Ferretti Custom Line Navetta 26 meter

Ferretti's new Custom Line Navetta 26 meter offers the comfort of a superyacht in one sweet package.

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I would never have thought it possible to be writing this report while heading along the Cotes d'Azure in the South of France in 30 knots of wind and seas up to five feet. But here I am, the ride level and true thanks to the wonders of modern stabilizing systems. There is a complete absence of vibration: I may as well be in my office at home except for the wonderful scenery passing along the coast and the azure blue seas. This is what yachting should be like!

The thing to understand about this new Custom Line design is that it is not just a pretty face but a fully fledged sea-going ship.Navetta means "little ship" in Italian and this yacht certainly fits into that category. At 12 knots I would have expected us to be rolling all over the place in the seas that were running that day, but the Navetta is the perfect mobile office for those who have to work when they are at sea. As a relaxing long-range cruising yacht it is simply brilliant: Comfort for the owner and his guests is given a very high priority in the design.

But it is those stabilizing systems that really transform this yacht into a pleasurable experience that few competitors can match. As far as I know this is the only motor yacht with two stabilizing systems, one for use at anchor or when stopped, and the other for use underway. The Anti-Rolling Gyro, which is a Ferretti specialty, works wonders when stopped. At our exposed mooring in Cannes, the Navetta could lie very quietly with hardly any movement while the yachts alongside were all over the place. Out at sea later on, the gyros were switched off and the Trac fin system took over. Here the ride was level and true, even with the seas on the beam. You do notice a slightly more jerky type of movement, however, as the fins counteract the wave-induced motions.

The real test of the performance of this yacht and its stabilizers came when we turned round and headed into the waves. You do not appreciate the size of waves until you head into them and now they were running at a good six feet high. With the triple flaps down the Navetta went into the waves at a steady 11 knots and while there was copious spray flying about, the ride was very acceptable in these challenging conditions. It is not often that a motoryacht can be tested in this way on a sea trial. This one definitely showed that the Navetta can cope with the rough as well as the smooth.

After this confidence-building demonstration of the Navetta's capabilities in rough seas I would quite happily have taken the interior for granted, but even here there were surprises. Inside it is like an oasis of calm, thanks to the almost complete absence of vibration and noise. The measured noise levels were the lowest I have ever recorded. Thick insulation and sensible engineering in the power department means no annoying rattles. And consider this: because of the level ride, there is no need to stow everything away for a sea passage. Just sit back and relax.

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There is accommodation here to delight even the most discerning owner. You can specify your own internal woods and fabrics, of course, but I loved the relaxing combination of light oak, white chairs and textured fabric panels. Contrasts are not avoided: The lounge area of the saloon has a welcoming intimacy, while the forward dining area has a sharper feel with its glass table and those white leather chairs. A passage on the port side takes you to the day head and then onto the master suite forward; on starboard is the fully equipped galley and access to the crew accommodation.

A spiral stair leads down to the guest suites, where you have the option of a three- or four-cabin layout. We had the three-stateroom option on the test yacht: The VIP suite is a full-width stateroom combined with a twin and a double cabin. (On the four-stateroom option what would be the VIP space becomes two double cabins.) The main deck level master suite has wonderful light from the large side windows; you can wake up with a panoramic view, no rocking, and swaddled in luxury. For instance, the bathroom is one of the best. I've seen, designed for two people with twin wash basins and a double shower. The light oak used in the suite extends into the bathroom décor, matched up to marble tops.

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The full-width VIP stateroom is almost as luxurious and the only thing missing here is the view, more restricted because of the lower vantage point. Still, the Navetta has two sets of large windows in the hull so that every stateroom has at least one making them light and airy. The same appealing and opulent décor is continued in these lower staterooms, all of which have extensive walk-in closets and luxury bathrooms.

There are some other great features on the Navetta. In the accommodation there are two large storage rooms for guest suitcases or other equipment that might normally clutter up the cabins. In addition to the main control station in the pilothouse, there are two wing stations, one on each side of the pilothouse and a third one aft for docking. The main tender stowage is on the bridge deck, with launching by crane, but a narrow garage built into the stern also has space for a small tender or personal watercraft; when the door is lowered it makes a great swim platform. A nice touch.

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You also have many choices for dining on board the Navetta. The primary one is in the forward end of the saloon, but there is provision for cockpit dining. Even aft of the pilothouse there is a deck with settees and a table complete with a barbecue and counter. Wine coolers, ice boxes and ice makers are located at strategic points around the vessel; if you're lucky, you may visit the private bar in the master suite. One thing's for sure, you never need go short of a refreshing drink. There is even fizzy water in the galley-on tap.

Powering the Navetta is a pair of 900 hp-MAN diesels that look tiny in the spacious engine room. These give speeds up to 16 knots and you can get an extra 2 knots if you specify the larger 1,100-hp units. The engines drive through V-drive gearboxes with the propellers contained within the depth of the hull skeg.

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On the operations side, the pilothouse comes fully equipped with a wide range of electronics that are mainly up to big ship standards. An ARPA radar helps with collision avoidance and there are two chart plotters. An array of communications equipment allows you to keep in touch with the world via satellite, VHF or GSM connections. A Gi8 computer system allows all the auxiliary systems on board to be monitored and controlled through a touch-screen display. While the helm is served by a single impressive-looking adjustable captain's chair, there is a curved settee and table at the rear of the pilothouse.

The Navetta has Wifi and GSM phone connections throughout the accommodation to give broadband connections when required. It is hard to believe that you might want to watch TV with all the exciting distractions on board, but each stateroom and guest area is equipped. There is even one for the seating area behind the main helm. A small pity here is that this seating is too low for a clear view ahead, something that I am sure many guests would appreciate. And the only sunbed is on the top of the forward coachroof. On the plus side there is a spa pool at the aft end of the bridge deck and there is the potential for sunbathing up here.

From the outside, this yacht looks as though it has been developed to fit the requirements of the interior rather than being designed to stand out from the crowd.Yet the particular Navetta tested is Norberto Ferretti's personal yacht, and I can see why he has gone for this option. Here you have all the comfort and capability of a superyacht in a compact package that can give you access to long range cruising, but also venture into those out-of-the-way places of the world that the larger yachts cannot reach.