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Wild Water: Test driving the Hermes Speedster by Seven Seas

1 April 2022 • Written by Kevin Koenig

Named for a Greek deity, the Hermes Speedster by Seven Seas is a divine attention-grabber, says Kevin Koenig...

As usual, the 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show was littered with glitzy and architectural tours de force. There was the 76 metre Feadship Boardwalk towering above show-goers with her Airbus H130 chopper sitting like heavy fruit on her after decks. There was the Ocean Alexander 35R, with a gleaming interior by Evan K Marshall that was so impressive it won a Best of Show award.

With its soft leather interior and convertible top, the boat was inspired by the Porsche 356
All images courtesy of Shane Allen

But for my money, the most talked-about vessel at the show measured a mere 6.7 metres long and cost about $249,000. The boat in question was the Hermes Speedster by Greek builder Seven Seas, and all it took was one glimpse to understand her appeal. With a delicate camber to her foredeck and loads of tumblehome aft, the coupé is so gracefully penned as to look organic. Particularly when painted a creamy eggshell as she was, the Speedster is a sprinter’s hamstring in repose – capable and taut.

And that’s just the exterior. The interior of the display boat was done in a soft and intricately stitched red leather, and replete with automotive touches such as a minimalistic, chrome-framed rear-view mirror, shiny analogue gauges and bucket seats that call to mind classic roadsters. This is not by accident. The Hermes Speedster was in large part inspired by the Porsche 356, a precursor to today’s omnipresent 911.

Due to its extremely low centre of gravity, the Hermes is stable while cruising and when at rest

The amount of attention the boat received at the Fort Lauderdale show was, of course, not lost on Cole Adams, head of East Coast operations for Seven Seas Americas. “We were in a great spot at the show to have a lot of eyes on us,” he says. “It was a better reception than we could have imagined. We had this boat up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for the Steelpointe show last summer, but of course Fort Lauderdale is a much bigger venue. We ended up selling both of our display boats, plus a few more. The attention will help us extend our brand to the Great Lakes and the West Coast as well. Right now we are hoping to sell 10 more boats in the first six months of 2022.”

I tested the Hermes Speedster just after the boat show in the Intracoastal Waterway. (Yes, this boat is gorgeous, but no, I was not clamoring to take her outside in the four-to-five-foot seas.) Before we could even unload the trailer at the 15th Street boat ramp, she had attracted further attention, and just the kind Seven Seas wants.

Analog gauges and intricate stitching at the boat’s helm go a long way in furthering the Hermes’ automotive motif

The man was your typical Fort Lauderdale show Buyer, with a capital B. He had just popped out of an Uber by himself to meet his captain aboard a large center console. He was almost completely unassuming in board shorts and a ratty T-shirt. But the Rolex Pepsi on his wrist gave him away.

“Hey, what kind of boat is that?” he asked, eyeing the model name on the gunwale. “My wife would love that. She has Hermès everything, so why not a boat?”

Adams had to politely explain that the Hermes is named after the Greek messenger god, not the fabled Parisian accessory brand – a common misconception. But it made no matter to the would-be buyer. “Well, I like the look of her anyway,” he replied before leaning back on a heel and taking in her lines. “You got a card?”

Bucket seats at the helm offer plush comfort and are a reminder that this boat is as sporty as they come

Adams and I shortly hopped into the little boat and puttered away from the ramp and down the no-wake zone past the Bahia Mar hotel, where the show had been held. There was not a cloud in the sky on what passed for a crisp, South Florida autumn morning.

The sun dazzled overhead, its reflection blazing a golden trail ahead of us down the canal. At the helm I leaned my left elbow out over the side of the boat and stiff-armed the wheel. Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams played on the stereo: “Now here you go again/you say you want your freedom.” And the vibes, as the kids say, were immaculate.

A stainless-steel throttle on the portside gunnel is a fun stylistic choice that also offers excellent control over the boat’s engines

Once we passed the no-wake zone I opened up the throttle and the Speedster’s 170-horsepower Bombardier Rotax engine rocketed us down the canal at 43mph, a brag-worthy speed that feels much faster when you’re down so close to the water. Throttling into hard-over turns, the boat’s aft end spun out like a jet ski’s before pinning into place and darting us back in the direction whence we came. Over the blasting wind and spray I turned to Adams and shouted “She’s fun as hell to drive!”

We dropped her back down to a few miles per hour and crept back up the no-wake zone past the show with a parade of other slow-moving boats. As we passed a docked sportfisher being cleaned by a crew member, the salty gentleman singled us out and began to yell about a wake which, I assure you, we were not throwing. Some South Florida, big-boy words were exchanged. And as we left the sportfisher behind I turned to Adams and said, “That was weird. I wonder why he singled us out from everyone else?”

Adams just smiled and replied, “Because when you’re driving a boat like this, it’s all anyone ever sees.”

First published in the March 2022 issue of BOAT International US. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.


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