The Italian yard’s biggest and boldest design yet brings sailing inspired ideas to the world of motoryachts. Alan Harper takes a sea trial…
During last year’s test of the Evo R6 Open, at a specially arranged rendezvous in La Spezia, we were briefed on a new, bigger flagship model in development at Blu Emme’s Naples shipyard.
For such a young company to have already worked its way up to a credible-looking 58-footer seemed impressive enough, but one year on, here’s the new 78ft Evo Yachts V8.
In Valerio Rivellini, the shipyard has discovered a talented young designer. With its unfolding cockpit and razor-sharp looks his R6 was a real head-turner, and the new V8 is all of that and more.
The aft bulwarks unfold on each side, as you would expect. What you might not expect is the tender stowage beneath the deck on the port side, and the substantial crane that emerges from under a hatch to starboard, from which a shady parasol can be suspended when it’s not engaged in tender-handling duties.
There is also a versatile Besenzoni hydraulic bathing platform on the stern, to aid boarding either from the quay or from the water, or simply to extend the cockpit aft.
Broad side decks lead forward to a secluded relaxation area on the bow, and a set of overhead steps drops down to provide surprise access to the top of the deckhouse.
This is not a flybridge, as Rivellini points out, “It’s a rooftop,” he laughs – and is definitely for fine days only, even though it does boast a small, low-level electronic helm station.
The mahogany-capped guard rails down the sides can be extended upwards to provide a little extra security, but this is still an area which should probably remain out of bounds to small children, and indeed to the drunk uncles who had a cameo role in our review of the R6.
There are surprises inside too. The saloon is an attractive and comfortable space, although with plenty of furniture and two companionways – forward to the crew quarters, aft to the guest cabins – it doesn’t feel especially spacious.
However, the vertical windows all round the saloon not only provide superb visibility, but they also open – so on a sunny afternoon at anchor, a pleasant breeze can stand in for the hum of the generator and the hiss of the aircon.
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As Rivellini confirms, “With the windows open it’s like having a T-top on a 24-metre boat. I don’t like air-conditioning!” In a particularly neat touch, the aft saloon window is made of smart glass, both for privacy and to turn it into a back-projection cinema screen for viewing from inside.
That forward companionway, incidentally, is perilously close to the helm – one false step on a choppy day and the captain could be down in the galley nursing the wrong kind of sore head.
At €4m, give or take, the Evo V8 is up against some premium competition so we were surprised to find some disappointing levels of finish, from poor joinery on show in the saloon to untidy wiring and careless paintwork hiding under hatches down below.
The yard assures us these have all been fixed since our test and would have been sorted much earlier had the owner not challenged them to a spring delivery so he could enjoy his yacht over summer prior to returning it for the final finishing touches just a couple of days before our sea trial at the Cannes show.
The layout is fully customisable. Our first example of the Evo V8 had an agreeable VIP cabin in the bows, a small twin, and a rather magnificent midships owner’s suite with its own aft-facing lounge.
This feature might feel familiar to anyone who has been impressed by Bluegame’s innovative BGX models, and Rivellini graciously acknowledges the inspiration.
“In the mornings I like to leap into the water straight from bed,” he says. The owner of the Evo V8 only has to walk through his low-level private lounge to reach the aft deck, and from there it’s but a hop, step and a jump into the sea. Good ideas are there for the taking. With great ideas, it’s pretty much compulsory.
Whether all of Rivellini’s own ideas will find their way into rival yachts remains to be seen. The Evo Yachts V8 is a boat with four places to steer from, three of which have large steering wheels.
Wing helm stations with joysticks are of course very useful when mooring stern-to, but the wing stations on the Evo Yachts V8 are equipped with huge sailboat-style carbon wheels so you can helm the boat under way too.
Along with the curved lower surface of the aft platform, reminiscent of a sailboat’s sugar-scoop stern, these are perhaps the most visible manifestations of the shipyard’s assertion that the Evo V8 represents “a cruising concept at the point of intersection between the worlds of sailing and motor yachts”.
Another curiosity is the panel that conceals all but the upper arc of the main helm wheel. It looks rather odd but I wasn’t able to try it for myself as they wouldn’t let me drive the boat.
At nearly 78ft overall and displacing more than 60 tonnes in cruising trim, the Evo V8 is perhaps not as high-powered as its name suggests.
On our balmy test day its top speed of 21 knots was achieved with the Humphree fins and interceptors in automatic mode, chatting away to the IPS drives and smoothing the way effectively.
The hull beneath the waterline is a competent moderate V-bottom. It turned willingly enough and there didn’t appear to be any handling issues, although the ride through head seas – we had to seek out obliging wakes from other boats – was a little firmer than expected, perhaps due to the broad chines.
At the optimum cruising speed of 15 knots and 1,900rpm, however, the hull ironed everything out, and with the engines right aft, noise levels in the saloon were minimal.
Price as reviewed:
£3,200,000.00 ex. VAT
By the end of our sea trial on the V8 we were left with much the same impressions as we took from the Evo R6 – an intriguing concept, where some great ideas compete for attention with a few that perhaps need a little more refining. Of course in this crowded market it’s good to stand out, as one buyer’s weird might be another buyer’s wonderful. Blu Emme is clearly unafraid of asking such questions, and in a style-conscious world, it manifestly understands the importance of bold design. As ever, the market will be the ultimate arbiter of commercial success and the yard’s ability to customise means changes can easily be accommodated. In the meantime we applaud the yard’s bravery in backing its young designer’s vision and being prepared to take a risk.
LOA: 77ft 9in (23.71m)
Beam: 23ft 6in (7.17m)
Draught: 4ft 11in (1.50m)
Displacement (laden): 64 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 913 gal (4,150 lt)
Water capacity: 209 gal (950 lt)
RCD category: A
Test engines: Twin 1,000hp Volvo D13 IPS 1350
Top speed on test: 21.4 knots
Cruising speed: 15 knots
Fuel consumption: 212lph
Noise: 58 dB(A)
Design: Valerio Rivellini/Blue Emme Yachts