Yacht Class n°22 (sept-oct-nov 2020)
The 85 GTS, OTAM’s latest creation, streaks across the sea at nearly 50 knots, followed by a plume of foam lifted by her surface propellers. This sports cruiser does not neglect comfort and luxury with, for this specimen, a layout including only two cabins to privilege space. A request from the shipowner who benefited from the “custom” know-how of the Genoese shipyard. In fact, this OTAM is unique.
Written by: Philippe Leblond – Photos: All rights reserved
Founded in 1954, the Genoese yard then involved in the maintenance and restoration of boats – it was the first service centre approved by Riva in the Mediterranean – in turn became a builder in the 1980s. Quickly, OTAM signalled itself by its liveable sports speedboats and its “tailor-made” philosophy. Its best-known range is called “Fast & Iconic”, with yachts of notable performances, in a segment ranging from 45 to 100 feet. The 85 GTS is the latest addition to this series, with her streamlined silhouette and clean lines, an aesthetic without artifices. Her launch at the end of 2019 comes two years after the great interest aroused by the 80 (23.50 m) at the Cannes Yachting Festival 2017.
A deck saloon for fifteen guests
As soon as you step aboard this open-hard top yacht, you appreciate the size of the cockpit and the charm of the massive teak present in abundance, contrasting wonderfully with the darkness of the hull and superstructures. Access to the huge bathing platform is facilitated by two beautiful staircases framing the XXL rear solarium and the long bench seat. The latter seems to be able to accommodate seven people around the “aperitif” table adjustable in height. With its six meters wide, the 85 GTS takes advantage of her beautiful deck area to generate easy and safe movements, thanks to comfortable sidewalls protected by a high bulwark, up to the last quarter of the length, the bridge then going up in direction of the bow. In the absence of a pulpit (aesthetic bias), it will be advisable not to venture the foredeck while sailing… Open to the sun, since the hard-top simply shelters the large deck saloon, further forward, the cockpit can be shaded using a large awning stretched by poles. Under the electrically opening hard top, we discover a spacious deck saloon made up of a double saloon suitable for seating fifteen guests to share grills or a simple snack provided by the kitchenette made up of black lacquered furniture and whose two worktops are surrounded by teak. Further forward, there are two sofas sharing the same space as the two-seater helm station.
A 2.30 metre headroom!
A few steps lower, we reach the lower deck, that of the cabins. There are only two of them, at the express request of the owner, to make the most of the space and offer guests a VIP almost worthy of a master. What strikes you as soon as you “land” in the living room-kitchen (note: no handrail on the stairs!) is the classic and warm decoration, the work of Parisian designer Joseph Dirand, also creator of the layout of the main deck. The abundant wood in slightly red hues, of hazelnut treated with a satin varnish, creates a happy contrast with the carpets, the cane rattan of the wardrobe doors and the Alcantara cream colour, as well as the white ceiling linings. Speaking of the ceiling, another surprising detail, the headroom, which culminates at 2.30 m (in the front cabin too), something extremely rare on a unit of this type! A large salon, with a height-adjustable table, faces a kitchen that runs almost four meters. The VIP cabin is, as expected, located towards the bow, but does not really suffer from the narrowing forward, because the bow is devoted to a crew station, with access by the deck, consisting of two berths and a bathroom. The guest cabin even allows itself the luxury of offering Madame and Monsieur, its own bathroom and wardrobe. As for the owner’s cabin, it spans the full width of the boat. With around 30 m2 there is no shortage of space! Natural light either thanks to the fixed double portholes on each side. The bathroom also occupies the entire width, with the highlight being a superb central shower. A design with three cabins is also proposed by the yard. In this case, the third cabin (a twin) replaces the large interior saloon.
Surface propellers spice up the steering
True to its image, OTAM can take pride in producing fast, sporty yachts. The 85 GTS brilliantly demonstrated this to us by exceeding the maximum speed given by the yard in its press release: 45 knots. In fact, during our trip to sea, our GPS showed up to 47.8 knots at maximum speed of 2 400 rpm. A completely satisfactory result, which becomes even more valuable when we know that there were 23 passengers on board, and that the boat was also carrying 5 000 litres of fuel and 1 000 litres of water. The test pilot insisted on adding that the boat had picked up 52 knots at half load during pre-launch tests! We were not there to verify it, but this brand shows the full potential of this hull, derived from a design by the late Fabio Buzzi himself. This has been refined through the collaboration of Gianfranco Zanoni, CEO of OTAM, and Umberto Tagliavini, of Marine Design & Services. To operate this deep V hull, which displays an angle of 20 ° at the transom, the Genoa shipyard has opted, as usual, for two Arneson SD15 direct shaft drives, driving six-blade surface propellers, from Rolla. A mounting, which has proved its worth on offshore racing boats, as well as on pleasure “fast commuters” like OTAM. Well installed at the controls, whether seated or standing, protected by the high windshield, enjoying the comfort of the two-seater leather seat, with teak handles and lift-up half-seats, the pilot appreciates the controls that are easy to reach: the steering wheel and the two electronic MTU levers, as well as the bow and bow thrusters controlled by joystick, without forgetting the trims, which take on a particular relief in the piloting of this type of boat with surface propellers. First trim down to put the boat in motion under 1 000 rpm, then in slightly raised position to discharge the six-blade Rolla in water so that the engines can take turns… While the propellers ventilate, the 85 GTS begins to extract herself from the water. Therefore, we can lower the trimmers a little so as to pass all the power to the water, the propellers working on the surface thereof. Once the latter have bitten well, OTAM accelerates frankly. Then, the pilot worked again to get the maximum speed of 2400 rpm. Mission accomplished: the attitude of the 85 GTS is perfect, the thrust is optimal, and the well ventilated hull as far as its centre pulverizes the 60 cm chop that crosses the bay of Cannes.
Magic! Best performance at 40.5 knots
The comfort is total, the sound level well contained thanks to good sound insulation of the compartment in which the two 16 German cylinders, developing each 2 600 hp, let off steam. When cornering, the Arnesons respond faithfully to the steering and their cylinders precisely steer the shaft drives without any effort being felt at the helm, so the latter is colossal. In big curves (it is difficult to turn short with surface transmissions), the 85 GTS leans slightly inward, reinforcing the impression of speed, which is present despite the size of the vessel. And what about the yields which, quite apropos, remain relatively economical at high cruising speeds, the OTAM having the talent to sign her best ratio (if we except the 0.086 miles per litre obtained at 11.6 knots, boat not planed) at 2 000 rpm, or at a speed of 40.5 knots! At this rate, she is capable of covering 430 nautical miles without seeing the slightest diesel pump… Let’s not end without specifying that the 85 GTS is offered with two other engines: 2 x Caterpillar 1 925 hp (40 knots max, 34 when cruising) or 2 x Volvo IPS 1 000 hp (38 knots max, 32 when cruising).