Reviewed: Absolute Yachts 56 Fly

The 28-knot, utility-packed Absolute Yachts 56 Fly is refined, comfortable and versatile.
Absolute Yachts 56 Fly
The 56 Fly is a quiet yacht. We measured 70 dB (similar to a television’s sound) at the helm at top speed. Courtesy Absolute Yachts

In director John Huston’s 1948 film Key Largo, Edward G. Robinson’s gangster character, Johnny Rocco, says: “Yeah, that’s right. I want more.”

Well, when it comes to yachts, we’re just like him. We want more light, more space, more volume—all of which usually means more weight, and implications for performance and range.

It’s hard to give us more without sacrificing what we already have and want to keep, but that’s exactly what the Absolute Yachts 56 Fly has achieved. It falls in the boatbuilder’s lineup between this past year’s 60 Fly debut and next year’s 52 Fly, and it’s a yacht with serious personality. This Italian-built yacht is, as the builder says, all about charisma.

The 56 Fly has a snub-nosed bow and big windows forward that, to my mind, look like the eyes of a sea turtle. Those full-height picture windows to the sides benefit hugely from notched, cut-down bulwarks, as does the aft deck from the fretted quarter rail. These design elements are all about boosting the views out and underscoring the connection to the sea.

Absolute Yachts 56 Fly
Oak keeps the interior feeling light and bright. The tender stows on the hydraulic swim platform. Courtesy Absolute Yachts

In profile, the 56 Fly has an abundance of glass, and a lot of it is structural. I like the side-deck overhangs and the way the hull appears to conclude with a raked-aft transom but doesn’t. There is only a low transom to aft-deck height. Rather than adding something conventionally opaque higher up, there’s just a stainless-steel guardrail and a glazed lower balustrade to provide a safe separation of the aft deck and hydraulic swim platform. Like most of the flybridge above, the yacht’s “cockpit terrace” is left bare so owners can choose from a range of Terraforma modular furniture or other setups.

Inside, there’s a galley aft, made all the better for the views between the overhead cupboards and the work surface. Near the galley is an amidships lounge with a dinette. Bucket seats are at the helm console to starboard with an adjacent side-deck door. Those picture windows are made all the more splendid because their center sections open.

Solar panels atop the optional hardtop make 1.5 kW of peak power available during the day. It should be enough to run a TV and the usual fridges and freezers (but not the air conditioning) without the need to burn diesel fuel.

Absolute Yachts 56 Fly
The abundant glass means all the staterooms have windows and opening portholes. Courtesy Absolute Yachts

The main salon’s decor majors on light- and dark-stained oak veneers finished in a mix of mattes and satins. The sole is also oak and treated with a nonslip lacquer. Owners can upgrade to the same finishes in the staterooms instead of the standard carpeting.

Those staterooms manage to offer quite a lot. There’s a little more than 6-foot-4-inch average headroom just about everywhere. The owners’ stateroom is forward, where there will be less noise from the engines underway and when the yacht is docked stern-to. There’s substantial space around the forward-facing king berth, along with a walk-in closet and ocean views from the elevated windows.

The VIP stateroom is full-beam amidships and large enough that some owners might choose to call it home. The smallest stateroom is to starboard with transverse berths and a full head across the companionway to port, doubling as the day head. A door in the back of this stateroom’s closet leads to a low crawl space above the keel that runs from amidships far forward to the bow thruster. If it weren’t for the door handle, you would never know it was there. That’s the place for strategic stores.

There is room in the transom for an en suite crew cabin with twin berths, meaning the cabin could serve as a fourth stateroom for owner-operators. Otherwise, the space serves as a lazarette. It’s accessed via a pantograph-style door and half-hatch on the aft deck. Owner-operators or crew can access the engine room through there.

Like the rest of Absolute’s model portfolio, this yacht has a pair of 600 hp Volvo Penta IPS800 diesels. They reportedly deliver a top speed of 27 to 28 knots. That’s what I got at half-load with the Trim Assist system engaged. At a fast cruise of 23 to 24 knots, the 56 Fly’s range is a theoretical 300 nautical miles. At a leisurely 10 knots, owners could conceivably run for 500 nm.

Absolute Yachts 56 Fly
The backrest on the right folds down to increase the sun pad space. Courtesy Absolute Yachts

The 56 Fly is good to drive, whether from the lower helm or up top. Visibility is unobstructed from up on high, despite the height of the foredeck. Under acceleration, the bow rises steadily to a maximum 3.5 degrees before dropping off half a degree at the upper reaches of the rpm and speed range.

Alas, my day on board had relaxed sea conditions—no wind and virtually no swell—but Absolute Yachts says the 56 Fly is built for offshore passages in anything up to 40-knot winds and 13-foot seas.

A Seakeeper 9 is the usual gyrostabilizer for this model, but this particular 56 Fly, which was bound for Hong Kong, didn’t have one. This hull also lacked the increasingly popular Dynamic Positioning System option, passerelle and crew cabin—all owner choices that illustrate the builder’s ability to personalize the Absolute 56 Fly in significant ways.

Owners’ Retreat

Absolute is a champion of the forward owners’ stateroom. All but two of its seven 48- to 75-foot Navetta models have one, and those that don’t are older. This past year’s new models, the 48 Coupé and 60 Fly, both have the master up front, as does this latest, the 56 Fly.

The Lineup

Absolute’s 17-model portfolio comprises nine Flys, seven Navettas and one Coupé. The builder employs 250 people and is expected to deliver about 90 boats this year.

Where it’s Made

Absolute’s shipyard is in Podenzano, Italy, around 75 miles or so inland. About 100 miles to the southwest, the coastal town of Varazze is where most final commissioning and pre-delivery checks are done. Most sea trials are conducted from the town’s marina.

What’s in a Name?

Absolute is now giving its models project names and motifs, adding a little extra personality to its creations. Absolute calls the 56 Fly model “Charisma,” which is all about attractiveness and charm that can inspire devotion. The motif for this word is five stylized origami boats, and it’s used in just one spot aboard: within the laminate on a bottom corner of a main salon window. No words, just the graphic. Cool.

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