If there's one word to describe most Italian-designed cars and boats I've seen, it's bold. Ever not done a double-take when you've laid eyes on a Ferrari or a Lamborghini? Well, prepare to twist your neck when you lay eyes on the 43' Baia One. Even the name is brazen.
The One's cockpit measures nearly 18'-by-13' and the manufacturer uses every inch of available space for passenger capacity. The aft two-thirds is purposely left open for you to arrange chaise lounges, which makes for an interesting alternative to conventional lounges. There's a bar area with two small stools, plus a wetbar. I liked that the top for this area pulls out of the way, offering the best access, instead of folding up. There's a sink, barbecue, and two cooler drawers. Engine hatches in the cockpit decking provide access to a compartment that's more open than expected. Side passageways and stainless-steel handrails make passage to the bow a breeze.
Adjacent to the helm, a curved lounge seats five around a power-adjustable table that you can raise or lower to facilitate entry. You take control of the One at a helm that features a mix of Yanmar's new electronic engine screens and analog-style gauges, with the latter grouped by engine on each side of the centrally located rudder position indicator. Black Nextel finish nullifies glare. Belowdecks, the boat emphasizes the salon/galley area over the smaller sleeping quarters. A big skylight enhances the open feel. There's a private stateroom with separate berths, and the head has separate shower and commode lockers, a pleasant surprise on a boat this size. The aft L-shaped lounge to port converts to sleep two more. Thanks to the 473-bhp Yanmars and Arneson surface drives, the One serves up the performance to match its looks. It tops out at 46.5 mph and handles like, well, an Italian sports car.
High Points: I don't usually care about looks, but this boat is H-O-T. Love the gullwing-style transom gates. Open concept works well. A dedicated chainbox in the anchor locker - bravissimo. And a real carbon-fiber windshield frame.
Low Points: Indicators for the trim tabs should be placed together instead of on opposite sides of panel. Needs a small glovebox at the helm. Watch the sharp aft corners of the windshield. All that sex appeal and no area big enough for two people to…uh…sleep.
Toughest Competitors: Direct competitors to a boat with similar propulsion and such an open design are rare, but there are two that come close. Sunseeker's Superhawk 43 retails for $777,600 with the same power as the Baia and hits a projected top speed of 57 mph thanks to its twin-stepped bottom. A little different in its configuration, Nor-Tech's 43 Center Console ($630,000 with the same power as our test boat) hits 67 mph, but it's much narrower at 9' and its layout is more of a pure center console. Neither matches the Baia for sex appeal, however.