Galeon has been building motor yachts in Gdansk since 1982 but only became a household name in the yachting world after the release of the 500 Fly designed by UK-based Tony Castro Yacht Design. This still-iconic flybridge motor yacht pioneered the brand’s ‘beach mode’ – describing the open cockpit when both balconies are lowered – and other transformer-style features.
The drop-down sides followed on other flybridge models including the 640 Fly, 400 Fly and former 460 Fly. Although they don’t appear on the 680 Fly and flagship 800 Fly, the ‘wings’ have been fitted on selected models from the builder’s other ranges, which include Skydeck (sportbridge), HTC (hard top coupe), HTS (hard top sport) and the dynamic new GTO (grand touring outboard) series.
This year, Galeon has fleshed out its flybridge series by debuting two new models with the drop-down sides, the 440 and 560 Fly, which fill in gaps between the 400, 500 and 640. Both new models had their world premieres at the Miami International Boat Show, where they were among nine Galeon models showcased with US representative MarineMax, the world’s largest yacht dealer.
In Europe, the two new Fly models were among six Galeons at September’s Cannes Yachting Festival. At late October’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the 560 Fly was among nine Galeon models including the global debut of the 450 HTC, essentially the 440 Fly without the flybridge.
Meanwhile, the first 440 Fly in Asia is due to arrive in 2024 through Asiamarine, which represents Galeon in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand while managing a network of dealers for the shipyard in a further nine markets in the region.
Asiamarine has sold over 60 Galeon yachts since taking on the dealership in 2016 and is confident the 440 Fly – which has an overall length of almost 46ft – will have a similar appeal to big sisters like the 500 Fly and 640 Fly, with another hull of the latter set to arrive in Thailand early next year.
“Galeon’s Fly models with the beach mode have all been successful in Asia and are the brand’s most popular models with clients looking for yachts of a certain size and quality,” said CEO Eric Noyel, who founded Asiamarine in 2013.
“I expect the 440 Fly to be a success because it expands on the 400 Fly and gives much more space in many areas, both inside and out, while including all the ‘transformer’ furniture Galeon is known for.”
The 440 Fly’s hull is 5ft longer than the 400 Fly’s and almost a foot wider, with a near-14ft beam. It’s apparent in the full-beam, hydraulic swim platform, which is about 5ft deep so big enough to carry a small tender or a jetski. The teak platform has a foldout swim ladder with teak treads to port, while an integrated starboard stairway to the cockpit is revealed when the platform lowers into the water.
The platform also gives access to the aft galley, where a flip-up cover panel raises on struts to reveal a grill, two sinks and counter space. Surrounded by a grabrail, the ‘summer kitchen’ is cleverly designed and located, keeping smells and smoke away from the interior. Below are wide lockers for fenders and lines.
On either side of the transom, there are just two steps to the cockpit, where you realise the boarding gates don’t swing open but instead slide behind the sofa when not in use.
Teak is also used in the cockpit and even on much of the balconies, which otherwise feature glazing covered by a non-skid surface. When folded out, the bulwarks increase the yacht’s wingspan by 7ft to 20ft 8in, presenting an extra 3ft 6in on each side.
The cockpit has a forward-facing L-shaped sofa and the starboard backrest can be moved inwards to create an outward-facing sofa or day bed, offering great sea views over the balcony. Exterior upholstery is available in tan and mocha, white and mocha, or white and silver.
The table spans 5ft 3in, but the port half can fold inwards to create more room by the flybridge stairs and the entrance to the saloon. The interior can become completely open to the cockpit when the three sliding doors are folded together and tucked to the side.
Galeon’s ‘transformer’ DNA even infuses the interior furniture. The aft end of the saloon’s C-shaped sofa has a movable backrest, so can offer an aft-facing sofa allowing communication with friends in the cockpit.
As if that wasn’t enough, the same sofa can even swivel 90 degrees to starboard and create an extended, if slightly clunky, J-shaped seating arrangement linking guests in both the cockpit and saloon, even the forward galley.
It’s a little more conventional in the bow. Two symmetrical side decks lead to a foredeck featuring a large triple sunpad with adjustable backrests, while in the forward end is a hidden, fold-up backrest that can create a small sofa.
Galeon’s Fly series is renowned for the size of its flybridges and the 440 Fly backs up this reputation. The top deck is accessed by port stairs that lead to a large outdoor galley, which is functional but could be aesthetically improved by streamlining the protruding black fridge door.
The flybridge – which can be covered by an optional foldable bimini – is fitted with a long J-shaped sofa that wraps around the aft end and along the starboard side, where the helm’s benchseat backrest can be moved forward to offer more table seating.
When fully opened, the table is a whopping 7ft 7in long – but this is a Galeon, so it’s not fixed. The aft third can fold forward to free up space, while at the forward end, the port corner panel can fold to starboard to reveal a useful grab rail and allow easier access to and from the helm.
As if there wasn’t enough space for family and friends, the forward port corner has an L-shaped sofa that faces the table and completes the expansive seating on all four sides of the flybridge.
BREEZE BOTH SIDES
If the step up from the 400 Fly to 440 Fly is readily evident in the outdoor areas, it’s equally so inside, where the saloon feels far more liveable. White or beige upholstery keeps it light, while the beige ceiling includes rectangular panels lined by recessed lighting. Cabinetry choices include dark walnut and beech, with gloss walnut and gloss eucalyptus among upgrade options.
To starboard is a C-shaped sofa, and a high-low table that can fold out to seat up to six people, and the saloon’s biggest windows, with pull-up shades among options. To port is a two-seat bench sofa backed by storage for the high-low TV, while the aft corner features a diagonal cabinet and angled protrusions due to the flybridge stairs (and is the most notable interior difference to the 450 HTC).
Forward are two steps up to a comfortable helm station with a padded two-seat sofa and customised console for multiple screens. There’s also a large side door, allowing deck access for the skipper and a through breeze for everyone inside.
There’s also fresh air to port, where the C-shaped galley benefits from an almost 4ft-wide window that can electrically open to provide ventilation and clearer views, making it a pleasure to cook and prep here. There’s storage overhead, while below the cooktop is a microwave oven, half-height Isotherm fridge and a slim but very deep, three-level pullout rack for bottles and condiments.
The aft end of the galley features lots of drawers, storage and a sink with a cover that can be lifted and placed in an insert to form a backsplash and divider from the saloon.
The 440 Fly offers three lower-deck options, ranging from two en-suite cabins to two very different three-cabin layouts, each with two bathrooms. A nice touch is that each cabin and bathroom door is fitted with a magnet to stay closed instead of a retractable latch, a safety-inspired change.
The first hull for Asia features the ‘standard’ three-cabin layout, with a full-beam master with en-suite midships, a port bunk cabin, forward VIP and day head to starboard.
Set two steps down from the lower-deck hall, the master has a curious mix of floor levels and ceiling heights, which range from 6ft 9in on the starboard side of the bed to just over 4ft of headroom to port. The spacious en-suite bathroom to starboard has a high ceiling and separate walk-in shower.
In this layout, the forward VIP has an angled double bed (or scissor berths) tucked into the starboard side, so the bed can only be accessed from the port side. As well as hull windows, there are three skylights including an opening hatch in the middle. The day head to starboard has a large hull window above the sink, plus a toilet and shower area on the other side of a clear screen.
The ‘conventional’ three-cabin layout has a more spacious version of the forward cabin, which becomes the master and has an en-suite to starboard, while the two guest cabins midships share a smaller bathroom to port. Meanwhile, the two-cabin option features the largest versions of the midships and forward cabins, each with impressive en-suite bathrooms with huge hull windows.
Galeon is guilty of anything, it’s of trying to squeeze in too much downstairs in a 41ft hull also housing an engine room with two Volvo Penta D6 inboards. However, the shipyard remains a class leader in outdoor living and the flexibility of its social zones, with the 440 Fly a welcome additional offering for ‘beach mode’ fans.
For more the latest in luxury yachting stories, click here.