Fiart 39 Seawalker, the wild side

Its deck design is what gets it noticed, but the interiors are also especially well done, with enough room for four people. And with 640 horsepower you can get along nicely while not using a lot of fuel

by Niccolò Volpati – photo by Martina Orsini

THEY WERE THE FIRST BECAUSE THE SEAWALKER 33 WAS A WALKAROUND THAT OPENED THE WAY FOR A NEW KIND OF BOAT. Then they pressed pause, but at Fiart have decided to make up for lost time and, in quick succession, they have unveiled the 43, the 39 and the 35. At Cannes, I had the opportunity to try out the 39 Seawalker.

The hull design is by the yard’s technical department and, in particular, Massimo Simeone who heads the unit. And essentially it is as if the tradition of the Neapolitan yard, that has always designed the hulls in house, was being renewed. There is a wide choice of engine options, with stern drives or outboards with varying outputs. The model that I tried out had a pair of Volvo D4s, each developing 320 horsepower and with stern drives. It felt like a very balanced output, nothing excessive. It was good like that, not least because 39 Seawalker is a sports boat, but is not a racer.

The sea in the Gulf of Cannes was calm and so to try crossing some of the waves, the only possibility was to find the wakes of passing megayachts. That wasn’t difficult, since in those waters there are more yachts than sardines. And the V-shaped bow seemed to handle well. The “V” isn’t too pronounced, in part because it widens to give a lot of room to the bow cabin. But, despite that, it doesn’t get affected by the waves.

Low fuel consumption means it has exceptional range, and with a 940-litre tank you can do between 260 and 300 nautical miles.

The trim was always right, and the boat seemed to hold the water well, from planing minimum up to top speed. That is also because of the Zipwake interceptors, which have the benefit of being automatic. All you need to do is activate them and then they do everything for you. That said, interceptors may be able to help, but they can’t work miracles – from which I deduce that the waterlines and weight distribution have been done well. The stern drives also make it very agile. The boat turns tightly, perhaps even too tightly but not enough to get worried about. If anything, the problem is that it has a slight tendency to roll after turning and then suddenly turning back again. It is only the slightest of feelings, and an issue that is easy to remedy: the roll ends immediately if you just give it a bit of gas when the turns finish. I felt just how easy it was to move around while I was manoeuvring to get back into the harbour. Although there’s a joystick on the control panel, there isn’t a propeller for manoeuvring in the bow. Despite that, getting around tight spaces and back to the quay wasn’t a problem. Just imagine what it would be like if they decided to add a bow thruster.

The range of possible engine options is broad. Inboard-outboard Volvo Penta D4s or D6s develop from 2×270 up to 2×440 horsepower. Or you can fit 2×300, 2×350, 3×300 or 3×350 hp outboards.

The 39 is a walkaround and as such, it would be difficult for the helm area not to have excellent visibility. Fiart is no exception to this rule. You can always see your way around in any direction from the helm – in part, this is because the boat has the correct trim. The windscreen does its job, not that it has a lot to do. The performance is an excellent compromise for people who want a boat that is easy to handle and not too wasteful. The engines I had at my disposal were 640 horsepower, but if you want you can even fit over one thousand hp, with three outboards, or get to 880 with two Volvo Penta D6s. So, the engines we tried out weren’t the most powerful ones you can fit, but despite that, I got to nearly 35 knots and you only had to do fifteen knots to start planing.

But the most significant figure is the one for fuel consumption, which is low. We used just 124 litres an hour at top speed, and 46 at planing minimum. Those are figures that you expect from an eight-metre RIB, but we were actually on board a 12.5-metre boat with two cabins below deck. And the litres used per nautical mile confirmed the snapshot reading, but they told us something else as well. The amount of fuel used per mile hardly changes, almost regardless of the speed you do: it ranges between three and three-and-a-half litres. The fact this figure stays constant is a confirmation of how well the hull has been done. The relationship between speed and fuel consumption is pretty much unchanged from 15 to 35 knots. What I missed when underway was grab handles. There aren’t many on deck. There aren’t any along the sides and the gangways, even though they are wide, nor are there any around the bow sun pad and the windscreen. So, while it may be true to say that the V bow handles very well and the trim is as it should be, but now and again when you are underway you have to get around, and it would be nice to be able to do so hanging on to a piece of metal. I believe that they have been sacrificed so as not to ruin the overall design, and the deck of the 39 Seawalker is fascinating. They could be integrated, respecting the style of the boat.

Below deck, there are two real cabins and a bathroom with a separate shower. There is also a lot of room for storage. The interiors have been designed for four people to enjoy a comfortable cruise.

But by contrast what I really liked is the area below deck, where absolutely nothing is out of place. First of all, that is because of the perfect balance between natural light and the size of the windows and portholes. The light comes through, but you don’t lose any privacy. Fiart has managed to satisfy this requirement, without leaving anybody unhappy. Some yards install enormous side windows. They are beautiful to look at and have an impact when you are on board, but they don’t take any account of reality. In the promotional videos, boats are always at anchor on their own. Just like car adverts. Every road they get on is deserted, and there is a whole road out there for them to park in. The same is true for boats. But when you are at anchor in August, there’s a throng of people, and if you have a huge window you have to do without any privacy. It is nice to look at the sea from the master bedroom, but what about if you are in port, sandwiched between two other boats?

I liked the interiors of the 39, not least because of the layout, especially that of the stern cabin. It has headroom of around 160 centimetres, while the cabins in the bow have two metres. No doubt makes it easy to use, and additionally, the stern cabin has twin beds, with a lot of room between them and plenty of storage space. Another successful design feature is the kind of open space, in the sense that there is no bulkhead in the stern cabin. That means you get the feeling of being in a much larger area.

There is plenty of room on the deck to enjoy being outside. The stern swimming platform can be lowered down to water level. The gangways to get to the bow area are wide.

But anyone who prefers privacy can go for the version with the bulkhead. So essentially the interiors of the 39 Seawalker are perfectly designed to be enjoyed while on a cruise. There is space for four people, without any compromise.

FIART MARE
Via Lucullo, 71
I-80070 Baia (NA)
T. +39 081 8040023
www.fiart.com 

PROJECT: Shipyard technical department

HULL: LOA 12.61m Maximum beam 3.86m Draft 1.00m Fuel tank volume 940 l Water tank volume 620 l Light mass displacement 7,900 kg

MAIN PROPULSION: 2xD4-320 Volvo Penta Outlet mechanical power 235 kW (320 hp) 4 cylinders in line Swept volume 3,67 l • Compression ratio 1.85:1 Maximal rotational speed 3600/min Dry weight 670 kg

EC CERTIFICATION: CAT B

PRICE: starting from 310,00 sterndrive version (December 2021)

(Fiart 39 Seawalker, the wild side – Barchemagazine.com – December 2021)