The characteristics of many different kinds of boat combined in a single model. The latest boat from Bluegame, designed by Zuccon International Project from a concept by Luca Santella and with naval architecture by Lou Codega, is set to get noticed in a market that is becoming increasingly crowded
by Niccolò Volpati
WRITING IN THIS MAGAZINE A DOZEN YEARS AGO, ANTONIO SOCCOL regretted the fact that all engine-powered boats were the same. He called them “white boxes” at the Genoa Boat Show because he found it difficult to tell one from the next as he walked around the pavilions. Things are different now. Boats don’t just seem to be carbon copies of each other, as they were in the early 2000s. You often come across something innovative and nowadays even Antonio Soccol would agree. One of such boats is unquestionably the BGX60 by Bluegame. Indeed, it is probably one of the ones that have the greatest impact right from first seeing it. I came across it first at Genoa, and then at La Spezia, where I had a chance to try it out.
What I immediately liked is that it is difficult to define. It is practically impossible to classify. Is it an explorer? Perhaps, but not completely, and above all, it isn’t the same size as an explorer. Is it an open, a flybridge boat, a fisherman? Probably a bit of all of these things combined. The BGX60 is a kind of hybrid of everything that has gone before it. It is set to leave a mark and become a new point of reference.
The beach area and the stern dinette on the lower deck reflect a kind of Copernican revolution in the layout of these areas.
«The BGX60, like its predecessor the 70, is a kind of Sanlorenzo SX 2.0. It is the full application of that approach», says Luca Santella, who has worked on the design with Martina and Bernardo Zuccon from the Zuccon International Project. It’s not just its looks that make the BGX60unusual. Nowadays you regularly find yourself coming across boats that are different from the ones that went before it, as we said it seems as if the “white box” era was over. But the boats that get attention on the quay or in boat shows are disappointing when it comes to how they perform on the water.
The BGX60 doesn’t belong to this category. I get confirmation of that the moment I pass the sea wall into the Gulf of La Spezia. The waves were fairly annoying and reached around a metre. We were on board a boat of over nineteen metres, with a 5.30-metre beam, so they weren’t conditions that could worry you. But the BGX60 behaved extremely well and it was comfortable when underway. The skipper, Simone Lessana, knew that there was nothing to be worried about and backed me up. We took the sea on the bow, the stern and side-on, but it didn’t bother the hull. It always found the right trim. It’s tough to work out whether you are in displacement mode, or planing.
You will have often heard people saying that there is a continuity between inside and out, but in this case that hasn’t been done just by increasing the size of the windows. Martina and Bernardo Zuccon have managed to create a blend between the two areas on the BGX60.
It’s very balanced when underway, the boat doesn’t ever sit back, not even if we accelerate to try to plane, or when you suddenly slow down. It is a fluid and balanced trim. Turning is also gentle. There is a Volvo IPS system with tractor propellers. To be specific, it is the IPS 1200 with two D13 engines each developing 900 horsepower. They have limiters to prevent turns that are too tight, but the reaction to the wheel is very lively and there is no doubt as to manoeuvrability, even at lower revs during mooring.
When cruising you can comfortably go from twenty to thirty knots with all the steps up within that range. Fifteen knots is enough to plane, and fuel consumption is always low. At twenty knots, for example, it uses around 180 litres per hour, which becomes 250 at 25 knots and 330 litres at thirty knots. Not a lot, given that we were on board a boat that unladen displaces 35 tonnes. But the efficiency of the hull can be seen above all from the litres per nautical mile figures. From planning to top speed there is very little change. Consumption is from nine to ten litres per mile both when you are doing 14 knots, and when you get to the top speed of 30.5.
The hull has been very well done. And indeed, the waterlines weren’t designed by an unknown. As with other Bluegame boats, they were drawn up by Lou Codega, who is famous for having designed the hulls of a lot of American fisherman boats, as well as powered boats that hold speed records for crossing the Atlantic. A guarantee. If the BGX60 aims to allow owners and their guests to come into close contact with the sea, the hull does play an important role.
The interiors and the deck are truly unusual. You can’t be left indifferent by the stern area on the lower deck. This is a place that is normally not especially pleasant or is closed up because it houses cabins. But not in this case. It is open and has a water-level beach area and the interior features a lounge with sea views. This area can be reached both from inside and out and above all from the owner’s cabin, which is located amidships.
It looks good but is also functional. The set-up is the same as in the 70, but it is ten feet shorter.
It is full beam, decidedly large and comfortable with the bathroom and walk-in cupboard located to separate it from the engine room. It may perhaps be because of this layout that the noise level when underway is very low. Guests have another cabin with a private bathroom further forward and if you want you can have other interior layouts which mean you can get three cabins and three bathrooms.
It is well balanced, so it is always comfortable and calm when underway. When turning it is manoeuvrable and never excessive. It is soft when taking waves and the trim is always good, whether planing or in displacement mode.
What I liked was how easy it is to get around onboard, thanks to the gangways, which are wide and protected, and also how you can find private areas practically everywhere: in the bow area, in the stern and on the flybridge. The main deck is raised. On it there is a sofa, in the way that it is normal to be found in the cockpit and if you want there is an open-air dining area. Even when you are moored at the stern in port, you don’t find yourself exposed to indiscreet onlookers on the quay, precisely because you are in a raised position. The bow area can easily be transformed from a sun pad into a dining area.
The sun pad located on the flybridge is still more hidden. It is the only thing to be found on the “top floor”, given that the only steering position is in the dinette. There, as well as the galley and the closed dining area, there is also the bridge with a seat for the helm and assistant. There is 360-degree visibility, not least because of a “negative” windscreen, which is often seen on working boats.
The hull performs very well and helps get contact with the sea, which you shouldn’t just have when you are at anchor.
The two IPS 1200s with 900 horsepower Volvo D13s ensure that the performance is good in terms of speed, and fuel consumption that is more than reasonable. The litres per mile figure hardly changes throughout the range of speeds from planing upwards.
PROJECT: Luca Santella and Zuccon International Project (concept & design), N.A. Louis T. Codega (water lines)
HULL: LOA 19.02m • Maximum beam 5.30m • Draft 1.42m • Light mass displacement 35,000 kg • Fuel tank volume 3,000 l • Water tank volume 780 l
MAIN PROPULSION: 2xVolvo Penta IPS 1200 D13-900 • Outlet mechanical power 662 kW (900 hp) • Swept volume 12.8 l • 6 cylinders in line • Bore&Stroke 131mm x 158mm • Maximum rotational speed 2300/min • Dry weight 2,300 kg
EC CERTIFICATION: CAT B
PRICE: 2,350,000 € powered with IPS 1050 as STD • 2,410,000 € powered with IPS 1200 as OPT (April 2021)
(Bluegame BGX60, going beyond fashion – Barchemagazine.com – April 2021)