The new Ice 70 RS is one of the most eagerly awaited sailing yachts on the market and, for a proper test, being a journalist is not enough. To properly judge a yacht of this magnitude you must necessarily have been an owner. An owner who, while intensely loving the beauty and comfort of his boat, has the desire to sail fast even in light winds, has the occasional desire to take part in some club regattas or, more simply, wants to enjoy a boat capable of taking him to the next level of performance, the one where he almost always sails at double-digit speeds.
A level that is normally the exclusive prerogative of super yachts but which in this case, as you will see as you read on, in the new Ice 70 RS is within reach of anyone, in the disarming simplicity with which this Blue Water Cruiser makes it possible.
Ice 70 RS Sea Trial
I had the opportunity to test this sailboat for a long time, under the careful guidance of its captain. A man of great experience, both in navigation and construction. This is an essential skill when approaching the construction of an Ice Yachts which, as is well known, is essentially built in custom mode. I am not therefore surprised to find on board a ‘setting’ of rigs designed to simplify the handling of this boat, which, if desired, can also be skippered by its captain alone.
Both wheels are equipped with a set of push buttons that enable almost everything to be done. From here I can tack and trim the jib and mainsail, as well as ‘adjust’ the gennaker, backstay and kicking strap. Having familiarized myself with the controls, I put my hands on the wheel and, in spite of the lack of wind and the rough sea at the end of the first day of trials, Bandido immediately sets off upwind, accelerates quickly and reaches wind speed in no time at all. There will be 5/6 knots of true wind and a good metre of wave, conditions that would normally make us suffer but she, leaning slightly to one side, sails as if nothing had happened. At 40 degrees from apparent, the boat accelerates noticeably and exceeds the wind speed by half a knot; all the prerequisites for really having fun are there. But it is its ability to cut through the waves without slowing down that surprises me, as well as its natural tendency not to roll, even when motoring.
Then the wind picks up and stabilizes at 10/12 knots, I bear away to let her pick up speed and Bandido takes off like a rocket. Don’t get me wrong, the boat doesn’t start off like a racing boat that, nervous, swerves and accelerates. It reacts more progressively, without exasperation, in perfect overall balance. In no time at all, however, we are already at over 13 knots which, considering the wind speed and the size of the jib, is a lot…
I sail close to the wind and the inclination increases, at 30 degrees we reach 10.4 knots with less than 10 of true wind. The feeling is that of being able to go anywhere in these conditions, the Ice 70 RS glides over the water and slices through the waves without slowing down, she sails with impressive stability and constancy.
I decide to sail even closer the wind, it is very simple, I press the button that moves the traveller upwind, I give a squeeze to the jib and… and Bandido doesn’t stop, at 20 degrees from the apparent we are still travelling at 8.6 knots. The boat is heeling but doesn’t show any signs of becoming nervous, the rudder remains neutral and I am once again impressed by its performance.
The retractable keel (by Cariboni) takes the draft from 2.8 to an impressive 4.5 metres and, both upwind and in terms of stability, it really makes a difference, especially when combined with a deep rudder like this.
We bear away and close the jib, open the Code 0 and it’s like putting on the turbo. Bandido accelerates and shifts into two more gears. We fly consistently well above 14 knots, touching 15 on more than one occasion. The speed is high but what continues to impress me is the stability and calmness with which we move aboard in these conditions.
This new Ice 70 RS goes like a racer but is as controllable as a Grand Tourer, an overall balance that I have rarely experienced.
The new Ice 70 RS in detail
Assuming that each Ice Yacht is different from the others due to custom construction, Bandido was entirely built on the basis of the requests of its owner who, as you may have guessed from the acronym, wanted an increased sail plan. Made of composite by means of the infusion technique, the new Ice 70 RS makes extensive use of carbon fibre for the hull, deck and structures, thus guaranteeing great sturdiness and considerable safety coefficients. The insulation and soundproofing are superlative; going below deck while sailing, the sensation of peace and silence is utmost, you can barely hear the lapping of the waves. Also remarkable is the construction of the fully retractable dodger and bimini, specific requests from the owner. The cockpit benches are oversized and, taking advantage of the sloping rised saloon, offer two chaise longues that to call them comfortable would be an understatement.
The sail plan/deck is simply perfect: self-tacking foremast, low overlap jib and structural bowsprit on which to rig the Code 0 or a large gennaker. This equipment, combined with the mainsail furling in the boom, gives this boat the ability to sail in all weather conditions effortlessly and risk-free. Concealed beneath the deck, furlers and mooring winches make it all very easy without compromising on the superlative design of this maxi yacht, which, again, is truly unrivalled in terms of sheer beauty.
While the performance had won us over, it is on descending into the interior that we get the real surprise. The quality of the workmanship is visible everywhere, the finest woods as well as the leathers used, and the rich equipment and accessories. Further proof of unquestionable quality supremacy. The owner of Bandido here demonstrates superfine taste and great experience in yachts.
On the one hand, the colour combinations that, while remaining modern, preserve a taste for seafaring art that is clearly visible here and, something I fully share, still gives the certainty of being on a boat and not in the minimalist room of a five-star hotel. On the other hand, the interior layout which, unlike those seen on the previous ICE 70, sees the galley arranged in a dinette and a huge full-beam living room that takes your breath away at first glance.
The galley is arranged in an L-shape and is the envy of a villa. It is the focal point of life on board and is inserted, brilliantly and lightly, into the overall design of the dinette. Ingenious is the use of the retractable centreboard bulkhead that is used here to “isolate without concealing” the galley, which even facilitates the insertion of a wonderful L-shaped sofa.
But it is the owner’s suite that really shocks us. The central corridor gives access to the master cabin, which is located forward. The bed is French style, set against the starboard side while to the left is a small private office which, equipped with a swivel chair, dedicated bookcases and a display that replicates the on-board plotters, creates an environment that is as beautiful as it is useful. The head is arranged per beam and is therefore oversized and equipped with a separate shower with a ‘Finnish sauna’ type seat.
But what is really astonishing is the quality of the workmanship, something that is very difficult to explain in words, something that is as satisfying to the eye as it is to the touch. Sensations that are unfortunately very difficult to experience nowadays on modern boats but which, fortunately, this great shipyard has in no way forgotten.
from 2.80m to 4.50 m
Yanmar 4LV 230 hp
KMH 50A-3 V drive
3 cabins – 3 heads