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Tue 26 Aug 2008 04:00 AM

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Atlantis 50 discovered

You could lose yourself aboard this spacious cruiser while discovering the Gulf's emerging cities.

You could lose yourself aboard this spacious cruiser while discovering the Gulf's emerging cities.

There is a defective gene within us all that demands instant gratification. It takes discipline to savour things that take more than a second to appreciate.

This is why we are drawn to fast food, tequila and Pamela Anderson, or David Beckham depending on your gender - maybe! You know spending time with any of the aforementioned will provide a quick fix, but ultimately none are wholesome candidates for a long term relationship.

The main emphasis during the design process was obvioulsy to maximise space – it really works.

Boats have a similar effect and the rule generally goes; the more impractical the boat is - the more you'll covet it.

So, in a perverse way, boarding ART Marine's Atlantis 50 and not being struck with the, ‘Oh my god I have to sell an organ or get a better paid job' fever, was comforting.

Floating dockside, the arcing lines of the Atlantis 50 that continue through its rails, portlights, glasswork and distinctive ‘glass bubble' superstructure, ensure it is a truly beautiful craft; but on stepping into the open cockpit I wasn't quite prepared for the layout that met me.

Being brought up on a diet of British built craft, where every possible inch of space is utilised as a bench that converts into a table, which then transforms into an ironing board, springboard and diving platform; I was quite taken aback by the hedonistic indulgence in lounge space available in the cockpit of the Atlantis 50.

Becoming acclimatised to the vast stretches of sunpads and inviting benches, I slowly began to take in the features that are de rigueur on modern sports cruisers.

To starboard was the hotplate, fridge, wash basin and freezer unit - all within easy reach of one of the most solid folding dining tables available on a motor yacht.

The CD/Tuner head unit is conveniently placed away from the helm, allowing guests to wrestle back a modicum of autonomy. An electric passerelle is cleverly concealed beneath the transom wide aft sunpad and the customised gangway that lifts the tender is also concealed when not in use.

Designed with summer Mediterranean cruising in mind, conditions not too dissimilar from those we experience for the majority of the year in the GCC, the Italian stable that delivers household brands like Azimut and Benetti, have designed a craft upon which to pleasure yourself and your friends.If you entertain guests, they'll not trip over each other in the cavernous cockpit: if they in turn enjoy sunbathing, lounging, chatting and listening to music - all the things you should do on a boat - there is copious space in which to do so.

From the oversized bathing platform, to the flared guardrails and the king size sunpad at the bow, and the generously proportioned engine room; the emphasis during the design process was obvioulsy to maximise useable space - and it works.

Sliding back the heavy glass door that provides access and light below, I stepped down into the welcome air conditioned environment of the salon.

The ‘open plan' theme continues here, with bench seating and an equally solid foldaway table to starboard, a well appointed galley to port and access to the day head that doubles as an en-suite for the master cabin. Light oatmeal fabrics, a darkwood sole and the understated use of chrome completes the contemporary interior.

Light wood cabinet doors that contrast with the sole are heavily hinged, ensuring no rattles whilst underway and conceal appliances that are practical enough to allow self-catered cruises of extended duration.

In addition to the two ring hob, microwave and separate stainless steel Frigoboat fridge and freezer units, the Atlantis 50 also neatly sports secure stowage for crockery and glasswear in cupboards with specially designed receptacles.

As is traditional in craft of this class, the guest accomodation is aft, with the bow reserved for the VIP cabin. With a twin cabin to starboard, the larger master cabin sits to port and is afforded fantastic headroom by the designers opting to replace the usual bench above with a huge sunpad.

Atlantis Hotel Resort

The Atlantis Hotel, has already become another landmark in Dubai for residents and boaters alike. With a commanding position on the Palm Jumeirah's breakwater, the resort boasts 1,539 guest rooms, 16 restaurants, a waterpark and conferencing facilities.

Given the resort's name, it obviously follows an aquatic theme and its aquarium that is fast becoming the talk of the town. Home to 65,000 marine animals, the Ambassador Lagoon is one of the largest of its type in the world and if you want a really unique view of it, then book one of the two Ambassador suites.

Aquaventure, the resort's waterpark also boasts some unique experiences with one ride passing through a tube in a shark tank!

www.atlantisthepalm.com

The benefits of the cockpit layout began making sense: not only did the sunpad provide more area for sun bathing when the electric sunroof is retracted, but it provides valuable space below.

Access is provided to the day head from the master cabin, and simply locking the door from the salon provides a more private en-suite.

The full size cylindrical shower unit, designer glass handbasin and plenty of surface area for potions, lotions and make-up ensure the room is a very comfortable area in which to freshen up, while the teak floot, portlights and oversized mirrors endow the room with a light airy feel.

Light floods onto the raised double bed in the VIP cabin that benefits from the same contemporary interior design and colour scheme as the rest of the craft.

Storage is provided in draws beneath the bed, in the wardrobe and an assortment of eye-level cabinets, while a control panel for the air-conditioning unit and LCD ensures occupants are comfortably entertained. The VIP ensuite matches that of the master cabin though with possibly a modicum more space.

Heading back upstairs as the engines rumbled into life, we cast off and headed out of Dubai Marina. Gathering in the fenders, and dropping them in the large lockers that could double for stowage for a deflated tender in the transom, one couldn't help noticing the level of grip afforded by the diamond-cut nonslip on the companion ways.

Where some manufacturers merely pay lip service to this important safety consideration, the Atlantis provides real confidence and traction while moving around.

Verdict

In the well provisioned sports-cruiser class, many of the offerings follow the same formula and it is difficult to differentiate between models except on the quality of the build and fittings.

With its indulgent use of space and provision of vast sunpads however, the Atlantis 50 has managed to carve itself a small niche.

Given the combination of a penchant for day cruising and onboard entertaining here in the Gulf, and the Mediteranean style climate for which the Atlantis was designed, this 50 footer will no doubt be a popular choice.

Here in the sweltering Gulf summer, when it is neccessary to be ensconced in the protective ‘glass bubble' of the Atlantis cockpit taking advantage of the shade and air conditioning, the provision of light, space and a panoramic view ensures nothing is detracted from your cruising experience. Definitely a craft for those with lots of friends!

The refreshing spray that whipped through the open cockpit windows as we headed out into the breeze, incoming tide and open water, was most welcome in Dubai's summer heat; but it does suggest the Atlantis provides something of a sportsboat ride at slower speeds.

Dropping the hammers we eased onto the plane and were soon reaching a comfortable 18 knot cruising speed as the twin 715hp Volvo diesels settled into an easy gallop at 1,800 rpm.

Once onto the plane the windscreen wipers could be turned off and the electric windows and sunroof opened to allow just a breeze through the cockpit.

As the small photoboat chased raggedly through the evening chop, I settled in beside the helm and headed around to the new Atlantis Resort Hotel on The Palm Jumeirah.

With an unfussy double bench, and teak step for an elevated driving position that allows the skipper to enjoy the ‘wind in the hair' benefits of the retracted sunroof - the pilot station of the Atlantis 50 is impressively sporty, but not overblown.

The dark brown GRP minimises glare and the tiered instrumentation and gauges sit behind the custom steering wheel, providing easy access to essential information. At speed the Atlantis 50 feels surefooted and solid, demonstrating good behaviour in a straight line and when turning in slight chop.

After a demanding photoshoot in draining humidity, we settled down to talk shop as the sun set on our run back. Lounging around in the cockpit I suddenly realised how much I'd fallen for the Atlantis 50.

It had taken a couple of hours to appreciate her charm fully, for the Atlantis is no brassy floosie - she's a classy dame with all the right attributes for an entertaining cruise.

Specifications

LOA:15.2 metres Beam:4.5 metres Draft:1.47 metres Displacement:20.7 tons Fuel capacity:1,900 litres Water capacity:500 litres Engines:Twin 800hp Volvo D12-800 Top speed:36 knots Cruising speed:31 knots Ex-Factory Price:697,000 Euros (Approx. AED 4,061,000) Built by Atlantis Yachts Italy:www.atlantisyachts.it Distributed in the Middle East, India and Pakistan by ART Marine:

Tel: +971 4338 8955 Fax: +971 4338 4470 Email: www.artmarine.net

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