The Sirena 88 boasts presence, volume and a master suite to die for, but is this enough in an arena packed with top-end talent?
Designing a big yacht is easier than a small one. Whether you’re working on a waterline of 20ft or 200ft, people stay the same size. Headroom, beds, room to swing the family cat – it all needs to be incorporated somehow, and the less space you have, the tougher it is.
So although the well-known urge of most boatyards to build ever larger craft is often explained in economic terms, it being easier to make a profit on a big boat than a little one, there is also the holy grail aspect to consider – the conviction that the design of the next model up will have none of the drawbacks of the previous one.
Nonsense, of course, but it does perhaps explain why most 85ft motor yachts look like scaled up versions of their 75ft predecessors, which bear a striking resemblance to the earlier 65ft model, itself eerily similar in profile to the 55… and so on.
It’s true that Sirena Yachts in Turkey does have smaller models in its range, but perhaps its formative experiences in contract-building the Magellano range for Azimut – a concept that couldn’t see a preconception without ripping it up – has given the shipyard the confidence to do things its own way.
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The new Sirena 88 does not look like a scaled-up version of anything. In fact it seems to have been originally conceived as something a lot bigger and then scaled down, as if the designer had been set the task of squeezing all the assets of a superyacht into something that you could still happily anchor just off the beach.
The renowned Buenos Aires naval architect German Frers was given the job. He has drawn a few superyachts in his time, and his studio has also created some elegant sailboats for Sirena Yachts’ Euphoria brand.
He set about designing an efficient semi-displacement hull for the new motor yacht, whose rounded underwater sections he then married to bold, slab-like topsides cut through with dramatic, rectangular windows, surmounted by the aggressive wedge shape of the superstructure.
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Finally, the whole edifice was topped by the narrow slit of the wheelhouse windscreen, which has the slightly sinister air of a gun emplacement. It is one of the more unusual motor yacht profiles of recent years. It certainly stands out. If you don’t wish to turn heads every time you enter harbour, this is not the boat for you.
Appearances can be deceptive
And if, having studied the outside of the Sirena 88, you thought you might have some idea of what awaits within, you are in for a surprise. The exterior design seems to be all about height – from the pontoon, the yacht has the presence of a Le Corbusier tower block.
But in fact, the true essence of this vessel is its immense beam, which the design exploits to excellent effect, not just in the jaw-dropping first impression created by the deck saloon, with its wide open spaces and huge windows, but in the raised foredeck.
This encloses so much interior space that the Sirena 88’s Gross Tonnage – that spatial yardstick originally used to evaluate the capacity of cargo ships and now commonly applied to superyachts as well – is an astonishing 165GT.
That’s more than twice the internal volume of some of its 88ft rivals, and it even leaves spaceships like the Ferretti 920 far behind. To say this aspect of the Sirena is ‘class leading’ doesn’t begin to do it justice.
So the Sirena 88 looks big from the outside, and feels big on the inside, for one simple reason. It is big – an impression strengthened by the main deck layout, which is modelled on that of a typical superyacht.
After admiring the saloon and strolling past the midships dining table, which is flanked by sliding glass doors leading out onto the sidedecks, you go through a door and find yourself in a lobby on the starboard side. From here a short companionway leads up to the wheelhouse, and a longer one heads down to the lower deck. There is also a day head.
Go through the next door and you arrive in the area created by that raised foredeck, the spectacular full-beam owner’s suite, with full-height windows each side, a vast ensuite bathroom and private access up through a sliding glass door onto the foredeck.
Down below, the plumb topsides carry well forward, and the accommodation volumes are equally impressive. Headroom never dips below 6ft 6in – it is 6ft 8in all through the main deck – and the beds are all full-size. The interior design, by Dutch studio Cor D Rover, emphasises opulence.
There is lots of marble, and there are nicely stitched leather-clad bulkheads and locker fronts, while dark hardwoods contrast alluringly with chrome hardware. The pièce de resistance on the lower deck is the full-beam VIP suite with its large hull windows, spacious head and shower compartments, and space to walk around, in spite of the impressive size of the bed – 6ft 5in by 5ft 10in. On any other 88-footer you’d assume it was the owner’s suite.
One aspect of German Frers’ dramatic exterior shape which doesn’t play quite so well inside the Sirena 88 is the bow. That straight stem and its extraordinarily fine entry, combined with a bare minimum of flare, creates an interior space the shape of a slice of cheese.
To find the necessary width in the forward guest cabin to accommodate the bedhead, Frers has had to go up – and up – to the extent that the sleeping area is separated from its ensuite head and shower compartments not just horizontally but vertically – by three tall, steep steps right by the foot of the bed.
I tried to imagine waking up at three in the morning and groping my way down there in the middle of the night. It didn’t end well. There ought to be a sturdy handrail on each side, at the very least. A rethink of the different sole levels at this end of the lower deck might lead to a more elegant solution.
Down at the other end, a double and a single crew cabin are fitted just aft of amidships, with separate shower and head compartments and a small galley and mess area. Siting the crew quarters between the VIP suite and the engineroom adds useful extra sound insulation for your favourite guests.
According to the shipyard’s engineers on our sea trial, a lot of thought went into reducing the levels of sound and vibration on board, with not only ‘floating’ floors but soft mountings for engines, generators and anything else that might set up an irritating buzz.
With its long flybridge, furnished foredeck and large cockpit, the Sirena 88 is almost as luxurious on the outside as it is below decks. Asymmetric side decks make it easier to get around this substantial piece of floating real estate, with a companionway from the main deck to the bow on the starboard side, and a set of steps on the port side linking the bow to the flybridge.
No fewer than four flybridge layouts are available. In every case a comfortable bar and massive dining table are provided, so you just have to decide if you would prefer fixed sunbeds or loose sunloungers aft, and whether or not you’ll have a hot tub up there. Our test boat didn’t, but it did have the optional ‘dipping pool’ on the foredeck, with teak trim and a glass front.
Our Sirena 88 also had the aft stowage area on the bathing platform fitted out as a basic beach club – a great place to sit with a sundowner, although it would probably take a few cocktails before I could relax sitting under that heavy open hatch.
Such levels of choice are not universally available. When it comes to power plant, the Sirena 88 comes with just the one option, a pair of MAN V12s of 1,550hp apiece, driving conventional shafts and propellers through V-drive transmissions.
The exemplary engineroom is absolutely enormous, and is reached through the watertight door in the crew quarters or via a small deck hatch in the cockpit.
On our evening sea trial off Cannes the declared design speed of 26 knots proved beyond our particular Sirena 88, the first off the line, which maxed out at 22.6 knots. A heavy load of fuel and water probably didn’t help, but it’s also possible that the prop selection could do with a little more fine tuning.
The Sirena 88 is a big and ponderous beast that feels big and ponderous to drive, its marked outward heel in hard turns no doubt exaggerated during our trial by the crowd of 20-plus all electing at once to enjoy the sunset from the flybridge.
Quiet and relaxing at displacement speeds, thanks to its rounded hull form, the Sirena 88 was also able to post a reasonable set of figures in semi-planing mode.
We found a cruising sweet spot at around 1,800rpm, and 15.3 knots – had we been less heavily loaded, that might have translated to around 16 knots. The big Sirena also has a considerable cruising range, especially with the optional 5,500-litre fuel tank.
Price as reviewed:
£4,390,000.00 ex. VAT
With its semi-displacement hull design, the Sirena 88 is not intended to compete with its rivals on performance. Even its design speed of 26 knots wouldn’t cut it in comparison with many of today’s powerful, planing flybridge machines. But the Sirena 88’s somewhat stately progress is amply justified by the fact that compared with most motor yachts of similar length, it is like a stately home. Great height and considerable beam, combined with a design that maximises interior space, give the Sirena 88 accommodation volumes that leave most of its rivals for dead. It’s not perfect – that forward cabin could do with a re-think – but it is ground-breaking and genuinely impressive. If you want an 88-footer that makes you feel like a superyacht owner, from the engineroom to the flybridge, via the full-beam VIP and spectacular owner’s cabin, then at the moment the Sirena 88 is pretty much the only game in town.
LOA: 88ft 0in (26.81m)
Beam: 23ft 2in (7.10m)
Draught: 6ft 0in (1.84m)
Displacement (full load): 84 tonnes (185,188lbs)
Engines: Twin 1,550hp MAN V12 diesels
Fuel capacity: 16,500 litres (3,630 gal)
Water capacity: 2,400 litres (528 gal)
Top speed on test: 22.6 knots
Cruising speed: 17.9 knots
Fuel consumption: 451lph
Cruising range : 524 miles
RCD category : A for 16 people
Design: German Frers/Cor D Rover