When asked why he liked the desert so much, actor Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia character answered, “Because it’s clean.”
I asked myself a similar question and generated much the same answer as to why I like the Ferretti Yachts 500.
The 50-footer’s profile has refined, balanced lines. The beauty is not so much about what’s there as it is about what’s not there.
Yes, all the appropriate features exist: There’s a raked-aft windshield; 136 square feet of flybridge with an aft-deck overhang, a single-seat helm station, a wet bar, booth seating, a table and sun pads; another sun pad on the superstructure forward; and 82 square feet of cockpit with a table and transom sofa. (That table converts to yet another sun pad, and there’s 67 square feet of swim platform.)
What’s missing is visual clutter. Elegance and timelessness are words bandied about too freely these days, but the Ferretti Yachts 500 has a design worthy of both.
The yacht is a creation of Ferretti Group’s strategic team, led by Piero Ferrari—who also just happens to be vice chairman of the automotive “prancing horse” legend that is Ferrari—and the group’s engineering department, with principal creative credits going to Milan, Italy-based Filippo Salvetti for exteriors and general arrangement, as well as La Spezia-based IdeaeItalia for interiors. The Ferretti Yachts 500 and the soon-to-splash Ferretti Yachts 1000 are IdeaeItalia’s first Ferretti projects.
The 500 has two interior-decor options. The version I was aboard had a bright Mediterranean vibe with light oak veneers—one a reconstituted surface with a fine, uniform grain and the other a coarse-grain gray. The other option is darker, warmer and more traditional with walnut.
Headroom varies from 6 feet, 5 inches to 6 feet, 7 inches across the aft deck, galley and salon. The cockpit and galley become like one space when the aft door is open and an adjacent half panel of glass is raised. There’s also a glass panel between the portside galley and part of the salon’s C-shaped sofa, a sensible protection from inevitable splashes. Another sofa is to starboard.
The bridge, also to starboard, is as comfortable as it is practical. A single bolster-cushioned helm seat addresses the console, which aboard this 500 had three Simrad displays: two optional 12-inch screens and one 9-inch monitor. The standard offering is one 9-inch display, plus the shifters/throttles and an optional joystick for docking. An opening window is adjacent to the lower helm.
Seas were lively off Italy’s coast when I got aboard, providing a great opportunity to see how this yacht performs when the going gets tougher. The backdrop shoreline was stunning. Porto Venere—along with neighboring villages Fezzano and Le Grazie; the three nearby islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto; and national parkland behind—has had a UNESCO World Heritage site designation for almost 25 years. The area is a worthy rival to the better known Amalfi Coast.
The Ferretti Yachts 500 was light on the helm and turned reasonably tightly. Twin 542 break-horsepower Cummins QSB 6.7 diesels reportedly deliver a top speed of 29 to 30 knots and a comfortable fast cruise around 24 to 25 knots. During runs on different headings and with the Humphree Interceptors set to autotrim mode, I registered just under and just over 30 knots—but only fleetingly. Most of the time, a speed of 27 knots plus a bit was all we could manage in the sloppy sea state.
A fast cruise around 24 knots sees the diesels spinning near 2,750 rpm, at which the total fuel burn is 45 gallons per hour. Allowing for a 10 percent reserve, there should be more than seven hours’ worth of run time, or about 170 nautical miles. Slow things to 1,500 rpm and just under 10 knots, and that same quantity of fuel delivers 325 nautical miles. The 500 I was aboard was a bit below half-load with six people, no tender, 50 percent fuel and virtually no water.
Like every Ferretti I’ve run over the years (and that’s quite a few), the 500 inspired total confidence. No creaking. No squeaking. These smaller Ferrettis are built at the brand’s Northern Italy hometown of Forli, which is around 45 miles to the southeast of Bologna and some 20 miles inland of the country’s east coast.
Belowdecks, the 500 packs in a lot thanks to V-boxes. The diesels are set far aft, virtually on top of the propellers. The standard layout has three staterooms and two showers; a two-stateroom version is available. The trade-off is the starboard-side twin bunk, mostly for more floor space in the forward VIP and much more in its en suite. Alternatively, that twin-bunk area can become a gym.
The 118-square-foot owner’s stateroom has a forward-facing queen berth, a 42-inch TV on the bulkhead, a two-seat sofa to port and windows with portholes. Despite the restricted height above the berth, there’s plenty of headroom where it’s needed: at the foot of the berth and to each side.
A crew cabin is an option with a single berth, head, sink, wet head and air conditioning. This cabin is a little squeezed between the engine room and transom; without the cabin, the space is a lazarette. Hatch access is under the aft-deck sofa’s seat cushion to port.
An optional hydraulic swim platform with 880-pound capacity can accommodate a Williams Turbojet 285 or 325 tender, depending on whether there’s an optional gangway.
The Ferretti Yachts 500′s unsullied lines, admirable performance, and upscale decor and layout should make the yacht a worthy successor to the retired 450 and 550 models that previously defined the entry point of the builder’s motoryacht portfolio. If upcoming models have the same look and feel, then Ferretti Yachts is on a solid heading.
Take the next step: ferretti-yachts.com