Entering the Santa Pola-based headquarters of the Astondoa shipyard, Spain’s leading manufacturer of luxury boats, is like walking on a timeline. 100 years of history, from the founding of the yard to the present day, revolving around the same family, Astondoa, now in its fourth generation.
“ Many of our customers are experienced yachtsmen,” says Jesús Astondoa, the company’s CEO, during our visit, “who have already owned several boats. And often, once they choose an Astondoa boat, then when they want to change boats to grow in size, they continue to turn to us. That’s where you realize that the work you’re doing is the right one.”
Working in the Astondoa team since 2019 is Ione Astondoa, Jesús’ daughter, who represents the fourth generation. Dealing with marketing and communication strategies, her task is crucial: to understand how to reach today’s owners. During our visit to Astilleros Astondoa in Santa Pola we climbed aboard the Astondoa AS5, the latest addition to the Spanish yard, to test it out. Here’s how it went.
The Astondoa AS5 is the new 57-footer from the Spanish yard. It belongs to a segment where there is a lot of competition and where new boats have to emerge in order to stand out. How do they do that? By offering more luxury and more bespoke solutions than their competitors.
In this sense, a yard like Astondoa has an important advantage: everything from the design (interior-exterior) to most of the materials is made in-house. In this sense the yard demonstrates great versatility and the ability to meet the needs of owners, thanks also to a lounge dedicated to welcoming guests, where it is possible to choose from a wide range of materials such as woods, fabrics and more.
“We’re also very satisfied with the results achieved in the United States,” continues Jesus Astondoa, “because it’s a market that demands a lot of customisation, even if it doesn’t have to be exaggerated in order to be able to resell the boat easily”.
“The 57-footer,” says Ione Astondoa, “is the basis of the range that we want to expand in the future. There is certainly an important inspiration and contamination that comes from the automotive industry, but not only. Our boats arise from a mix of different types of design from cars to planes to offer the best possible solution.”
The stern accommodates a platform that provides easy access to the sea. This area is also in continuity with the cockpit thanks to the choice of using a transparent material to separate the two areas, leaving direct contact. Furthermore, the owner can also decide to have two terraces on the sides of the stern that can be folded down to increase the surface area available.
Proceeding towards the bow, through the two ladders on the sides, we reach the cockpit where there is an L-shaped sofa facing the sea with a central table. This way guests can enjoy an aperitif or dinner with a view of the surroundings, increasing their contact with the sea.
The upper deck, which is actually the flybridge, has wooden elements and a shape that curves upwards at the end. This is to increase the feeling of space in this area, without being oppressive for those on board. Proceeding inside the boat, in the saloon this Astondoa reveals the yard’s attention to materials and design. The side windows allow plenty of light to enter, but it is above all the width (thanks to a beam of almost 5 metres) that gives it volume.
Next to the cockpit we find the galley on the left and a counter on the right with plenty of storage space underneath. This makes it easy to serve the outside table. Moving towards the bow there is an internal convivial area with two opposing sofas, one C-shaped with a central table and one classic. Further along is the helm station where the automotive inspiration of this model emerges, starting with the helm and ending with the layout of the sensors.
The second external living area (excluding the flybridge) with sofas and seating opens out onto the bow. This solution allows the owner and his guests to enjoy their privacy at all times.
The flybridge is one of those areas of the boat that, if well thought out, can easily become the favourite area on board. On the new Astondoa AS5 that we tested, the flybridge was designed as follows: a C-shaped aft sofa and a central table and seat on the right, all served by a wet bar. At the bow is the second helm station, similar in configuration to the one on the main deck. To the left is a second relaxation area with a C-shaped sofa and central table.
The interiors confirm the yard’s commitment to trying to convey sporty elegance to this boat. Similarly, significant headroom has been developed below deck, both in the corridors and in the accommodation. There is a total of three cabins on the lower deck. The master cabin is amidships and makes use of the entire beam, offering significant roominess and is equipped with a wardrobe and lots of storage space in general. In the bow there is a VIP cabin with two berths, while the third guest cabin has two berths. In the stern there is a cabin for the crew.
Even from the outside, this boat leaves little doubt as to its cruiser DNA. But how does it perform at sea? Let’s start with the engines which, during our test, were two Volvo Penta D11 – IPS 950 , 725 hp each. There’s also a more powerful version, with two 800hp MAN i6s, and a version with the 725hp Volvo Penta D11s, without IPS.
However, what the IPS manages to offer most on a model of this type is manoeuvrability (not only in port) within the reach of every type of yachtsman and unquestionably interesting consumption. We tested it in Alicante on a windy day with winds of around 18 knots from land. As we moved further away from the coast, the waves became more and more noticeable and the short sea was potentially quite treacherous. The combination of Seakeeper and trim tabs made sailing comfortable even in this type of situation. In terms of roll, the boat is therefore stable and even in turns the inclination is not excessive. This type of propulsion accentuates the feeling that the hull is well “clinging” to the water and at the same time allows for good thrust when navigating on course.
At a cruising speed of 20/22 knots the Astondoa As5 has a consumption of between 180 and 200 l/h with the engine at 2100/2200 rpm. This is with a full water tank (600 litres), half the petrol tank, i.e. about 1,100 litres, and 8 people on board. These are undoubtedly numbers that demonstrate the quality of the design, including the hull. When cruising, the trim was a bit off, but if you work with trim correctors, this is easily overcome. Proof of the good work done on the hull is also the top speed, 28.8 knots, achieved with the least powerful engine.
|Fuel tank:||2,200 l|
Volvo Penta D11 725 hp
Man i6 800hp
*Volvo Penta D11 – IPS 950 725 hp – Tested
|Cruising speed* – Tested||20/22 knots|
|Top Speed* – Tested||28.8 knots|
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