Vive la différence! French brand Arvor has carved out quite a nice market niche in our part of the world, thanks to a willingness to go against the grain of boating convention.
It all started with a jaunty little 20-footer landing in Sydney in 1998. No one had ever heard of the Arvor name back then, yet the French brand caught on quickly. It was just the answer for local boaties who had difficulty finding a smaller powerboat suitable for mooring.
The Arvor 20 ticked the mooring box because it had an inboard diesel, which meant minimal problems when left on the water. The boat also had an enclosed wheelhouse and self-draining cockpit, which also suited those wanting to leave a boat on a mooring and not be concerned about flooding and light-fingered visitors.
Several hundred Arvors were built and sold in Australia before the agent, Collins Marine, shifted to fully imported models. Today, Arvor is a well-established brand with an extensive range of models across the popular 20 to 30ft (6 to 9m) size slot. And Arvor has stayed true to the original concept – a simple, practical design with lockup cabin and self-draining cockpit.
Currently, buyers can choose between three model types: the Diesel range with semi-displacement hull and keel, the Sportsfish, and the Weekender. The purpose of the latter two is pretty much self-explanatory, but the Diesel range is a blend of both fishing and overnight cruiser. And, most importantly, they retain an inboard diesel as standard power, with a low-maintenance shaftdrive to the propeller.
Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with the latest addition to the Diesel line – the Arvor 810 D. This is a craft that impresses on many levels, not the least for the generous-volume hull that dwarfs other craft of the same size.
The 810 D measures 27ft (8.3m) overall, but really feels like a 30-footer. You get a lot of boat for your money as well as a craft that can handle both fishing and cruising requirements. Within the large wheelhouse is a live-aboard accommodation package that’s ideal for weekend cruising. Especially for a boating couple, it’s just the right size.
A generous beam of 2.93m is one of the reasons why the Arvor 810 D can pack so much into the length. With typical French ingenuity, Arvor has offset the cabin slightly so you get an extra-large walkaround deck on the starboard side. A starboard walkway makes sense for docking, as the helm is to starboard.
The innovation doesn’t stop there. Take the vertical front windscreen, for instance. It looks odd at first … until you get behind the helm and see the benefits. On the hot heatwave day of our Sydney Harbour test session, the cabin felt cool because the windows weren’t getting any direct sunglare. Vision was great through the vertical windows, and the whole cabin felt roomy and spacious. With opening side windows and an overhead sunroof, air can readily circulate throughout the cabin.
The unusual lines of the 810 D soon start to grow on you. The boat takes its styling cue from modern commercial craft and the result is a big, powerful hull that runs beautifully in rough water.
The roomy wheelhouse provides comfortable Commander-style seats for the skipper and companion, and there’s a slide-in seat for a third person. That’s just another example of the highly practical approach to the design of Arvor boats.
The kids will love the roomy fibreglass transom landing deck with folding swimladder and cockpit door. And your deckie will appreciate having a proper fender rack at the stern for those bulky plastic bumpers.
AT THE HELM
The cockpit is huge for a boat of this size and has flip-up lounge seats either side rather than the conventional rear lounge that gets in the way of fishing. Indeed, fishos will love everything about the Arvor, including its large aerated livebait tank, cutting board and lockers.
Another feature to keep anglers happy is an optional second helm station in the cockpit, useful when backing down on a fish or when trolling. That said, most times it’s easy enough to drive the Arvor from the inside helm station, especially as it comes with an electric bowthruster – one of many labour-saving devices provided as standard fitment. You also get electric trim tabs and an electric anchor windlass, along with a pressure freshwater system, a raw-water washdown, LED cockpit lighting for night fishing, twin windscreen wipers, and a 240V shore-power connection.
Old salts will give an approving nod to the motor being fully concealed below the cockpit floor. They’ll also love the big hatch for easy service access and the fire-extinguisher system fitted for added safety.
Power comes from a 220hp Mercury turbodiesel, which delivered top-end speeds of 25 knots (46.3km/h) during our test. This is more than fast enough for regular offshore runs. Most of the time, you’ll cruise along at around 19 to 20 knots (35 to 37km/h) using a very economical 30lt/h of diesel.
The 810 D’s build quality is impressive and confirms why the brand continues to sell well in Australia and New Zealand. Indeed, our test boat was sold while we were out on the test and more are on order, with several buyers hovering.
Arvor offers a very impressive product. It’s got an international flavour, too, with the engine and Mercury’s SmartCraft engine management system from the US. Arvor is based in Belgium, the design work comes from France and this particular boat was built in Poland!
In Australia, Arvor is handled by an independent distributor, Arvor Australia, which, under the leadership of Peter Collins, has done a brilliant job establishing the brand. There is a dealer network around Australia and New Zealand with excellent parts and service support.
Prospective buyers can chose from a range of hull colour options plus sun covers and awnings. There isn’t a specified electronics package because fishing enthusiasts tend to have fixed ideas on electronics brands. However, if you have no particular preference on a GPS sounder/ chartplotter, they will fit a top-class Simrad package.
In summary, the Arvor 810 D delivers a practical solution for the mooring-minded boatie who wants minimal maintenance. The size of the craft also makes it suitable for dry-storage, which is a handy alternative, especially if you plan laying the boat up over winter.
The hull features a vinyl-ester barrier lamination to protect against osmosis when moored, and has a further two coats of epoxy applied before the hull is antifouled. It’s no wonder Arvor boats are rated so highly on the secondhand market.
ARVOR 810 D
Overall length: 8.3m
Power as tested: Mercury 220hp 4-in-line turbodiesel
Rated power: 220hp
Fuel capacity: 300lt
Water capacity: 80lt
Price from: $154,500
Price as tested: $169,800
More information: Arvor Boats Australia, tel: (02) 9319 5222. Web: arvor.com.au.