Boat Review Date: September 2012
Author: Mike Brown
A financial curiosity is that as builders of trailer boats withdraw into their shells, new builders of luxury craft get introduced into Australia. The latest is new only here: Dominator has been a major player in Italy for many years, and major mainly in reputation; in volume they build just 18 boats a year. 18 boats but eight models, from 62ft to 36m. It must be a European thing: beyond 88ft the models are in metres.
The review boat is the 780 (78ft or 24m), the most-built of the range. As you would expect from Italy it has all the style in the world and, unusually, a cockpit with full shade. This is provided by a hardtop that is part of the floor of an extremely large flybridge. Extremely barely covers it: it has room for a sizeable RIB tender, a dining area to accommodate several generations, sun beds, wet bar, and deck area to allow a handful of conversation groups.
The standard layout has four bedrooms and four bathrooms plus two crew cabins and a bathroom, but with Dominators anything can be changed. The usual routine is for a buyer, after ordering, to fly to Italy and talk it over with the builders. The structural components of the vessel are constant of course, but you might decide on deleting the crew cabins and having a spacious guest twin instead, and the choice of finishes is infinite – no choosing from a standard list. 1360hp MANs are the standard motors, but you can up their ratings as high as 1,800.
The 780 has a six-metre beam and the master suite gets the full use of it as well as about five metres of length. The bathroom is full beam as well because it is really a pair of bathrooms; no queuing for the shower here. Though not on the same epic scale, all the other cabins, two twins and a double, are large with plenty of storage and equipped with spacious – by marine standards – bathrooms.
The whole interior is well lit, but the master cabin and the forward double have big-area windows instead of ports. Unlike most hull windows these are integrated into the styling, and add to rather than detract from the profile.
Upstairs the day accommodation emphasizes light and space, and it certainly has the raw material for the latter with a length somewhere near 11 metres. Some of this is given over to the two-seat lower helm station, but lounging, dining and galley spaces are all generous. The galley’s preparation surface is so long that it has stools arrayed against it for casual breakfasts.
The dining table opposite comfortably seats eight and the lounge space aft a couple more. Just as significantly the open space would allow another dozen to circulate at social gatherings. Such events would naturally spill over into the cockpit through the wide glass doors. Out here is an alternate dining area and access to the large hydraulic swim platform.
A particular pleasure of this vessel’s exterior is that all of it can be used. There are no obstacles between cockpit and foredeck, and the side decks are wide enough for unhampered walking. With the foredeck reached there is more seating available and sun beds for those who like such things.
The engine room was probably laid out by an artist working in tandem with an engineer: it looks good and works well. And there is plenty happening there. Besides the V12s, room has been found for a pair of 22.5kW gensets, air conditioning plant and water maker, but everything remains accessible.
Structurally the 780 is exceptional, incorporating a significant percentage of carbon fibre into its layup. In equipment and fit out the same standard applies. There are TVs everywhere they can reasonably be fitted; the air conditioning can be set at different levels in different parts of the boat; everything that can be power operated is; whenever you feel like a cool drink a fridge or ice maker is usually within reach; automatic washing machines and dish washers handle the drudgery. What’s not to like.
Length overall 24.00m
Fuel capacity 7,500L
Fresh water 1,500L
Motors 2 x V12 MAN @ 1360hp