Expectations run high when Galeon unveils a new model. This is what comes from building some of the most innovative boats in the business. But if the 560 Fly is anything to go by, Galeon and its British designer Tony Castro aren't resting on their laurels.
Beach club mode is not a new feature on the Galeon flybridge range but it still offers the finest cockpit experience in the sector and extends the living space at the stern by 2m (6ft 5in). Team these with the sliding windows at the aft end of the salon and you have genuine indoor/outdoor living and a brilliant connection between the two main areas. These features naturally draw the spotlight as you will discover in this review, there's so much more to the 560 Fly than its Transformer cockpit.
The engine options have been simplified on this model, with no Volvo Penta IPS option available. It's shaft drive only here with Volvo Penta D11 670s standard in Europe and the upgraded 725hp engines standard in the USA. Both territories can upgrade to the D13 800s, which is likely to have a top speed of around 32 knots. Whichever engine set-up you go for, expect a 25-knot cruising speed for a range of approximately 250nm.
Galeon 560 Fly Key Facts
- LOA 17.82m
- Model Year 2023
- Cabins 3
- Crew 1
- Max Speed 30 knots
- Status In Production
- Yacht Type Flybridge
- Use Type Cruising
Test & Review Video
The 560 may share an underwater profile with the outgoing 550 but from there upwards it's very different. There is a new 'shovel nose' design, which creates a flatter deck area around the anchor and mooring gear and boosts the volume of the VIP cabin, forward. It gives the 560 a distinctive look but soon gives way to an explosion of glazing that splits almost down to the waterline and neatly pushes up into the flybridge coaming. The glazed area of this boat is absolutely vast.
What's also noticeable is that some of the gadgetry has been toned down here and there. The foredeck, for example, has a much more simple arrangement than, say, the 500 Fly, which has the option of sliding seat modules that can raise up and down. For now, the 560 is only available with L-shaped seating in the cockpit and a storage room/crew cabin, not the rotating seating with a tender garage that we've seen elsewhere in the range. That could well be an option further down the line, however.
Still in place are the balconies and they have been improved on this latest model. They have glass inset within, and Galeon has even managed to incorporate boarding gates into both of them. These terraces still work so well, especially when teamed with the sliding doors on either side of the salon that create unrivalled indoor/outdoor living space in this sector.
With every Galeon I go aboard quality seems to be better each time. The use of materials, quality of the woodwork and general solidity of this boat's interior oozes class. Gone are the days of Galeon interiors being all shiny and glitzy, the 560's is refined, classy and, in terms of finish, right up there with the best in the sector. Consider that the boat we saw at Miami was hull number one and fresh off a ship and it's all the more impressive.
Unlike others in the range, there isn't an IPS pod drive engine option on the 560 Fly. Of course, there is the option to have a joystick with all three of the shaft drive engine options.
I don't think there's another boat in the sector where you'd spend so much time on the main deck as opposed to the flybridge. But so good is the space between the aft end of the salon and the cockpit that it's inevitable that this area will become the focal point. Galeon's cockpit doors, which are designed and made in-house, are brilliant. They split and then slide all the way over to port to leave an unbroken link between the two areas and this is what makes the connection between the decks and interior so good. With the windows on either side open, there's a good amount of natural breeze running through the boat so unless it's a really hot, stuffy day, you may not need the air-con running.
The galley is a really good shape and thanks to the pop-up counter section outboard it transforms into a big bar within seconds. Slot in the pair of bar stools and you have one of the best spots on the boat. Just inside the cockpit door, there's a full-height fridge/freezer that has a pair of deep freezer draws at its base.
Opposite, the designers have tweaked this area to improve the two-way bench seen elsewhere in the range that could face into the salon or over the starboard balcony. The 560 has a breakfast dinette with drop-down backrests that create a twin perch and table on the outside of the boat. It's a better arrangement than the bench and a very clever use of the available space.
Forward, the dinette to port is mounted on an adjustable leg so it can shift between coffee table and dining table height and the TV pops up from behind the twin sofa opposite.
There is a vast selection of wood colours and finishes but the satin walnut of the show boat teamed with cream upholstery looked really classy and there's detail to enjoy all over. The softly rounded edges of the cabinetry, the subtle integration of air-con vents, the ceiling detail and the strips of LED lighting overhead. It's a lovely place to be.
The layout of the three-cabin accommodation is par for the course in a sector where only the Absolute 52 Fly stands out with its owner's cabin forward. Here, the owner's suite is amidships where it has a centrally mounted island berth with a flat floor around it and well over 6ft (1.82m) of headroom throughout.
The use of materials stands out once again, especially in the ensuite where faux marble and tiled detailing give the space a touch of panache. The windows bulge to their widest part around the ensuite so the view out from the shower is lovely. There are opening ports in the ensuite but not in the cabin itself, which is a bit of a shame. That aside it's a great space with some clever thinking like tucking the identical wardrobes in the aft corners of the cabin.
The VIP cabin is the one that benefits most from the new design. The flatter, broader bow boosts the volume in this area and the design team have pushed this cabin to the very edges of the 560's 4.82m (15ft 8in) beam. It's a great space with towering headroom and really good levels of natural light. It's a shame that the hull windows also miss out on opening ports but they do a fine job of bathing the area in natural light.
Guests to Impress
It's clear that lots of effort has gone into ensuring every panel and section is working hard in this cabin and it feels special. The deep shelves tucked into the forward corners, for example, and the use of lighting once again. The little bureau on the port side with a stool that swings out on a chunky stainless steel arm. It's all good stuff. The ensuite isn't private as it is also the day head and shared with the third twin cabin but it's a really good size, very well appointed and endowed with plentiful natural light.
Speaking of the third cabin, it too is apportioned a good chunk of hull window and is another bright space with plenty of headroom. The berths are fixed, unlike on the Princess F55 and Absolute 52 Fly, but they're well proportioned and storage is abundant. No ensuite, of course, but that's rare at this size and the day head is only across the lobby.
But is that the last guest cabin aboard the 560? Possibly not. The crew cabin is so well designed it could well be a part-time fourth cabin if called upon and where better to sleep than right by the waterline in a private spot away from other guests? Yes, it only has bunks but it also has some basic amenities like a sink, storage and a fridge plus a separate bathroom. It's quite comfortably the best crew accommodation in class.
From here there is also direct access to the engine room, which is crouching room only but it's spacious and very well-engineered. There's good access around the engines and the major components and there's a quick access hatch in the cockpit deck that you can use for quick checks. It's very neat, very well-lit and, given the owner-run nature of this boat, an easy space to work in.
I have complained before about the ergonomics of Galeon's upper helms, specifically how far away the MFDs are, but there are no such issues on the 560 Fly. The twin bench may be fixed but the wheel and throttle are well positioned and all of the screens and controls are much closer.
Swiping around on the screens is an easy lean forward and on passage, it's easy to sit back with the full support of the seat and grab the adjustable wheel and throttle. It's a clean dash design too, with most information confined to the two large Raymarine MFDs and the smaller Volvo Penta one. A run of proper switches takes care of lights and pumps etc.
The lower helm design is new for the 560 and, like upstairs, it's the cleanliness and uniformity of the dash that stands out. There aren't lots of different buttons and screen styles and any buttons it does have are backlit metal switches with their function neatly etched above. The flat part of the dash uses quite shiny material but the fabric used on the lower dash looks and feels lovely and stitching the Galeon logo into the material is a classy touch. It could do with a bit more storage as there are only a couple of small cupholders as it stands.
The view from the lower helm is very good. The boat has a single-piece windscreen, which generally leads to thicker mullions, but by including deep side windows Galeon has negated what would be a pretty sizeable blind spot.
Not all of this boat's rivals have side doors at the lower helm and it's a desirable addition. If you tend to run the boat as a couple then the side door makes a big difference to how easy it is for the skipper to help out with crewing. One improvement would be adding a boarding gate amidships, as Absolute has done on its 52 Fly.
There's no doubt about it, the 560 Fly has the best deck spaces in the class. We've seen the cockpit terraces many times but they work so well and have been enhanced on the 560 with the use of glass, boarding gates and built-in guardrails. We won't go over again how well the salon and cockpit blend together but there's nothing like it in this market.
Our understanding is that, for now, the rotating seating with a tender garage isn't an option on the 560 but we can only hope Galeon introduces it here because it's another brilliant bit of design that the competition can't match.
The foredeck is one of the more simple designs for a Galeon. Other models have seat modules that slide, raise and lower at the touch of a button but everything is fixed here, except for slot-in backrests that turn the sun pad into an aft-facing bench. Some will miss the functionality of the old system, no doubt, others will see it as less to potentially go wrong after hours and hours of use. This is still a good space, though, and it supplements the other outdoor living spaces nicely.
The flybridge is neatly split between free-standing furniture aft and fixed seating amidships. The show boat had some smart Galeon-branded sun loungers but this area could easily host a table and chairs if needed. The wet bar is split across two sections with one unit at the top of the steps and an L-shaped module to starboard, which is home to the grill, sink and fridge.
Forward, there are two identical U-shaped seating areas, bisected by the walkway. The clever bit is that the tables open to meet in the middle so you have one enormous dinette if you want to serve a meal on the flybridge. Alternatively, one table can be opened and the other left closed. The flexibility here is superb and the two-way backrests fitted to the forward benches only add to this.
The exterior tables were GRP on the show boat, which doesn't look as classy as teak (though they are beautifully solid and well-finished) but they will wear better in sunnier climes than their timber counterparts. A hard top is an option, though I don't see many boats being built without it; it's a shame there isn't a sunroof option, however.
Pricing will vary by region but, in the UK, a 560 with a decent on-water spec with the twin D13 900s and including extras such as air-conditioning (63,000 BTU), a hydraulic bathing platform (500kg), a generator, the beach mode package, trim tabs, hard top, Raymarine navigation kit and Permateek throughout will set you back £1.41 million excluding VAT (correct at time of writing).
On top of that, it may be worth considering the crew cabin fit-out (storage is standard in Europe), variable speed bow and stern thrusters, the Seakeeper stabiliser, the twin or triple MFD upgrade at each helm and a suite of cameras for monitoring. There are, of course, many other options on the list but these are the main ones that may be worth taking into account.
The 560 probably is a little pricier than most people expect but the quality, attention to detail and fit and finish justify the price tag. With beach mode, you quite literally get more boat for your money, too, and a cockpit that is significantly larger than its rivals.
Just when you thought Galeon couldn't get better it pulls out the 560. The usual Galeon touch points are as impressive as ever but in refining some of the gadgets, the shipyard has demonstrated its maturity and the focus on delivering functionality that buyers are really going to appreciate. There was a time when Galeon's gizmos papered over some of the cracks elsewhere on the boat but the 560 feels so well put together and intelligently designed that the terraces and all the other clever bits feel like a really welcome bonus. The core of the boat is good, the living spaces are great, the cabins are well-designed and spacious and the engineering is solid. The days of plucky Galeon with its whacky designs are gone and the 560 is one of its best models yet.
Reasons to Buy
- Best in class deck spaces
- Fit and finish
- Good variety of engine options
- Spacious cabins
Things to Consider
- Less functionality than other models in then range
- No IPS option
Rivals to Consider
The competition may not have the deck spaces to contend with the Galeon but there are some seriously good boats in this sector.
The Princess F55, as a package, is the one to beat. It has the best balance of styling, performance, deck space and interior volume all finished with that unmistakable Princess panache. There's a lovely balance to the living areas on deck and the salon, with its aft galley arrangement, is bright and beautifully put together. Below deck, there are three cabins, including an owner's ensuite amidships, a double VIP forward and a smart twin with sliding berths as an option. It runs on shaft drives with Volvo Penta D13 800 or 900hp engines for a top speed of 32 knots.
Absolute's 56 Fly gets the closet to the Galeon's clever deck spaces with its modular furniture in the cockpit and up on the flybridge. The interior volume is astonishing and locating the owner's cabin forward works brilliantly and provides almost a second master for the VIP amidships. The attention paid to practical detailing is also excellent; this is one of the most practical and well-thought-out boats in the class. It is IPS (800) only, however, so if you don't like the idea of pods it's best to look elsewhere.
The Azimut 53 is one of the best-looking flybridge boats you'll find at this size, as you might expect from an Alberto Mancini-inspired design. It's not as practical as the Absolute or as functional as the Galeon but it's quite the looker and underpinned by solid Azimut quality and boat-building know-how. It has a three-cabin, two-bathroom layout with space for a single crew member aft and the Achille Salvagni interior design really is like nothing else in the market. The 53 runs on the D11 725hp blocks of IPS950 and its top speed is in the region of 32 knots.
The Sunseeker Manhattan 55 and the 53 that preceded it has been hugely successful for the brand thanks to their combination of style, performance and handsomely finished three-cabin interior. For a 55ft production boat, there is an impressive amount of customisation on offer, too, including the choice between shaft drives or IPS, which none of these other boats can offer. On board, it has a galley-aft layout with a bar to the cockpit on the main deck and three cabins below deck, the owner's cabin and VIP both ensuite. The flybridge is all fixed furniture but it's big for the sector and a great space. It's easy to see why this model has been a record-breaker for the British outfit.