The Nordic boating revolution continues, with the uber-cool Axopar 37 joining its smaller Axopar 28 sister on Aussie waters in the summer of 2016.
All the same elements are there in this slim, ultra-modern sports boat, including bright orange upholstery. In the flesh she is hard to miss, with a sleek grey hull and twin 350hp Mercury Verado outboards on the stern. She’s certainly a craft that commands respect – a bit like a Viking warrior princess, you might say.
And yes, performance is eye-blurringly fast. Fire up those monster Verados and you’re quickly cruising at 40 knots (74km/h) and topping out at 50 knots (93km/h). In a few seconds, you’ve left mere mortal sports cruisers in your wake. And best of all, the speed comes in such a smooth, controlled manner you hardly notice ‘till you glance at the speed gauge.
It goes without saying this is a rich person’s toy, yet it’s not overly indulgent in terms of the bling factor. This is a craft that clearly demonstrates all the attributes of good design and proper use of all the latest and best technology. Think iPhone 7 or the Tesla electric car and you get the picture.
Actually, the pricing of the Axopar is surprisingly competitive, which might explain why, right now, Axopar is the fastest growing boat brand in Europe. It’s taken off in the US as well and in Australia they’ve sold 16 of the smaller Axopar 28s. Importer eyachts expects the same of the new 37-footer. The company has found buyers only have to take a run in this speedster to want to purchase one.
The Axopar 37 is definitely about performance. The slim, easy-driven lines follow in the same vein of efficiency as Viking ships and it is relatively light and slippery through water.
The original Scandinavian concept was a luxury commuter craft for rich folk heading to their Baltic island summer homes. However, the brief has broadened to include superyacht tender and luxury day-cruiser for wealthy waterfront home owners.
Noticeably with the Axopar 37, there’s more deck space and passenger capacity. There are three versions – the T Top 37, the Sun-Top 37 and Cabin 37. Pictured is the Sun Top, which essentially is the cab version without the enclosed sides. The long Targa roof provides semi-protection for the helm and passenger/dinette areas. You only have to glance over the open-deck layout to see its potential in Australia for fast day-cruising and beach visits.
The Sun-Top 37 is all about maximising the outdoor lifestyle which Aussies and Kiwis enjoy throughout the summer months. The open-back stern deck makes for easy boarding, while a folding swimladder and 360-walk-around deck sets the mood for summer fun. There’s a sunbed up forward plus a galley with wet bar, fridge and electric grill down aft so the swim deck becomes the ideal party-zone on hot days.
The triple helm seats can be rotated to form a delightful dining setting. A two-piece teak table folds out to provide dining for up to seven adults. It’s shaded from the sun and you can fold the overhead sunroof on the less hot days such as we encountered on a delightful spring day.
If you get the urge to stay overnight there’s also a very comfortable double-berth cabin up forward, with its own separate galley unit and toilet. A great feature is the way the front sunbed lifts up to reveal a view of the night sky from the bed below. Maybe those Nordic folk are more romantic than we imagined …
Arriving for the test, I felt like an A-Lister stepping aboard, because Axopar has that indefinable look of luxury and class. The modern, wide-plank teak deck, vibrant orange upholstery and black highlights are modern apartment decor touches transplanted afloat.
The Axopar has an almost militaristic look with the black Verado motors out back. The war-games impression continues into the deep black-ops cockpit with the centre helm position flanked by two ‘crew’ seats. Meanwhile, the bucket seats have flip-up bases and stainless steel foot bars for getting down to the business of serious boat driving. You could almost describe it as an offshore race boat in terms of its style and presence.
A bank of sophisticated instrumentation faces the helmsman, including a Garmin GPS navigation plotter, sophisticated electric trim system and adjustable wheel tilt. A bow-thruster also provides a handy option for berthing in tight docking situations.
Gliding up Pittwater towards Broken Bay, the Axopar 37 moved effortlessly to high speed without any hint of struggle to get onto the plane. The smooth, steady acceleration offers pure driving pleasure for the skipper and a nice, relaxed ride for passengers.
Cutting through mean-size wash was no drama and the Axopar 37 banked through a 40-knot (74km/h) turn like a patrol boat. And all the time we were comfortably protected from wind and spray by the tinted glass windscreen.
That ‘axe’ bow is all about speed efficiency and reducing water and wind drag. So are the boxy, flat sides. It all adds to an exceptionally low centre of gravity. Think rigid inflatable in regards to stability, but without the issues you get with tubes. A wide rubber gunwale fender ensures the hull is well protected alongside docks and that open transom deck is superb for recreational diving. A large wet-locker hereabouts can account for a lot of diving gear.
The Axopar 37 is pure, cool Nordic logic from stem to stern. She incorporates a sturdy, double-skin fibreglass vee hull with 20-degree transom deadrise. Its sophistication includes two transverse steps in the bottom to reduce hydrodynamic drag at speed, which translates to better fuel economy. For example, we used just 84lt/h at 30 knots (56km/h) and 4000rpm, and 105lt/h at 36 knots (67km/h) and 4500rpm.
An enclosed 37 Cabin version was also displayed at the 2016 Sydney International Boat Show. It features a very comfortable enclosed cabin that can be configured several different ways to suit personal needs. This should be a great all-year-round cruiser and particularly suited to cooler climates like Tasmania.
Another option for either the cabin or open models is a rear two-berth cabin that boosts overnight sleeping to a total of four.
Our test boat came with a few handy options such as draw fridges under the settee seats, sundeck cushions, fold-away electric anchor windlass, Fusion four-speaker sound system, mooring package and harbour bow cover.
Price of the Axopar 37 Sun Top starts at $233,300 and was approximately $381,598 as tested, with all of the above-mentioned options, plus vinyl-wrap hull and anti-fouling.
Various levels of electronics can be added to suit your boating needs, however the ‘tech item’ I loved is the cut-out slot on the dash for an Apple iPad. Only Nordic logic would produce such a
Fuel capacity: 770lt
Day passenger capacity: 10 persons
Power: Two 350hp Mercury Verados
Price from: $233,300
Price as tested: $381,598
More information: eyachts, tel (02) 9979 6612. Web: eyachts.com.au.