La veloce vita

Ferretti’s 860 was quick to transition from concept to launch, but how does she stack up in the real world? We step aboard in Cannes and take her for a spin to find out.

Written by Kevin Koenig

31 August 2023


Italians are not known for moving slowly. When a lightning bolt of inspiration hits – un folgore, as they say in Italy – things tend to move pretty quickly, be it in love, lasagna, or yachts. Take the Ferretti 860, for example. The 26.95-metre flybridge motor yacht was announced in November 2021 and splashed just eight months later in June 2022.

Her official debut was at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September 2022, and it was there that she wowed journalists and prospective owners with a combination of striking looks, superyacht-level fit and finish, and sporty handling.

The 860 is immediately notable for its exterior design – it’s the third Ferretti penned by Milan-based designer Filippo Salvetti, who has worked with Azimut|Benetti and Bugari Yachts, among others. Salvetti has imbued the 860 with a decadent Art Deco vibe. A lightly cambered sheer yawns aft with grace, complementing a trio of sharply angled hull-side windows that call to mind a set of fine Japanese chef’s knives.

A steeply raked windshield peels back into the flybridge, which is cambered as well, running parallel to the sheer line in an affirmation that no detail on this yacht was left unpondered.


The overall effect is to leave dockside gawkers with an impression of a yacht bathed in elegance but also designed for movement.

Stepping aboard, the 860 has a teak swim platform that doubles as a beach club, offering superb access to the water. The transom flips up to reveal an impressively large garage for a yacht this size. It fits both a 4-metre RIB and a PWC with room to spare, each of which is retrievable with a handy winch. It was one improvement Ferretti sought to make over this boat’s predecessor, the highly popular 850, which carries only a RIB.

The transom above the garage door is glass, which gives the cockpit unfettered views aft as well as making the space feel that much bigger and more open. An alfresco dining table here seats up to 10 people, depending on how much everyone likes each other. Sliding glass doors forward lead to a saloon flush with the cockpit – a small but appreciated design detail.

The yacht’s interior was done by Ferretti with IdeaItalia, who has worked on multiple Ferrettis as well as with other Italian yacht brands. The idea in the saloon was to make it feel light and beachy, while also giving it a casually elegant and homey vibe – they’ve hit the mark.

A low-slung, floating lounge to starboard sits opposite a television to port. The sophisticated colour scheme on the boat in Cannes was cookies and cream, with some pops of colour, such as bright yellow throw pillows. Sole-to-ceiling windows offered beautiful views while also letting in the requisite natural light to get that sought-after beach-house effect.

A formal dining table for six lies amidships and to starboard, where a glass sliding door to the side deck allows for easy crew access – and for guests to slip out and have a smoke between courses; this is an Italian boat, after all.

Gorgeous white, gold and grey marble panelling separates the dining area from the galley. This is not an owner-operator’s galley – it’s big enough for exactly one cook; two people would be all over each other.

And, while it does have a double-width oven and a large Siemens cooktop for food prep, counter space is all but non-existent. The chef will need to get creative.

The galley has a second door to the starboard-side side deck, which helps with service not only to the adjacent dining room but also to the cockpit and foredeck, as well as allowing for easy onboarding of provisions. A full-size wine fridge opposite a passageway from the galley ensures all proceedings on board will remain extra convivial.

That passageway has pocket doors at either end (as well as a day head), nicely shutting the helm area off from the guest area. The 860’s helm is very business-like – two seats are pressed rather closely to a dash that has three 20-inch Simrad screens and easy access to all the boat’s systems.

Sightlines are functional if a little tight, but most professional captains wouldn’t take issue with them. A breakfast nook for two to port is an excellent place to tuck into an espresso and croissant while learning a little about how a boat like this operates.

A chic spiral staircase with beautifully stitched leather handrails leads down to the guest cabins. The 860 has a midships master that takes advantage of the hull glazing for natural light. A forward-facing island king berth lies between a make-up station to starboard and a lounge to port. The ensuite head has a rainfall shower big enough for two.

The 860 has three more staterooms, two of which could function as VIPs, depending on a guest’s tastes. The forward cabin has an island queen berth and would traditionally be the VIP proper since it’s the second biggest cabin, but the starboard-side cabin, which has an athwartships queen, has a larger shower and thus may be the prime choice for some. The accommodations are rounded out by a fourth guest cabin to port with twin berths that would be an excellent spot to stash the kids.

When it’s time to wake up and get some fresh air, the 860 has two major outdoor entertainment areas beyond the cockpit. Wide side decks lead forward to a bow lounge where two forward-facing settees are set opposite an aft-facing U-shaped lounge with an adjustable teak table. This is the best spot on the boat for a private conversation, particularly when moored stern-to. It’s also a fantastic place to experience this yacht’s true power underway.

There’a also the yacht’s flybridge, which is set up for a party. There’s a large sunpad forward and a dining settee for eight, plus a barbecue and full-bar setup amidships. Twin chaise lounges at the aft end of the space offer further appeal for sun-worshippers. The deck is partially shaded by a carbon-fibre hardtop.

Taking the wheel on a blustery day, she was a joy to drive. At 72 tonnes dry, this is a formidable vessel to be sitting atop when driving from the upper helm, and when I slammed the hammer down, I felt the rare invigoration of witnessing a beast come to life.

The twin 2,000 hp MAN V12 2000s roared below us, and the 860 shot up onto plane and then all but cascaded across the Mediterranean whitecaps at a rollicking 32-knot top end.

Bringing her down to a 27-knot cruise, she ate up the half-metre slop without so much as a creak, and slalomed along with an easy and assured amount of control that brought a smile to my face.

There’s an option for joystick steering, which I suppose might be a boon for docking, but with a boat this big and fast, there’s a real visceral benefit in operating a traditional wheel. Call me old-fashioned.

The big MANs live in the boat’s belly in an engine room that’d be considered tight by most standards. Access to the Cummins gensets would require some hot-yoga conditioning, and the other key access points aren’t much better. The 860 is conceived as a crewed yacht, and the two crew cabins forward of the helm are rather spacious, so depending on how you boat, perhaps this engine room will do just fine.

The Ferretti 860 is a tour de force in many regards. Her design and aesthetic appeal are top-notch for a vessel in this size and class – not surprising given Ferretti’s bona fides. And her performance is more than enough to evoke the joie de vivre for which Cannes is so justifiably famous.



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