by Luca Sordelli
It was a beautiful day, the kind that the English like to say is perfect to go sailing. A fifteen-knot wind. It was hot, but not too hot, and there was nobody else out on the water. The air was clear, cleaned by a soft westerly wind. Behind us was the Gulf of Varazze.
“Go on, take the helm. And here are the winches and the sheets. Go on, you sail her”. Marco Malgara, the energetic CEO of ICE Yachts, is a tireless promoter of the firm, and he quickly hands the boat over to me. The ICE 70 RS isn’t small: 21 metres long overall, with 5.76 metres maximum beam and 27 tonnes displacement. The sail surface is practically 300 square metres. So definitely not a sailing dinghy, but it handles like one. We were sailing close-hauled, but it felt very light at the helm. The large wheels can be moved with just two fingers. It handles the gusts of wind well, and heels just the right amount to sit on the stern chine.
The master cabin is in the bow, where it is well-lit by a double window. The bed, which is accessible from both sides, is 210 centimetres long. In the stern, the two classic twin rooms house four guests.
I enjoyed the warm feel of the teak under the soles of my feet, and the log that told me we were sailing at nine knots – I was grateful for my job. I slackened the sails a bit to bear up by a few degrees, up to 37 degrees apparent, and we were going at 9.6 knots. Then I changed course, on my own, and everything was very straightforward. The jib doesn’t overlap and the rigging is all within reach and is assisted by electric winches: you can control them with just a finger. Of course, you do have to get through that first moment of feeling lost that you get when you find yourself faced with two consoles with an endless spread of buttons and actuators. What should you press? But after a few minutes and especially after doing some manoeuvres, everything became easy. I especially appreciated the fact that the mainsail traveller and backstay are within reach: getting the right trim doesn’t take long, and it is lots of fun.
The keel-stepped mast and boom are in carbon fibre from Axxon, while the telescopic keel (with hydraulics by Cariboni) was built by Galetti and gives a draught of 4.40 metres, which goes down to 2.80 when it is retracted into its trunk. The deck layout is extremely clear, even though there has been no cutting back in terms of trimmings. The double helm is supported by particularly elegant columns/consoles.
The ICE 70 RS is fast and responsive, both characteristics of Felci Design, the firm from Lake Garda. I have to confess I have a soft spot for the boats created by the studio and have had since way back in 2004 when I had the good fortune to test their first 49, Nordica, on a beautiful windy day in the Gulf of Tigullio. We didn’t try out the boat with sails set for following winds but, when you look at the polar diagrams, the figures show that you can travel consistently at over ten knots at 140°, which is a figure which is more than in line with what we saw against the wind. During our test, the westerly wind in the gulf increased and the waves got up a bit, to around a metre and a half, so nothing too taxing, but enough to realise, when I went below, that this is a solid boat.
RS STANDS FOR RACING SPORT AND DISTINGUISHES THE FASTER MODELS FROM THE YARD BASED IN SALVIROLA. THE NEW VERSION DISPLACES
A TONNE LESS THAN THE “NORMAL” 70.
The build is light, but sophisticated, a feature of modern cruiser-racers. The hull is in fibreglass and carbon fibre, with the deck entirely in carbon fibre, as are the structures and tanks. The lamination is done with injection moulding, and as well as the hull, the deck is also attached to the structural frame. What does that do? It creates a single block: there is no creaking, and there aren’t any vibrations or annoying noise, whether it be from hitting the waves sailing upwind, or using the engine at full revs (at over eleven knots) to go return to the harbour. Other unusual features on the new ICE 70RS include a retractable keel, which reduces the draught from a demanding 4.40 metres (which is nevertheless good at keeping you upright) to a more reasonable 2.80, while the tender garage in the stern can take a 4.2-metre dinghy.
The standard motorisation is a Yanmar that turns out 195 horsepower. At 2800 rpm it means the boat can do eleven knots, while the recommended cruising rate is 2000 rpm, so around nine knots. Alternatively, you can move up to a 230 hp model, again by Yanmar.
There has also been a lot of attention paid to restricting weight below decks, with interiors that have been lightened with the use of composite materials. Of course, and in line with the brand’s DNA, there is a significant degree of customisation available. The base layout is for three or four cabins and three bathrooms. On the boat, we tried we greatly liked the decision to put the galley at the base of the mast, where it is only partially separated from the dinette, a solution which gives it plenty of room while leaving it separated from the living and dining area. We weren’t so keen on having the map area alongside it, where it is too far away from the companionway and from whoever is in the cockpit. On the other hand, we were impressed by the long and elegant windows on the deckhouse that give a pleasant feeling of lightness and luminosity to the whole interior.
ICE YACHTS S.R.L.
Via delle Arti n°12
I-26010 Salvirola (CR)
T. +39 0373 729220
Umberto Felci Design
LOA 21.30m • LWL 19.80m • Maximum beam 5.76m • Draft 2.80/4.40m • Displacement 27,000 kg • Ballast 8,100 kg • Water tank volume 1,100 l • Fuel tank volume 1,200 l • Upwind sail surface 295 m2 • Gennaker surface 390 m2
Yanmar 195 hp
2,750,000 Euro + VAT (November 2022)
(ICE 70 RS, the best seller – Barchemagazine.com – November 2022)