The Galeon 460 Fly has quite the party trick, though it’s arguable as to whether Yarmouth, Isle of Wight is the best place to display such a thing.

Yarmouth is a quaint, traditional harbour where a harbourmaster in a Dory meets you on arrival, there is an annual festival of gaff-rigged yachts and, until recently, visitors had to lash their boats between piles as pontoons were considered cheating.

So when, at the push of a button, the sections of bulwark either side of the 460’s cockpit slowly folded down to provide a pair of balconies suspended over the water, it didn’t come as much of a surprise that no one batted an eyelid. As we slotted the stainless-steel railings into the balconies, the harbourmaster lead an ageing Hallberg-Rassy past us at a distance of about 3ft, and neither captains’ gaze strayed our way.

Not the right audience perhaps, and I must admit that at the outset, I thought these folding balconies had the whiff of gimmick about them. Having now seen them in action, I’ve completely changed my mind.

With a beam of 14ft 4in (4.37m), the 460 is already broader than the Prestige 460 and Sealine F430 but with the platforms down, the amount of genuinely  useable space in the cockpit almost doubles.  The effect is spectacular.

The 460 is the smallest boat that Galeon will fit the balconies to. They are a £40,000 option and, due to their weight, you can’t have them with the smallest twin Volvo Penta 435hp engines. However, the mechanism is gratifyingly simple, with a lot less to go wrong than you might think.

A set of stainless-steel hinges allow each platform to pivot downward and they are raised and lowered by a single hydraulic ram, controlled by switches in the cockpit. The mechanical gubbins are no more complex than those of a passerelle and far less vulnerable than the mechanisms of a hydraulic bathing platform that spend their lives submerged in saltwater.

Lowering the platforms takes a matter of seconds but once you’ve slotted in the five railings on either side, it’s more like a ten-minute job. The yard doesn’t recommend travelling at speed with the platforms down but if you’re mooching around the corner at displacement speeds, it’s fine.

Read the full report in the May 2018 issue of MBY.

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