A new entrant to the passagemaker market, the Sirena 64 has the space, quality and style to catch its competitors by surprise
Pinpointing where the trend for fast, modern passagemakers started is hard to say. Bénéteau must take some credit for bringing the Swift Trawler concept to the mass market, even if the likes of Fleming, Grand Banks and Aquastar have been building serious offshore cruisers with a useful turn of speed for many years prior to that.
Then there was the Azimut Magellano range, which proved that you didn’t have to sacrifice designer looks and a contemporary interior just because you wanted to cruise offshore. Now players like Absolute are getting in on the act, making the most of the exceptional volume that a tall, upright Navetta-style design allows while still delivering cruising speeds of 25 knots or more.
What started as a niche has become a mainstream segment to the extent that when the Turkish yard Sirena Marine decided to launch its first Sirena-branded motor yacht at the 2017 Düsseldorf Boat Show, this is the sector it chose to compete in. If the Sirena name is unfamiliar, its products are not; the yard has been building boats for Azimut since 2006, including the current Magellano 43.
Given the exacting standards expected of an Azimut, it’s fair to assume that Sirena knows how to build boats well and has a pretty good idea of what customers of long-range passagemakers are looking for. All that was left to do was bring in a talented team of designers, in this case Frers Naval Architecture and Engineering, to create an attractive exterior and an efficient semi-displacement hull, and Spadolini Design to style a suitably fresh, modern interior.
The Sirena 64 was the first result of this collaboration and a Sirena 56 and a Sirena 88 have also joined the ranks. Clearly, the yard means business and thanks to the backing of Kiraça Holding, a major Turkish conglomerate, it has the financial clout to make things happen. Quickly.
Not that it seems to be having the desired effect on the divers trying to untangle the vipers’ nest of anchors keeping us pinned to the quay at the Cannes Boat Show. It takes well over an hour to finally throw off our shackles and head out into the bay for our eagerly anticipated sea trial. But what that period of inactivity does do is give us time to explore the boat in depth.
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The first thing to note is how well thought out the design is. This doesn’t look or feel like a debut boat; quite the opposite, in fact, because there’s a maturity to it that some more experienced yards would struggle to match.
That includes the simple stuff like a flat floor that extends all the way through from the cockpit to the helm, multiple deck storage for lines, covers and fenders, and wide side decks protected by deep bulwarks, as well as the minutiae of the interior details, such as the matching wood grain that runs unbroken from locker lid to locker lid in the cabins.
Above all, though, it’s the way in which Frers and Spadolini have managed to create a modern, voluminous interior without it looking like a tall, beamy boat from the outside.
This is particularly apparent in the Sirena 64’s owner’s cabin where the full 19ft 3in of beam is enhanced by a flat floor, 6ft 6in of headroom, a relatively low bed and two of the largest and lowest hull windows you’ll find on any boat this size.
We’re told Sirena had to seek special approval for these due to their proximity to the waterline, but the effect is pretty dramatic, whether you’re waking up with your head in line with the water or enjoying the sight of your own bow wave thundering past the window.
Two full-height wardrobes with hanging rails and shelves, plus storage under the bed and the port-side chaise longue, as well as in the bedside drawers and the vanity unit built into the mini dinette, ensures you’ll never be short of space for clothes.
However, the real treat is the ensuite bathroom that runs the full width of the boat behind the bed, making space for a fabulous sit-down shower as well as insulating the cabin from engineroom noise – not even the Magellano 66 can match this luxury.
The Sirena 64’s VIP cabin also merits a mention for having more headroom and floorspace than most rivals. That’s because the vertical bow has enabled the designers to position the bed lower and further forward than would be the case with a traditional hull shape, freeing up more floorspace at the foot of the bed and more headroom over it.
Even the guest cabin has its own roomy ensuite bathroom, while a separate day heads brings the total toilet count to four – another rarity on a boat this size. There is an option for a fourth cabin too but that involves sacrificing some of the master cabin and bathroom to make space for a walk-in wardrobe behind the bed.
The space lost to those walkaround side decks means that the saloon doesn’t feel quite as roomy as some 66ft flybridge craft. The decision to site the galley amidships, with a full-height bulkhead blocking the sightlines forward from the cockpit and aft from the helm, also detracts from the more open aspect enjoyed by some rivals.
The reason they’ve done it is to give customers the option of closing off the galley when crew are present, but it’s a pity there isn’t an option to lose the forward bulkhead as well as the aft and side ones in order to enjoy the full 360° view through those deep vertical windows.
That said, it’s still a wonderfully bright space with a sociable seating layout aft, just enough room for a free-standing dining table opposite the galley and another cosy seating area next to the helm to keep the skipper company en route.
Set for the horizon
All of this would be of little use if the Sirena 64 failed to live up to its billing as a long-range passagemaker, so we’re relieved to report that it fulfils the brief well. With no less than three separate fuel tanks giving a total capacity of 5,300 litres, it puts even the Magellano 66’s 4,500-litre tankage in the shade.
Our boat was fitted with the more powerful 1,000hp CAT C12.9 engines (the standard ones are 850hp) and reached a very respectable top speed on test of 26.3 knots.
However, it’s the slow to mid-range figures that are likely to be of more interest to owners as this is a hull that feels genuinely happy cruising at any speed from 8 to 22 knots. There is no awkward planing hump to surmount or even a particular rev band that sounds or feels more comfortable than any other.
The bow lifts a little higher the faster you go, but other than that it’s just a question of choosing a speed and a fuel burn that you’re happy with. A lot of the time that’s likely to be around 9 knots and 1,000rpm when the engines are burning a mere 20lph, giving a cruising range of almost 1,000nm.
Raise the speed to 18 knots and the fuel efficiency drops from 1.07mpg to 0.4mpg but noise and comfort levels still compare very favourably with planing yachts. Only the forward chines’ tendency to slap against passing rollers, sending the occasional low-frequency tremor through the saloon, disturbed the peace during our test.
The steering is pleasantly responsive for a passagemaker, with 4.7 turns lock to lock and a reassuring weight to it that rewards your efforts with a surprisingly direct response from the rudders and a reasonably tight turning circle.
In our opinion, both helms could do with a bit of tweaking to bring the throttles within easier reach when seated, not least because the top of the windscreen is too low and too far forward to give tall skippers a good view of the horizon when standing. There is a small opening window next to the helm to help with ventilation and visibility, but it’s no replacement for an encumbered view aft through the saloon.
The deck spaces are one of the Sirena 64’s strongest assets. The cockpit is deep, roomy and well protected by the flybridge overhang, while the flybridge itself is sensibly divided between open space aft for free-standing sunloungers, and fixed seating forward around a large teak table.
A number of neat touches, like a wet bar countertop that rolls out to create a second worksurface, a separate grill station aft to keep smells away from guests, and an outdoor shower built into the underside of the radar mast, add to the enjoyment.
But it’s the foredeck area that really takes the prize for ingenuity, with its full-sized dinette, hi-lo table and the option of a hot tub in place of the adjustable sunpads.
Price as reviewed:
As expected, Sirena has done a fine job of building its debut boat. Not surprisingly, given Sirena’s joint venture with Azimut, it’s a very similar concept to the Magellano 66, matching or even exceeding many of that boat’s key dimensions, abilities and features, even if we’re not convinced the end result is quite as easy on the eye. But building a good boat is only half the story; you also need to price and market it correctly, particularly when you’re launching an entirely new brand into a hotly contested corner of the market. Thankfully, it looks like the Turkish yard has done its sums correctly, too. The Sirena 64 comes pretty well equipped as standard, with useful things such as a generator and a full set of nav gear as well as plenty of teak in the cockpit, bathing platform and even the bathrooms included. It’s also well priced, with the base boat coming in at around €1.57m (ex VAT) compared to €1.85m for the Magellano 66. Is that enough to lure buyers away from the cachet and quality of a brand as respected as Azimut? Judging from the eight units already sold in the six months since its launch, the answer for them at least is an unequivocal yes.
Price from: €1,880,000
LOA: 68ft 1in (20.74m)
Beam: 19ft 3in (5.86m)
Draught: 4ft 2in (1.27m)
Displacement (full load): 44 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 1,166 gallons (5,300 litres)
Water capacity: 319 gallons (1,450 litres)
Test engines: Twin 1,000hp CAT C12.9 diesel
Top speed on test: 26.3 knots
Cruising speed: 9.4 knots
Range at 9.4 knots: 996 miles
RCD Category: A for 14 people
Design: Frers / Spadolini