Sunday, April 17, 2011

Uniesse 65 Sport: Playing For Keeps

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Uniesse is certainly not a name that rolls off the tongue easily. Seeing it in print, most folks in these United States want to start off with the "you" sound. But once they get used to saying "ooh" at all the delightful features, they won't have any trouble pronouncing the name.

Uniesse has become one of the better-kept secrets in yachting. Insiders know this builder for pleasing designs, high quality, and fair pricing.

Standing across a waterway south of Miami to sneak a peek at the 65 Sport, there was no question of her Italian heritage. The dark hull gleamed, and the huge windshield swept back rakishly from the foredeck. Euro-styling can feel a bit trendy, but some has evolved to the point of classic. 

The 65 Sport will be stylish and appealing for years. I admit I don't understand why some things are ageless, but I do know I'd rather have dinner with Sophia Loren than Britney Spears.

Stepping from the dock to the wide transom swim platform, the satiny feel of sun-warmed teak on my bare feet was the beginning of an altogether delightful experience. I was being hosted by Rafael Barca, the gracious Uniesse importer for the Americas and a man who is also clearly captivated by Uniesse yachts, and Captain Carlos Andrade, who was keeping this 65 Sport in showroom condition for her private owner.

The swim platform is wide, but it isn't one of those oversized behemoths that carry personal watercraft or tenders. The Uniesse 65 Sport doesn't need that because it has a garage cleverly hidden in the transom. 

With retractable rollers, a 10-foot tender can easily be rolled out and then launched using the dual-purpose Besenzoni passerelle that serves as a davit. It's a slick arrangement that creates a large teak "beach" and keeps the dinghy from blighting the hull lines. The second reason for the wide platform: The 65 Sport can be ordered with optional Arneson drives, and the extra width covers the exposed props. More on that later.

In the teak-soled cockpit, a large sunpad combines with a teak table for alfresco dining. I was impressed by the stainless steel bollards with Lofrans warping winches and roller hawses in each corner. Finishing out the cockpit are a pair of streamlined consoles that hold a Miele grill and ice maker on one side and a fridge on the other.

Step through the impeccably crafted stainless steel sliding doors into the cool, airy, and delightful saloon. The Italians make furniture that is comfortable and good-looking, and the wraparound settee to starboard is perfect for enjoying the pop-up television to port.

The windows, shaped like Cleopatra's eyes, let in plenty of light, but the owner had specified wonderful Roman blinds, a stylish way to take the edge off the tropical sun. Speaking of owner-specified, it's important to point out that Uniesse is a builder that will bend over backwards to satisfy a client. 

I asked Rafael what they were prepared to change when it came to layout and bulkheads and systems, and his one-word answer summed it up perfectly: "Anything!"

niesse Americas, (305) 673-3371;

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