Function and form come together with this eye-catching Italian walk-around. We share our findings on the new TT420 from the Invictus yard …
The distinctive trademark contemporary lines of this new 42-footer are hard to mistake. Incorporating many of the stylistic features of its bigger sister, the award-winning TT460, you do not need to look twice to know it is Italian. This company originally established itself with two ranges of stylish outboard and sterndrive craft, from 28 to 37ft, before embarking on the concept of the big walk-around boat. The TT420 is the second largest in this yard’s open walk-around range, which goes down to the 28ft. Designed by Christian Grande, the TT420 is characterised by its windscreen, which, blending seamlessly into the carbon-fibre hardtop, creates a distinctive streamlined profile. Engine options are either twin 320hp Volvo D4s or twin 400 and 440hp Volvo D6s, both on DPI sterndrives.
This boat is typically Italian and, as such, does a very good job of combining function with form.
In keeping with the ethos of the TT range, the design focus is on deck. Stepping aboard is achieved via the full-beam bathing platform. On closer inspection, you can see that the central section of this platform can be hydraulically lowered to accommodate lifting a tender on board. There is a garage big enough for a 2.1m tender under the sunbed, which also provides access down into the engine bay. With a 4.15m beam, the sunbed does not suffer from having side decks on both sides, which lead all the way round to the bow. The bulwarks run short of an adult’s waist and are inlaid with a contemporary flat handrail that literally runs from stem to stern – a very effective combination of practicality and aesthetics. All decking is teak, and apparently there is the option to have ‘two collapsible side terraces’ in the form of fold-out bulwark sections. This expands the cockpit area enormously, while providing two extra bathing platforms. Since this is not a ‘bolt-on extra’, Invictus must have another hull moulding to accommodate this innovative concept – one that is growing in popularity with boatbuilders. The fact that this premier test boat did not have this feature is unusual. Possibly the idea of breaking up the clean retro-like lines of the stern quarters of this first model was too much for its Italian creators.
The cockpit table in full dining mode. Perfect for entertaining.
Forward of the sunbed there is an impressive dining area that can easily seat eight. When not used as a dining spot, the long table folds into two smaller ones. Alternatively, stainless pedestals lower the tables into a base for a sunbed infill, should you need extra sunbathing. This area is served by an impressive carbon-fibre galley, which has standing/serving space between it and the triple helm. The galley units are thus forward and aft of this space, with half of them being behind the helm seating. The topside kitchen facilities comprise a fridge, plenty of storage, a large sink and a griddle in the galley top, and a three-quarter-height fridge freezer is located at the bottom of the companionway steps on the port side. Interestingly, the central carbon-fibre pillar that connects to the T-top is a one-piece moulding with the T-top and the windscreen frame and connects directly to the hull – impressive overengineering. If you look carefully at the T-top from the bow, you can see a rectangular section that, when opened upwards, creates a current of air through the cockpit – sufficiently high to direct any strong windblast over the helmsman. Invictus-embossed flat fenders are sited in their own cavities located amidships inside the bulwarks. Pop-up cleats sit near-flush on the vertical exterior of the topsides, so that teak lipping can run unbroken around the rim of the boat. Going forward, you can either circumnavigate the craft within the total security of the bulwarks or climb up onto the elevated sunbed, complete with six drinks holders. Alternatively, there is an innovative fold-out forepeak sunlounger if you lift up the forward folding section of the sunbed.
A full standing headroom shower.
This may be a deck-focused walk-around boat, but below decks, the splendid facilities will not encourage you to sleep shore side. What will immediately strike you is the headroom available, which is not really surprising when you consider this craft has a tall topside profile. Four steps take you down into the cabin, where you have a heads compartment to starboard and a three-quarter-height fridge freezer on the port side, with cupboard storage next to it. The heads has a separate shower compartment, and in keeping with the rest of the accommodation there is plenty of headroom. As with the remainder of the boat, the oak joinery in the heads compartment is of the highest standard, and the sink looks carbon fibre. The forward section of the main cabin could be configured in the traditional seating set-up, with a small table in the middle; however, if you need to use this area for sleeping, the two sofas can be closed together in a scissor-like manner to create a double bed. There is plenty of natural light from the long window line that runs the entire length of the cabin, and a TV is mounted on the bulkhead enclosing the heads. The mid cabin really benefits from the abundance of headroom, with around 6in more than you would normally expect from this type and size of boat. It has two good-sized single berths and also enjoys plenty of natural light, while there are storage lockers either side of the beds.
Helm ergonomics are good
Driving the TT420
With designer Christian Grande being a man whose career grew out of a passion for sports boats, the TT420 has a strong driving dimension. Once settled in behind the helm, you can’t fail to be impressed by the attention to detail, which has created a great driving set-up. Importantly, your view over the bow is excellent when standing and near perfect when sitting. When you stand, the flip-up bolster has a cut-out to keep your rear end comfortably in position, while an angled teak-covered footboard takes care of your legs. Your right hand naturally falls onto the throttles, while there is a drinks holder in the back of the armrest so you can easily reach back for a drink. The joystick sits left of the wheel, with the primary switches and VHF facing the central of the two navigator’s seats. The dash, in keeping with the windscreen frame and hardtop, is carbon, providing a perfect black anti-glare dash for the twin 16in Garmin MFDs.
The carbon-fibre roof pillar connects directly to the hull
With 10 crew and journalists on board, it was not hard to notice that the boat was running slightly bow up. Consequently, when I got a chance to put the Invictus through its paces, I took the liberty of switching off the automatic Volvo Penta Interceptor System, reverting to manual control. Though the Invictus skipper had initial reservations, this move paid dividends. With a good degree of ‘tab down’, the boat quickly picked up its stern, punched up onto the plane and ran with perfect attitude. As we pushed on past 25 knots, it was a case of less tab and a touch of sterndrive out. Past 30 knots, the TT420 needed little help from its interceptors, and with around 50% trim on the sterndrives, we touched over 36 knots with perfect composure. Powering into high-speed turns was a case of tucking in the sterndrive legs to around 25%, which resulted in no cavitation even at full power when driving hard out of a corner.
The helm design works well either standing or sitting.
The steering was perfectly balanced and responsive – to the point where you could easily throw the boat through a series of alternate turns single-handed with no concern. Given that this is a 42ft-long wide beamy boat, the end result is impressive. In what little seaway there was, we experienced no complaints from what is clearly a very well-laid-up vessel. Even at wide open throttle speeds, not a drop of spray made its way onto the cockpit inhabitants. With a 4.15m beam for a 12.3m boat, the TT420 is far from rakish, but Grande’s design has the forward lines beneath the chine sharpen considerably past the helm position, creating a forefoot sharp enough to deal with most head seas.
The galley is carbon fibre.
This boat is typically Italian and, as such, does a very good job of combining function with form. Its looks match its performance and handling, and the fit and finish is of the highest standard, with the smallest of details having been carefully considered. Not surprisingly, it has a bespoke nature, inasmuch as there are no fewer than 13 hull colour schemes, three teak options and eight upholstery choices. And finally, as regards the two engine options, the smaller 320hp 3.7L Volvo D4 is not really realistic when stacked up against the more relaxed and instant torque delivery of the 5.5L Volvo D6.
Once settled in behind the helm, you can’t fail to be impressed by the attention to detail …
A unique forward sunbathing spot
Plenty of security from tall bulwarks.
- LOA: 12.30m
- Beam: 4.15m
- Air draught: 4m
- Power options: Twin 320hp Volvo D4s on DPI sterndrives or twin 380–440 hp Volvo D6s on DPI sterndrives
- RCD: C for 14
- Test engines: Twin 440hp Volvo D6s on DPI sterndrives
- 36.1 knots, 30% fuel, crew 10