I live in Maine and until I stepped foot on the Mochi Craft MaxiDolphin 74, I could never have imagined the following words strung together – Italian lobsterboat. To a Mainer, a lobsterboat is a square-transom, open workhorse that hauls lobsters. Those who work them have one of the toughest ways to make a living I can imagine. An “Italian” in the Vacationland State refers to a submarine-style sandwich, and most natives still pronounce the word EYE-talian.
When I first laid eyes on the MaxiDolphin 74, a huge lobster-style boat that’s sure to draw double takes, I was stunned. Kudos to energetic Ferretti Group CEO Norberto Ferretti for following through on his vision of a lobster yacht. From the side, the MaxiDolphin 74 has a sleek profile with a swept sheer and curvaceous transom. A garage houses a tender.
CENTER STAGE. Equally unique is the flying bridge layout, which features a center console helm and passenger space located forward of the skipper. Like the upper helms on other Ferretti models, the MaxiDolphin 74 has an instrument pod that tucks into the console electronically, protecting the gauges from spray and thieves. There’s also a hinged acrylic panel over the accessory switches. I didn’t like the bucket seat – it kept trying to push me forward. From a practical side, there’s stowage in the seat base and access to the helm rigging. A hatch closes off the bridge stairwell.
Forward of the center helm are two tables with wraparound lounges that seat at least a dozen people. Three of the six seat bases have draining stowage in the base.
Abaft the helm is the wetbar, which includes a barbecue and sink beneath an RTM hatch. To port, a long sunlounge extends forward until it’s adjacent to the upper helm. Back down the stairs and into the cockpit, you can reel yourself into a mooring with stern windlasses on each side. To facilitate docking, there’s a third station in the cockpit hidden under a molded hatch that includes a depthsounder.
Facing lounges around a table provide an alfresco dining booth in the cockpit. Stern-facing lounges with stowage in the base abaft the salon entry provide more spots for people to soak up the sun. Another carry-over from the Ferretti line is the fold-out upper half of the salon window that secures with a hook in the overhead.
When heading forward, you’ll feel secure thanks to a 1′-high bulwark topped by a 2′ bowrail. The anchor locker hatches open on stainless-steel struts and beneath the Quick windlass is a dedicated chainbox. Removable teak grates in the passageway are recessed drains for runoff and spray. The fuel fills are all in a locker, along with the pumpout and water fill.
In addition to providing your hull waxer with a place to sleep, the crew quarters gives access to the battery and parallel switches. Fuel shutoffs are behind a panel you must break to get to them. This is a bit of overkill because seconds count in an emergency. Nearby are a separate washer and dryer, plus the bilingually labeled main distribution panel.
You enter the engine compartment through a hatch in the crew quarters or conduct quick checks from a smaller panel in the cockpit deck. After stepping inside, I immediately noted the gensets to starboard and control boxes and bus strips to port. Each engine has twin fuel/water separators, and there are even dedicated units for the gensets. Sea strainers are beneath removable deck sections and the batteries are beneath the garage where you can reach them.
A single hydraulic block feeds the gangway and garage. There’s easy passage around the outboard sides of the motors, and I could even check on the steering system and fully sealed trim tab lines.
Fiberglass fuel tanks are installed low in the MaxiDolphin 74, which is a solid performer. With its sharp entry and straightforward bottom design, the boat held its line in tight. When I ran in a straight line in four-to-six-foot seas that were building, the boat felt solid and was amazingly quiet – at the lower helm, I recorded less than 70 decibels with the engines running 1800 rpm or slower.
With similar power you’ll see nearly identical speeds from Fairline’s Squadron 74, which sells for $4,264,000 with 1,572-bhp CAT C-30s. Sunseeker’s 75 Yacht with 1,550-bhp MANs stays under the $4 million mark at $3,923,465 and hits just under 38 mph.
LA DOLCE VITA. The notion of a lobsterboat is forgotten when you step into the MaxiDolphin 74’s salon. There’s a large lounge to starboard, plus a cool dinette table and accompanying seating to port.
A Sharp flat-screen TV and row of cabinets for all your various media are to port, and a forward cabinet houses the glasses, dishware, and other table-setting items.
My test boat had a half galley-up layout. To port in the salon is a glass cabinet, large serving counter, and Miele dishwasher. Above the full-size refrigerator is an overhead locker that could use a fiddle rail, a trait I found on many lockers aboard the MaxiDolphin 74. The balance of the galley includes a two-burner stove, which is small for a boat this size, a sink with a cutting board, a microwave/convection oven, and a pull-out trash bin.
Any lobsterman would feel pampered by the lower helm, with its two-person seat that folds for stand-up driving and has a stowaway footrest to improve your view when docking. The entire panel is finished in black and there’s a good glare-cutting eyebrow shading the gauges and electronics. I liked the added touch of the rocker switches for the trim tabs being installed before the panel for a more finished look. For Maine practicality you can’t beat the access to the helm rigging via a hatch in the base of the console.
Belowdecks, the MaxiDolphin 74 sleeps eight with a VIP cabin in the bow, plus two more staterooms with twin berths. Every cabin has its own private head with a larger-than-average shower.
The master stateroom is bigger than some studio apartments and has a queen berth, a full-size desk to port, a loveseat and vanity to starboard, and a true walk-in closet. His and her private heads on each side of the boat are linked by a centrally located Jacuzzi tub. Whether you’re the type who sips a cold Bud or a glass of pinot noir while soaking with that special someone, we all like to be pampered.
The Highs: Classic looks bathed in Italian style. Flying bridge layout keeps the skipper involved in the fun. Master head design is smart and luxurious. Handles rough seas admirably.
The Lows: Flying bridge helm seat provided little support. Breakable panel over the fuel shutoffs just makes it harder to get to them in an emergency. Eye-level lockers need fiddle rails.
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Transom deadrise: 18°
Bridge clearance: 17’1″
Max. cabin headroom: 7’4″
Fuel capacity (gal.): 1,506
Water capacity (gal.): 262
Price (w/standard power): $4,600,000
Price (w/test power): $4,600,000
Standard power: Twin 1,340-bhp MAN V-12 diesel Arneson ASD 12L surface drives.
Optional power: None.
Test boat power: Twin 1,340-bhp MAN V-12 diesel Arneson ASD 12L surface drives with 1,338 cid, swinging 33.5″ x 44.4″ Rolla five-bladed Nibral props through 1.76:1 reductions.
Standard Equipment (major items): Bow thruster; Racor fuel/water separators; hydraulic trim tabs w/indicators; compass; electronic engine controls; power side windows; ss swim ladder; hydraulic concealed gangway/davit; electronically powered dinette table; freshwater transom shower; Bruce ss anchor; windlass; custom anchor blocker w/inflatable bladder; life raft.