April 18, 2008

Boat Review: Baia 70 Italia

This month's boat review is one of the most innovative 2007 new models, the Baia 70 Italia. The 70 Italia continues adding more innovative features to the Naples builder line of sports cruisers and yachts. The modernization of the Baia line started in 1998, with the introduction of the now legendary 48 Flash, featuring at the time a unique removable hard top system and continued recently with the 78 Atlantica which the Italia did steal some features from. Still the Italian builder has plenty of numbers and innovations into it's portfolio, of which the most famous is being the first to use renowned Arneson surface drives. The 70 Italia is a striking combination of timeless design, recognizable with the flush deck equals classic, while glass hard top and saloon deck combination transformation making it as modern as you can.
As said, the saloon welcoming deck really makes the 70 Italia a modern boat, thanks to the fully opening patio door system, making saloon and aft cockpit transform into one big entertain deck. Upon boarding the aft exterior cockpit has a central located C-shaped settee, convertible to a sunbed. The interior saloon is made for entertainment divided with a comfortable L-shaped settee to starboard and a spacious wet bat to port. A dual helm station is located forward to the saloon area to starboard, making trips enjoyable and part of the adventure, thanks also to the big windows which give unobstructed views.
Lower deck is reserved for the accommodation area plus the separate galley room. Master cabin in located mid-ship, with a spacious en-suite bathroom featuring also a door separated shower. VIP cabin is located forward also equipped with the personal en-suite. Third double berth guest cabin is located to starboard with its en-suite head featuring in this case a second entrance from the main corridor, in order to be used as day head. Crew cabin is located mid-ship and has two bunk berths and a private head. The location of the crew cabin makes it possible to use it for guests, being in so a good position but also of respectable comfort and size.
I remember a few years back when boarding a Baia with Arneson surface drives how against most yachts equipped with the same transmission it did ride smooth and in line. One of the problems many builders have when putting this type of propulsion is the dolphin movement, meaning an up and down ride which happens at thirty knots plus speeds. This is something not felt on Baias, showing the high experience they have for surface driven boats and being the first to use it, is most expected one would add. The 70 Italia has two engine options of similar power but with the Cats giving an extra 3 knots of top speed at 52 knots and 2 knots more in cruising at 46 knots versus the German MTU engine. The Cat also has a lower revolution range of 2350. Another surprising data is the low planning speed of the Italia, planning at just 14 knots, a fabulous result for a surface propelled boat which usually with this size and engines, goes up in the high twenties. Low planning speed is a great advantage specially when one encounters not so good weather with heavy heads seas during his trip or crossing as is the case.
Glass Hard Top
Patio Door
Upper Saloon Layout
Hard top 21 metre boats have been in high demand recently, and so the offer in such a wealthy size in the last ten years is ten times more then it was. Competition selection criteria was based on high performance of forty knots plus, size 20 - 22 metres, similar three cabin accommodation and a hard top, accept for the wild card, which is totally different but offering similar lifestyle. All the models had surface drives, accept for AB and Wally which have jet transmissions. Italcraft and Abbate had also a different make to Arneson in this case Topsystem and Trimax respectively.
AB 68 - jet power with super handling, high customization 
Bruno Abbate Primatist G70 Aerotop Pininfarina - third cabin bunk, 4 Seatek 47 knots
Fashion 68 - nice exterior, stylish rich inside and spacious
Italcraft 70 Drago - military derived hull guarantees sea qualities, high customization
Magnum 70 - hull.11 with glass HT, top performance sea keeping, 60 knots with big MTUs
Pershing 72 - similar cockpit deck open system, sold out till 2010
WallyPower 73 - future looking as you can, waterjets give 40 knots max
WILD CARD: Mulder 68 Convertible - semi planning 32 knots, classic, sporty, stylish
The Baia 70 Italia scores many points with the most attractive being the opening patio door, making a hard top yacht transform into a big open offshore. Then comes the remaining of the equation, that is the other bonuses of a super luxury sport yacht with a semi custom interior and super high performance, making the Italia fly at around 50 knots. Baia declared 2008 production sold out for the 70 before the closing of Genoa Boat show in October, this is not surprising considering the classic lines of the boat which feature so much modernity in them that can make much of the competition look old.
Technical Data
LOA. 21.68 metres (71.1 ft)
Beam. 5.65 metres
Draft. 1.05 metre
Displacement. 40 T loaded
Fuel Capacity. 5500 litres
Water Capacity. 800 litres
Max Persons. 16
Accommodation. 6 berths + 2 crew berths
Engines. 2 x MTU 12V 2000 M93 1822hp, CAT C32 ACERT 1825hp
Propulsion. Surface Drives Arneson ASD 14
Speed. 52 knots max, 46 knots cruising, 14 knots planning speed with bigger CAT C32 option
Range. 450 nautical miles approx
Project. Galeazzi
Picture Copyright Baia. Data Baia.

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