Five of the season’s most interesting launches were put through their paces in the Med—with each yacht bringing something new to the water.
Test-driving a car that you’ve had your eye on is one thing, but finding the right watercraft is altogether more challenging. This cheat sheet is here to guide you through the selection process, the result of first runs on a handful of new releases ranging from Dominator’s 11-metre Midi Ilumen M35 to the 52-metre Baglietto T52. Each has been selected not just for being new to market but also for helping to advance the industry in some description, whether through cutting-edge propulsion, more-efficient hull shapes or forward-looking interior design. Anchors aweigh!
After stepping aboard Baglietto’s newest T52 at its yard in La Spezia, Italy, we were instantly taken with the 130-square-metre flybridge, reportedly the largest on any 52-metre craft, connected to the foredeck lounge via a retractable staircase. Also noteworthy: five generously sized social areas across the exterior of the Francesco Paszkowski design. Co-designer Margherita Casprini’s vision for the interior, meanwhile, matches dark-oak floors with a single wood and stone—teak and Botticino marble—for a pared-back aesthetic that’s highlighted by stainless-steel accents and custom furniture. At sea, the model is distinguished by Baglietto’s first hybrid propulsion system. The boat cruises the harbour at 10 knots with neither generator noise nor engine vibration, though the T52 can transition to full diesel at any time. The two MTU 16V2 engines deliver a 17-knot top speed with a range of about 2,000 nautical miles, but in electric-diesel mode the range extends to 5,500 nautical miles. The T52 can also stay in electric mode at anchor, powering the house systems at 23 kWh for 10 hours. Julia Zaltzman
Dominator Midi Ilumen M35
Montenegro’s fjord-like Bay of Kotor is an ideal testing ground for Dominator’s new $2 million Midi Ilumen M35, which the Italian yard designed as a petite doppelgänger for a client’s 27-metre Ilumen 28M. Its billing as an 11-metre “mini-superyacht” sounds pretentious, but the details reveal a yacht-like quality: hand-laid teak decks with splashes of mirror-polished stainless steel and a chic reverse-angle windshield.
Likewise, inside the cabinare Astana Gray marble surfaces and hand-stitched Alcantara bulkheads. But the M35 jettisons any superyacht comparison with its 69 km/h top speed, thanks to twin224 kW Volvo D4 turbo diesels that also propel it to a range of 300 nautical miles at 40 km/h. The M35 handles well in moderate seas, the turning precise if a bit light. In all, this Midi is correct to consider itself a maxi. Howard Walker
Riva 82 Diva
It’s hard to beat running a Riva throttle-down along the French Riviera, which is how we experienced the 25-metre Diva. The model delivers on the brand’s promise of a muscular profile along with a sporty ride—50 km/h, with the upgraded 1417 kW MAN V12s and a full load of fuel. Despite displacing 85.4 metric tons, the Diva handles like a day boat. High-gloss Italian wenge gives the interior a contemporary sophistication, but it’s hardly conventional. A mirrored hallway between the staterooms not only enhances natural light but also imparts a playful, fun-house sensibility, and the exterior is all about open space: foldout platforms widen the stern by around three metres, while the 40-square-metre flybridge is the largest in its class. There’s even a lounge on the foredeck, which is where we happily retire after finally ceding the helm. Kevin Koenig
80 Sunreef Power Eco
A breakthrough in all-electric motor yacht design, the 80 Sunreef Power Eco’s 24-metre by 12-metre dimensions create an airy interior with usable space. Instead of needing to plug in to recharge, the 80 Eco relies on thin shock-resistant solar panels within the hulls, superstructure and hardtop that replenish the 330 kWh battery banks connected to twin 180 kW motors. The four-cabin cat also has a smart energy-management system to monitor features such as its low-draw air-conditioning. On the water, it’s pleasant, silent and slow. At eight knots, it can run for eight hours, with a range of 64 nautical miles. The top end is 12 knots, though Sunreef was cagey about how long a charge lasts at that speed. “In electric, it’s less about knots and more about watts,” says the captain. Sunreef has announced the new 23-metre Ultima, a sleeker design with diesel-electric propulsion. J.Z.
Wally powerboats tend to be svelte sea creatures, known for their performance and futuristic appearance. The new Wallywhy150 veers sharply from that mould, at least aesthetically, with its extremely wide body. Yet it still manages to reach a top end of 22 knots, laudable for a 24-metre craft displacing 93.6 tons at a light load. During our sea trial off the coast of Venice, Italy, two impressions resounded. First, the unusually quiet navigation, even in the aft salon, positioned in proximity to the three Volvo IPS 1350 engines. Second, the innovation of the interior, which features a main suite in the bow with 270-degree wraparound windows. The exterior is defined by large spaces for socialising and water sports. In fact, the boat is designed to replicate the experience of a seaside villa, a sensation aided by Humphree stabilisers and a Seakeeper 26 gyro for balance. Giacomo Barbaro
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