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Text and photographs by Corradino Corbò
NAUTICA SALPA - LAVER 31.5Italian Yards are well respected all around the world, mainly due to the high quality output of the companies who build big yachts destined for the most exclusive markets. However, beneath this image of prestige, the same degree of excellence can be achieved by those people who work on a smaller scale, both in terms of size and price. One of the yards that best represents this school is Nautica Salpa, which, after having experimented with all that could be done on a wide range of open boats, has finally decided to transfer this valuable experience to the production of small and medium size cabin cruisers.
The opportunity to experience first hand this new direction came with the début of the Laver 31.5. The hull is pleasing to the eye at first sight but even more important are the innovative contents. First of all, we are confronted by possibly one of the most highly engineered products ever seen in the whole of the Italian nautical scene. If you consider that this cabin cruiser was born from something like seventy-one separate moulds (eight for the roll-bar alone), this means approximately ten times more than the quantity used in all other traditional yards to produce a boat with the same dimensions. What is impressive about this figure is the extent of the planning carried out before the workers begin to apply even the first layer of fibreglass. The results are visible throughout, even in the most inaccessible parts, such as the internal surfaces of the hatches where, instead of showing the typical coarse finish of fibreglass, they are as smooth and perfect as the external walls.
Naturally, there would not have been much sense in this huge production effort if there were no demand. Salpàs technical studio produced a work of art: a gliding deep-V hull, with transverse sections running to the extreme aft, designed by Renato Sonny Levi. It can be assumed that this geometry was developed for very high power and, in fact, much of the yard's testing has been carried out using a pair of Mercruiser 5.0 petrol engines, developing a total of 560 HP.
Apart from the obvious considerations of fuel costs with these two brilliant engines, equipped in this way the Laver 31.5 will in fact reach up to 42 knots. Therefore, we were interested to evaluate the behaviour of the hull with the engines in our test boat - a pair of Volvo Penta Kad 32 170 HP Diesels. Numbers speak clearly: the two Swedish engines, equipped with a double system of supercharging, push the hull to a maximum speed of 32.5 knots, giving the boat a cruising speed of between 25 and 28 knots.
High-level performance, then, for a cabin cruiser with two Sides to its personality: a sporting one, able to satisfy those who love a sparkling drive even on waves; and a more leisurely one, for those who enjoy weekend breaks or long relaxing holidays. Let us not forget, though, that the Laver 31.5 is a cruiser with two separate cabins, a large well equipped saloon as well as a bathroom that would be exceptional even on a cabin cruiser 10ft longer.
TECHNICAL DATADesigner: Renato Sonny Levi (hull);
Project: yard (general)
Builder: Nautica Salpa, Via Silvio Pellico, 27 - 80040 Cercola (Naples, Italy); Phone: +39 081 7332386; Fax +39 081 7333065; www.salpa.com; email@example.com
EC Category Type: "A"
LOA: 9.30 m
Hull length: 9.00 m
Beam: 3.35 m
Draft from lower tip of propellers: 0.80 m
Displacement: 5,800 kg
Full boat (fuel/water) displacement: 6,500 kg
Maximum passenger capacity: 10
Test boat power: 2 x 170 HP Volvo Penta Kad 32 PDP
Total installed power: 340 HP
Displacement/installed power ratio: 17.05 kg/HP
Type of transmission: sterndrives
Maximum declared speed: 32.5 knots
Cruising speed: 28.5 knots
Range at cruising speed: about 230 miles
Fuel capacity: 2 x 250 l
Freshwater capacity: 200 l
Price with standard equipment and test engines: Lit. 205,275,000 (Euro 106,015.69) ex VAT.
IMPRESSIONSCONDITIONS DURING TESTING
Wind: 6 knots
Sea: nearly calm.
EVALUATION OF COMFORT AND FUNCTIONDeck: Well protected by a solid stainless steel pulpit which runs the full length of the side decks.
cockpit: the masterpiece of the exterior design, and one of the best in this class. Very well equipped, ergonomic in all respects, it increases considerably all the practicalities of living on board
Interiors: the master cabin is very comfortable and provides a double bed, guests are accommodated in twin beds below the helm station. The design is excellent with a high level of refinement
Passenger comfort: very high, thanks to the clear division between the two cabins
Galley: adjacent to the access ladder, having natural light and ventilation; very effective design of storage spaces
Bathroom: Uncommonly generous in terms of dimensions and fittings, with even a bidet
Accessibility and function of the engine room: very
good, accessible from the cockpit and which permits the carrying out of control and maintenance operations in comfort
Electrical switchgear and plant: up to the expected quality level.