Taken by Sur­prise


Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE -

A suc­cess­ful fam­ily busi­ness fu­els the Ga­leon 485 HTS, which has its sights set on the U.S. mar­ket.

TThere’s a few things you need to know about Ga­leon to truly ap­pre­ci­ate their new 485 HTS.

These guys have been se­ri­ous about build­ing great yachts for decades, they have a large share of the Euro­pean and South Amer­i­can mar­kets, and they’re now in the U.S. Nam­ing its brand af­ter Span­ish galleons, Ga­leon Yachts is ex­pected to be based in Spain but, no, these yachts are from Poland—way up in the north by the Baltic Sea in a sub­urb of Gdansk, which has been a by­word for ship­yards since the 1800s.

Ga­leon is a rar­ity: fam­ily owned in a cor­po­rate world, and yet it builds more than 6,000 yachts a year. At 30 years old, Ga­leon is one of the boat­build­ing powerhouses of Europe, but it wasn’t un­til 2016 when Ga­leon agreed to part­ner with MarineMax to rep­re­sent it at their 60-plus stores in the U.S.

The Ga­leon yard is a model of mod­ern boat­build­ing so­phis­ti­ca­tion, cov­er­ing more than 6 acres and with 1,700 em­ploy­ees who cre­ate ev­ery­thing from the fiber­glass molds to met­al­work to up­hol­stery.

The yard, which also of­fers a small boat line called Galia, is self-suf­fi­cient and, be­fore de­par­ture, ev­ery yacht goes for a swim in the large test pool to make sure all sys­tems are op­er­at­ing prop­erly. The pool also has an over­head sprin­kler sys­tem to im­i­tate heavy rain, again to make

sure each yacht is ready for turn-key de­liv­ery. My take: Amer­i­can boat­builders should look over their shoul­der at what’s com­ing out of Gdansk.

The 485 HTS ex­udes a mus­cu­lar tough­ness un­der clean hull lines and a swoop­ing su­per­struc­ture de­signed by Tony Cas­tro. At rest dock­side, it’s an im­pos­ing yacht that re­tains an air of class about it.

OK, you say, what’s cool about it? First, ev­ery boat­builder has slid­ing doors be­tween the salon to the cock­pit, and they go through end­less vari­a­tions to make them dis­ap­pear: triple or even quad pan­els to slide al­most out of sight, shal­low pock­ets to half-hide the slid­ers, and more. Ga­leon? They make the doors dis­ap­pear at the push of a but­ton.

This is one of those you gotta see this items when show­ing off your new boat. First, you slide the sin­gle main door—a com­fort­ably large one—open. Then you push the but­ton, and both the door and the rear win­dow of the salon slide down into the deck. The re­sult is a salon that’s wide open to the cock­pit and vice versa. I’m sure the engi­neer­ing took a lot of tin­ker­ing, but it’s the per­fect so­lu­tion. Want fresh air? Push the but­ton. Want air con­di­tion­ing or heat­ing? Push the but­ton.

The cock­pit has a spa­cious wrap­around dinette, which backs up to the salon dinette so, with the win­dow/door down, so there’s space for the whole big happy fam­ily. And if you’re still not get­ting enough fresh air, the over­sized and tinted glass sun­roof opens up from the

wind­shield to mid-cabin. With ev­ery­thing open, this 48-footer is a big run­about.

The skip­per en­joys a dash­board that seems a bit, er, over de­signed—at first glance, I thought, “Whoa, too much go­ing on.” But then I sat on the dou­ble-wide helm seat, spent some time run­ning the boat, and re­al­ized that ev­ery­thing is right where you want it. There’s a cen­ter­line Ray­ma­rine dis­play just be­low your line of sight, so you can keep an eye on things with­out hunt­ing around. The Volvo Penta en­gine mon­i­tor is equally well-placed, and two rows of clearly la­beled rocker switches are within easy reach.

In road tests, Bri­tish car mag­a­zines used to say “the con­trols fall read­ily to hand,” mean­ing wheel, gear shift, and switches, and that’s ex­actly the case with the 485. The Volvo mul­ti­func­tion throt­tle/shifters were right where they were com­fort­able, fol­lowed by the joy­stick, which is prop­erly lo­cated if you want to stand and look around while jog­ging into a slip. And, un­like many Euro builders that don’t un­der­stand the con­cept of stand­ing while driv­ing, there is 6-foot 7-inch head­room at this helm. With the twin bol­sters flipped up, you are per­fectly po­si­tioned to han­dle your yacht with the touch of a fin­ger.

Just aft of the helm is a wet bar that can be turned into a mini-gal­ley with op­tional grill and fridge. And this leads to an­other in­no­va­tive fea­ture on the Ga­leon 485.

We all know that Euro­pean builders tend to hide the gal­ley out of sight, but Ga­leon has turned that around. Amer­i­can yachts of­ten have “coun­try kitchens” with main-deck seat­ing around the gal­ley, but Ga­leon has in­tro­duced what might be called the “fam­ily gal­ley.” In­stead of ban­ish­ing the cook out of sight, Ga­leon has cre­ated an en­tire liv­ing area around the gal­ley on the lower deck, with a lus­cious quilted Ul­traLeather set­tee, dining ta­ble, large TV, and big win­dows. The chef en­joys an L-shaped workspace with all the usual ameni­ties plus lots of Co­rian coun­ter­top, while fam­ily and friends can just hang out. It’s a great place when you’re in a ma­rina and don’t want a highly vis­i­ble salon gal­ley.

Once you’re down on the lower level, with light flood­ing the area from sky­lights, the mas­ter suite is aft and how sweet it is. It spans the full beam with a queen berth, large cre­denza to star­board with six doors open­ing to mul­ti­ple shelf stowage, and a nearly 6-foot-long loveseat to port. There is an en suite head with folding Lucite doors for the over­sized shower stall.

A word about the qual­ity aboard the Ga­leon 485 HTS: It is way, way out of this class of yacht. Ev­ery door is solid wood and the jamb is rub­ber-lined, so there is a solid thunk when it closes, and then si­lence in­side the state­room.

Poland has been said to have the best welders in the world, and their ex­per­tise shows in the jewel-like met­al­work, from the dou­ble handrails around the fore­deck to the stern chocks. Gor­geous. Those same welders have cre­ated 316 stain­less steel tanks for ev­ery­thing: fuel, wa­ter, black wa­ter, which will al­lay any cor­ro­sion wor­ries. The same goes for the wal­nut in­te­rior: The wood­work is beau­ti­fully in­laid and im­pec­ca­bly fin­ished. Night­stands and side ta­bles are topped with stitched leather. I was also im­pressed by the teak decks in the cock­pit and swim plat­form (side decks are op­tional). This wasn’t the usual thin-as-ve­neer teak, but sub­stan­tially thick teak that can be sanded for years to come. Speak­ing of the cock­pit, each aft cor­ner has a ded­i­cated line-han­dling area with sturdy cleats, beau­ti­fully crafted stain­less steel fair­leads and, best of all, a locker un­der­neath for stow­ing the tail of dock lines out of sight. It even has a drain!

The VIP state­room also has a queen-sized is­land berth with stowage un­der­neath and, like the mas­ter cabin, I was im­pressed by the hang­ing lock­ers. This is where some builders cut cor­ners, adding shelves or plac­ing the coat hanger bars low. The Ga­leon 485 has ful­l­length hang­ing lock­ers, so pants and dresses won’t end up crum­pled on the bot­tom. Yes, a small touch, but a thought­ful one.

The VIP has a door to the day­head, again nicely fin­ished, and uses a

shower cur­tain with floor drain. The day­head also opens to the fam­ily area with a sec­ond door.

An­other im­pres­sion of the 485 is sky­lights here, there, and ev­ery­where. In ad­di­tion to the open­ing sun­roof in the salon, there are over­sized tinted sky­lights that can be closed off with slid­ing shades.

Aft, our test boat had the op­tional 4-foot hy­draulic swim plat­form, which can eas­ily carry a ten­der, although the 485 has a ten­der garage that is prob­a­bly best suited for fend­ers rather than ten­ders. The hy­draulic plat­form is rated for 660 pounds: think Yamaha V1 or SeaDoo Spark. The low­er­ing swim plat­form has an­other nice touch: stairs rise au­to­mat­i­cally from the teak plat­form to make re­board­ing easy.

For­ward, a sun­pad on the fore­deck has a buggy-style flip-up sun­shade for at-an­chor use. Other niceties in­clude the hid­den rode locker with a re­versible an­chor wind­lass to raise or lower the hook.

Power is a pair of Volvo Penta IPS 600 pods of 435-horse­power each, which in­clude the joy­stick con­trols and elec­tronic ves­sel con­trol sys­tem. A hatch in the cock­pit floor opens to the en­gine room, which is sur­pris­ingly spa­cious thanks to the com­pact pod drive pack­ages, and there’s room for a Fis­cher Panda 8 kW genset. We topped out at a bit over 32 knots and 44 gph at wide-open throt­tle, but drop­ping back to a comfy on-plane cruise speed of 17 knots will use just 21 gph.

It’s hard to find fault in the Ga­leon 485 HTS; you can tell I liked her a lot. She punches way above her weight class when it comes to fit and fin­ish, she has head-turn­ing styling, and she’s just as com­fort­able host­ing two cou­ples or a fam­ily for lazy week­ends. Don’t miss out on this one.

From the mir­ror fin­ish on the bright­work and stain­less to the stitch­ing in the leather, the 485 HTS ex­em­pli­fies Pol­ish crafts­man­ship.

LOA: 49' 2" Beam: 13' 11" Draft: 3' 11" Displ: 30,975 lb. Fuel: 317 gal. Wa­ter: 122 gal. Power: 2/435-hp Volvo Penta IPS 600s Gen­er­a­tor: Fis­cher Panda, 8-kW Price as tested: $989,000

Note the size of the glass in the sun­roof. With the amount of nat­u­ral light these bad boys let in, you’ll truly feel con­nected to na­ture.

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