The fast new Axopar 37XC Revolution delivers a different kind of thrill, reports Kate Lardy.
After easing out of Miami’s boat traffic, Axopar’s 37 Revolution (in its Cross Cabin version) is poised at the edge of Biscayne Bay’s open water: her captain is getting ready to let her rip. I plant myself in a helm chair and brace myself for the thrills sure to come from this 90km/h machine. “From here we slowly go up on a plane,” says Jan-Erik Viitala, co-founder of the Finnish boatbuilder. “It will be completely uneventful.”
Well, OK then. I relax my grip on the armrest and note that I am feeling quite comfortable. As the speed steadily climbs through the awkward stage between 15km/h and 25km/h before reaching plane, the boat stays level without loss of visibility over the bow. At the wheel is captain Scott Mulvania from Axopar’s Florida dealer Nautical Ventures. He lets go of the wheel in waters confused by the wakes of many passing boats, and the Axopar tracks straight.
“We want any skipper to feel confident behind the wheel. The boat should not do anything surprising,” Viitala says. Before long we are doing 64km/h at 4,500rpm, consuming about 90 litres per hour between both 300hp Mercury V8 Verado outboards, a speed Mulvania says is his normal cruise in the Bahamas. It is quiet enough inside the enclosed deckhouse to hold a normal conversation.
A sudden hard turn to port at around 55km/h causes the passengers, who until then were as subdued as the ride, to erupt into excited chatter: “That was incredible... really remarkable... I’ve never seen a boat turn like that.” It grips the water like a racing car hugs a track.
Mulvania throttles up and we reach 85km/h going into the wind with 11 people on board. He takes his hands off the wheel at full speed and again, nothing happens – the boat is in complete control. When he decelerates quickly into neutral, no water comes over the transom. In fact, not a drop hits the windshield. The ride was, as promised, completely uneventful – if uneventful means smooth, solid and dry.
This impressive driveability is part of the reason Axopar has become the Nordic region’s top motorboat producer in the six short years since it went into business. “The hull shape resembles a RIB, with a very low centre of gravity and good centre of mass; it’s never stern heavy or bow heavy,” Viitala says.
It’s also brand new. When Axopar sought to redesign its 11-metre, it didn’t mess around. Using customer feedback from clients in 70 countries, it overhauled absolutely everything, “not only in terms of visual appearance but also in terms of stiffness, how we produce the boats, how we finish all the mouldings, hydrodynamics, fuel efficiency, handling and driveability – it all went into the product,” Viitala says. “Ninety-eight per cent of all the components are new. That’s why we call it the Revolution.”
Although it’s the same size as its predecessor, the new generation feels bigger. “We have cut two centimetres here, three centimetres there, and when all these small changes add up it becomes a new boat,” Viitala explains. They managed to gain 30 per cent more space in the forward interior cabin just by repositioning things, and the enclosed cockpit is about 10 per cent bigger.
Another reason for Axopar’s swiftly growing popularity is its modularity. While the 37 comes in three versions, ranging from fully open to fully enclosed, all are based on an identical platform transformed by simple modular changes. Customers can also pick and choose among many add-on modules such as a wet bar on the aft deck, which alternatively can be fitted with another cabin aft or a toy storage compartment, both topped by a sunbed.
The 37XC Revolution’s enclosed cabin gives all-round protection from the elements. Outdoor space has been equally considered. A sliding canvas roof and sliding doors on either side open it up. Full walkaround decks reach the wet bar and folding seats aft and a sunny lounging spot forward that can be fitted with a table and awning. The interior cabin also features innovative gull-wing doors that open vertically to let in air and light.
The production efficiency gained from the modular build approach keeps the price point low, the final reason for the builder’s full order book. A base model is a mere €94,500. But you’re going to want to add on, so a more reasonable expectation is the $300,000 price tag of the one that delivered my exceptional ride in Miami.
This feature is taken from the August 2020 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.