It is the yard’s first-ever boat, although they can boast nearly 25 years working for some famous brands. The outcome is a boat that has been very carefully put together, and which has a hull that gives surprising results, especially at low revs
by Niccolò Volpati
IT TAKES A DOSE OF MADNESS BECAUSE JUST BY USING REASON YOU WON’T GET ANYWHERE. Opening a yard and starting to produce boats is a big challenge in the times we are living in. And FIM, which stands for Fabbrica Italiana Motoscafi (Italian Motorboat Factory), has decided to take up that challenge, but they are starting from a solid basis, and it is not pure folly. They have been producing boats for very prestigious brands for nearly twenty-five years. They know what they are doing, and so one day Manuela Barcella and Corrado Piccinelli said to themselves we can do this! They were quickly joined by Paolo Ferragni, who has done the naval architecture and designed the interiors and deck.
They leaped into action, and here is the first boat, which is called the 340 Regina and is just over ten meters long, although it is officially just under that length, and thus still within the natante boat class. But they must have a touch of madness nevertheless seeing as they asked me to try it out when it had only just been launched. Not even they had had the time to carry out comprehensive tests and correct any possible issues. In practice, I was trying out a prototype, which is something that a yard doesn’t normally let you do. FIM has decided to do everything together, and everything at the same time. We slipped our moorings and started to accelerate. The engine room houses two petrol-powered Volvo V8s, each developing 300 horsepower, and the transmission has a sterndrive.
There is a lot of power, and there is no lack of thrust. It accelerates and starts planing in the same kind of time that a sporty inflatable does. It also felt excellent when turning. The feel at the helm is always light, despite having a fairly high level of power. The turning angle was well balanced – neither too tight nor too wide – but what I liked best was the way it then straightened out. So, once we were out of the turn, the boat immediately recovered its trim. There was no need for help from the flaps or any other kind of interceptor type device. The hull is fine as it is, as it has the right trim set inside its DNA.
We were on Lake Garda, on a day without much wind to speak of and not many waves either. But there were quite a few people out there, both private boats and the ferries that travel from one side of the lake to the other. It was a good opportunity to see how the 340 Regina behaves as it goes over their wakes. And there was nothing to take exception to there, either. The V-shaped bow cuts through the waves and is untroubled by them: it feels as if it hasn’t even noticed that the water isn’t flat anymore. But the characteristic that struck me most, in terms of the behavior of the hull, was its ability to plane even at low speeds. When I check minimum planing speeds, I normally start to reduce the throttle a bit.
I do so progressively, little by little. And that’s what I did with the 340 Regina, but – to my absolute amazement – the hull never sat down in the water. I kept on reducing the power, and the hull continued to stay out of the water. Finally, below nine knots, the boat “sat down”. To be exact, I recorded a planing minimum of 8.8 knots, at a fuel usage of 26 liters per hour.
But two things left me a bit confused. The first was the level of vibration, which seemed excessive, especially the rollbar. Perhaps a more solid superstructure could be created to reduce the problem. The second issue is with the ergonomics of the helm station. The wheel is too low, and the seat isn’t the right distance from the controls. This is probably also an imperfection that could be sorted out in future models. By contrast, I liked the control panel, both because of the functionality and the design (which feels a lot like a car). It just suffers from that problem with ergonomics.
It can be customized in lots of different ways: as a walkaround, or an open-style boat with the fold-away awning for the cockpit, or the one with the bench seat in the bow which is perfect for day charters.
Because of its versatility, I also found the deck very convincing. The set-up solutions are innovative, such as the stern sun pad. Seat backs can often be folded down on boats, and become headrests for the sun lounger. But on this boat, they are easy to take down and store to the side, so you get a very generously-sized sun pad.
The deck is very versatile and easy convertible with schemes that are designed to meet the demands of cruising: from the large sun area to the numerous seats, which are perfect when you are underway.
Thanks to the table with telescopic legs the entire cockpit, right up to the swimming platform, can become a massive sunbathing area. Once you go down the steps that lead to the convertible dinette, it is worth remembering that we are on board a boat that is classed as a natante, but despite that, there are nearly two meters of headroom below decks.
There is plenty of headroom, light, and air even below decks. Everything that you need to enjoy a short or medium range cruise.
As well as the double bed in the bows, there are two single berths under the cockpit. They only have a meter above them, even though they mirror the lines of the cockpit. Luminosity and airflow are excellent in all the rooms, including the stern cabin. This has two windows, and part of the porthole can be opened, which helps to make the cabin feel larger. There are two rows of portholes in the dinette, one of which is at eye level when you sit down, so you can always see out. And that certainly isn’t often a feature of natante boats.
Diesel, petrol, stern drives, or outboards. There is a wide range of engine brands, models, and power outputs to choose from. We had a pair of petrol-powered 300 hp Volvos for our test.
PROJECT: Ferragni Progetti (naval architecture, interior design, and superstructure)
HULL: LOA 10.40m • Length 9.98m • Maximum beam 2.99m • Draft 0.57m • Light mass displacement 4,800 kg • Fuel tank volume 600 l • Water tank volume 120 l
MAIN PROPULSION: 2xVolvo Penta V8-300-CE/DPS • Direct gasoline injection • Outlet mechanical power 224 kW (300 hp) • 8 V-shaped cylinders • Swept volume 5.3 l • Bore&Stroke 96mm x 92mm • Compression ratio 11.0:1 • Dry weight 452 kg
EC CERTIFICATION: CAT B – 10 people
PRICE: 229,000 € as standard with two Volvo V8 gasoline engines of 300 hp each
(FIM 340 Regina, the Queen can take over the throne – Barchemagazine.com – January 2021)