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Galeon 640 Fly boat review
Innovative boats are intriguing; boat dynamics seem to change slowly, so when one comes along, that blows the modest pace of design evolution out of the water, it’s worth exploring the interpretation.
The way we go boating is evolving too; boats are much more than utilitarian modes of transport. We turn to the water to escape the everyday. Saltwater and sea air is a tonic, and boating is a method of delivery that brings restorative and enriching benefits. Time on the water is a therapy for the soul.
Dining alfresco has become part of our boating way of life thanks to our climate. The galleys position of convenience is an integral part of our dynamic. Delivering on point functionality for the Southern Hemisphere owner-operator has been primarily provided by Southern hemisphere built boats, that is until Galeon beckoned us to take notice with their Australian debut in 2019.
Galeon Motor Yachts may seem to have appeared out of nowhere on the Australian scene, but they are not a new brand with something to prove. Established in 1982, Galeon Motor Yachts employ around 1200 people and produce approximately 100 boats per year.
Their long history and a team dedicated to innovation ensure they don’t play it safe and wait to see what other manufacturers are doing before implementing new technology. They build options that allow you to create your bespoke combination depending on your whim, the conditions and whose onboard. The 640 Fly is exceptionally responsive to the mood, the vibe and the ambitions of the day. If you thrive on variety and that holiday by the sea feeling with wandering tendencies, then this chameleon will change its colours to suit the environment you put it in.
Galeon builds the 640 fly and boats 50 feet and above in their state of the art facility that enables them to produce high-quality products almost entirely in house. The Galeon manufacturing facility even has a testing pool to check the hull’s balance, complete engine performance tests, calibrate equipment and perform a torrential rain simulation to check the doors and seals are working correctly.
The last few days have created nature’s test for the doors and seals. The wind has been consistently gusty. A short fetch, wind-driven swell has most boats tied up by this time of day. Setting out from Airlie Beach for Hamilton Island on the 640 Fly will be a good test of the ride and an excellent chance to see what it’s like when it is not all fluffy clouds and liquid pancakes.
It’s mid-spring, the main-deck cocoon is repelling the occasional wetting. As we approach the Whitsunday passage, we get the full effect of the 25 knots on the nose. The confused corrugations of the surface do little to warrant a change of speed the vessel remains solid maintains a rate of 22 knots with slight rise and fall. The weather-sealed doors are working, and the hull is trimmed well by the Humphree automatic tabs.
Weighing in at reasonably lean 35 tonnes lightship the Galeon 640 proved itself a worthy challenger to the churned passage. The stable ride appears to be a result of the measured approach to keeping the weight low and distributed for buoyancy. A resin-infused carbon fibre superstructure has kept the weight aloft to a minimum. Foam cored sides, and a hand-laid resin-infused bottom keeps the vertical centre of gravity low and the hull stiff. The metamorphosing Galeon 640 is not delicate; it rides better than expected and withstands the rigours with solid integrity.
The past 10-15 years have seen galleys move up and aft, rear bulkheads opening up, connecting the indoors with the outdoors. Alfresco seating has danced around the cockpit, but not too much genuinely innovative features has happened since the galley migrated.
Galeon made us acutely aware that there’s more real estate on a vessel if you know where to look for it and more ways to connect the galley to the outside too. The 640 Fly is the culmination of many Avant-garde ideas that allow the boat to have modes that suit the functional and social requirements of an owner-operator.
At rest, this Papillon de Mer can stretch its wings and deliver some tonic in a variety of configurations. The ability to arrive, expand and adapt to the environment is something worth experiencing. The wings of the Butterfly unfold and take the beam from just over 16 feet to over 24 feet, a staggering increase of usable deck space. The side windows on both sides slide forward, the bar gets raised (literally), and quickly and easily the stools are installed. It rapidly transforms the space and dynamics. It creates a whole new flow and sensation.
The balconies without safety rails feel reminiscent of the jetty in the bay during the summer holidays hanging the feet off the end, passing the time, fishing & laughing. It’s a slick transformation that is reminiscent of over the water bungalows, wrap-around decking, cross-directional wind catchers and the effortless access to the water. There is a lot to like about this feature.
Galeon has raised the bar on outdoor entertaining spaces and functionality. The multimodal approach encourages personalisation of features predominantly when you are at anchor.
Travel Mode is when major the transformative features are locked in place, the high safe bulwarks, don’t inhibit the view or the intimacy with the water. Robust frames and flush tinted glass panels provide excellent sightlines to the water through the bulwarks underway.
In Beach Mode, the 800kg capable hydraulic platform is lowerable to a height that suits the day. Slightly submerged as a swim-up beach or right down for tender retrieval, there is a small set of steps inlaid that automatically deploy for safe access to the fixed platform at all elevations. The aft utility room/crew cabin, convenient via the stern watertight door has a full bathroom, a place to change and additional refrigeration to complete the beach club sovereignty.
On main deck level with the balconies extended and the view unrestricted by the removable stanchions is an over the water dynamic unmatched in this size. There’s enough room to add folding furniture or a sun lounger or sit at a barstool.
In dining mode, there’s an incredible number of seats with dining table options for variety or large gatherings onboard. On the flybridge the aft section seats an impressive ten, the tables unfold and slide to connect as one large L-Shape dining table. An electric awning extends from the flybridge hardtop providing shelter from the sun.
Alfresco dining is possible on four sides of the main deck. Foredeck dining for six seated diners. Along the port side, two stools face into the galley, and on the starboard side, two bar stools face in, and two stools face out seating another six more casually. The aft deck seats eight diners and includes an electric shade for privacy. Inside the Saloon, formal dining for six is possible in all weather.
Entertaining mode, this is where the fluidity of the zones allow people to find the space that suits them, there are so many zones to float between on the main deck alone. Access to the foredeck is impressive on only two steps up from beside the helm. The central window retracts up into the ceiling, the full walkthrough to the foredeck is superb dynamic that opens up and connects this area. Its also very adaptable, sliding the seats and tables forward, open up an athwartships walkthrough just in front of the windscreen. It creates an ability to change sides without travelling to the bow.
Flybridge entertainment comes into its own at night, a party under the star capped sky with autonomy. Music, drinks, icemaker and a bbq. What more could you want from this elevated position.
Supply and demand,
Catering to large numbers requires infrastructure to meet the demands, Alexander Marine Australia have commissioned this boat for the local environment with upgraded air-conditioning and additional refrigeration.
The epicentre of this boat is the galley that open on four sides it is the conductor’s rostrum directing a symphony of entertainment, interaction and the flow of food. It serves well as a bar when the sun tips its hat at the end of the day it could become a favourite watering hole into the evening.
Three cabins are accessible via two separate entrances allowing all of them to enjoy the full beam. The VIP cabin forward is accessed from the stairs on the port side opposite the helm. Large hull windows create an open feel and great view on the descent. The private door reveals a spacious island berth finished with the consistently fine joinery found throughout the boat. A modern design, multimodal lighting, the dedicated vanity desk and a generous bathroom all help make extended periods onboard very comfortable. The feeling of separation in this cabin is noticeable. Distant from the Saloon and other accommodations but connected to the environment. A three-panel moon roof runs down the centreline above the bed, like the gap an observatory opens the view to the stars.
The main accommodations entrance is on the starboard side of the Saloon behind the helm. The hull window is even more impressive on this side. At the bottom of the stairs, a door opens to the day head with dual access to the full beam twin cabin forward complete with a desk/vanity.
The master is another step-down aft and spans the full-beam, a sanctuary below decks. A dedicated vanity with mirror on the centreline frees the port side for a very functional and comfortable booth for two with a view just above the waterline. You could work here, dine here or relax and gaze through the generous windows.
Boats are our teleporters from our regular life if there are ways to enhance that transformation beneficially then bring on the innovation. Galeon Motor Yachts produce it in spades, and the Galeon 640 Fly is a remarkable example of a boat punching well above the length in terms of functionality, space and onboard dynamics. The 640 achieves what 80 footers do but with a much-improved square footage efficiency.
Without a doubt, this an entertainers boat. You know the type, the ones who are the glue in the circle of friends or family. It’s a boat that brings people together and gives plenty of space to converge in different zones. It can travel far or stay close and become the destination itself, as a micro resort it follows your boating desires, it’s accommodating. It encourages interaction with the environment in a unique way.
This robust and dynamic Butterfly of the sea represents endurance, change and life—the adaptive nature leads the way with owner-operator flexibility. Easily handled by two and capable of hosting a tribe for any occasion, this is the boat when you want all your boating personalities covered on one hull.