This is the first flybridge model by Italian company Sessa Marine. Gerasimos Gerolymatos travelled with it and describes his experience from the pilothouse.
Sessa Marine shipyard chose the famous summer resort Tropea in Calabria (Italy) to test its new luxurious Sport Fly 54 in the sea. We had the single-digit hull numbered yacht at our disposal for one whole day.
Sessa Marine is a large, good quality shipyard in Italy, that is prolific and specialised in designing and building motor yachts.It offers a wide range of yachts covering a number of different tastes. The variety of models offered by the shipyard consists primarily of four different lines: the Fishing Line from 7 to 11 metres long, the Open Line from 7 to 12 metres long, the Cruiser Line comprising vessels from 8 to 12 metres long and their large category, the Yacht Line, with vessels from 13 to 23 metres long which also includes the yacht that was the subject of our test trip. Sport Fly 54 introduces a new era. It is the first flybridge yacht by Sessa Marine and to mark the event we decided to test the new vessel. Our “field of action” was the Aeolian archipelago (Lipari Islands), north of Sicily, famous for its volcanic seabed and Stromboli island with an active volcano. We therefore had the chance to travel aboard the yacht in its homeland and natural environment, the Mediterranean.
Report from Italy: Gerasimos Gerolymatos
About the yacht
The Sessa Marine crew waited for us at the marina of Tropea, a beautiful traditional settlement in Southwest Italy. The yacht’s engine had only been run for a few hours, the furniture and equipment were still covered by protective wrapping. At first sight, you get a feel for this vessel’s comfortable and generous space. It was designed by Christian Grance, who is behind a number of successful Sessa Marine projects. 16.2 metres in length (including the swim platform) and 4.7 metres of beam, the yacht has a slim and clear line, large glass surfaces and a sporty shape. Its displacement without load reaches 22 tonnes and its draught is 1.4 metres. Its V-poliedric hull is made of glass-reinforced polyester (GRP) with a 14.5-degree deadrise at transom. In the engine room, two Volvo Penta engines are installed with a total power of 1800 hp, which can exceed 30 knots, as GPS will show us later.
Boarding the yacht is easy thanks to a telescopic ladder, which can also be operated with a remote control. The first thing you see is a comfortable outdoor lounge with a teak-laid floor. From here you can access the 3.67 metre-long swim platform which can safely carry a tender boat up to 3.20 metres. For passenger convenience, there is an electro-hydraulic davit system under the platform, which sinks and makes access to and from the tender boat easier. Another design innovation that enhances the yacht’s functionality is a large folding table in the outdoor lounge. This is comprised of a wooden table with folding base under the sofa which can be used occasionally and saves space when it is not needed.
Still in the outdoor area, we safely walk around the side decks to the bow deck where you will find one more living area. With special cushions in place, this lounge converts to a sunbathing area that can host up to 3 people. At the stem end you will find the anchor storage, fresh water wash-down system and the windlass. As for the fenders, these have their own separate storage space, so that everything is stowed away during the trip.
As we go up on the flybridge - the yacht’s upper deck from the ladder to the stern - we see a well-designed area, functional, and comfortable enough to host all passengers. A wet bar and barbecue are located abaft, whilst under the bar there is a litter bin, an ice-maker and a fridge. This area has a comfortable C-shaped divan which completely surrounds a wooden table. Afore there is one more sunbathing area with cushions, and to the right the fully-equipped second pilothouse which offers an uninterrupted view of the sea ahead.
In the hull we see a warm and welcoming salon. The dining room is on the right (in this version of the layout) and opposite there is a chaise longue and a stylish wooden piece of furniture with a pop-up flat-screen TV. It must be said that the shipyard offers a wide range of layouts from which clients can choose. Closer to the bow one level up is the well-equipped galley, which covers all your needs, even on long journeys. Opposite is the central pilothouse, fully equipped with easy-to-read instruments that provide full control of the yacht. It has a classy Italian style design with slim lines and elegance that makes it look like a luxury house rather than a yacht. It is true that Italian designers often try to apply modern architecture to yachting and it would seem that they do so with success.
Going down to the lower deck, we see the cabins. There are three of them, the first of which is the master cabin, located in the centre of the yacht taking advantage of the maximum beam (4.7 m), with a double bed, separate bathroom, wood panels, entertainment systems and independent air conditioning. It is well ventilated by the large portholes. Secondly, the guest cabin has two bunk beds and is suitable for children. Finally afore there is the VIP cabin, with a double bed, storage space and en suite bathroom. The yacht can comfortably host 5-6 people and provides excellent living conditions for a four-member family or two couples.
With four passengers on board we sailed off into the open sea. There were broad waves caused by the mistral (northwest) wind, that gradually blew stronger. The yacht responded sufficiently to handling moves and even in these conditions it planed quickly in relation to its type and displacement. During the trip, there was stability and good response to manoeuvring. The captain’s seat was well-fitted, visibility was decent and joysticks were in the correct position. Navigation was quite simple, the panel consisted of large and clear instruments which provided information at all times and were positioned at a good angle in relation to the captain’s seat. The Volvo engines did a great job and IPS system with its propellers facing the bow seemed to cooperate fine with the hull. The yacht’s speed was set at approximately 2,000 revs with 25 knots, which is not bad if you consider that the mistral had grown stronger whilst we were heading to Stromboli, meaning we were travelling almost fully against the wind. After we sailed round the volcanic island, we knew from the weather that it was time to return. We turned around and sailed with the wind abaft, planing fast on the broad waves. With a bit of skilled steering, at full speed ahead and 2,550 revs the boat exceeded 30 knots, according to the GPS.
To conclude, the new Sport Fly 54 is an excellent proposal for those looking for a modern yacht in this class who have high demands in terms of living conditions, aesthetic quality and seaworthiness.
Measured with GPS
Fuel tanks 30%, fresh water tanks 25%
Total length 16.2 mt
Beam 4.7 mt
draught 1.4 mt
displacement 22 tonnes
fuel tank 2x 1000 lt
fresh water tank 566 lt
Volvo Penta engines IPS 900