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Perini Navi Fidelis: A Ketch Worth Waiting For

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Tuesday, 22 November 2011 17:08

 

   

The American couple who own the ketch-rigged Fidelis certainly fit that mold. They made their first visit to the yard a full ten years before they finally signed the contract.

The ketch-rigged, aluminum-built Fidelis is Ron Holland design with a keel that can be lowered to provide a sailing draft of 32 feet.

Why such a long lapse between the initial visit and the commissioning? Fidelis’ owners wanted to plan the interior arrangements and ultimately the yacht’s LOA to suit their cruising goals. Equally important, they wanted their youngest children to get a bit older and more independent.

The result of all that waiting is that Fidelis became the tenth delivery in Perini Navi’s 56-meter series, featuring proven design elements and performance. At the same time, though, Fidelis is uniquely faithful to her owners’ desire to enjoy more time with their family.

And enjoy time together they have. Fidelis was delivered in June of 2011, and except for one week shortly after hand-over, the owners cruised the entire summer in the western Med and on over to Greece. There, they and their crew were able to put the 16,000 square feet of sail area to the test.

They also put some of the more tech-oriented creature comforts to the test, like the fold-down transom platforms. Looking at Fidelis at the dock or underway, and you see a lovely, clean-lined transom. While she’s at anchor, however, the crew can deploy a platform nestled in the center of the transom as well as ones on the port side. Only when Fidelis’ central platform is folded down do you see built-in stairs yielding access from the aft deck.

As for the side boarding platform, it’s reached via the lazarette. Swim ladders on both make it easy for the kids to enter and exit the water. In addition, the crew can pull the tenders side-to for easier boarding and disembarking.

Of course, Fidelis has some features found more commonly aboard sailing yachts. Like several Perini Navi 56-meter cousins, Fidelis has fore and aft cockpits. These are great places to take in the sights under sail, and Fidelis’ owners have essentially turned the cockpits into outdoor versions of the saloon. The forward cockpit is a particular favorite, with L-shape benchseats flanking the 192-foot-high mainmast. It’s where the owners enjoy everything from drinks to simply relaxing.

That cockpit is open-air, whereas the aft cockpit provides shade and protection from the elements under the overhang of the flying bridge. There’s also a TV mounted to the starboard bulkhead, ideal for alfresco midnight movies. A handy day head is a few paces away from the seating area, so no one need miss major plot twists.

The master suite (above) runs full-beam, and includes a sitting area. Other cabins are set up to accommodate two to four people.

A dining table in the cockpit is likely the place where Fidelis’ family takes most of their meals. It’s partly because yacht owners, both power and sail, enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors. But it’s also because the majority of Fidelis’ teak- and ebony-accented main deck is devoted to the saloon.

Directly inside the aft-deck doors is a traditional seating area. Forward, through doorways to either side of a bulkhead, is a room with a games table. It can be expanded to seat twelve and serve as a large dining table, but it seems better suited to the grown-ups who want to play cards while the kids enjoy PlayStation aft. To ensure that each group gets room for enjoyment without disturbing others, sliding doors, lined with horsehair, deploy at the push of a button.

The family-friendly aspects of Fidelis extend to the staterooms. The owners wanted two cabins each to feature a double bed, a pull-out sofa, and a pullman. Dedicated to the children, these would allow them to invite their friends aboard for the ultimate sleepover party. They’re forward of two VIP staterooms and the full-beam master suite, which includes a sitting area.

While Fidelis marked a milestone for Perini Navi as its fiftieth sailing yacht to date, other sailing yachts like Andromeda la Dea from the early years and more modern ones like Maltese Falcon get most of the attention. They’re certainly deserving of it, but it would be a shame for admirers and would-be buyers to overlook Fidelis. She’s a fine example of what a family-focused yacht can be. She’s also proof that sometimes good things come to those who wait.