Yacht Class n°15 (dec 2018/jan-feb 2019)
Since 2012, the Italian shipyard Ice Yachts, with undeniable know-how, has developed a range of cruisers where performance never harms comfort. ICE 60, signed Umberto Felci, is swift in the air and her amenities, simple but marine, presage navigations of standing
Written by: Christophe Varène – Photos: All rights reserved
After the frenzy of the last Yachting Festival in Cannes, how sweet it is to go for a boat trip, to savour moments of tranquillity and wholeness, and finally to enjoy sailing aboard one of these magnificent sailing boats that make so many sailors dream, so passionate about the sea and the wind. If, moreover, the yacht ready to embark you is racy, elegant and timeless, then, the pleasure intensifies. The ICE 60, wisely moored dock Maxime Laubeuf in Cannes, is a fast cruiser, modern, with electric blue dress and taut, clean lines. Well in the current line of transalpine productions, with straight bow, wide stern and light superstructures, this yacht, although a young shipyard, has a character already asserted, and it is not surprising when we discover her origins: her architect is none other than Umberto Felci to whom we owe, for example, the Felci 61, which is inspired by the ICE 60. The construction site is located in Salvirola, near Milan, in the old installations CN Yachts 2000, from which more than 80 yachts have been released in the last 30 years. The know-how, the experience and the demand are therefore key words in this company founded by Marco Malaga in 2012, after the acquisition of Yachts 2000. Today, the Ice Yachts catalogue represents eight monohulls from 33 to 100 feet and two catamarans of 61 and 67 feet, the latter still being planned.
It slides on the water effortlessly
On this beautiful autumn morning, the crew embarks on the ICE 60 Joy – a name just like the programme! – by the wide rear platform, which discovers a garage able to shelter an annex of 3.20 m. As efficient as an electro-hydraulic system, although lighter, a simple hoist – well multiplied and hidden in a trunk – can raise this bathing range and cast off. With her powerful 150hp engine, Joy leaves the dock and the bow thruster, useful to fight against wind-up when the wind blows or to exit a crowded port, helps. Once the pier has passed, it is time to send the wing. The Southern Spars mast and boom are made of carbon, and the mainsail runs with ease provided that it is given the right angle and using the fast speed of the electric winch. The genoa unfolds in stride and, with 220 m2 of sails Diamond Saildesign, the ICE 60 shivers in a small breeze of 10 knots. The perpetual quest for weight gain is proving effective – Joy is built with fiberglass and carbon sandwich infusion for a displacement of less than 18 t – and the hull seems to glide effortlessly over the water. The near edges, towards the Lérins Islands, allow to appreciate the ability of the sailboat to go up close to the wind: at 29 ° of apparent wind, the speedometer announces 7.2 nodes. The inclination of the boat is reasonable, but in the windings the helmsman appreciates the retractable board serving as footrests. It is then possible for him to make the most of the bar quality of the ICE 60: the touch is precise, the immediate reactions. A rush approached, we fell a little and at 50 ° from the wind, the speed climbed from 7.5 to 9.0 knots and then to 10 by opening the sails a little.
In front of the helmsman, a large screen allows a fast visualization of the data and a large battery of buttons offers the possibility to manage the reels, the mainsail trolley, the windlass, the lights … Four winches in the cockpit and two close to the descent makes it possible to control all manoeuvres and sail settings. The hydraulic controls for the backstay and the boom downhole are located next to the port helm station. The absence of the gennaker on board does not allow to push the performance downwind: damage, because with its 320 m2, it would surely give excellent results in these little tunes. The flush bridge helps make traveling easy and safe, and while genuine teak has a certain nobility, the synthetic coating of our test boat has the advantage of being lightweight and quick to maintain. Sheltered by the islands of Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat, Joy returns to the motor, the opportunity to appreciate its silence – closed doors in the front cabin, difficult to know if it works or not – and its effectiveness: if the top speed is higher than 10 knots, the cruising speed is around 8 knots, around 2,000 rpm, for less than 10 l / h of consumption. For the regatta enthusiast, the yard offers options to further sharpen the ICE 60 (removal of the 350 kg retractor boom, lengthening the keel from 2.80 m draft to 3 , 40 m …), but as it turns out Joy is quick and easy to manoeuvre with a reduced crew.
Very bright interiors
Convinced by the sailing qualities of the ICE 60, let’s see her ability to make cruises comfortable at sea, but also at anchor … As we have seen, the rear deck is welcoming, and the cockpit is not to be outdone with its large benches and foldable central table that augur well for dinners on the terrace. Storage boxes at the top of the descent prevent the halyards and plays from hanging outside the navigation phases. The five steps of the descent, a little steep but provided with two solid vertical handrails – two more are placed at the corners near the chart table and near the living room – give access to the vast square. Very bright with plenty of portholes (hull, deckhouse, deck), its bright colours, with touches of wood deposited here and there, enlarges this beautiful volume that opens to the kitchen. It seems functional, including in navigation, thanks to its U shape and its beautiful dimensions, while being friendly, close to passengers in the lounge. Opposite, a cabin with bunk beds can be used for the crew, better installed here than in a front post often cramped, or space to install washing machine and dryer. At the bottom of the descent, on the starboard side and at the end of the small bench in the living room, the chart table occupies a small space, the electronics requiring less space than the classic paper maps. The owner’s cabin, with en suite shower room, occupies the entire front with a large double bed on a central island, for once, low enough. If there are many storage units and wardrobes around this cabin, a nice storage space is under the bed that is easily lifted with two powerful pneumatic cylinders. To the rear two beautiful guest cabins are located on both sides of the descent, one with double bed, the other with two single beds. Two bathrooms, one of which is private from one of the cabins, complete the facilities. The ICE 60 is also available with a three-cabin configuration: the kitchen returns to a more usual position at the foot of the descent and the crew cabin space removed is integrated into the square that gains in area with a more spacious map table.
A regatta version
Racy, swift and comfortable, the ICE 60 is a yacht that is in tune with the times, with a programme that leaves the choice between regatta and cruising. Of course, depending on whether the owner is leaning more towards one or the other of these activities, the site proposes variants of optimization. Fierce racers can opt, for example, for a full carbon deck, a lifting keel, carbon rudders or a Park Avenue boom; all of these elements reduce the weight estimate and, most likely, improve performance. Cruisers can be tempted, for example, by an elegant and warm teak deck, a desalinator, solarium cushions and a wine cellar. Whatever the decisions made, the Ice Yachts shipyard brings a high level of quality to the construction and care of the finishes. Then, between a fire-rated ICE 60 or a cool-action ICE 60, each ship owner will find the temperature that suits him.
Reactive to the slightest risk, the ICE 60 relies on the list on its large freeboard, lengthens its waterline and lets appreciate its large cockpit where the manoeuvres are grouped.