The all-new Ferretti 860 slots into the range between 780 and 920 and in replacing the 850 it has the tough task of taking the reins from one of the most popular models in the Ferretti range.
Given the number that had found owners even before we caught up with it at the 2022 Cannes Boat Show, it would seem that the design team has got the formula right. The headlines are that the 860 has four ensuite cabins and space for four crew, a tender garage large enough for both a tender and a jet-ski and with twin 2,000hp MAN V12s it will crack 30 knots. Read on to see what it's like on board and from behind the helm.
Ferretti Yachts 860 Key Facts
- LOA 26.95m
- Model Year 2022
- Cabins 4
- Crew 4
- Max Speed 32 knots
- Status In Production
- Yacht Type Flybridge
- Use Type Cruising
Test & Review Video
Whichever of the two MAN V12 engine options you opt for, the 860 will not be lacking in power. Most will forgo the 1,800hp versions and go for the 2,000s that were fitted to our test boat, which are good for a top speed of around 32 knots and a fast cruising speed of anywhere between 22 and 27 knots. With the 1,800s expect to top out at 28 knots and cruise at 24.
Ferretti actually quotes the fast cruising speed as 27 knots and a range of 290nm and, though we weren't able to get a full set of our own figures due to the constraints of testing during a boat show, these numbers did tally up with what we saw on the test. The top speed was just shy of the 32 knots Ferretti quotes but that's understandable given there were about eight other journalists on board plus the boat's crew.
You won't find Ferretti underpowering its boats and much like Sunseeker and Princess, the boats are designed to comfortably top 30 knots, not just reach that speed. Considering the size of this boat the feeling of power and urgency as the throttles surge forward is absolutely remarkable.
The 860 is fitted with Xenta's fly-by-wire steering system, which returns the rudders to the centre automatically. This feels much like the power steering system in a car and it takes a little getting used to on an 80-tonne flybridge cruiser but once acclimatised it makes the boat feel amazingly responsive and agile for such a large machine. It's not artificially light like IPS, either, so there is a nice weightiness and an appropriate amount of resistance when you swing the hefty metal steering wheel through your hands.
The boat we tested didn't have it but there is a Xenta joystick available which offers a suite of features to make controlling the boat easier at slow speeds. It will combine the props and the proportional bow and stern thrusters to give 'push and twist' control of the boat and, much like Mercury's Skyhook or Volvo's Dynamic Positioning System, it will hold the boat in place using GPS. The X-AID (Adaptive Integrated Docking) system accounts for wind and tidal effects when coming into a berth and automatically holds the boat in place when the joystick is released. Xenta has even developed an autonomous berthing system dubbed X-SELF, which will move the boat in and out of its berth without human intervention and will be available on the 860. It's a technological tour de force from the helm station(s) but at its core, the 860 has the powerful, solid feeling through the water that is expected from Ferretti Yachts.
The Bay of Cannes didn't dish up much in the way of challenges for the 860's hull but it feels incredibly planted and shouldered away any wash we did encounter without batting an eyelid. There is a reassuring depth of engineering throughout the 860 and that solidity makes itself felt out on the water. With its RCD Category A rating (the highest in the EU) the 860 is certified to tackle waves up 4m (13ft) so it should look after you if the swell kicks up.
Ferretti's design language evolves at a leisurely pace so don't expect anything radical here. These are boats that age well and have a certain timelessness, even if they maybe aren't the most exciting to look at. But compare the 860 to the 850 that it replaces and you'll see some key changes, such as the orientation of the cockpit furniture, the transparent transom and the significant increase in the amount of glass in the superstructure with open gunwales ensuring views out from the main salon isn't compromised. It's evolution, not a revolution, which is a terrible cliché but it's appropriate here.
Ferretti has a reputation for quality construction and engineering and though it's difficult to assess that off the back of a quick sea trial during a boat show the 860 certainly feels like a high-quality machine from the gloss and thickness of its mouldings, to its study mooring gear and the finish inside the engine room. You can tell quite a lot by the way an engine room is put together and on top of the finish that is as neat as they come, there are some thoughtful touches that will make the day-to-day running of the boat a bit easier. Things like having fresh water wash down inside the space in case there is a spillage and a light on a reel that can reach and hang in all corners of the engine room so you don't have to rely on the light of an iPhone torch when working in the darker reaches.
The main salon is 27 square metres but it feels larger than that thanks to the vast floor-to-ceiling windows, which fire natural light into the space and deliver wonderful views. The open gunwales bolster the effect and create an unbroken vista out over the water when seated. This area feels more open and relaxed than the 850 thanks to its stylish art deco free-standing furniture and a more contemporary palette that includes two "moods", Classic and Contemporary. The former is a combination of darker woods and warmer colours, the latter more pale, modern and monochrome. Ferretti speaks of a "just like home" concept and the Classic palette of our test boat certainly had a warm and inviting feel.
There are a couple of layout tweaks on offer but the basic layout, with the lounge aft, opposite a simply enormous 75in TV, and dining table forward is fixed. There is the option to have a longer dining table rather than the sqaurer, more informal one on our test boat and the galley can either be left open to the saloon or partitioned off, which is particularly useful if the boat has crew. There are also double sliding doors on the starboard side behind the table, so the salon can be opened up to the elements if guests are dining inside and there is another access point in and out of the main deck. The galley is nicely specified with a domestic fridge/freezer, a Siemens induction hob and an oven and plenty of storage dotted around the place.
Opposite the galley is a day head with a toilet and sink, sensibly located close to the side access door so that guests can easily pop in from the deck space and use the facilities.
Access to the cabins is via a helical staircase opposite the dining table; the forward companionway by the lower helm leads down to the crew accommodation.
Guests are catered for across three cabins: a VIP forward on the starboard side, another double ensuite aft of that and a twin ensuite on the opposite side of the deck. The layout of these cabins is interesting. Because the crew accommodation occupies the forward portion of the deck, the VIP ensuite is located further aft with its bed running across the boat and the bathroom opposite on the port side. It's an irregular layout but it works well and doesn't suffer from the challenging shaping of the space that can come with having the cabin tucked into the point of the bow. The other benefit of this location is that if the boat is on anchor or tied to a buoy overnight, you won't hear the slap of water against the hull that you might get if the cabin is right at the forward end of the deck.
The other guest cabins are spacious and well-endowed with storage plus every cabin being served by its own ensuite means that privacy is excellent.
The owner's cabin is another area where the design has been improved over the 850, specifically the position of the ensuite. On the 850 it was tucked in the corner of the cabin but the 860's runs behind the bed, sharing the full beam of the cabin with a walk-in wardrobe that is accessed on the starboard side of the bed. Not only does this deliver a far more spacious bathroom but it acts as a sound barrier between the cabin and the 4,000hp churning away on the other side of the aft bulkhead. As an option, this cabin can be specified as a cinema room with no bed at all so in this layout the VIP would become the master with two further guest cabins.
The rest of the cabin is as spacious and luxurious as you would expect of an 85ft yacht and it is effortlessly stylish. I particularly like the TV that is cleverly integrated within the mirror on the forward bulkhead.
Both helms suffer the same fate of being stylish and great to look at but a little compromised when it comes to ergonomics. The dashboard at the lower helm is an imposing structure topped by triple Simrad MFDs that display everything from charting software to boat system information, radar and even the boat's instruction manual. The screens are a fair old stretch from the twin helm seats, though, and a lot of the instruments on the lower dashboard are mounted flat and are therefore pretty tricky to see when seated. Ferretti has always been a bit of a "you should stand to drive a boat" type of shipyard and the dash certainly works much better if you're standing in front of it using the seats to lean against.
The other slight issue here is that because the galley is directly behind the helm station and there is no side door at the helm, the aft view isn't great, so you have to rely on the crew to spot boats coming up behind you and to give the all clear when pulling a hard turn to port.
There are no such issues at the upper helm, though the lack of an effective windscreen does make things a little breezy when the boat is in full gallop. That said, the driving position is better and you sit much closer to the helm with the major controls in easier reach. Having two separate helm seats rather than a bench is a plus, too. It's not perfect but it works.
The deck spaces on the 860 come together really well and offer three spacious, well-designed living areas. You could have a lot of guests on board this boat and they're going to easily be able to find their own space to relax and soak up the surroundings.
Most boats in this sector have a decent foredeck lounge but the 860's is a great space with extended loungers positioned at the foot of the windscreen and an opposing U-shaped seating area with a table that has pop-up backrests that make it for more comfortable sunbathing. There are fiddles for loose items and cupholders dotted around the area so this really is the place to be if you're in the business of catching rays.
Despite the open gunwales, the side decks feel safe and well-protected thanks to the overhang above and the sheer height of the bulwarks, which came up to around armpit level on me at 6ft (1.83m) tall.
Ferretti isn't the first brand to orientate the cockpit seating along the boat's centerline rather than across it but it's an effective use of space. This arrangement means that half the party don't have to stare back into the boat and the use of glazing in the aft balustrade maintains the connection with the water in the same way the broken gunwales do so inside the salon. The practical stuff is on show, too, like dedicated slots for two boat hooks built into the base of the sofas.
Underneath this deck, there is tender a garage large enough to hold a Williams 395 Sportjet and a two-seater jet-ski. It's a flooding garage so the top hatch opens and then the hydraulic platform drops down to flood the space and aids the launch of tenders and toys.
The flybridge feels absolutely vast and part of that is down to the open feel of its aft end. There's no fixed furniture here but the option to fill this space with whatever style of furniture the owner wants. The test boat has a pair of sunloungers, which seemed a sensible enough use of the space. Forward, the imposing hard top offers some shade over the dining table to port and bar opposite. There's a useful split in the dinette table so that guests can get in and out without having to shuffle the entire party off the end of the sofa. The bar is also split between cooking and cooling space and it's a well-specified area that has all the amenities to prep a decent meal on the top deck.
There are three choices of sunroof for the hard top: fixed glass, slatted metal with panels that pivot like a Venetian blind or a fabric roof that opens all the way back. Our test boat had the glass but I reckon the fabric roof offers the most flexibility.
Ferretti's are towards the higher end of the sector when it comes to cost but there is a price to pay for the obvious quality of finish and engineering that is on show here. The quality of construction is high and the same can be said for components. As has been covered above, Ferretti doesn't underpower its boats and it takes some serious machinery to make something this large do over 30 knots. There's an argument that some may yearn for a more exciting design for this sort of money but you can bet that this is a design that will age gracefully and hold up strongly on the secondhand market.
Our Options & Pick
We would certainly go for the 2,000hp engines as the cost to upgrade will be a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of buying this boat. I would also have the Xenta joystick because its suite of clever systems goes so much further than simple joystick control. For the virtual anchor alone it's worth the investment.
There is the option of both gyroscopic and fin stabilisers on the 860. Fins would make the most sense given they work at rest and will likely have a greater effect when the boat is moving. They do add drag, though, and create obstructions beneath the boat that you don't have with a gyro.
Ferretti will never chuck the baby out with the bath water when they design a new model but the soft evolution of the 850 into the 860 has created a boat that is beautifully balanced and will age with grace. The changes that have been made like the cockpit design, enhanced glass area and reorientation of the master cabin improve life on board and that fabled engineering prowess shines through. Then there's the performance, which is smooth, effortless and rampant for a boat of such dimensions. There is a confidence and solidity to the way a Ferretti powers through the water that is hard to describe but it feels like a yacht that will look after you. It says a lot that despite the odd foible at the helm stations the 860 is still a very rewarding boat to drive. Ferretti has a reputation that means its yachts must live up to a high standard and the 860 most certainly does that.
Reasons to Buy
- Timeless design
- Big tender garage
- Four double cabins
- High quality engineering
- Gutsy performance
Things to Consider
- The Ferretti name commands a premium
- The looks are a little bland
- Helm station design
Rivals to Consider
There are a lot of very good boats in this sector and they carefully tread the line between being run by crew and owner operated. Let's see what the Ferretti 860 is up against.
The Sanlorenzo SL86 is a seriously high-quality machine and even in a sector where customisation is very much on the agenda, this boat stands out because of just how bespoke it can be for each customer. Short of moving bulkheads, there is an almost endless amount of personalisation on offer, which comes at a cost but will appeal to those who want a boat that feels truly unique. Speaking of uniqueness, there aren't many boats of this size that have an internal staircase to the top deck but the SL86 is one of them and it's a feature that we really like. On the lower deck, there are four cabins with the option to have the third cabin as either a double or a twin and, with the crew space right forward with space for four crew members, there is room aft for a side-loading tender garage - a real superyacht touch. In the engine room, a pair of 1,800hp MTU M96's will propel the SL86 to a top speed of 30 knots and it has a range of 1,150nm at 10 knots.
The Azimut Grande 26 Metri is the baby of Azimut's Grande line but it is packed with interesting features. Its looks nor the whacky Achile Salvagni interior will suit everyone but this pod drive, 5-cabin near 30-knot cruiser certainly puts a cat amongst the pigeons. It's slightly shorter in length than the Ferretti but it packs in five cabins, including a full-width main deck owner's cabin on the main deck and three doubles and a twin on the lower deck, all of which are ensuite. It's a clever feat of packaging and there is more because Azimut has even found a way of including a tender garage at the aft end of the lower deck and sizeable crew quarters at the forward end. The innovation continues below the waterline where the 26 Metri uses fixed ZF pod drives linked to MAN V12 1,550hp or 1,650hp engines for a top speed of 30 knots. The YachtBuyer test team have sea-trialled this boat and can attest that its performance out on the water is one of its most impressive attributes. Its design is more decisive than the Ferretti's but it's an impressive package.
The Sirena 88 is another rival that is shorter than the Ferretti but packs an awful lot into its voluminous interior. It also has serious long-distance cruising potential thanks to its semi-displacement Germán Frers hull and a fuel capacity of 11,000 litres as standard or 16,500 litres as an option. The upshot is that with twin MAN V12 1,550hp engines the 88 will top out at 25 knots but cover over 2,000nm at a cruising speed of 9 knots. Like the Azimut above the Sirena has five guest cabins with a main deck master, though this once includes the added luxury of a drop-down balcony. Aft, the tender stows inside a deep garage that, with the tender out of the way, transforms into a beach club with a dinette and lounging area that lead straight out onto the bathing platform. The interior, by Cor D. Rover in the Netherlands, is warm and luxurious and doesn't follow the clean-edged minimalist trend of its Italian rivals. It feels like a bit of old-school luxury and all the better for it. If the intention is to cover lots of miles and live on board for extended periods this is a great option.
The 860 directly replaces the 850 and it's always interesting to see what a new model brings to the market when it replaces an old one. The 860 isn't much bigger than the boat it replaces but it's a great indicator of how far boat design comes in just a few years. There is so much more unbroken glass aboard the 860 so the views out of the main deck and the amount of light allowed in are much improved. The cut-outs in the bulwarks are an obvious design change on the exterior but they also do a great job of maintaining the views out over the water. One key difference is that the owner's cabin's ensuite is no longer tucked in a cramped corner but instead runs behind the bed to both create more space for the bathroom and add another layer of insulation from the engine room, which is just behind the aft bulkhead.