Break all the rules. Have fun.
Text and running shots by Richard Muscat Azzopardi.
Rules. They are made to be broken. Most people live within a set of predefined standards and never dare to move away from them for fear of upsetting the natural balance that they feel should exist. However by never breaking any rules and sticking to what is expected, you eliminate experimentation and innovation.
The Key Largo range by Sessa is both innovative and, to a certain extent, experimentative. When you first approach it you need to look at it twice to really get the jist of what it is all about. It has the lines of a smaller power boat that has grown up, in fact, even though the version I tested had two Volvo Penta D3 inboard engines, the KL 34 is also available with two Yamaha F300 BETU outboard engines.
The Key Largo 34 is hard to fathom at a glance because it is essentially an open boat with a hard top. As you can see in the pictures, the hard top offers very little protection from the elements, but is more of a glorified sun shade. The boat I tested also comes with an extendible canopy at the back which extends to offer shade to most of the aft seating too. This is in no way a complaint - it helps keep the weight of the boat down and realistically speaking very few people ever need protection from the elements unless you plan long journeys into the unknown. The Key Largo 34 is a boat which is far more suitable for local and short distance cruising, such as escaping to Sicily or even the islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria, so anything more would have been superfluous.
The living space outside is well planned and offers ample seating. The boat comes equipped with a kitchenette that includes a fridge with a mini freezer, a double hob, an ice maker and a sink outside. If you are in the mood for enjoying the sun, you need not worry. The foredeck converts into one gigantic sun-lounge which is large enough to accommodate even four persons comfortably.
Moving into the cabin you find yourself welcomed by a great selection of fabrics complimenting the beautiful nut-wooden furniture. The full length side-windows with opening portholes make a massive difference to the amount of light available inside - so no matter where you are, you are always flooded with natural light. The saloon is very decently sized and the leather covered table can be lowered to convert into a large V-shaped double bed. Just in case you were worrying about food, Sessa has also included another large fridge and a microwave inside, so your preparation options are vast.
The head, which is on the starboard of the saloon, is big enough to stand comfortably in while having a shower and is as well-finished as the rest of the yacht’s interiors. We close off our tour of the inside of the KL 34 by taking a look at the aft cabin which, even though not very high, is gigantic and, despite being tucked under the cockpit, is still very airy thanks to the opening portholes and, if one feels like having a siesta in the chilled shade there is the option of having the boat air conditioned throughout. The optional generator can also allow you to keep cool when far away from shore power.
Once we took our time examining it on the interior it was time to move outside again to take her out for a spin. The first thing you notice is that the KL 34’s helm is one in which you immediately feel at home. The seating is comfortable and you have good visibility all around you. As is customary, you can also fold part of the seat to get a more elevated driving position when cruising on a plane.
We took her out on a day which was quite choppy. There had been a strong wind overnight and, even though it had calmed down by the time we ventured out of the marina, there was still quite a large swell out there. I was actually quite pleased about it because testing a boat on flat waters is not really representative. It is much harder to make a boat which deals with large waves well. I was immediately impressed at how smooth it is.
Before taking her out, one of my qualms with the Key Largo 34 is that it is not set up with IPS engines, however to be honest I could not find any faults with it while testing it. The engines must be expertly mounted, because it was as quiet and free of vibrations as the better IPS-equipped boats I’ve tried. It picked up speed without complaints and was on a comfortable plane at around 17 knots - perfect for cruising at longer distances. Push her slightly harder and you’re doing 30 knots, it can peak out at around 33, however as I said our conditions were far from ideal on the day. I was pleasantly surprised that it dealt with the waves wonderfully. It never slammed or took nose-dives into them and the bow never threw up any surprise showers. It acted like a proper thoroughbred steed.
And this is exactly why I feel Sessa has gone and broken so many rules with the Key Largo range and with the 34 in particular. It has built a boat which has no right to be as much fun as it is, to be as practical, to be as good looking. Even if there was to be a boat which deserved to be all this boat is, then it surely should not have the right to do so at this price point.
I have been on many boats around 34 feet long which might have had a larger saloon or a slightly higher cabin, however I think that if you’re in the market for a boat which is quick, great for a small family and will not break the bank, you could do much worse than look at the Key Largo 34. It is perfect for our climate and a great introduction into the world of motor yachts.
For more information about the Key Largo 34 and the rest of the Sessa Marine range please get in touch with:-