Travel along the French Riviera visiting ports such Antibes, Cannes and St. Tropez and you’ll see scores of Ferrettis, and of all of their models the 681 – formerly the 680 – is one of the most popular. It is almost a perfect size for a wide range of missions, and that is where we will start our report: what is the mission of the 681?
Clearly, it was built for cruising the Med in season and getting the sun. Its large flying bridge and its three large sunning pads (one on the bow and two on the flying bridge) are big enough to handle all of the boat’s guests laying out at one time. All one needs is plenty of Coppertone.
Entertaining in the Sunshine
The Ferretti 681 is about entertaining. There are three different venues for eating, and a wet bar on the flying bridge. The aft deck and dining table is required equipment on any Med yacht. With the boat Med-moored at the dock, guests can lunch al fresco in the shade and see and be seen by those strolling along the dock.
Because of its weight and hull design, the 681 can handle relatively rough water and still go fairly fast. That means it is ideal for cruising the Greek isles or the Turkish coast, as well as lazing along the French Riviera. Its hull also lets the boat extend the Med season into the shoulder months of late April and May and September and early October. Likewise, it can handle the Caribbean in the winter time when it tends to be breezy.
Rough-Water Cruising. Owner/Operator Friendly.
Norberto Ferretti is an owner/operator and this boat is set up to be handled by a couple. With the bow thruster, warping winches aft, and a remote steering control, any veteran can handle this boat. The crew quarters are a welcome bonus and are ideal for a young mate and stew to handle the lines, wash down the boat, make up the beds and do the wash. In other words, 68’ is small enough that an experienced owner doesn’t have to have a captain aboard to run the vessel or to satisfy the insurance company. (And mama will love the help.)
Many of the 681s you see along the Riviera are owned by Northern Europeans, or even Americans, who have put them in the charter trade. With four guest staterooms, three heads, crew quarters, and a huge, versatile flying bridge, the Ferretti is an ideal venue for most charter parties. And with charter fees typically north of $36,000 or 25,000 Euros per week in the Med for this size boat, triple net, the boat can easily return 10% of her initial cost in a good summer.
There are a lot of boats in this class on the market built all over the world. Many of them are less money than Ferretti. So, what sets the Ferretti 681 apart, and what justifies its price?First of all, the hull and deck construction are rugged designs. The bottom is fine forward to reduce pounding at speed, and a low deadrise angle aft makes her fast and dampens roll at anchor. The boat was designed to cruise at 30 knots according to the builder with the standard twin 1224-hp MAN engines, and slightly faster with bigger engines. The boat displaces 104,000 lbs (47,500 kg.) with full tanks and all gear aboard, which means she is no light-weight. We like the beef for a better ride and increased stability.
The Matter of Speed
We’d be more apt to cruise her at 20 knots simply because in anything but flat water it is more comfortable at that speed, and it saves fuel. The fact is these boats in the western Med usually don’t go very far in a given day so fuel consumption and speed is really irrelevant. However, along the Dalmatian coast and in the Greek isles the boat can cover considerably distances in a few hours at 30 knots.Americans who like to have their motoryacht in the north in the summer and in Florida, Bahamas or Caribbean in the winter will appreciate the fact that the Ferretti 681 can make the 1200 nautical miles going outside from Miami to Stamford, Ct in just four days instead of the six days it takes at 20 knots or the 12 days it takes at 10 knots. This is an important consideration for owner/operator boats.
Standard Equipment that Stands Out
As we read over the list of standard equipment we are struck by some things that Ferretti has that are unusual. For example--*The 681 has a part of the transom that opens like a pocket knife to reveal fiberglass swim stairs that unfold and descend into the water at the press of a button. This is much easier to use than a ladder and is more comfortable.
*We are told by Ferretti precisely which PWC, brand and model, will fit on the swim platform. We are also told that if a stern thruster or spare props are installed, a two-seat PWC can not be installed. It’s nice to find these things out before the boat is purchased.*There are port and starboard electric warping winches in the stern quarters for reeling in dock lines, making it easy for mom or the kids to help dad tie up the boat. When Med mooring they are a precise way to back in against the pull of the bow anchor or mooring chain, making the lines taught.*There is an external acoustical alarm for high bilge water both fore and aft.*There are remote emergency fuel shut off switches for both the main engines and the generators.
*Both port and starboard pilasters are used for storage. You can never have enough, even on a 68’ boat.*In the galley, the ceramic cook top has four rings and a pan holder. There are two deep sinks and the floor is wood-grained vinyl (the only place on the boat where vinyl is installed) so you don’t have to worry about stains. There is a pocket door between the galley and the helm station forward, which is good for shutting out the galley light, which means that at night you can both cook and run the boat from the lower station.*On the flying bridge, in addition to a fixed auto-remote spot light, there is also one that you can pick up and hold in your hand. There is also a remote chain counter at both the helm and on the bow. This is a must for anchoring at night and is quite useful anytime. Few boats come standard with them. *A complete set of dishes, crockery and glasses comes with the boat, but even more important – Ferretti has seen to it that there are cabinets to hold them all! This may seem like an obvious detail, but we can’t tell you how many large motoryachts we have seen that can’t hold dinner service for eight or ten people.
*In the pilothouse below on the windshield there are large pantograph wipers with washers and a separate wiper speed settings. *Below decks, Ferretti has been careful to install extra sound-deadening material between the staterooms and between the bulkhead separating the master stateroom and the crew quarters. [When we first encountered this layout on a Ferretti, we were somewhat surprised and actually did our own sound testing through this bulkhead. The builder did a good job of making sure the crew can’t hear the owners’ conversations.]*All three heads have bidets, a signature Italian appliance. [Viva la difference!]*There is a water-tight bulkhead forward. Few production builders do this and we like it. Think of it as a “crash bulkhead.” If you have ever seen a large motoryacht that has run over rocks and ruptured its fiberglass bottom you will understand the value in this feature, as well as the emergency dewatering valves mentioned below.
Engine Room Details
In large motoryachts there are few engine rooms laid out with as much care, expertise and utility as are those on most any Ferretti yacht. American big boat builders like to think of themselves as superior when it comes to the practical aspects of a yacht build, such as engine room installations, but they don’t do any better than Ferretti -- on the contrary. Here are a few of the things that Ferretti installs as standard equipment in the 681 engine room—*Automatic fire extinguisher with remote manual and automatic air vent shut off.*Engine raw water coolant intake valves that can be switched to drain the bilge in an emergency. Virtually all Ferretti Group boats have this feature and we’d like to see it become an industry standard.
*Fiberglass fuel tanks. These are far preferable to aluminum tanks because they will not rust. Further, all the tanks have an “integrated settling tank” for the gook and water, plus there is a discharge valve to get rid of it. There are also sight gauges for the fuel tanks. Few builders do it better.*There is an electrical, self-priming pump that can be diverted to any one of six bilge compartments, in addition to the normal bilge pumps all builders install.*There are special “inspection lights” installed in addition to a portable light, to shed enough light on all of the equipment to see what is actually happening.Ferretti is to be commended for all of the above mentioned items which are rarely included as standard, plus many more that are far too numerous to mention. Taken together, it signals an incredible attention to real-life cruising necessities that shows that here is a builder that knows what he is doing.
What We’d Change
All of this praise should not be construed to say that we think the boat is perfect, or that we couldn’t find areas for improvement. Let us list a few things we would change—*The bow thruster is 10.7 hp (and a 13.1-hp unit is available as an option). Our experience is that bow thrusters installed by most builders are usually not strong enough, and we would raise the horsepower of this unit considerably. Bow thrusters are most useful when there is strong wind or current perpendicular, or nearly so, to the side of the vessel. In those situations, one needs power. We would have hydraulic thrusters with PTOs from the main engines. *The electro-hydraulic davit for lifting the tender or PWC has only 880 lbs. (400 kg.) capacity. The folks at Ferretti tell us it is the highest capacity davit in class, nevertheless serious cruising types will want the largest RIB their boat can support which in this case could easily be the 17’ Nautical widebody which weighs 1047 lb. (476. kg.) 1100 lbs (500 kg.). While the units being lifted may weigh less than this 880 lbs. (for example the Nautica 15’ wide body weighs 760 lb. (345 kg.), this capacity does not take into consideration the shock loadings that can occur. *We do not see the necessity of an inside access to the flying bridge from the galley/settee area. To us this is a terrible waste of valuable space. Access to the flying bridge from the aft deck is enough in our book. We’d put the space saved to other uses. Ferretti is not alone in this design – in fact, many boat builders do it. But why?
*As time has gone on boat builders have been making freshwater tanks smaller and smaller, and the one on the 681 is only 242 gal. (920 l.) Let’s see, with 10 people aboard, a dishwasher, cloths washer, four showers, 8 sinks, 4 freshwater heads, to say nothing of three bidets, 242 gallons will not last long. Yes, the boat has a watermaker, but what if it goes on the fritz?*Which brings us to our last item, the watermaker. Most builders put one on with something like an 820 gal. (3116 l.) capacity, which sounds like plenty. Trouble is that the watermaker takes a lot of power and is somewhat noisy, so most people want to run it only a few hours per day. With a larger capacity watermaker, say 1400 gpd (5320 lpd), the watermaker can make 233 gallons (885 l) in just four hours, rather than make the same amount in 10 hours with the smaller capacity unit. Obviously, Ferretti would be glad to install any capacity watermaker you want.
As we have pointed out, the Ferretti is more than just a pretty face. She has the construction and the equipment to admirably satisfy even the most demanding yachtsman in warm climates. The larger Ferrettis are, to a great degree, simply scaled up versions of the 681. With four staterooms, 30-knot speed, and room for water toys, one wonders why anyone would need something bigger. In our opinion, this boat offers lots of utility and one can be proud of owning this boat anywhere in the world.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Helm: Second Station||Standard|