The hull cuts off the sea surface at more than 45 knots
YACHT CLASS N°9 (June-july-august 2017)
AB Yachts - Fipa Group
Boarding an AB Yachts means entering a world where the distinct exterior design perfectly reflects performance. This AB100 has not reached the expected 54 knots, yet she offered us an impressive result : 47.8 knots. At this speed, she'd better be endowed with a flawless hull. And she is.
Text : Alain Brousse - Photos : D.R.
With three famous brands in Europe - Maiora, CBi Navi et AB Yachts - Fipa Group, created in 1970, offers a large range from 18 to 80 metres, composed of flybridge and open hardtop models. With her unmistakable profile, the AB100 (30 metre) ranks in the latest. Her flowing and dynamic lines explicitly evoke her affinity for speed. Her hull was conceived to perform on water. As a matter of fact, her specifications indicated an impressive figure : 54 knots at full throttle. A bit sceptical, we were though looking forward to take the helm of this "supercharged" sport yacht to see for ourselves. In her engine room are carefully fitted three V12 MAN developing 1 900hp each. As expected, AB Yachts remained faithful to the Swedish MJP's waterjet propulsion system. The shipyard has a long history of working with this turbine specialist (up to 9000 kW !). Let's leave the engines world to head to the perfect setting to fully appreciate the performance of this 30-metre that, thanks to the in-house research department, enjoys a registered length of under 24 metres and its less restrictive requirements.
Positive yield at high speeds
So we are now at the front of the main area, where is located the wheelhouse and its two ergonomic and electrically adjustable seats, endowed with armrests. We immediately noticed the perfect visibility, on nearly 360°, an asset we do not necessarily have on all units of this calibre. Another visible quality : the great discretion of her idling engines. For port manoeuvres, we opted for the classical method instead of the joystick, that is to say the forward-reverse throttles, which is more delicate and requires more skills, especially with waterjet propulsion. The draught is the first asset of waterjets. Just imagine : only 1.30 metre for a 100-foot when it is usually close to 2 metres on an equivalent traditional unit. This is undeniably an advantage at anchor or while sailing in shoal areas, such as the Bahamas. As for us, since our sea trial was taking place off the Lerins Island, our first concern remained the AB100's liveliness. With waterjets, lifting off takes longer than with surface propellers. The proof being that our yacht, powered by three engines, required 19 seconds to go from slow motion to 20 knots. She also needed nearly a minute to reach her maximum speed : 47.8 knots, not the 54 claimed on paper. A further adjustment should at least allow the AB100 to reach the symbolic hurdle of 50 knots. We also noticed a phenomenon we can partially attribute to the waterjets : a positive and relatively flat yield curve at high rpm. Thus, she displays the same result be it at 1 500 rpm or at full throttle, 2 500 rpm : 0.040 mile per litre. Beyond 1 750 rpm, the AB100 spreads her wings : 19.4 knots at this power and 32 knots with only 250 extra rpm ! This strong acceleration corresponds to the input of the turbochargers. The hull completely lifts off thanks to an ideal positive plate. It is a unfortunate she is slightly noisy in choppy waters. Finally for those who like to draw arabesques on water, this 30-metre turns tight with promptness and precision.
All the cabins in the hull
Her agility on water should not overshadow her other pretentions, such as the cruising pleasures. Even though she belongs to the open hardtop category, she is also a "sportfly" with a sundeck of "only" 55m2 but large enough to accommodate a saloon that can act as an eating area for eight, two sunbeds (front and aft) and a helm station with a retractable dashboard. With its exterior saloon (sofa for ten and a table for snacks) and its large and comfortable sunbed (four to six), the foredeck, just before the technical area, is a pleasant spot. So is the aft cockpit with its sofa and polyester table and another sunbed. This place will be even more enjoyable with a canvas, an optional but essential protection. By the way, one canvas on the foredeck may also be a good idea… By raising the electrical transom, we discover the garage with its 4.50 metre tender and a jet-ski. On the teak bathing platform can fit three deckchairs. Let's head back to the main deck. The services of its interior volumes are "limited" to an entirely open area of about 60m2 gathering the lounge area, the dining room and the wheelhouse. They all perfectly coexist despite the absence of partition. This place only features inconspicuous piece of furniture behind the back of the sofa. There, not only is natural light abundant but the colours are particularly clear : white and light grey, including the painted oak floor. This bias has been hitherto endorsed by the yachtsmen interested by this unit and we share their opinion. Especially since the finishing is perfect. To the right of the wheelhouse, a single staircase leads below deck. The first sliding room opens onto the 15m2 kitchen endowed with such professional equipment that it should please the Chef. Let's put ourselves into the shoes of an owner who will join his cabin via a fairly decorated corridor. We can't really call it a suite since its surface is closer to a cabin large enough to accommodate a king size and an office area that can also act as a dressing table. Behind the headboard partition were fitted a starboard dressing room and a bathroom with an independent portside shower. As for the guests, the privileged couple will enjoy the forward double cabin while the others will be housed in two en-suite twins. The four crew members are accommodated in the bow and enjoy two small cabins with two bunkbeds and a wc-shower area, with a private access from the kitchen.
With this model, the AB Yachts shipyard remains true to the brand DNA. Her performances comes first despite a few missing knots. We will place second the interior layout, ex-æquo with the interior design. The AB100 is indeed sporty, but she is also indisputably dedicated to cruising.
- Overall length : 30,50 m
- Max beam : 6,80 m
- Draft : 1,30 m
- Fuel : 11 700 l
- Water : 2 000 l
- Poids en charge : 90 t
- Material : polyester et carbone
- Engine : 2 x 1 900 ch MAN V12
- Max speed : 47,8 knots
- Cruising speed at 2 000 tr/min : 32 knots
- Cruising range : 455 milles
- Price : 8,5 millions H.T
- Architect & designer : AB Yachts Fipa Group
- Builder : AB Yachts Fipa Group (Viareggio – Italie)
- Importer : Fipa Group France (Golfe-Juan)