Handsome, Smart, Agile
I’d long wanted to get my hands on the Axopar 37 Sports Cabin for a sea trial. Having seen its debut at the Düsseldorf boat show last year, I finally got the chance at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September. I was not disappointed.
With the 37, the Finnish builder has blended an aggressive look with an inviting cabin while staying true to the company’s philosophy of efficiency and performance. By using stepped hulls and twin outboards, the 37 provides respectable speed at a reasonable price. The cockpit seems Florida-ready with plenty of space for entertaining—especially if you opt for the wet bar, fridge, grill and sink.
Forward of the helm, the main cabin has a queen berth, a head, a privacy curtain, a compact galley and a small bench seat where you can escape your guests without having to lie in the bed. The cabin does not offer standup headroom, rather, something I’d call comfortable crouch height.
The salon on the main deck makes the most of the space with an L-shape sofa and dining table. There’s an option to have an aft cabin, which I would certainly choose.
The wind was wispy as golden morning light gleamed off what should have been the calm water of the bay off Cannes. It turned out, we weren’t the only ones itching for a sea trial. Dozens of motoryachts crisscrossed the water with prospective buyers aboard, churning the water into a confused mess. The conditions were perfect for testing what Axpoar claims is a high-performance craft.
“Now this is more like it,” I said to Axopar founder Jan-Erik Viitala as we slipped our lines and made our way to open water. As I admired all the glimmery motoryachts around us, it struck me how many people were admiring the 37 in return. Her gray hull, black hardtop and low-profile design easily catch the eye.
I sat in the passenger seat recording rpm and fuel burn as Viitala worked the throttles. Viitala took no issue putting the spurs to the twin 350-horsepower Mercury Verados. The boat cut through the seas well, thanks to a knife-sharp bow, but a tissue-paper-light displacement of 8,300 pounds meant that, at times, the boat was launched airborne. I was thankful I’ve never had a cavity. The hull handled the slamming better than a filling ever could.
When it was my turn at the helm, I found the throttle exceptionally responsive. The boat easily leapt onto plane at 13 knots. There was almost no bow rise when I first powered up. I quickly discovered that, true to Viitala’s claim, the 37 is indeed a performance boat. But I’m not just referring to the 45-knot top end. A lot of boats can go 45 knots with 700 horsepower on the back. I’m talking about its ability to make sharp turns with confidence (no hull slipping here), the ability to track like an arrow and do it all with modest fuel burn. Axopar built the brand around a deep-V (20-degree deadrise at the transom) stepped hull. The hull and the boat’s center of gravity are such that “you can’t get spray on the windshield unless you really do something wrong,” Viitala said.
Challenge accepted. After becoming familiar with handling and responsiveness of the wheel, I realized I was no longer testing the boat but driving, simply, because it was fun and I wanted to see if Viitala’s claim held water. I worked the wheel and chased down multiple boat wakes but couldn’t conjure a speck of spray. Indeed, the boat’s ability to cut corners and turns is only inhibited by the bravery of the driver.
Have a closer look at the Axopar 37 SC in the gallery below:
Axopar has been building boats for four years now, and in that time has gained a growing following in Europe. The company is looking to make a bigger splash in the U.S. market in the months ahead with a large presence around the Florida show circuit.
Fully equipped, the 37 Sports Cabin retails for $250,000.
For more information: axopar.fi
Excerpted from our sister publication Power & Motoryacht.