. The master also has a sofa to port and a 40-inch LED TV. That’s a lot of amenities in 56 feet, and Schaefer fits it well.

Twin 625 hp Volvo Penta IPS800 diesels get the 56,658-pound Schaefer 560 cruising at 16.8 knots at 1,800 rpm. Wide open, she has a speed of 30 knots at 2,400 rpm.

As spacious as the master stateroom is, the engine room is equally noteworthy. With twin 625 hp Volvo Penta IPS800 diesel engines coupled to pod drives, the engine room has a layout that allows access all around the power plants, ancillary systems and maintenance points.

Her horsepower is well matched to the yacht’s modified-V hull form, with 14 degrees of transom deadrise. The 560 performed solidly on the salt, all the way up to her 30-knot top-end speed.

The yacht’s flybridge is an excellent gathering space. To starboard is the low-profile helm, and a forward lounge pad gets sun worshipers just a little closer to those rays. A hardtop protects a U-shaped settee with foldout table that is perfect for alfresco dining.

All in all, the Schaefer 560 is a smart first offering for American cruisers, a turnkey package that is ready to travel.

Schaefer 560, Schaefer Yachts
Additional design elements include high rails for safe transit in a seaway. There’s teak decking, which is welcome when the sun beats down all day. The yacht is prewired for a Seakeeper gyro. Schaefer also installs a manually operated awning instead of a motorized one, eliminating potential mechanical issues.Norton Jose
Schaefer 560, Schaefer Yachts
Is there a better way to enjoy your time on the salt than cooking fresh fish on the barbecue after a morning of snorkeling, or perhaps having a pregame, on-the-water tailgate? This grilling station can help.Norton Jose