At the risk of sounding unkind, I have to make it clear from the outset that the Absolute 58 Navetta is far from the prettiest boat I have ever seen. From some angles, and particularly up close, it reveals some unpleasant surprises. I’m not saying it’s akin to a fibreglass monstrosity some bloke on the edge of town has been trying to finish for the last fifteen years, but at first sight, it’s a shock.
I feel better having put that out there, so if external beauty your primary concern, then you may not wish to linger, there’s little here for you. But before you go, there’s a catch.
First, the looks betray the true nature of the Navetta in a way that astounded me. If I had been led on board the yacht in Rose Bay Marina blindfolded, then my initial reaction would have been much more positive. On board, the Navetta is stunning and the ride is sensational.
And secondly, I might just have to get used to the look, because according to local Absolute importer, Steve Hannes from Premier Marine, the Navetta is the vanguard of a luxury boating trend already sweeping European waterways with an uncompromisingly utilitarian trawler style.
Additionally, behind the off-putting fibreglass exterior is an astutely engineered hull with the latest technology for a smooth, quiet ride and enduring strength. And, once away from the dock, the lines take on a more graceful impression – even if the square entry, voluminous bow and slab sides seem incongruous in a seagoing cruiser.
Absolute have disregarded the traditional concept of what a performance hull should be. Instead, they incorporate vertical wave breakers along the sides to increase volume, at the same time creating a tunnel effect against a deep-V hull underneath for efficient hydrodynamics and effective seaworthiness. The result is a boat with both planing and displacement characteristics, happy to cruise long distances at six to eight knots or reach speeds approaching 26 knots for a bit of fun.
Against a legion of established European boat marques, Absolute’s relatively short 17-year history has seen them grow to become one of the world’s most prolific and innovative builders. Always with a heavy Italian influence, they are based near the progressive Milan design hub and boast a lofty strategy to introduce two new models every year. And as the review boat testifies, they aren’t frightened to push the edges of creative frontiers.
Construction involves an Integrated Structural System (ISS) where the structural components of the boat are built and bonded in unison to create a fully self-consistent and incredibly stronghn vessel. While it might not be a high consideration when buying, all engineering features like engines, gearboxes and refrigeration are installed only after the superstructure and decks have been bonded to the hull, meaning their removal for service can be achieved without destroying the integrity of the vessel. Down the track, it will make a big difference to maintenance costs.
Absolute partnered with Volvo Penta from the beginning of IPS technology and, apart from a couple of the smallest models, all yachts in the range are powered by the forward-facing drive and steerage system. This symbiotic relationship means the hull of the Navetta is optimised for IPS performance and economy with underwater shapes sympathetic to the twin rotating drives.
At the full-width submersible boarding platform there are side walkways to the cockpit and a central sliding door to a rear storage area with head and shower. This room can be optioned as a twin berth crew cabin and has direct access to the engine room, which can also be entered from a hatch in the cockpit.
An inspection of the engine room shows an attention to detail that is impressive. The electrical fitout and signage are superb, and access to strainers, filters and other maintenance items is easy, with proper head height and plenty of room to move in the well-lit and surgically clean compartment.
The teak-clad cockpit includes a transom lounge and table, a wide stairway to the flybridge and weather protection from the flybridge overhang. Seating throughout the exterior spaces features synthetic cream coloured upholstery with fast-draining foam cushions. All together there are three outdoor areas for your full complement of 14 guests to spread out.
Bulwarks either side are shaded with an overhang and are protected by wide side decks with handy grab rails. It's a step up to the bow area with a spacious lounge ahead of the windscreen and a large sunpad, cleverly raised over an escape and ventilation hatch to the forward cabin.
In good weather, most guests would spend their time on the flybridge deck cruising in the sunshine where the skipper can be part of the action. Lounges surround the helm on both sides, and further back under the hardtop is a dining and lounging space around a decent size teak table with seating for half a dozen.
An electrically operated bimini extends the shaded area and covers the port side wet bar with fridge, icemaker, electric BBQ and sink. The rear section of the flybridge is an open space with storage lockers and a high security rail.
On entering the saloon through the wide stacker doors, any hint of the trawler genre is erased by the beautifully presented and ultra-modern interior. Spacious cream fabric lounges either side of the ample space invite you to relax with friends, enjoy a coffee or watch the large television that appears from the port side cabinet on an electric ram.
Long expanses of tinted glass at the lounges offer panoramic views and expand the feeling of space. Meanwhile, perfectly presented cabinetry in walnut and light oak, with black leather panels, as well as an onyx coffee table add to the opulence. A cabinet near the door houses the main electronic circuit boards and fuses with everything clearly marked for fast access.
Further forward is the starboard-side galley and a raised six-place dinette on the opposite wall. I like this layout as it combines the cockpit and saloon lounges for a more significant entertaining precinct and separates the cooking and eating area into a more formal arrangement.
The galley is equipped with quality appliances including a 185-litre Dometic fridge/freezer, Bosch induction cooktop, Bosch oven and a deep stainless steel sink set into a cream Corian benchtop. Families will appreciate interaction with the cook, but there’s an optional sliding door for a more intimate dining experience when professionally crewed.
A wide leather and carbon wrapped dash in the style of a long distance voyager give the saloon helm a big boat feel and a very sophisticated look. Here vision is superb, and the side door gives instant access to the starboard walkway.
Three cabins and three ensuites down below emphasise the high level of luxury. A VIP suite set into the bow features an island queen and large windows afford remarkable views. The ensuite is spacious and has a separate shower with glass door, marble finish vanity and lots of storage and ventilation.
Even though we have become accustomed to a very high level of opulence common across the amidships master cabins in many upmarket cruisers, the Navetta’s version is still impressive. Waterline views through three large window panels add to the impact, and the starboard side lounge begs you to linger and contemplate a fortunate life that led you to ownership. The island king bed is enormous, the walk-up ensuite is tastefully furnished, and storage abounds for a four-season wardrobe.
Sharing its bathroom as a day head, the port-side twin cabin lacks the impact of the others but makes no compromise on comfort with its twin singles and the same high level of fitout quality.
At the central helm seat in the flybridge, vision is perfect, controls are easily accessible, and a small screen in front can be raised to deflect wind overhead or left low for a welcome blast of fresh air. The upper helm is open to the elements but still has a full array of navigation equipment and engine-monitoring screens to keep you informed of what's going on below.
Electronics include a 12-inch Garmin navigation screen, seven-inch Volvo display, autopilot, Bennett trim tabs, and a Quick chain counter for the anchor.
Moving away from the dock, the IPS demonstrated one of its most popular features especially among anyone new to big boat ownership. A flick and twist of the joystick places you exactly where you want to be. Even in a stiff breeze you will soon be moving sideways, back and forth and even spinning in your own length without fear of colliding with anything.
At low speeds and at rest in the harbour swell, it was immediately apparent that the Navetta is remarkably stable, with a slow controlled roll that would have even landlubber guests feeling comfortable. We were planing at around 12 knots and soon steaming towards the ocean at a pleasant 16-knot cruise. All good, but the fuel usage was much higher than expected, which Steve put down to growth on the drives and props that were due for a clean and a Propspeed foul release application.
Factory figures suggest a 26-knot maximum, but we managed only 20 on our test, again a reflecting the marine growth below. With a clean driveline you can expect a cruising range of 864 nautical miles at six knots, 480 at 10 knots and because of the streamline "gliding" hull, around 270 nautical miles across the spectrum of planing speeds between 12 and 26 knots.
Offshore the ride into a 1.5-metre swell belied the beefy bows and unusual hull shape – it was soft and smooth with no pounding and no rattles or harmonics through the hull.
By adopting a shape that makes the most of every inch of the Navetta’s 17-metre length, Absolute has given this boat the volume of a larger vessel without compromising seaworthiness or performance. If room to move and a superb fitout are high priorities, you will find them here with a price starting at $2,309,000 landed in Australia. As tested, with options including a T-top in the flybridge, side access door, air conditioning and hydraulic swim platform it sits at $2,476,000.
You could very quickly settle into the luxurious and welcoming ambience of the Navetta and look forward to weekends a
float as a couple or with family. You could just as easily set aside time for extended cruises in a boat capable of long distance travel and all the room to feel right at home.
Look past the shock of the new, and you will find a beautifully presented and well-designed boat with an appeal to anyone with a yearning for something different but immensely practical. You will be happy spending time aboard exploring your local waterway, but if the desire arises to spread your wings to more extensive destinations, then the Navetta will be well up to the task.
Beautifully presented modern interior
Roomy spaces inside and out for year-round entertainment
Stable ride and impressive seaworthiness
Facts & figures
Absolute Navetta 58
PRICED FROM $2,309,000
OPTIONS FITTED 40,000BTU Air conditioning, Hull antifouling, IS12 gen set, hydraulic platform, side access door, flybridge T-top, retractable 40” television, teak flooring, rear engine room access and bespoke cutlery.
PRICE AS TESTED $2,476,000
TYPE Monohull Cruiser
LENGTH 17m (55'9”)
BEAM 5.05m (16'7”)
PEOPLE 6(NIGHT) 14(DAY)
MAKE/MODEL Volvo Penta D8-IPS700
TYPE In-line 6 cylinder common rail turbo diesel
RATED HP 550hp at 2900rpm
WEIGHT 1410kg incl. props and leg.
PROPELLER Counter rotating DP N2xPS1.5
Sydney Boat House
Unit 4, 2 Waterways Court
Rozelle NSW 2039
P (02) 9555 8864