Columbus 40m Sport Hybrid review: Divine Intervention
After its acquisition of the ISA shipyard and the launch of its fourth yacht under the Columbus marquee, the ambitious Palumbo Group S.p.A. could well build a dominant position in the yachting sector over the forthcoming years
In a little over half a century the powerful Palumbo Group has grown from a modest carpentry and metalwork subcontractor to the largest yacht refit and service provider in the Mediterranean. Building on the powerful foundation of expertise and experience in the superyacht sector, in 2013 the Group made a splash in the yachting world when they delivered their first yacht built under the newly formed Columbus Yachts brand.
As the name of their second 40M Sport Hybrid suggests, for Columbus things are just… Divine! Featured on MY Divine is Columbus’s celebrated hybrid propulsion system, which in 2014 was the first system in the luxury motor yacht sector to obtain the ‘Hybrid Propulsion (Electric Motor & Shaft Generator)’ Class Certificate.
Combining these separate elements into a single whole, they created a revolutionary system while maintaining a very user friendly interface. Essentially, the Hybrid system comprises of a conventional engine propulsion system but with changes made to the gearbox. Here a PTI/PTO (Power Take in/Power Take Out) was installed–the same kind of PTO used for hydraulic stabilizers before the advent of separate hydraulic Power Packs–along with an electric motor and a hydraulic clutch.
On the Columbus 40M Sport Hybrid, the electric motor is considered another service element, together with the bow thruster, the galley, etc., so the motor is connected to the primary electrics panel and powered by two generators. In terms of performance, MY Divine can achieve a top speed of 20-knots, cruise with dramatically reduced consumption of 215 L/h at 16-knots, or silently slip around at 8-knots in Electric mode. This is of course contributed to by the lightweight all-aluminum construction, whose naval architecture and exterior design was contributed by Sergio Cutolo and his team at the Hydrtec studio.
From the distinctive plumb bow tight lines draw aft to define the yacht’s profile, while the ‘batsman’s crease’ running the length of the superstructure is certainly reminiscent of a feature line one would expect to find on a car. Instead of wing stations, a wireless Vessel Maneuvering Assistant (VMA Plus) device from Xenta Systems is available to the captain.
The electronic technology uses the existing engines, transmissions and bow thruster to allow the pilot to maneuver from anywhere onboard with a remote control. Up in the wheelhouse the Captain enjoys a fully integrated I-Bridge system, tailored exclusively to his requirements by Team Italia. The I-Bridge system makes it possible to integrate a wide range of systems produced by various manufacturers–each operating its proprietary logic systems–to create a single user interface that is both personalized and easy to upgrade over the years.
Moreover, through its careful consideration of wheelhouse ergonomics Palumbo has produced a solution that is in keeping with the yacht’ s sporty exterior. Spread over three decks, ten guests are accommodated in five staterooms and eight crew members occupy the forward section of the lower deck. In keeping with the shipyard’s philosophy of environmental responsibility all interior woods are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and the reclaimed leather is processed with a special nontoxic water treatment process. For interior design Columbus Yachts have remained faithful with the Hot Lab studio of Milan, who created the awardwinning interior of MY Eleonora, the 40M Sport Hybrid hull #1.
Hot Lab’s clean, precise lines with modern sophisticated details were repeated throughout the interior to engender a sense of harmony. Marbles such as Breccia Sarda and Adria Venato are matched with eucalyptus and American walnut cabinetry, while a touch of warmth and luxury is provided by brightly colored leather and metal details, accented with polished stainless steel. Soft wool carpets and precious fabrics complete the simple yet elegant feeling of the interiors.
Located in the forward section of the main deck, in his suite the owners can recline on their king bed and enjoy scenic views from the two large windows that flank the main cabin. Lined in wood from sole to ceiling the master suite is warm and inviting, but finished in light timbers with darker joinery accents and a satin finish on flat panels, the chic contemporary atmosphere is a dramatic departure from the heavy high-gloss cherry interiors of traditional yachts of yesteryear.
Amongst the many smart solutions aboard MY Divine is a VIP suite that could convert into two cabins, satisfying the owner’s request for increased flexibility. Located on the lower deck, we found that even here light and a sense of space prevail thanks to Hot Lab’s sensitivity to the subject and the generosity of the rectangular port lights.
On the main and upper deck guests enjoy the use of two well-appointed and eminently comfortable salons, both are served by a day head, while the main cabin features a bar on entry for the convenient serving of refreshments both to the salon and cockpit.
Aside from the cockpit, external entertainment will flow between the upper deck’s aft terrace, the foredeck solarium that features a hot tub, plus a remarkably accommodating beach club. Complete with a bar and large bathing platform formed by folding down the transom plate, it’s a fine place from which to enjoy watersports courtesy of the jet tender stored in the lateral tender garage just forward.
One of two launches late last year from Columbus Yachts–MY Divine demonstrates just how advanced the Columbus Yachts team are in the production of highly sophisticated vessels. As we mentioned earlier, with a 70m custom yacht currently in build, the Palumbo Group is flexing its financial muscles and we can’t wait to see the result.