As a company Milan-based Advanced Yachts may be just four years old, but it is making a big impression with its semi-custom range, represented in the UK by Simon Clay and Joff Brown’s company Whitecap Ltd. Their yachts combine high performance and race boat know-how with superyacht fit out and build quality, all in a state of the art package that is the last word in Italian elegance and style.
Set up by Italian entrepreneur Marco Tursini and his wife Antonella Di Leo, Advanced Yachts works closely with some of the most respected companies in the industry. Its yachts are built in Fano, with structural engineering provided by Gurit.
At present the Advanced Yachts range comprises four models: the A44, A60, A66 and A80. These are all from pedigree race boat designers, but with exterior styling and interior design by Nauta Yachts, which works regularly with Southern Wind and Baltic and has applied its magic to maxis like My Song, Idea and Nilaya.
The first Advanced Yacht, launched in 2010, was the A66 designed by Reichel-Pugh, who last autumn also delivered drawings for the company’s new flagship A80. The A66’s accommodation features a master stateroom forward and twin cabins aft, but the main feature is the semi-raised saloon area, spanning her full 5.4m beam, with the galley forward of the main bulkhead and natural light flooding in from deckhead and topside windows. As Jim Pugh observes: ‘The interior on this boat is amazing. You go down below and you think you are on a much bigger boat.’
But it is the A66’s exterior lines that take your breath away, with an elevated transom and a modern near-plumb bow. In particular the boat sets a new benchmark for uncluttered decks – aside from jib sheets, nothing is visible above the large acreage of teak, with lines piped back to the working area of the cockpit, aft of the guest seating.
As with all the Advanced Yachts range, the A66 combines beauty with practicality and plenty of well engineered details. This being a semi-custom build, there is certain flexibility in the general arrangement. For example the first A66 has a two berth cabin for the owner’s children opposite the galley, while the second example to go afloat uses this space as a breakfast bar/office. Similarly, the Felci-designed A60 comes in flush deck or semiraised saloon versions.
Designer Jim Pugh says there is the possibility of re-specing the A66 cruising boat for racing, if desired, with a deeper draft and a higher performance sail plan. While the first A80 is in build, due for launch in 2015, Advanced Yachts is already investigating a second to be built entirely in carbon fibre for a client who is in search of a performance boost.
A newer model to be launched this July is the A44, from long term America’s Cup designer, Roberto Biscontini. ‘For many years I had the idea of developing a boat which wasn’t a full-on racing boat, but also had some cruising characteristics,’ he says. ‘Looking at normal boats, many still have IMS or even IOR characteristics, which are just not needed these days.’
With his racing pedigree, the challenge for Biscontini was maximising the A44’s performance without making her overly heavy or expensive. Fortunately, Biscontini says, the A44’s beamy hull shape is now quite common, especially in offshore race boats. Construction is in glass/Corecell/epoxy, but with carbon fibre local reinforcing.
The A44 features twin rudders, enabling easy control - Biscontini was converted to this following his work on the Camper VO70. Another VO70 feature is the single central mainsheet winch. Unlike the A66’s retractable bowsprit, the A44 employs a fixed bowsprit, with the anchor stowed beneath it and a short babystay to counteract gennaker loads.
Again, her interior is vast and open. Part of this is delivered through use of ring frames rather than full bulkheads, but also because Nauta hasn’t shoehorned too much in. Open to the saloon, there is an owner’s double berth forward and a double aft to starboard, with a large bathroom opposite. The interior seems like an 80 footer’s.
Advanced Yachts’ Aldo Tomasina explains the philosophy: 'yachts of this size typically come with three cabins and two bathrooms, but most of the time only one cabin and one bathroom get used, so why not focus on these?' This way you have the feeling of a large suite inside gaining more room on deck.
On deck, there is again teak bow to stern, with sail controls fed below deck. The sail inventory includes a square top mainsail, a 106% overlapping genoa, a gennaker and a Code 0 flying from the bow.
A racing A44 is also available. According to Biscontini, the boat was designed with a flexible displacement, and a racing version might shed as much as one tonne from the standard version’s 6,700kg.
Expect great things from Advanced Yachts. ‘The idea is to exploit the fantastic know-how and craftsmanship that we have in Italy to build top quality boats,’ Aldo Tomasina concludes. ‘The boats’ quality is very high in terms of their interior, finishing and all the small details. But it is not just aesthetics, it is functionality too. We want to be at the top technically, making performance boats that are elegant and very comfortable to live in.’
Whitecap’s Simon Clay comments: ‘we are seeing that as technology facilitates advances in design, the sailing market is becoming more knowledgeable and demanding in terms of what is achievable in marrying performance with luxury in a high end product. Advanced Yachts have achieved this without exception and are setting new benchmarks through their present size range of 44 feet up to 80 feet.’
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