Flybridge yachts under 60 feet have evolved over the years from the iconic double-deck Hatteras (Hargrave) designs of the 1970s and 1980s to today’s sleek Eurostyle yachts with their curvaceous lines and acres of window glass. European styling caught on in America in the late 1990s when builders like Sea Ray, Carver and Bayliner introduced a series of successful new models designed to appeal to the growing baby boomer market.
Today nearly all flybridge motoryachts are imported from Europe and the only U.S. builders remaining in this market segment are Marquis, Meridian and — to a lesser extent — Sea Ray. While flybridge yachts under 60 feet are nowhere near as popular as express yachts this size, their popularity has remained fairly consistent and new models continue to evolve. That said, profiled below are eight of the most popular flybridge models produced in recent years.
–Ed McKnew, Powerboat Specialist
SUNSEEKER MANHATTAN 52 2008–11
AT A GLANCE: A top-selling yacht (over 50 were built), it’s fair to say the Sunseeker Manhattan 52 set the standards during her production years for motoryacht styling, luxury and performance. Deigned to mirror many of the features of her larger siblings, the three stateroom, galley down interior includes a spacious salon with C-shaped leather settee, full entertainment center and high-gloss cherry cabinets. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Manhattan 52 is her spacious and opulent owner’s suite.
A crew cabin with single berth and small head is aft. The outdoor space aboard the Manhattan is impressive. Aside from her large cockpit, there is a roomy flybridge whose deck forms a hardtop over most of the cockpit. MAN 800hp (or 715hp Cat) engines cruise the 52 Manhattan at 24–26 knots (30+ knots top).
PRICE RANGE:From the mid $600s.
SUNSEEKER MANHATTAN 52 2017–CURRENT
AT A GLANCE: SPECTACULAR STYLING, VERY SPACIOUS ACCOMMODATIONS AND STRONG PERFORMANCE RANK THE MANHATTAN 52 AMONG THE FINEST CRUISING YACHTS IN THIS CLASS. SAID TO BE THE FASTEST SELLING MODEL IN THE SUNSEEKER FLEET. THE OUTSIDE LIVING AREAS ARE ESPECIALLY IMPRESSIVE, PARTICULARLY THE UNIQUE FOREDECK DINING AREA AND THE EXPANSIVE FLYBRIDGE WHICH EXTENDS WELL AFT OVER THE COCKPIT.
ENTERING THE INTERIOR, THE GALLEY IS AFT WHERE IT’S EASILY ACCESSED FROM THE COCKPIT. WITH THE GALLEY WINDOW DOWN THE COUNTERTOP FORMS A BAR ON THE PORT SIDE OF THE COCKPIT—VERY CLEVER. THE SALON WINDOWS ARE HUGEL. BELOW, THERE ARE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR SIX GUESTS IN THREE CABINS. THE HYDRAULIC BATHING PLATFORM FEATURES A POP-UP SHOWER, BENCH AND OPTIONAL GRILL. OFFERED WITH IPS DRIVES OF STRAIGHT INBOARDS, TWIN VOLVO 725HP D11 INBOARD ENGINES CRUISE AT 25–26 KNOTS (30+ KNOTS TOP).
PRICE RANGE: FROM ABOUT $1.3 MILLION.
MARQUIS 500 SPORT BRIDGE 2009–16
AT A GLANCE: The bold lines, megayacht-style interior and triple-IPS power system of the Marquis 500 Sport Bridge offer something different from most motoryachts this size. Perhaps the most innovative feature of the 500 SB is what Marquis calls a “sliding transom” that glides aft with a push of a button to create additional cockpit space. The well-appointed interior features dark Zebrano wood, black granite counters, and cherry flooring throughout.
Below, the three-stateroom layout includes a forward master suite with ensuite head, VIP queen to port, and twin single berths in the second guest cabin. The galley, salon, cockpit, and swim platform are all on the same level. A optional hydraulic swim platform makes lowering the tender in and out of the water an easy task. Triple Volvo 435hp IPS pod drives cruise the at over 30 knots.
PRICE RANGE: From about $1.3 million.
PRINCESS 56 FLYBRIDGE 2014–CURRENT
AT A GLANCE: THE PRINCESS 56 IS A STYLISH FLYBRIDGE YACHT THAT SHARES MANY DESIGN FEATURES WITH LARGER PRINCESS MODELS. THE INTERIOR IS BEAUTIFULLY FINISHED WITH HIGH-GLOSS CABINETRY, INDIRECT LIGHTING AND QUALITY FURNISHINGS THROUGHOUT. BELOW, GUESTS ENJOY AN ENSUITE VIP CABIN IN THE BOW AND A TWIN CABIN (WITH BEDS THAT CONVERT ELECTRICALLY TO A DOUBLE) AFT AND TO STARBOARD.
THE MASTER SUITE IS AFT WITH QUEEN BERTH, SETTEE, AND HUGE RECTANGULAR GLASS PANES THAT SET NEW STANDARDS FOR HULL WINDOWS IN A YACHT THIS SIZE. CREW QUARTERS WITH A SINGLE BED AND HEAD ARE AFT. THE COCKPIT BOASTS A TEAK DINING TABLE AND BENCH SEATING. TEAK-LAID STEPS ON EITHER SIDE LEAD DOWN TO THE BATHING PLATFORM. THE VAST FLYBRIDGE FEATURES A SUN BED, TWIN HELM SEATS, WET BAR, BARBECUE AND DINING AREAS. MAN 800HP INBOARDS CRUISE AT 25–26 KNOTS (LOW 30S TOP).
PRICE RANGE: Used prices begin at just under $1 million.
PRESTIGE 550 FLY 2012–CURRENT
AT A GLANCE: Distinctive French motor yacht with the emphasis on affordability. The interior of the 550 Fly is arranged with a large and open galley aft in the salon. Lower helm visibility is exceptional on this vessel. Three staterooms and two heads (plus crew quarters aft) are on the lower level including an elegant full-beam master suite with private salon access, large hull side windows, and walk-in closet.
The VIP stateroom, forward, has an island double, while the third, twin-berth, stateroom comes with a filler. This model comes in two versions: The Prestige 550 Fly (flybridge), and the Prestige 550 S with an electrically operated sunroof. Built on a lightweight cored hull, the 550 Fly will cruise at 24–26 knots with 600hp Cummins diesels coupled to Zeus pod drives (30+ top). Note that the pods are located well aft and a jackshaft connects the engines to the pods.
PRICE RANGE:From the high $700s.
AZIMUT 50 FLYBRIDGE 2015–CURRENT
AT A GLANCE: A striking yacht with unusually large salon windows, the Azimut 50 Flybridge is a three stateroom Italian yacht with Azimut’s signature vertical hull windows and a decidedly broad bow area. Below decks, a U-shaped settee sits to starboard with a wood table at its center. Another settee is to port in the salon, and the raised lower helm is forward to starboard. Contrary to current trends, the galley is down rather than aft in the salon.
Storage is scarce and countertop space is extremely limited. The owner’s cabin is amidships, and the VIP cabin is at the bow as is the second guest cabin with two Pullman berths. The cockpit is completely shaded by the flybridge overhang and a U-shaped lounge runs the length of the transom. A hydraulic swim platform is standard. Volvo 670hp inboards cruise at 26–27 knots.
PRICE RANGE: From about $1.1 million.
AZIMUT 5 EVOLUTION 2002–11
AT A GLANCE: The 55 Evolution (called the 55 Flybridge in 2001–04) displays a styling scheme very different from earlier Azimut motoryachts. Gone are the tiered cabin windows of previous years replaced by fin-shaped salon windows. Also new were vertical glass panels in the hullsides, a design innovation that has become common in newer Azimuts. The open-plan salon features a C-shaped leather sofa to port and entertainment center to starboard.
The galley and dining area are forward, two steps up from the salon. Below, there are three staterooms and two full heads including a full-beam amidships master, VIP queen forward, and guest cabin with side-by-side berths. Lacquered cherry wood cabinets and trim are used throughout the interior. Crew quarters with a single berth and toilet are aft. Cat 715hp C12 V-drive diesels cruise at 26 knots (30+ top).
PRICE RANGE: From the mid to high $300s.
CARVER 570 VOYAGER 2001–05
AT A GLANCE: A seriously popular boat, the 570 Voyager is a stretched version of the Carver 530 Voyager (1998–2005) with the extra length used to enlarge the salon and galley. The three stateroom cherry interior is arranged with the galley forward in the very spacious salon with its long L-shaped sofa to starboard and club chairs opposite. A breakfast bar is built into the galley counter, and large windows together with nearly seven feet of headroom combine to create an unusually open and airy salon.
Below, the amidships master stateroom features a walkaround queen berth and ensuite head with tub/shower. The VIP stateroom forward includes a queen berth, and the second guest stateroom offers over/under bunks. A big attraction of the 570 is the roomy pilothouse with L-shaped leather sofa and wraparound helm console. Volvo 675hp diesels cruise at 22–24 knots.
PRICE RANGE: From about $300K.