Ferretti 430 Review

Issue: March 2001

From building sailboats out of a yard in San Giovanni, Italy, in the 1960s, the Ferretti company has been transformed into one of the world leaders in the design and manufacture of luxury sports, pleasure and performance power cruisers.

Along the way it has acquired prestige boat companies such as Custom Line, Pershing, Bertram, CRN, Riva and Mochi Craft, while also taking an active involvement in World Class 1 offshore racing. The group took out the world championship series in 94, 95 and 97, gaining invaluable technical knowledge on hull design, materials and engineering which has flowed into its standard production.

Ferretti Engineering is constantly researching into both design and the use of new materials, with a special division within the company specifically set up to study resins and their related use. From this pedigree comes 430, at 13.3 metres the smallest boat in the Ferretti range. The largest, incidentally, is a 24.5 metre (80ft) motoryacht whose twin 1420hp Caterpillar diesels can push the 62 tonne craft to speeds over 30 knots.

While we are talking of the ‘baby’ of the Ferretti fleet, the 430 is not your run-of-the-mill flybridge cruiser. In terms of quality, performance, power, appointments and luxury – not to mention a price tag over $1million – this is definitely ‘top shelf’.

Without question it’s the most extensively fitted boat of this size that I have tested. It fits more facilities and accommodation into a 13.1 metre shell than anyone else manages to do. A big deep hull combined with a split-level saloon has allowed the designers to get three large cabins for’ard and a snug little crew cabin at the rear of the cockpit.

The layout provides a standard island berth for the owner’s stateroom in the bow (with the normal level of hanging locker and shelf storage space), and guests cabins either side of the lower passageway providing twin berths. One has bunks because it has a little more headroom in under the saloon dinette, while the other has parallel single berths.

Both of these cabins have generous hanging lockers and are remarkably spacious, with ample headroom and a lot of natural light and ventilation. Ducted air conditioning, as well as a stereo and entertainment system, serves all cabins.

The guests share a bathroom, while the main stateroom is provided with its own en suite. Both have shower compartments dominated by a large circular recess with a curved sliding acrylic screen. There is plenty of space inside the enclosure.

The stateroom en suite includes a bidet – needless to say not a common sight on anything other than the most luxurious of cruising vessels. Given the limitations of hull length, there is a lot built into the main saloon cabin. Its obvious that the designers placed considerable emphasis on making living aboard as comfortable and homely as possible.

The lower helm station, with its two-seat lounge, and a dinette that is adequate to serve sit-down meals for four people, are set forward on the upper level of the saloon. A large and more informal U-shaped lounge wraps around a low set table to the port side of the lower saloon, while opposite is the unusual midships galley set down from the main floor level. Entertainment and bar facilities fill the remaining space between the galley and the aft bulkhead.

The galley isn’t enormous but thanks to some clever planning and design work, the U-shaped layout gets everything that is needed, including a stand-up fridge. It places the galley at the centre of saloon activity, while being conveniently located to serve the spacious cockpit.

I was impressed by the way the Ferretti designers have allowed the saloon to open out into the cockpit. Not only is there a large sliding door but the top half of the glazed window behind the saloon lounge hinges up. A large fold-up cockpit table stores against the lower panel of the glass bulkhead, and it too is made of glass so that light is not blocked. It is a thing of beauty in its own right.

This arrangement opens up the boat for those owners who like to entertain, successfully integrating the cockpit and main saloon. At the same time it enhances the sense of airiness in the enclosed cabin.
The aforementioned crew cabin which has been squeezed into the moulded transom is a clever piece of design work, tucking a single berth, head and hanging locker into a space where I wouldn’t thought it was possible.

Sure it’s squeezy but it does allow a skipper to stay aboard while guests enjoy the more luxurious surroundings of the three forward cabins. Alternatively, many owners would use this area to store bulky items such as folding deck chairs and diving gear.

The 13′ deadrise hull, with its variable geometry, runs very efficiently once up on the plane as there is quite a good response when the throttles are opened. On the other hand, as the throttles are eased off the hull likes to glide on a little before settling back down.

The variable geometry makes turning of the hull at speed a little different as well. While the boat will turn without backing off the power, the Ferretti, like the Pershing I tested a couple of months ago, turned best by backing off the power on the inside engine. Unusual, yes, but you quickly become accustomed to this trait. But then, this is not your everyday 13 metre cruiser. At $1.25million it’s the boat that reflects the successful man who wants to enjoy the rewards.

There are three engine options offered by Ferretti for the 430, with the twin 420hp Caterpillars being the middle of those road.

These engines produced a reasonable 27 knots during our test, though it should be capable of achieving the 30-knot top speed indicated by the manufacturers. The Cats are intended to rev out to 2800rpm, so a little tuning and propeller work was needed.

Around 2000 to 2200rpm seemed to be the best cruise range during our test. The seas were flat during our ocean trials, the hull easily gliding its way without the slightest bump or thump.

Words by David Toyer.