Ferretti 760

Ferretti's new 760 combines Italian zest with American flavor.

I have been impressed with Norberto Ferretti and his boats since I visited him in Italy and toured his production facilities in 1993. At the time, the company was just beginning to take a serious look at the American market. Ferretti soon established a sales and support operation in the States, and products redesigned and engineered for export to our shores began to arrive. The new 760 is evidence that the process and the product have matured.

Even in Ft. Lauderdale, a town jaded by a robust market for exotic yachts, the 760 turns heads with her low, aggressive lines. She fits comfortably in the Ferretti lineup between the 730 and the 810, and shares distinct styling elements common to the family. While Italian design could hardly be described as conservative, Ferretti has carefully managed the evolution of its products and avoided the temptation to embrace passing trends. In my opinion, this enhances the marque's appeal and pedigree.

Performance shares equal billing in the Ferretti formula and has been a key element in the success of its products in America. Early on, Ferretti harvested our pent-up demand for performance in a motoryacht market that was virtually devoid of domestic challengers. While competition has stiffened, the 760 still has the refined feel of a premium import.

"Our customers are interested in style and performance", said Jim Varela, product manager for Ferretti Group USA. "Getting from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time comfortably is the bottom line."

I exercised the 760 in 2- to 4-foot seas off Ft. Lauderdale. She had the familiar, solid feel of other Ferrettis. Our test boat had 1,400 hp Caterpillar 3412Es. I recorded a top speed of 31.6 knots at 2260 rpm-a bit short of the Cats' 2300 rpm maximum. As adding owner's gear and accessories will increase the load, I suspect a bit of prop tweaking is called for.

She banks (inboard) in turns, and while the Italian power steering system is easy on the arms, it lacks positive stops at hard over, as are typical on some systems. I had the sense that more rudder might have been available.

The Rexroth electronic single-lever controls are a pleasure to operate. Positions are clearly marked graphically, and detents are easy to feel. The 760 accelerated to maximum speed in about 30 seconds and cruised effortlessly at a bit more than 29 knots (2100 rpm). At this throttle setting, the Caterpillar electronics indicated a fuel burn of 120 gallons per hour. At 23.8 knots (1800 rpm), I recorded a fuel burn of 86 gallons per hour. Ferretti offers a variety of engine options, and speeds up to 34 knots are possible, according to the builder.

Her flying bridge helm position is well organized, and the tilt-away helm pod will keep the radar and plotter out of the way when they are not in use. With multiple lounge areas, a barbecue and a wet bar, the flying bridge is the spot for owner-operators who wish to remain in the fray. There is convenient access from the afterdeck and the main cabin.

The pilothouse is small, business-like and isolated from the main deck public spaces. The pilothouse and galley share portside deck access via a door. Afterdeck controls are provided for docking stern-to.

Ferretti's engineering department employs tank testing and computer modeling to develop its hull forms. More important, it relies on its experience with proven hulls. The 760's has deep, fine forward sections that transition aft into an efficient planing surface with 12 degrees of deadrise at the transom. A chine ledge controls spray forward and defines the lifting surface aft.

The 760 is built in female tooling, with stitched fiberglass and Kevlar reinforcement used in the hull and superstructure laminate. A network of fiberglass stiffeners supports the solid hull bottom, while foam coring stiffens the hull sides, structural bulkheads, superstructure and decks. Fuel is carried in fiberglass tankage molded separately from the hull and positioned near the center of buoyancy to minimize its effect on longitudinal trim. Gelcoat is brushed into the mold by hand, and the resulting finish is above average.

Access to the mechanical systems appears good, and the engineroom's detailing meets the highest U.S. production boat standards. Ferretti Group USA handles after-sales warranty, and support is available 24-7.

While Italian designers have never lacked homegrown inspiration, there is a pleasing bit of cross-pollination in the 760's design. Italian design firm Zuccon International sculpted the 760's styling and arrangement, but American Marty Lowe was called on to develop an interior design package tuned to American tastes. Lowe is perhaps best known for her work with Bertram and is currently specializing in larger motoryachts, including work with Ferretti's Custom Line.

"European craftsmen are masters in wood joinery, however, soft décor items often receive less attention, Lowe said. She is obsessed with detail, and the 760's interior is turnkey. "Most of our American clients do not have the time to bother with the little things. I make sure that all of the little things harmonize.

Lowe's work complements the 760's beautifully executed high-gloss cherry joinery. This is the standard at Ferretti, and is the only wood available on the 760. The built-in entertainment system is a major improvement compared with systems on early imports, which were retrofitted with audio/video accessories. There are familiar brands in the galley, including a domestic side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. Those serious about cruising will want to add an additional freezer, perhaps in the crew quarters.

The 760 has V-drives, which allow the machinery space to be positioned farther aft. Crew quarters are forward of the machinery space and have a bit more room than they might have if they had been aft. The crew compartment also serves as a buffer between the machinery and the full-beam owner's suite and three guest staterooms.

The main deck is arranged with the saloon aft and a formal dining area and galley amidships. A magnificently engineered stainless-steel and glass bulkhead opens the saloon to the afterdeck.

Much has changed for Ferretti in recent years. While an impressive flock of boating brands has been merged into the Ferretti Group, I still feel that Ferretti best telegraphs Norberto Ferretti's passion and enthusiasm for boats and boating. If you have any doubt, test the 760. She just might make you feel like a kid again.

Contact: Ferretti Group USA, (954) 525-4550; www.ferrettigroupusa.com.