The Polish builder premieres a solid boat with a few neat tricks up its sleeve.
I never know what I’ll find at the end of the dock on test day, but I like boats with happy surprises. Boats that reveal the unexpected — convertible seating options, good use of space and details that hint at custom craftsmanship — make my day. The Galeon 420 Fly, with unique details and a comprehensive list of included equipment, is such a boat and did, indeed, bring a bit of joy to my day.
I stepped aboard via the (optional) teak-topped hydraulic swim platform and got my first surprise. The transom seat is mobile. It can slide aft about a foot over the swim platform, to open up the cockpit for easier entertaining, or forward, to get under the protection of the flybridge hardtop. When it’s forward, there’s adequate room on the platform to carry a dinghy or a PWC.
The door between the cockpit and salon is interesting. The aluminum-and-glass barrier has three panels. The portside section hinges open like a normal door, and the other two panels slide to port and accordion out. With all three panels open, the aft end of the boat has only a threshold between the outdoors and the indoors.
Additionally, the aft-most section of the salon settee, which is normally up against the door, has a backrest that flips. Guests can sit facing forward, but flip the backrest forward and folks sit facing aft, effectively making the bench a part of the cockpit seating. But there’s more. Lift the bench and swivel it outboard and it forms a long seat that joins with the transom settee. This fun little feature is clever, makes the boat versatile and absolutely will impress dock neighbors.
In the port corner of the cockpit is a curved, molded staircase to the flybridge. The steps are a bit tight, and coming down requires a free hand to negotiate them safely. Up top is a composite arch with a stainless steel radar mast that folds down. An L-shaped settee wraps around a small table and the chef will have everything at hand thanks to an optional galley module that includes a wet bar, a refrigerator and an electric grill.
The starboard-situated helm has a double seat, and a double companion bench is adjacent. A small pad is forward, just behind the wind deflector, and a few pillows will make it either an oversized seat for adults or a sunpad for kids.
Visibility and communication with anyone on the foredeck is good, though I noticed the railing on the bow pulpit was quite low and the pulpit leans forward at a dramatic angle. That’s good and bad. The angle elongates the boat’s profile, but leaning out at this awkward angle to reach down and catch a mooring wand won’t be easy. I tried it and it wasn’t comfortable.
Main Deck Level
Back in the cockpit — past the nifty entry door and unexpected convertible seating — the salon is on the same level. One interior finishing option, which our test boat had, is matte black walnut wood with tan and mocha upholstery, which is used to nice effect. To port is a small double settee that faces the U-shaped lounge across from it. The AC/DC system panel fills the port aft corner. It’s a compact salon but performs its function well.
Stacked side windows and plenty of LED lighting give the interior a glow. Beautiful wood accents and intricate inlays such as the one on the coffee table are a nice touch. Unexpected details like these add elegance and a hint of old-world craftsmanship seldom seen on production boats.
The galley and helm station are one step up from the salon. Just as on the flybridge, the lower helm is to starboard, so there will be no switching sides to improve visibility when coming port-to at the dock. The inside helm is set up in three levels with rocker switches low and to the left of the wheel, the autopilot and the 7-inch Volvo vessel control display in the middle, and a 12-inch Raymarine MFD up top just below eye level. If laid out more efficiently, the top part of the dash could accommodate twin displays — not strictly necessary but two screens of information are handier. The engine controls are outboard to the right, as is the trim tab panel that’s just below the driver’s window, which opens with the assistance of an electric Mercedes Benz motor. Cupholders and USB ports to charge personal electronics are standard here.
The helm seat is an ample double bench with flip-up bolsters on both sides, so the driver can stand while the companion sits. The view forward is through an enormous and beautiful single-pane windshield of tinted tempered glass.
The galley is only one step to port and on the same level as the helm. It’s compact and has limited countertop and stowage space, but every tool is there for the chef to turn out serious meals. A glass two-burner cooktop is positioned at the center above a microwave oven. Twin sinks are to the left, and outboard at counter height is a small locker fronted by a sliding frosted plexiglass door. A Waeco refrigerator is below the Corian counter and next to a column of four drawers that have a pseudo soft-close feature but need to be pushed to lock at the end.
Galeon Yachts is a highly vertically integrated company that manufactures many necessary component parts in-house, including stainless steel hinges, custom furniture and some fixtures. This way, the builder not only controls quality but its supply chain is shorter and the pricing is probably better.
Lower Level Accommodations
Curved stairs lead down from the galley to the accommodations level where there are three cabins and two heads. The master is in the forepeak, its large bed surrounded by shelves that are fixed to the hull. Stowage options are ample in cabinets all around the perimeter, drawers under the berth and a hanging locker to starboard. The portside en suite head includes a large vessel sink and a shower stall. The bright cabin benefits from elongated hull windows with inset opening ports, an overhead hatch and an impressive skylight.
Two double cabins, one fairly tight, and a day head share the rest of this level. In the small foyer between the cabins there’s excellent headroom, and it’s quite bright and inviting thanks to light that pours through the windshield above.
On the Water
Pete Zaleski of MarineMax and I headed out onto San Diego Bay on a calm and sunny March afternoon. The flat water of the protected bay is a broker’s boat-testing dream, so it was up to me to create a disturbance and see how the boat handles in the chop. The hull has a V shape at the bow and 16 degrees of deadrise at the transom. It carries the beam well forward to create interior volume for the forward stateroom and gets broad just a few feet back from the stem.
Despite my best efforts, the boat stayed steady and sliced nicely through turns. Only once did we come down hard off our own wake, but the 33,000-pound, hand-laid hull, which is solid below the waterline, just shook it off.
I found two things difficult. First, the SeaStar hydraulic steering required nine turns of the wheel to get from lock to lock. The boat turned sharply but took quite a bit of steering to get there. Also, as we did these aggressive maneuvers, the horizon disappeared and only water was visible through the side windows, requiring a bit of ducking and weaving to check for traffic. The thick side mullions that support the lovely windshield didn’t help.
For the U.S. market, standard propulsion is twin Volvo Penta D6 435 hp diesels and straight shafts. The engines are accessed via a cockpit hatch. It was a tight squeeze as I crawled forward and I wouldn’t want to take on any serious engine work, though the service points are handy enough.
I found the 420 Fly to be spry as we came up on plane at 15 knots in just nine seconds. The engines delivered a comfortable cruising speed around 20 knots at 2800 rpm, and we topped out at 28 knots at 3150 rpm. With such numbers, Catalina Island is just over four hours away even from San Diego. With 291 gallons of fuel, the boat can make that trip and have plenty of fuel to spare.
Options & Packages
Unlike many brands that parse out their equipment at eye-crossing prices, Galeon’s list of standard features is fairly comprehensive, including a Fischer Panda 12 kw genset, air conditioning, a Quick vertical windlass, foam mattresses, a bow searchlight and a nice choice of interior fabrics.
Options come in two packages. The Comfort Pack includes electronics, a bow thruster, Glendinning’s Cablemaster for the shore-power cord, flybridge canvas, a 32-inch popup TV in the salon and a few other items. The Luxury Pack adds the foredeck sunpad, a drawer refrigerator on the flybridge, a 24-inch TV in the owner’s stateroom and striped wood flooring in the salon. If buyers want to dazzle guests with a high-gloss interior finish, that will be extra but the standard matte look adds subtlety and would be my choice.
What speaks to the American market about Galeon yachts is their solid construction, upscale handcrafted wood details and clever use of space. With its comprehensive standard equipment list and contemporary styling, the 420 Fly is a bundle of nice surprises just waiting at the dock.