Narrowly missing out on Chris Caswell’s recent feature on big boats (Yachts of Distinction, July/August 2015), Italian big-boat builder, Cantiere delle Marche, has launched its newest Darwin Class 86 “2.0” in Italy. The newest 86 is the smallest in Darwin’s fleet of extended-range luxury cruisers, and it features wider, sleeker windows and a host of other upgrades from her predecessors.
Weighing in at 190 long tons (2,240 lb./ton), fully laden—a smidge over 425,000 pounds—the 86 features everything you would expect from a luxury passagemaker. Accommodations handle up to 14 people in 6 well-appointed cabins aboard this quadruple-decked cruiser (10 guests plus 4 crew), and as one might imagine, it has the range to keep all those guests captive for weeks. Sporting fuel capacity exceeding 10,000 gallons, a modest cruise of 8.5 knots should yield a range around 5,300 miles—enough to trek from San Francisco to Honolulu and back—with quite a bit in reserve. All of this is powered by twin Caterpillar C12 engines rated at 340 horsepower.
Smartly engineered features include skegs which protect running gear from encounters with floating debris or groundings, and independently operating rudders that allow the yacht solid maneuverability for her size. But the showstopper is the engine room. Looking more modern-art exhibit than nerve center, the engine room includes Cupronickel piping, parallel automatic generators, and walk-around access to all systems. The Darwin 86 also includes a thorough water management system (including grey, black, and a bilge sludge separator) that has been vigorously tested on commercial vessels.
If you’re in the market for a burly yet well-appointed passagemaker, take a look at the Darwin 86. Retailing around $7.6 million, it’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but the craftsmanship, Italian style, and attention to detail aboard this rugged passagemaker look unquestionable.