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Best Boats 2016: Italia 13.98

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Cruising Monohull 41-50ft

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Italia13.98

According to Italia Yachts, the goal with the 13.98 was to create a “luxury cruiser” in which performance is a part of the “luxury equation,” and the company has lived up to that ambition and then some. Above decks, the Italia 13.98 boasts such go-fast features as rod rigging, a belowdecks headsail furler, hydraulic backstay control and a cleverly recessed main traveler to ensure maximum sail efficiency. Below the waterline, there’s a powerful, high-aspect semi-balanced rudder and an aggressive T-keel with a lead bulb. Internally, the E-glass and vinylester hull not only includes a series of carbon frames and stringers, but the deck is laminated from stem to stern onto an inward-turning flange to ensure a leak-proof and extremely stiff structure. Seen bow-on, with the traditional transom hidden from view, the way the boat slices through the water could easily lead you to mistake the Italia 13.98 for a racer.

Not that you have to give up comfort to enjoy this kind of performance. The accommodations, which feature an elegantly sleek and curvaceous joinery style, are top notch, and appear better and better the closer you look. Door frames, for example, all feature seals to prevent them from knocking or banging in a seaway, and the panels comprising the sole are installed with very small gaps between them so they won’t squeak or grind when you walk on them. Topside, that reverse transom includes an absolutely enormous drop-down swim platform, and the shrouds and sheet tracks are carefully arranged to keep the side decks almost entirely clear.

As a practical matter, the Italia 13.98 is equipped with multiple fire suppression systems in the engine compartment and behind the electrical panel. The teak cockpit sole and side decks are also vacuum-bonded to a thin fiberglass backing, which is in turn bonded to the fiberglass deck in the interest of ensuring the most robust installation possible. All in all, a truly magnificent yacht that is both well constructed and a joy to sail.

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