A truly innovative concept
YACHT CLASS N°6 (Sept-oct-nov 2016)
Unveiled this year in Düsseldorf, Sherpa 55' actually covered her first miles last spring. We were on board to discover the most original boat of the year in her category. This concept, conceived by the creative Francesco Guida, innovates in many respects.
Text : Alain Brousse - Photos : Alan & D.R.
Naples, early July. Dolce & Gabbana was celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, hence the presence of the Benetti 11/11 in the bay. Meanwhile further south, David Gilmour, member of Pink Floyd, was performing in Pompeii. For our part, we were landing in Torre Annunziata, where the Arcardia shipyard had settled down about ten years ago, impatient to test their latest addition, Sherpa. If her older sisters reflect a strong personality, the latter set the bar even higher thanks to the architect and designer Francesco Guida, recognized by his peers as a true creative. He has undeniably created there a new genre, both regarding the exterior design and layout. The profile of Sherpa certainly puzzles, in every sense of the word. She does not leave indifferent. Some will point their thumb up, while more sceptical others will need to get used to these forward superstructures, above a high freeboard. Reminiscent of a pilot boat, fortunately her modern forms promptly reveal her vocation of a pleasure yachting unit. Even more original is this everlasting aft, sitting low on the water.
The shipyard president, Ugo Pellegrino, and the French importer, main seller of the Arcadia range, Renaud Canivet from Ocean Drive had prepared a full program starting with the visit of the shipyard. This was the chance to discover their ultramodern offices, but also the huge hangar where are created the fibreglass Arcadia models: 55’ Sherpa, 85’, 85S, 100’, 115’ and soon a 145’. We are south of Naples, 25 miles away from the famous and idyllic island of Capri. Needless to say that we immediately set sail to this captivating place. Sherpa has only one helm station, on the upper deck, accessible via the cockpit central staircase. Its unique feature: a protecting 180-degree glazed window "belt" that can electrically be lowered on half its height to enjoy the salty wind and the landscape. An impressive control panel, featuring two screens, displays all the required information. In between, thanks to a smaller one dedicated to the Seakeeper 9 gyro stabilizer, we can assess its true efficiency on Sherpa. As this model is a prototype, she actually has a shallow hull, but no keel, but the shipyard confirmed that the first units of the range will get one. In any case, the Seakeeper is a recommended option. Sherpa can leave laterally the dock thanks to her two Volvo Penta IPS600 (2x 435 hp) and a joystick, making manoeuvring a breeze. Gradually, the hull traces its wake, the engines sail up the rev range and we reach the maximum speed of 20 knots with both the water and oil tanks half-full. This is slightly less than the speed the shipyard first announced but it should soon receive the right propellers and count on a 23 knots speed.
We also have define her yield curve to determine that her efficient speed: 2 600 rpm, which represents 12 knots with a 300 miles range. This version is a calm one but, she can gain a few knots thanks to a more powerful configuration, as for instance a 2 x 625 hp (Volvo Penta IPS800). The wheelhouse has two unadjustable ergonomics seats and is easily recognizable with its steering wheel, inspired by sailing units: 1,2m in diameter, all in carbon and soft to the touch. This feels offbeat but also so nice that easily forget the lack of a real footplate. Honestly, this is a good concept especially when sailing between 12 and 20 knots. Sherpa sails along the chalk cliffs of Capri and its caves. Then, she anchors at the feet of a perched village, home of a renowned table… But let's go back to her centrepiece: her cockpit. Similar in surface to the 85', the layout of these 41m2 is entirely dedicated to relaxation. Its salon is sheltered by the roof canopy while the large solarium enjoys a full sunbathe. Instead of a sofa and armchairs, one can imagine a table with chairs for meals, which are initially planned on the upper deck in the area gathering the wheelhouse, a large salon and the kitchen. This place can be freely configured, and as an option, two lateral glass partitions can come to shelter the salon. Only one bad note: the noise level on navigation is high in the cockpit. But the shipyard is aware of this catch and will rectify it in a nearby future. Just as well they promised a more ergonomics stern, less penalizing for the garage opening.
Everything is perfectible, a rule Arcadia fully endorses, which reassures us on their intentions. Describing this 55-feet, who will become a 58' once improved, as a day-boat, makes us forget her interior layout. Sherpa also has claims in cruising. Her lower deck is not the most voluminous but it can sleep up to 6 persons. Three layouts are available: either one, two or three cabins. Our model has two of them: a master on portside with a double bed and a modern decoration based on white, grey and black. Ever-present, Francesco Guida has used his talents down to the guest cabins, on the front bow. Finally, let's note that the designer has not forgotten a sofa for three, perfect in navigation, on the main deck aft. The shipyard manager has promised improvements on the first model of this series. Both the users and Sherpa deserve them. In any case, Arcadia has dared with this whole new concept that should find its place on the market of units dedicated to navigation and anchorage pleasure.
- Overall length : 17,28 m
- Max beam : 5,60 m
- Draft : 0,90 m
- Fuel : 1 800 l
- Water : 600 l
- Laden displacement : 18 t
- Engine : 2 x Volvo Penta IPS600
- Power : 2 x 435 ch (2 x 320 kW)
- Max speed : 20 knots
- Range at 12 knots : 300 milles
- Price without options : 1,3 millions d’euros H.T
- Naval architect : Francesco Guida
- Exterior & interior designer : Francesco Guida
- Builder : Arcadia Yachts (Torre Annunziata – Italie)
- Importer : Ocean Drive (Golfe-Juan)