Continental 50S, testing an open (16 m) 50-knot powerboat – From the archives


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Continental 50
Continental 50

In the editorial office in Milan, we at Boats on Motor like to dig into the archives, partly to see the past with different eyes, often to learn something, and partly because we have a lot of fun. Kind of like these

90s boats

. Today we talk about the Continental 50S in a test 2008. A pure open that featured many of the solutions that are still innovative and very much in vogue today, such as folding side decks. All, on an exceptional hull, capable of over 40 or 50 knots, depending on 2x 800 or 1000 horsepower engines.

Continental 50 S

One of a kind and characterized by particularly innovative solutions, the Continental 50 S was-and still is-a pure open with clean, aggressive lines, designed to whiz across the waves in total safety. The cockpit sides had fold-down sections designed to create outdoor platforms, terraces over the sea ideal for swimming, in addition to a large aft beach. Also unprecedented was the layout of the interior, which, by means of a modular system, allowed rapid change from a single forward cabin solution to others with two, or three, double cabins, depending on the need of the moment. A 16-meter with large spaces, designed for outdoor living, which was also offered in a tender version, with a single room below deck and a forward pontoon in full walkaround style.

Continental 50 S
Continental 50 S [2008]

Continental 50 S – Blanket

A distinguishing feature of the Continental 50 S’s deck was the ability to knock down, on either side, a section of the cockpit bulwarks, resulting in two additional swim platforms in addition to the standard aft one. A then unprecedented solution that will prove in the future to be not only practical, but must of various models. The load capacity of the above was over 250 kg, allowing for truly disparate uses. The cockpit then, featured a large central sundeck followed by a dinette, also central, with two opposing sofas capable of seating up to 8 people comfortably around the rectangular table with extendable teak top.

Continuing to the bow, to the left was the wheelhouse with a well-designed dashboard so that the instrumentation could be read at a glance-even while driving at top speeds. Pilot and co-pilot had here two seats attached to a cabinet, hidden access to the sailor’s cabin, as well as host of the concealed galley. The latter, which was accessible by lifting the starboard section of the cabinet lid, was equipped with a sink, two glass-ceramic hobs and a worktop. The refrigerator, however, was located below deck.

Continental 50 S - Cockpit
Continental 50 S [2008] – Lowerable cockpit and broadsideThe
passageway to the bow, despite the lack of stanchions, was designed to be particularly safe thanks to a walkaround style solution with three deep steps, protected by the outer broadside and directed toward the deck. Here it was possible to rely on a flat, diamond-tipped anti-skid surface, a detail that allowed safe movement up to the forward apex, reserved for maneuvering. Beautiful aesthetically, but questionable in terms of practicality, was the choice to conceal not only the winch but also the mooring bollards and fairleads under a hatch. Aft of the latter was a large locker with a double opening for stowing fenders and inspecting the chain well. Finally, for sunbathers, a sunbathing area of about 7 square meters was provided, secured at the sides by two stainless steel handrails.
Continental 50 S [2008]

Continental 50 S – Interior

Going below deck, the Continental 50 S greeted with a spacious and bright room furnished with two broadside sofas and coffee table. Interesting here was the modular system that transformed this large living room into two independent cabins with overlapping bunks in a matter of minutes. In fact, this area, as needed, enjoyed a system that could virtually triple the number of seats on board. Continuing towards the bow, through a central corridor, the guest toilet room was reached to starboard, mirroring the owner’s toilet room, the entrance to which, however, was located directly in the owner’s cabin. The latter had a classic central double bed and generous storage volumes, both for clothes and for all kinds of personal effects.

Continental 50 S – Salon

Continental 50 S – Project


Mediterranean Shipyards

, on the strength of their experience in building much larger vessels, with this 50-footer they wanted to offer the market a ‘Mediterranean’ express cruiser, prioritizing the functionality of spaces intended for outdoor living while offering interiors of great versatility. The technical study of the shipyard was able to put great care into the design of the water lines, so as to ensure maximum reliability and safety even in rough seas, as well demonstrated by the Design Category and CE Marking receipts: class A. In fact, the Continental 50 S’s performance hull featured a prominent forward starboard, reduced to 16.6° in the aft sections, and two support skids on each side.

Continental 50 S [2008] – Folding broadside detail

Continental 50 S – Construction

The living work was made of solid laminate, with the engagement of mat and biaxial fabrics contributing to greater structural rigidity. In the lamination specification, the outermost fiber layers were impregnated with vinylester, which not only promoted better adhesion of the fiber layers themselves but also provided an effective barrier against osmosis. The reinforcing structure included a network of Pvc stringers and spars, appropriately mitered to the hull with biaxial fabrics. For the still life and deck, however, the sandwich technique with PVC core was preferred. The hull-deck assembly was done with the classic riveted flange and resin-coated from the inside, with appropriate handkerchiefing, resulting in a practically monolithic and very strong artifact. It was therefore able to safely withstand the high stresses of high speeds.

Continental 50 S [2008]

Engines and Performance

In the case of the test carried out by our colleagues at the time of its debut in February 2008, the Continental 50 S was equipped with two Man 800 horsepower each, mated to Arneson ASD 11 transmissions, with Rolla six-blade propellers. Alternatively, to reach a speed of 50 knots, the shipyard offered the option of installing 2 CAT C18 engines of 1,000 horsepower each, coupled with ASD 12 transmissions.

Tested with calm seas, no wind and 3 people on board, the Continental 50 S embarked the 2 Man 800 horsepower and 1500 liters of fuel. Under these circumstances, propelled by its 1,600 total horsepower, it was able to enter glide in just 15 seconds, nimbly reaching the maximum speed of 2350 rpm for a speed of 44.3 knots. At the helm, the hull appeared superlative, having excellent trim and handling, with great speed and accuracy in response to controls. Lateral stability was also particularly praised, pointing out that even in the tightest turns, at maximum rpm, the hull remained extremely in control.

Revolutions per minute (RPM) Knots (Kn) Consumption (Liters Per Hour)
1580 23,0
1800 32,8 160
2000 38.5 200
2350 44.3 290

Data Sheet

Length Over All (LOA) 16.01 m
Baglio Massimo 4.50 m
Fishing 0.92 m
Dry Displacement 16,000 kg
Standard Motorization 2×800 hp
Optional Motorization 2×1000 hp
Maximum Speed About 44/50 knots
Fuel Tank 2.000 L
Fresh Water Tank 420 L
Beds 6
People Scope 12
Design Category A
Construction site



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