Risa Merl reviews Custom Line’s new flagship Navetta 42, a floating masterpiece of luxurious comfort, vast volume and surprising features.
When it came time to build the Custom Line Navetta 42, the Ferretti Group was thinking big. And not just in terms of size, although the Navetta 42 is the largest Custom Line yacht yet and the first over 300GT.
More importantly, it’s what you do with that extra space that makes a yacht stand out in her class.
Within her 42m, 300GT envelope, there is a wealth of hidden features – from an elevator to a float-in tender garage and expansive beach club – that you wouldn’t normally find in unison on a yacht this size.
The Custom Line flagship is the result of two-year collaboration between the Italian builder’s Product Strategy Committee, headed by none other than Piero Ferrari, along with the Ferretti Group’s Engineering Department and Studio Zuccon International Project, who designed the yacht’s sleek, strong exterior lines.
In keeping with Custom Line DNA, the new Navetta had to be seaworthy, comfortable and highly customisable. So, it was a perfect fit that the owner of hull number one, named Four Flowers III, came on board early in the build and was able to put his stamp on not just his boat but the entirety of the new model.
“The boat had just started production [when hull one was sold], so the owner could really go over everything, from the layout down to the details,” says Karin Paggi, Head of Sales for Custom Line at Ferretti Group.
“It was a really great experience to be able to do this prototype of a new model – and the largest Custom Line ever built – working so closely with the architect of the owner.”
The owner had a chance to leave his mark on the project and this included bringing in the designer of his choice, Studio Luca Bombassei, an Italian architecture and design firm renowned for its land-based projects.
Bombassei worked with the in-house design team to choose the materials, finishes and furnishings seen throughout the yacht, with pieces designed by Minotti and Roda.
Four Flowers III’s artsy interior is decidedly cool, but never cold. There is an emphasis on modern, low-slung furniture, interesting lighting fixtures and contemporary art, as the owner is a collector.
Cylindrical lighting fixtures are seen in various diameters, from the reading lights in the cabins to the decorative light fixture over the dining room. The latter was created by Bombassei and uses bronze cylinders to direct light to the table.
Bombassei seems to have avoided the pitfalls of many land-based architects who make their way into yacht design and give a heavy hand, inadvertently overwhelming interiors with dark colours or big features that are better left on solid ground.
There is also a subtle nautical theme, without being too literal, as seen in the octopus sculpture on the coffee table in the main saloon, light fixtures shaped like winches in the cabins, and the prevalence of teal blue and bronze details used throughout.
A palette of light-grey soft furnishings and dark walnut matte joinery is accented by this pop of teal, seen in the lush carpet in the main saloon and the throw pillows found on the sofas inside and out.
Copper and bronze details command the eye, with a lighting fixture comprising a trifecta of fans in the main saloon and bronzed, smoky mirror finishes in the skylounge.
Bombassei is an expert in playing with materials and surfaces, and the choice of a dark oak flooring balances well with the glossy ceiling, which reflects the light spilling in through the yachts’ windows on every single deck.
“The owner previously had an older Navetta, and what he liked about 42 was the use of the big windows to let the light come inside, and the connection between the inside and outside areas,” Paggi says.
An abundance of light through large glazing and the merging of inside and outside spaces is a hallmark of the newest Custom Line yachts, as seen in the first Navetta 33 Telli, built for Ferretti Group CEO Alberto Galassi.
The added volume of the Navetta 42 increases this spacious feeling dramatically and this is enhanced when balconies in the dining room and master suite are unfurled, and windows and doors are slid open, giving the yacht an atmosphere of an airy beach house set at sea.
Forward on the main deck, the master suite has an office at the entryway, with a deep sofa that is the ideal place to curl up with a book, although you could imagine an owner of a future hull opting to make this space a cosy TV room.
Due to a balcony extending to the port side and a mirrored finish on the forward bulkhead, the master seems an even larger space than it already is. A his and hers bathroom is forward, and there is a walk-in closet.
Even the four staterooms on the lower deck have large closets and abundant storage, hidden out of view. The interplay of walnut wood and lacquered ceilings make the cabins seem bigger and brighter.
Normally these would be equitable VIPs, but the inclusion of an optional elevator descending from the upper to lower deck gives a slightly asymmetrical layout. The elevator can extend all the way up to the sundeck, if an owner wished.
The elevator itself isn’t a focal point, as might be the case on a larger yacht, but is tucked away in the foyer and ready to be used when needed.
“The elevator was a very interesting project as it’s not usually found on this size of yacht, but was one of the challenges briefed by the client,” says Paggi. “Another new feature is a bigger tender garage. We decided to keep the aft section for a big beach club and put the tender on the side.”
The semi-submerged, side-loading garage can accommodate a tender up to 6.25m. The tender floats directly in without the use of a crane and then is winched in to be secured, which Paggi says makes things easier for the crew.
The crew were highly considered in the design of the Navetta 42, in terms of traffic flow and functionality to best serve guests. This can be seen in features like the ample pantry off the upper deck skylounge and the dumbwaiter that goes up to the sundeck to deliver snacks from the galley.
The skylounge is even brighter and more impressive than the main saloon – and is Paggi’s favourite space on board.
“It’s very open, there’s a lot of light coming in, and I really like the multifunctional layout,” she says, referring to a low seating area – set apart from the main lounge area – that can be used for breakfast or playing cards.
Meanwhile, the door to the aft deck slides open completely, creating one enormous indoor-outdoor space. A TV lowers down from the ceiling and can turn 180 degrees to face inside and out.
The new Navettas focus on the connection between indoors and out, but the pure outdoor spaces are resplendent as well. The 92sqm sundeck carries forward the cool motif of the interior, with low, deep grey sofas, black barstools and a mix of carbon-fibre and stainless-steel materials in the hardtop. A spa tub is set forward on the sundeck.
The Navetta 42 is about much more than being stylish. Comfort, says Paggi, was truly the focus.
“One of the characteristics of the Navetta 42 is the great navigability and seakeeping in rough seas, which is something we’ve emphasised in other Navettas as well, and which gives a sense of security to the Captain and allows the owner to operate for long distances without any problems,” she says.
“The Navetta 42 is a new naval architecture platform, and the comfort we were able to achieve in terms of sound dampening and stabilisation is a big improvement compared to older Navettas. Comfort is a must for clients; they won’t accept a boat any other way now.”
Comfort will be a mainstay of this platform going forward, but when it comes to the style and layout, the highly customisable nature of Custom Line models allows much to be decided by the owner, so the next Navetta 42 might look much different from Four Flowers III.
Stylish, spacious, amenity-packed, highly functional – and comfortable, too. The latest Custom Line Navetta certainly packs a lot of big ideas into a beautifully drawn 42m package.
Note: The original article appeared in Yacht Style Issue 46.