A Touch of Italy

Ferretti's 650 HT brought to mind the sight of Italian sports cars.

Decades ago, I owned an Alfa Romeo Giulietta, which I thought was the ultimate Italian driving machine. Then one day I saw its sister, the Alfa Montreal. It was sleeker, sexier. The object of my passion shifted. I wanted that Montreal. That’s how I felt when I saw the first Ferretti 650 HT (hardtop) to reach North America’s shores. She took my thoughts to the old country. I’ve loved the Ferretti 620 from the day she was introduced five years ago, but one look at the 650 HT was, like that new Alfa, breathtaking. I’m still catching my breath.

MORE THAN A 3-FOOT DIFFERENCE As you probably guessed, the Ferretti 650 HT is about 3 feet longer than the Ferretti 620. But what exactly does that extra space do for the yacht? A lot more than you’d think at first glance. Open Galley On the 620, the galley was enclosed. On the 650 it has a large hinged window for cockpit access. The result is perfect for alfresco meals in the cockpit or at the trendy Italian glass-top dining table in the forward salon. Larger Windows The topsides are no longer perforated by tiny portholes. They now sport a stylish black stiletto treatment. It blends the enlarged windows seamlessly. Faster Appearance The “notched” sheer of the 620 is gone, leaving a clean sweep from bow to stern. The house is aerodynamic with a sweptback windshield and an unobtrusive bridge, and the result is a yacht that seems to be doing 30 knots while at anchor. Privacy Where it Matters The three staterooms each have en suite heads, much like the staterooms on the 620. The master on the 650 spans the full 17-foot-2-inch beam.
Bigger Swim Platform Don’t be fooled. The swim platform is hydraulic, and it can carry and launch a 12-foot tender. The platform submerges to a depth of 3 feet, with steps, so it’s like having a private beach when the tender is away.

The Go Behind the Show

The power for this particular 650 made us do a double take: Cat C18s of 1,150 horsepower each (upgraded from standard 1,015-horsepower C18s). These are departures from the usual MANs found on Ferrettis and mark a sea change for future Ferrettis — all 650s will be arriving with Cats. Don’t worry if you’re accustomed to MANs, because finding parts and service for Cats is rarely an issue. Marine mechanics are well-versed on them. At 80 percent load and 2,000 rpm, we were knocking off the miles at 25 knots (top speed was 30 knots). Owners will be able to eat up a lot of distance while still giving the engines a long life.

How the Designers Arrived Here 1972: A husband-and-wife team of young Italian ­architects, Giovanni Zuccon and Paola Galeazzi (above with daughter, Martina, and son, Bernardo, in a recent picture), starts a firm called Studio Zuccon. 1975: The couple are approached about a boat project. They have to learn basics about the bow and stern. The Technema is unveiled three years later. 1980s: The company ­collaborates on the 150-foot Al Fahedi and becomes Zuccon International Project. 1990s: The firm designs Gran Turismo cars and buildings for the European Space Agency, and is linked to Ferretti. 2015: A 262-footer is on the boards. Giovanni and Paola still lead the design process, while Martina and Bernardo bring a new generation to the Zuccon team.
Expanding Into Asia An Asian version of the 650 is in the works now that a Chinese group has acquired 75 percent of Ferretti. Few specifics are available, but we do know the new layout will cater to business-entertainment functions.
First and Lasting Impressions The owner of the Ferretti 650 HT we checked out uses her in the Northeast with his family. That seems to be the perfect fit — lounging off an island as steaks sizzle on the electric grill and drinks chill in the fridge. Open Space The interior is designed primarily in silver oak, a color that visually opens up the already airy salon and provides contrast with the dark walnut sole. Extra Cabin For owners who want a captain or mate, there’s a crew cabin accessed by stairs from the cockpit. For owners without crew, this is likely to become a teen cave. Protected Electronics The helm has a pop-up fiberglass dash that protects the electronics when not in use. Equally well protected are a handful of toggle switches and the VHF handset, which are tucked under a curved Lucite lid. Entertainment Central Just behind the companion seat on the bridge is a console with an electric barbecue and a fridge for afternoon cookouts. It makes us think of the ideal weekend excursion. VIP Treatment The VIP forward (above) is pleasant and bright, with large windows, twin hanging lockers and a shower in the private head. To starboard is a guest cabin with twin berths and, like in the other cabins, a large window.