Reviewed: Uniesse 56 Super Sport

The Uniesse 56 Super Sport has polished lines, 40-knot performance and a bevy of original touches.

Uniesse 56SS
Depending on performance preference, the Uniesse 56SS can be set up with straight-shaft inboards, Volvo Penta IPS pods, Arneson drives or water jets.Jim Raycroft

It’s easy to see that the Uniesse 56SS is a yacht designed and built by yachtsmen, for yachtsmen.

As David Schwedel, executive director of the Uniesse Marine Group, says, “This is not a cookie-cutter yacht. This is a labor of passion.” The builder checks every stitch in the leather helm seats and encourages owners to select marble not from a sample but instead at the quarry. And for the 56 Super Sport, Uniesse added smart touches inside and out, from soundproofing to creature comforts.

Uniesse 56SS
The Uniesse 56SS has a galley down with an A&G fridge.Jim Raycroft

The 56SS is the smallest model in Uniesse’s three-model Super Sport line, which includes a 65 and a 70, and the builder customizes her just like the bigger sisterships. The 56SS that I got aboard was slate gray and black on the outside, looking like a stealth missile seemingly out of James Bond central casting. You can see all the interior broad strokes from the pictures: stylish but ever-so-comfy couches in the salon, full-beam master stateroom (more on that later), a VIP that rivals the master, and a third stateroom with twins.

But it’s the details that really make the difference when comparing this midrange cruiser with others.

Take the master’s en suite head, running fore and aft to starboard with a ­glass-and-stainless-steel divider that is functional art. Yes, the head proper is private, but the divider also allows a view out the hullside window. And the shower is lined in the owner’s choice of marble, with a rain shower recessed into the ceiling, next to a frosted skylight. There’s no ugly drain either; the marble sole is surrounded by a drain slot, an elegant solution.

Other ­interior touches aboard the 56SS include sliding salon doors that disappear, creating one-level alfresco living from the transom to the windshield, which has 6-foot-long carbon-fiber wipers. A pale-gray oak sole complements the theme of light and dark oaks throughout, with leather trim for countertops.

Uniesse 56SS
The salon sole is pale-gray oak.Jim Raycroft

The galley may be down, as is Euro tradition, but it is in an atrium more than 10 feet high and open to the salon, giving the chef overhead lighting from the windshield. Appliances include an A&G fridge with a built-in wine cooler, as well as a Miele induction cooktop.

At the helm, skippers have electric Besenzoni helm seats facing Garmin’s Glass Cockpit, which showcases information on twin 22-inch displays. The information includes GPS, chart plotter and radar, as well as FLIR night vision and a proprietary Uniesse systems monitor.

The yacht’s audiovisual system has iPad controls and multiple zones ­combining 3G and 4G Wi-Fi, Apple TV, and components from Panasonic, Waterfall, JL Audio, Canton and Revel. To control the system, the staterooms and salon are fitted out with iPad minis in docking stations.

Uniesse 56SS
Those are 22-inch Garmin displays.Jim Raycroft

So what’ll she do? The 56SS not only looks James Bond-ish, but she walks the walk. Power on our test vessel came from twin 1,000 hp Volvo Penta IPS1350s matched to pod drives. Owners can choose anything from conventional straight drives to ­Arneson drives for the rooster-tail fans—or even water jets.

With 2,000 horses snorting in the pod drives, this 56SS blazed across Miami’s Biscayne Bay flat-out at just a fraction under 41 knots, which is missile speed given the yacht’s nearly 30 tons of leather, marble and other materials. Volvo Penta’s team says it saw a similar speed in Europe, hitting 40.6 knots with 14 people aboard.

With the hammer down, the only word I could think to jot down was “hushed” thanks to soundproofing, and thanks to a monocoque hull and house structure with a blend of ­resin-infused materials: a solid 1½ inch hull ­underwater, Airex coring in the ­topsides, and transverse and longitudinal stringers of resin-encased closed-cell rigid foam. The engine beds are 4 inches wider than the Volvo Penta-required minimums, according to Uniesse.

Uniesse 56SS
The windshield wiper on the Uniesse 56SS is 6 feet long and made of carbon fiber.Jim Raycroft

At speed, there were no creaks or groans, even in a steep chop or hard turns. The only distracting sound came from a water bottle in the galley sink, until Uniesse president Rafael Barca removed it. (Like I said: attention to detail.)

In addition to the standard 21-kW Kohler genset, the engine room can accommodate a Seakeeper gyrostabilizer. The fit-out here is seamanlike, with stainless-steel ­plumbing and loomed wiring.

Back at the dock, I noted that the 56SS’s fairleads spun in my hand. Uniesse wasn’t content with just a beautiful stainless-steel fairlead for dock lines. No, the builder decided on custom-made ones, with twin rollers so dock lines don’t fray. It was yet another example of how the Uniesse 56SS hits the mark on the obvious and the not-so-obvious, with a splash of innovation.

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