Contents of Report
It’s not hard to see why the Navetta 73 won the Best Innovation award from the International World Yachts Trophies 2017. She’s dripping with innovation. Starting with her build, there’s an abundance of natural materials, as well as a complete re-engineering of sound reduction and climate control. This on top of her strength from how the formed hull is supported and strengthened by Absolute’s version of a grid stringer system called ISS for Integrated Structural System. This ISS is laid in place, then bonded to the hull. Then the decking, bulkheads, etc. are brought in and are then bonded together. The result is a single structural component with surprising strength. This is what gives the Absolute its characteristic solid feel and the Navetta 73 her seaworthy charm. Kevlar and carbon fiber are used above the deck level to maintain the strength while minimizing the weight.
As for technology, one glance at her helm station will make one feel as if onboard the Starship Enterprise. It’s simply stunning. And with the Boening monitoring system keeping a watchful eye on all systems, this is truly a yacht that can be watched, planed, and operated from remote screens located anywhere onboard.
Most notable, however, are the main engines. This is the first boat to utilize the new 1000-hp Volvo Penta IPS 1350s driving Volvo’s third generation pods, and it’s an exciting combination. Absolute has long been an active partner with Volvo Penta throughout the development of the IPS2 and IPS3 systems, having shared its hulls with the development teams in Sweden. So, it stands to reason that the hull forms that were used to optimize the system ensure that the entire range will be well dialed in to that system.
Exterior Features Inspection
The swim platform is as much a functional part of the entertainment aspects of the 73 as the rest of the boat. With its hydraulic functionality it can launch a tender or PWC. Once cleared, the partially submerged deck creates a private beach. A true stand-up shower is provided with hot and cold running water.
The cockpit is accessed from the swim platform by stairs to both sides and, thanks to the extended flying bridge deck, it is well shaded. Some owners may choose to enclose the area for three-season boating.
Across the transom is a lengthy sofa behind a solid wood table on stainless steel pedestals. Removable deck chairs can expand the seating significantly. Decking is teak, and overhead wood panels add to the elegant look of this outdoor gathering area. Access to the roomy sidedecks is to both sides as well as outward opening entry doors. Storage is in the bulwarks.
Sidedecks and bow
Side deck access is to port and starboard, and Absolute went with a symmetrical layout with both decks being identical. Steps ahead of midships provide the remainder of the bow access.
Forward, there is a C-shaped forward-facing settee. Just ahead is a solid wood table on a pair of stainless hi-lo pedestals. The table is expandable, so it easily stretches out to meet the seating just ahead. This opposing seating is the hallmark of any welcoming gathering area. To the sides of this settee are access hatches to internal storage. Think lines, fenders, and seat covers.
Ahead of the seating is a ginormous sun pad that can accommodate up to four people, with the center two enjoying adjustable seatbacks that transition into chaise position. The seatbacks are capable of sliding, so they can transition from seatbacks for the table seating, to lying flat for the sun pad.
Ahead of the sun lounge is the ground tackle.
A port side mounted set of molded stairs lead to the flying bridge. This area is truly impressive in that its sheer volume speaks of a distance cruising yacht, and one that can bring a lot of friends and family along for the ride. Thanks to its width that extends over the side decks, and its length that continues past the windshields, thereby adding shade and rain protection, Absolute was able to outfit this deck with four separate seating areas and an outdoor galley, all under the protection of the hardtop. The decking, as with the rest of the exterior decks, is all teak.
At the top of the stairs we’re faced with the more formal of the seating areas. A starboard side sofa lies across a pair of individual chairs with weatherproof upholstery. This allows six to sit while enjoying conversational positioning.
Just ahead are two more sitting areas, J-shaped and U-shaped, respectively. The J seating wraps around a solid wood table and movable chairs are across and to the side of the table. Six can enjoy this area in and of itself. We’re up to twelve now.
The U-shaped seating is adjacent to, and facing, the helm. This will be the go-to spot, especially when the 73 is underway, as it affords the best forward views. For gatherings, the twin helm seats can swivel around to join the party. We can seat three comfortably in the settee and two in the swivel chairs. We’re now at 17.
All the way aft is an open deck that can accommodate removable deck chairs. The typical owner will have a pair of aft-facing chaise lounges from which occupants can watch the wake shrinking into the distance. Assuming that’s the case, we now have seating for 19 people on this deck alone, and that doesn’t count the ones who may be mingling instead of sitting. As we’ve said, the volume of this deck is stunning.
Across from the table and to port is the outdoor galley.
All of this is under the protection of the hardtop with an electrically actuated sunroof.
Flying Bridge Helm
The fly helm station is center mounted, and there are accommodations for an observer’s position to the port side of the operator. A pair of 22” (55.9 cm) displays provides the selectable information for efficiently navigating the Navetta 73. The throttle binnacle and joystick are to the right side on an extended subpanel.
It’s interesting that Absolute saw the benefits of having both the IPS system as well as bow and stern thrusters. Our long experience testing larger yachts has shown how well a boat can be maneuvered into tight confines with this combination. As such, the thruster controls are right alongside the IPS joystick.
Interior Features Inspection
We access the interior through multi-folding doors that provide a narrow or wide entry as desired. The first impression is of wide-open space thanks to the massive side windows. In fact, the windows are so large, that the separating mullions that are necessary to support the deck overhead are the only feature to interrupt them. And they are not only low enough for clear sightlines to the horizon from the seated positions, they also extend nearly to the height of the overhead.
The gathering will be to port, where there are plenty of seats consisting of a loveseat, a full sofa, and a single chair, all wrapping around a granite coffee table. A chest of drawers is across to starboard and a TV on an electric lift is connected to a surround sound system with carefully placed speakers maximizing the effect.
A walkthrough is to the starboard side and the lack of carpeting from the sitting area denotes this feature that continues ahead to the dining area.
There are no separations or dividers blocking the natural light to the open floor plan as we continue forward, but above, the overhead is trimmed in two separate and ornate frames that serve to draw the eye to the subtle distinction between the two areas.
The formal dining area has a nicely finished table with seating for eight. Since those massive side windows continue forward to this area, the outstanding views can be enjoyed even while eating.
The galley is forward of the dining area, and to the other side of a separating bulkhead. This separation keeps the crew out of sight of the guests while they perform their duties. In fact, the crew can even make their way aft via an opening side door to the side decks and still not intrude on the guests.
The galley is nearly full width, but with narrow space that is fully equipped to deal with large meals. Everything is flush below the counters and recessed into the forward bulkhead, thereby saving space for the working area. Gleaming white and stainless steel is the theme, and it gives the galley a modern and clean look.
Main Deck Helm Station
If there were ever a helm chosen by the world to show aliens how their ship should be efficiently controlled, the Navetta 73’s lower operating station would be the hands-down winner. In a word it’s stunning. Frankly, it’s among the best we’ve seen.
As with the fly station, this one is also center-mounted with an accommodation for an observer. The glass-cockpit concept is well executed here; it is a collaboration between Volvo and Garmin. Three 22” (55.9 cm) displays are well situated and provide a wealth of selectable information. An additional 24” (61 cm) unit is mounted to the lower panel. Of course, the sheer size of the yacht ensures that these large displays in no way impinge on visibility.
Accommodations Level Features Inspection
Master… No wait, VIP… Wait…
The lower decks are accessed from a set of stairs to the starboard side of the dining area. If there was a situation where the ownership of the Navetta 73 was shared, then the accommodations make the arrangement much more tolerable as there are, in effect, two master staterooms. However, for the sake of discussion, at the bottom of the stairs to the lower level is the midship VIP stateroom. One of the reasons it’s so easily confused with the master is that it’s full beam and includes a private en suite. It’s also not lost on us that it’s mounted in the sweet spot down low in the center of gravity and centrally located in the hull, both of which combine to minimize the boat’s motion.
The berth is mounted on the centerline; hull side windows are to both sides. A vanity/work station is to the starboard side. The head is to the port. Beautiful hardwoods combined with dark trim create a modern yet nautical appearance.
The head presents another clever use of space. To the port side is the sink, exposed to the bedroom. A hull side window can be closed off with the sliding mirrors. Two doors to the sides of the sink lead to the enclosed shower and the toilet/bidet space.
The remaining guests are accommodated in two other staterooms, both en suite. To port is a queen-sized berth with the head of the bed against the port hull. To starboard are twin berths that can slide together to form a queen-sized single berth.
The master, that is to say, the actual master, is accessed from a private entrance to the port side of the helm. It’s positioned in the bow, and Absolute makes clever use of the narrowing space as the hull form continues forward.
The stateroom is entered from the port side of the lower helm. At the bottom of the stairs is a small foyer area with the owner safe and some storage. A door just ahead leads to the stateroom. Just ahead of the entrance is a vanity/work station just under the hull side window. Across is a chest of storage drawers with a hanging locker just behind. At the aft bulkhead is the center-mounted berth with nightstands to both sides. This position provides a generous panoramic view out the huge hull side windows. It also serves well to maintain the headroom all around the bed, something we don’t see with the berth shoehorned into the bow.
Master En Suite
As mentioned, as we move forward and the hull narrows, the use of space is quite clever. We enter the head compartment through a center door. The toilet and bidet are to port, a walk-in shower is to starboard, and just ahead is a double sink recessed into a solid surface countertop. In effect, the narrowest space in the hull is used for the feature that requires the least amount of space: the sinks.
The Absolute Navetta 73 has a LOA of 73’5” (22.38 m) and a beam of 18’3” (5.58 m). With an empty weight of 115,400 lbs. (52,345 kg), 43% fuel and four people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 119,359 lb. (54,140 kg).
With the twin Volvo Penta 1,000-hp IPS1350s powering our test boat, we reached a top speed of 23.0 knots at 2350 rpm. Best economic cruise came in at 1000 rpm and 8.7 knots. At that speed, the 9.0 gph fuel burn translated into 1.1 nmpg and a range of 918.9 nm. Still, the Navetta 73 also offers a faster cruising speed of 17.3 knots at 2000 rpm, useful for getting to the next destination before sunset or avoiding a storm. At that faster speed, the fuel burn is 69.0 gph, which equates to a fuel economy of 0.3 nmpg and a range of 239.1 nm.
The Absolute Navetta 73 offered no surprises in the handling department. Since the day of our test featured relatively calm conditions and 1’ swells, it’s hard to say how she managed sea conditions. The hull design brings the chine all the way forward as a spray rail to keep the spray slow and offer a dry ride. In our experience, Volvo Penta IPS offers slow turning and the installation on the Navetta 73 is no exception. She took a 1:25 to do a full 360-degree circle at 14 knots, doing it in four boat lengths.
With Volvo Penta IPS power, she was easy to manage at the dock, and we moved her around in close quarters with surgical precision. With three IPS joystick control stations, she let our test captain choose the optimal position to manage her. In light of her docking position and the narrow fairway of the marina, we selected the flying bridge station. Combining pods and dual thrusters she was responsive around the dock, and at low speeds, lending comfort and confidence to any skipper.
When a company creates a flagship, it better be one that impresses. By its very nature, it will garner the most attention. The Navetta does herself proud and not only exudes beauty but also hosts some impressive technology. We’ll be testing her and conducting a full performance evaluation soon, but until then, we’ll just have to imagine what it will be like being onboard, just like everyone else who sees her.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Absolute Navetta 73 (2018-) is 26.4 mph (42.5 kph), burning 100.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 378.5 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Absolute Navetta 73 (2018-) is 20.0 mph (32.2 kph), and the boat gets 0.3 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.13 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 275 miles (442.57 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 1,000-hp Volvo Penta IPS1350.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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