When it comes to design, the Italians are masters of their craft. Simon Everett savours the stylish Selva Elegance 6.7 against the beautiful backdrop of Lake Como.
With the Italian Alps and a shimmering lake in the background, the Selva Elegance really looks the part. The sweeping lines and open sports layout that are so favoured in the Mediterranean hint at her RIB-building boatyard heritage from Italboats. There the similarity ends, though, as the high freeboard and spacious deck are a world apart from a RIB of similar size.
The hull shape is designed to cope with the nasty chop that can quickly spring up on the south coast of Italy. It is similar to the moody Solent with short, sharply cresting seas whipped up by the afternoon breeze, and so she will be ideally suited to the kinds of seas we have to deal with here at home. The high freeboard, flared bow and multiple running strakes provide massive amounts of lift and water deflection, ably demonstrated in the 1-metre-high swells we had, even on Lake Como. The other journalists testing thought David and I were mad to go out round the corner in search of some proper water, such as there was! They all stayed tucked in the lee of the headland on calmer water, but there is nothing like a bit of rough stuff to really show a boat’s mettle and get some more dramatic pictures.
The hull dynamics provide a fast, stable and soft-running platform to place the people-carrying bits on. Built from a lightweight laminate with stiffening where it matters, the hull rides beautifully – even taking a wave on the cheeks of the bow, heeled over, didn’t create any hard smacks, the curvature helping to smooth the transition over the wave without any dramatic banging and slamming. I was thoroughly impressed, and when, in those conditions, I was able to maintain nearly 40 knots from just 150hp, my eyebrows were well and truly raised. This boat has a great hull, built for taking on the sea, and a sensible interior with an Italian blend of practicality and simplicity.
The centre helm design has been utilised to the full, with some innovative ideas for optimising space. The seating and console design have been arranged to provide ease of movement around the boat. Both the forward cockpit and aft area can be fully cushioned to create two large sunbathing areas, without encroaching on the area around the helm seating and console, leaving the midships portion clear to move around. The aft seating comprises a wrap-around U-shape that services a rectangular double-pedestal table. With the table dropped as an infill, the seating converts into a sunbed. A similar type of arrangement in the bow, with two side infill cushions, creates a second sunbed.
Stowage is located under the forward seating, with a large, RIB-style hatch cover hinging forward over the main compartment, which will swallow the large cushions. Ahead of this, under the bow step, is an integral chain locker. Lifting the forward end of the console, complete with its jump seat, provides access to an internal cuddy big enough to take a sea toilet or Porta Potti-type chemical head, or it can just be used as an extra stowage facility – with a few hooks about the place it would make a good place for hanging waterproofs.
The helm seat is formed out of a locker box, with an adjustable backrest that lifts and hinges to form either a bench seat or a leaning post-type seat with the curved backrest folded down. The entire seat base can then hinge forwards to access stowage or an optional galley or wet bar facility. On a dayboat like this, the wet bar and fridge are going to be favourite!
The lightweight, high-volume hull provides substantial freeboard all round, both inboard and outboard. The gunwale height makes her a safe, family boat with the security that comes from being well protected by the generous cockpit sides. The height above the waterline gives her great wave-punching prowess, while those on board stay dry. Access to and from the water for swimming is a little inconvenient as the integrated ladder stowed under the transom step to starboard is a bit high off the water. To maintain the symmetry there is a wet locker on the opposite quarter.
One of the disadvantages of a fully enclosed cockpit like this is when it rains. The Elegance has this situation covered with a completely self-draining cockpit, through scuppers each side aft – you just have to ensure they don’t get clogged with fallen leaves or other detritus. The automatic bilge pump adds another dimension to the peace of mind of ownership, ensuring the bilges are kept dry, something that was proved during our trip with some hefty downpours!
With the arrival of sporadic storms and high winds came the chance to try the boat in some less-than-calm conditions. It is amazing how rough a lake can get when the wind has the full length of it to drive the waves. We were based at the northern end of the lake where there is a small headland that protects the marina from the full length of fetch. Tucked in behind this the water was pretty calm, but as soon as we got out of the lee, the swells were a metre high and there were breakers forming under the stronger gusts. For a while it became really interesting; then, as the storm passed overhead, the wind decreased and things settled again. I was fortunate to take advantage of a spell when the water was ‘animated’, shall we say, and that is when we got the drama into the shots. Of course, you still need a boat capable of taking on the conditions at full chat to create the pictures, and the Elegance 6.7 certainly proved to be well up to the task.
With the waves on the head the hull cut through cleanly, and although she became airborne fairly easily, the ride was soft and controlled, with the spray flung well clear, keeping the aft cushions dry. It was really easy to drive through the sea – the hull bridged the crests and it was only occasionally that she took to the air off the bigger swells. To get a realistic top-speed figure we ran her both ways. Heading into the wind gives a bit of extra lift as the air gets under the hull, provided it isn’t too lively. Bringing a boat back downwind with the waves astern will often find it out, but the Elegance kept her head up and there was no tendency to try to bury her bow. Consequently we could run at full chat and achieved an average sustained top speed of 39.7 knots with a brand-new engine, so I would expect that to easily go over the 40-knot mark after a few hours of breaking the outboard in.
Not only did the boat go well in straight lines, with no slapping or banging until the waves were put at 45 degrees to the bow, but when the face of the flare was square to the water, just a slight alteration of heading was all it took to negate the situation and resume the status quo. Turning across the waves didn’t show any great tendency to slam, unless the ride of the hull coincided with the rearing of a wave, and that can be avoided by the helmsman watching the water and steering to avoid the situation, as you should anyway.
If you are searching for a good-looking boat that has a fine offshore hull and interior practicality, then the Elegance 6.7 is one that you should definitely get a sea trial in.
RPM Speed (kts)
Max. power: 152hp
Recommended power: 100–150 hp
Max. payload : 945kg
Max. people: 8
EC design cat: C
- Super rough-water ride
- Family-friendly layout
- Seat cushions could be deeper
- Water access
For price contact: www.selvamrine.co.uk