Sirena is quickly making a name for itself when it comes to building fast, modern trawler yachts. Could the Sirena 68 be its best model yet?
Some boats just feel right from the moment you step on board. Whether it’s the choice of materials or the cohesiveness of the layout, there are times when after the first few paces around the bathing platform and cockpit you suspect that the boat you’re standing on is well sorted. The Sirena 68 is one of those boats.
It should be good. Not only does it share a hull with its excellent predecessor, the 64, but Sirena called upon the expertise of two powerhouses of the naval architecture world in Dutch studio Cor D. Rover and Argentinian Germán Frers.
Both have designed for the superyacht sector so maybe it should come as no surprise that the boat feels 10ft longer than it actually is.
The tone is set at the stern where there is a hydraulic bathing platform so large that you could mount a decent tender on it and still have plenty of space to move around, and a suitably tall door set into the transom that opens to reveal a crew space that will no doubt be the envy of crews living aboard almost every other 70-footer.
We often say that crew cabins on boats like this could qualify as guest cabins but here it truly is the case.
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Headroom is excellent and with an attractive galley and mess area it’s so much more than just a couple of single berths and a cramped bathroom.
Crank open a watertight door to find the engineroom, which is immaculately engineered and laid out in such a way that access to daily service items on the Volvo Penta D13 blocks couldn’t be easier.
The Sirena 68 is a Category A semi-displacement cruiser with a fuel capacity of over 5,000 litres. It means business and you can tell as much from the quality of the engine installation.
Driving the Sirena 68
We caught up with the Sirena 68 during the Cannes Yachting Festival so, as is the way with these things, there was little time to appreciate the machinery before it was fired up and we were fighting our way out of the harbour with the throng of other craft on their last sea trials of the day.
Testing from Cannes always throws up unique circumstances, the most obvious of which is the number of people on board. The Sirena 68 is certified to safely carry the 14 people, including journos and crew, that we had on board but I would bet that it won’t host that many the majority of the time.
And this being a press sea trial most of those bodies were up on the flybridge, huddled around the helm in order to harvest the performance data pouring out of the MFDs.
Despite the extraordinary load the Sirena 68 had to deal with on its top deck it coped impressively well, even if the top speed was a little down on the yard’s quoted 28-knot maximum. No great surprise given the load, near-full fuel and water tanks and high water temperatures of the Med.
The overriding feeling from the helm of the Sirena 68 is one of unwavering solidity. The hull is a vinylester resin-infused sandwich construction with a manufacturer 5-year warranty against osmosis.
Frers’ semi-displacement hull design is an absolute peach, deftly blending sure-footed and planted straight-line cruising with a keenness to the handling that comes as a pleasant surprise on a boat of this type.
The 3/4 length keel does a fine job of keeping the boat on course when you just want to sit back and cruise, but dial in some lock, and the well weighted fly-by-wire steering hooks the boat back on itself in a tidy arc.
The upper helm is a deeply pleasant place to sit, the plush helm seats alone are enough to coax out an “ahhh” as you relax into them. At first glance the twin 12in Garmin MFDs appear too far away and if they were just touch-screens they would be.
But there is a little pod that sprouts up from the deck next to the helm seat that is inset with a pair of cup holders and home to a remote control panel so you can flick between the screens without having to peel your back off of the sumptuous backrests.
There are two Volvo Penta engine options that use the same block with either 900 or 1,000hp each. I would think pretty much every Sirena 68 will be built with the larger versions, which offer gutsy performance and impressive fuel economy throughout the rev range.
A good semi-displacement hull really can be all things to all people, as the 68 demonstrates with a top speed of 25 knots and fast cruising range of 320 miles (with 20% in reserve) at 21 knots. Drop that speed back to 9 knots, however, and the range jumps up to nearly 1,000nm with the same reserve in place.
The engines deliver punch when you want it and are particularly throaty around the marina as you nudge them in and out of gear, but settle down into single-figure cruising speeds and the Sirena 68 transforms into an excellent long distance companion.
If hard yards – especially at night – are what you’re doing then in reality it’s the lower helm that will be seeing most of the action and sitting here is no chore either.
The imposing dashboard is great to look at, even if the lower dash is a bit of a melange of various control panels, and with the same super comfortable chair as upstairs, long stints in the saddle shouldn’t be an issue.
There is only one chair at the lower helm as standard but a clever forward-facing bench and table arrangement to starboard allow a couple of guests or crew to keep the skipper company on longer legs.
It is on deck where the Sirena 68 most defies its 70ft LOA. The flybridge in particular feels absolutely huge and is fitted with two dinettes and two bars yet still has space spare at its aft end for a couple of sun loungers or bean bags.
The hardtop is a hulking structure supported centrally by the distinctive radar mast, which incorporates an overhead shower, but in constructing it in part from carbon fibre there has at least been an attempt to keep the centre of gravity relatively low.
Aside from the foredeck seating’s generous proportions and clever arrangement with a dinette and two-way backrest on the sun pad it’s the quality of the execution that catches the eye.
The bulwarks are topped with thick slabs of teak but so are the edges of the seating modules, which also have cupholders and pop-up lights neatly integrated in their surfaces. Up front, there is a chain and deck wash-down system and a large self-draining anchor locker large enough to swallow eight fenders.
Germán Frers has done work for Hallberg-Rassy and Nautor’s Swan in the past and that practical eye informs a lot of what makes the Sirena 68 such a usable cruising boat. It’s a similar story in the cockpit, which is flanked by meaty mooring gear and covered rope bins to tidy away lines.
It’s the sheer amount of room in the cockpit that is most noticeable and the generous amount of floor space between the table and sliding doors that feels so luxurious. A nice touch here is the use of glass in the supports that connect the bulwarks to the flybridge structure, so the view from the cockpit isn’t obscured.
The aft galley arrangement is bolstered by a lowering glass section, which drops into the deck to create a bar area between the kitchen and cockpit. To starboard, the door slides across to reveal a central walkway into the saloon itself, which emanates the same feeling of quality that is so acutely felt across the outdoor spaces.
It may sound rudimentary, but just the fact that the flooring feels totally solid under foot and doesn’t squeak or groan as you walk across it suggests that the Sirena 68 has been engineered to a high level, as does the quality of the timber throughout.
The boat’s liveaboard intentions are enhanced by domestic-sized appliances in the galley, including a full-height fridge freezer, large dishwasher, four-burner induction hob and a domestic-sized oven.
There isn’t a huge amount of play in terms of layout – this is a production boat after all – but there is the option to replace the single guest cabin to starboard with a pair of bunks and to include a utility room.
As standard there is a neat lobby area that leads into the day heads on the port side of the lower deck, which contains the washer/dryer, an assortment of storage and even a pop-out ironing board.
Yet more evidence that the Sirena 68 is designed to be a home-from-home as much as a boat. The owner’s cabin amidships certainly has the space and luxury to qualify as a bedroom. There is well over 6ft of headroom throughout and a flat floor around the double berth, which is mounted facing-forward on the centreline.
Aft of the bed you can either have a full width ensuite with two identical, separate toilets that share an enormous shower in the middle or have the bathroom to port, and a dog-legged walk-in wardrobe to starboard.
I am aware of sounding like a stuck record but the quality of the interior resonates once again, especially the interior doors which clunk shut with such satisfying engineered precision. Fit and finish has always been notably good with Sirena but the 68 feels like a level up from its predecessor.
Carving its own niche
For a relatively new brand Sirena’s progress is remarkable. Building the size of boats it does (the Sirena 68, a Sirena 58 and the flagship Sirena 88) there are plenty of well-established brands who can offer stiff competition.
The Turkish yard has been smart, though, and by employing heavyweights to handle design and naval architecture the Sirena 68 feels just as competent and capable as models from those names in the sector with greater brand recognition.
Price as reviewed:
£1,630,000.00 ex. VAT (correct as of Cannes Boat Show 2021)
With these types of ‘soft’ trawler gaining popularity thanks to their semi-displacement range and interior volume, Sirena has carved out a promising niche for itself and hopefully one that can produce models either side of the smallest and largest that it currently builds. As for the Sirena 68, it feels right from the moment you step on board and just gets better and better.
LOA: 70ft 0in (21.4m)
Beam: 19ft 4in (5.9m)
Draught: 4ft 3in (1.3m)
Displacement: 39.5 tonnes (light)
Fuel capacity: 5,520 litres
Water capacity: 1,400 litres
Test engines: Twin 1,000hp Volvo Penta D13
Top speed on test: 25.1 knots
Range: 320nm @ 20 knots / 942nm @ 9.2 knots
Fuel consumption: 286lph @ 20 knots / 41lph @ 9.2 knots
RCD category: A for 14 people
Design: Germán Frers & Cor D. Rover