Performance focus

Cannes is a difficult boat show to make an impact at given the vast competition, yet Kevin Green reports this Ferretti 720 has stayed on his mind long after he first saw it at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival.

Written by Kevin Green
Photography by Andrea Francolini

18 November 2021


Italy is known for producing the greatest number of large yachts and, with an extensive portfolio of eight brands, the Ferretti Group is one of the country’s major yards.

Its range – gleaned from decades of acquisitions and, lately, capital investment from its Chinese owners – spans the gamut from modest, open 13-metre motor boats to 70-metre-plus superyachts.

However, the heart of the company that the Ferretti family established in 1968 is the marque that bears its name. The Ferretti 720, which recently arrived on Sydney Harbour, is the middle sibling in a range of eight flybridge cruisers ranging from 15 to 30 metres.

With several different features from its siblings, such as a midship galley and open-plan saloon, the 720 was drawn by architect Filippo Salvetti in collaboration with the Ferretti Group, with the interior design done in-house.

“When we started work on this new design, we had the choice of coming down from the 800 or up from the 620,” says a member of the Ferretti Group’s technical department. “We chose the 800 as the starting point. We’ve made subtle improvements to the styling, but the focus has been on performance.”



Sleek flybridge

The performance comes from a choice of MAN engines and streamlined styling that is evident as I stroll up to hull number nine at Rose Bay Marina in Sydney. The elegant, low-slung profile is thanks to the slim, carbon structured flybridge that reduces both weight and windage; it’s a good place to begin my tour of the Ferretti 720.

Shaded by a louvred sunroof, the flybridge gives me clear views forward beyond the sun beds and down onto the bow cockpit. Looking toward the centre of this large flybridge, the dining area takes pride of place in the shaded area, surrounded by comfy benches before the wet bar and aft lounge seating is reached.

At the console, I sit in an upgraded Sunbrella bucket seat with a second one nearby to ensure command is not a lonely affair.

A comprehensively equipped and sheltered steering console on the flybridge includes Simrad screens, plus joystick Xenta controls for easy docking with bow and stern thrusters.


Teak decks

Descending the wide teak stair brings me to the aft cockpit where a large teak table, surrounded by folding director-style chairs and a transom bench, forms an all-weather area under the protection of the flybridge.

The teak decking feels cool and grippy under my bare feet as I walk further down onto a hydraulic swim platform that can hold a 3.95-metre tender – indeed, a substantial Williams 395 jet tender sits on the chocks. Lowering the platform gives access to a beach club lounge–garage for that on-water sundowner. Alternatively, it can garage two jetskis.

Walking forward to the bow is easily done on the 720 along the wide side decks within deep bulwarks. Once forward, there’s more than just anchoring to be done. The bow cockpit has triple sun beds and, behind, a large bench that transforms to become another dining area should the occasion arise, or a space just to enjoy the breeze at anchor.

Good practicalities include two life rafts for quick deployment and a hefty 2,700 W 24 V Lofrans vertical windlass with matching oversized cleating – the owner tells me he’ll fit a superior Ultra anchor soon to increase holding. Stern-to mooring is also easily done with powered capstans.

Open-plan saloon

The saloon entrance has custom stainless doors on a swerving track that cleverly allows them to be stacked up, maximising access to the cockpit. Inside, a decor of light pastel colours across the leatherette sofas, carpeting and wall coverings contrasts with the ebony sideboard in the dinette. A step up to the dinette delineates this space, which has hard-wearing wooden tiled floors and adjoins the galley.

Seating for eight on stylish cream leather chairs sets the tone for this shaded yet light-filled area, with the galley bar-top alongside making serving easy. The galley, set amid benches athwartships, has a walkway that may be cramped for two but is well-equipped with electric hob, tall fridge, deep rectangular sink and ample storage. With four extra fridge/freezers in the hull, the 720 is extended-cruising capable.

Throughout the saloon, extensive LED lighting with dimmers offers the chance to create a mood to match every occasion.

Among the extensive customisation, the review boat has an upgraded sound system with several NAD amplifiers and Bose speakers throughout the accommodation.

Another custom fitting is the large 8K Samsung television that is elevated from the starboard bulkhead in the saloon – a simple click brings the electric blinds down to enjoy a movie.

Apple TV is also offered in each of the four cabins so, you might say, this hull is fully wired. The inside helm is found to starboard and has a large opening side window. Across on port in the galley there’s an electric door for side deck access. Helm controls are extensive and dominated by four Simrad navigation screens, allowing dedicated displays for radar, charting, sonar and engine data.

The steering wheel is at waist height with throttles nearby, along with the controls for the fore and aft thrusters. These can be controlled by the Xenta joystick black box system for easy docking, with the same layout used on the flybridge. Xenta also supplied the electro-hydraulic steering system, which gives some feel during manoeuvres.

The helm station instrumentation is integrated by a Loop system, developed in collaboration with Naviop-Simrad, which makes it possible to monitor all the main functions of propulsion, navigation, generator management and air-conditioning. There is another steering console on the outside starboard bulkhead in the aft cockpit, which is ideal for coming alongside on starboard but not so handy for portside-to.


Master cabin

amidships Accommodation comprises the master cabin amidships with a VIP in the bow and two other twin/single cabins. This page: The midships master suite on the lower deck makes full use of the 5.6-metre beam. A walk-in wardrobe and the ensuite, situated aft, provide additional insulation from the engine room beyond the aft bulkhead.

Descending steps, naturally lit by the angled front screen of the saloon, lead to the spacious lower corridor where the main accommodation is accessed. Also off this corridor is the day head, which has a second door into the starboard cabin with two singles that can form a double. The opposite cabin on port has two fixed singles.

The owner’s suite uses the full 5.6-metre beam, creating a spacious area midships with 6-foot headroom lit by those vast side windows with opening portholes.

The aft bulkhead creates a soundproof space between the bed and the engine room by housing a walk-in closet on starboard and a generous ensuite on port, both with discrete smokedglass doors. Quality finishes include leather on the ceilings and bed headboards, along with chromed hand grips on couches and extensive use of fine fabrics, including a Koh Samui custom wall finish in a type of lace.


Sydney Harbour sojourn

Leaving a berth intended for a 60-footer is the first test of the 720’s handling. I’m glad professional skipper Rob Pirani is operating the Xenta joystick controls that ease us forward while I slip the lines. Controlling both the thrusters and the engines, the Xenta system certainly reduces the stress on owners who choose to be their own skipper.

Once clear, I take over the controls at the flybridge helm and point us toward the Heads, noting how the transmission smoothly engages before I accelerate to a cruising speed of 24 knots using about 40 percent of the auto tabs. What’s more, I’m nicely sheltered behind the clear visor.

A slow-rolling swell at the Heads gives enough motion to slap the hull before I bank into a series of turns while still at cruising speed, which induces only a few degrees of heel and an easy motion, reflecting the sturdy 46-tonne hull. The graduated feel from the Xenta steering wheel gives some welcome feedback from the rudders as well.

Heading toward my favourite anchorage at Quarantine Beach near North Head, I manoeuvre astern toward a visitor’s mooring without any drama thanks to the Xenta joystick, proving it’s a job that can be easily done two-handed. Afterwards, I descend to the inside helm.

Thanks to a lack of bulkheads, the views are clear all around here, which gives me the confidence to accelerate to a maximum speed of 33 knots. It feels comfortable and quiet, and we chat normally as the 1,400 hp MANs roar discretely in the background.

Throttles down we may be, but I’m in no hurry to reach port on this stylish yet very functional yacht.

An owner’s perspective

A lifetime of motor boating gave the Sydney owner a good perspective on upgrading from his previous 55-footer. Even so, numerous visits to Europe were required before the 720 was chosen.

“Ferretti’s flexibility of build was incredible. As they reminded me, this was not a custom yacht, and yet they accommodated nearly all my ideas,” the owner enthuses.

Among many changes included persuading Ferretti to build a brilliant white hull instead of their trademark cream. Dealing with an experienced owner was the gambit that paid off for both parties, with many ideas absorbed by the company and the satisfied Sydney owner: “We’ve got a yacht with good technology combined with a timeless style and function and, of course, performance,” he confirms.

Despite being aboard only a few weeks, the owner can relax as extensive sea trials in the Adriatic near the Forli yard ensured the 720 arrived in good shape. “My owner’s representative – a naval architect – kept reporting to me that everything was fine. I began worrying he wasn’t doing his job properly, but it turns out he was totally right. She’s perfect!



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