on 19 Nov 2021
Finnish builder Axopar re-released its flagship 37 in 2020, improving performance and giving buyers a great dayboat option that is focused on adventure and fun
For some, yachting is all about lying around on the flybridge, enjoying the breezes at anchor. But for others, boats are a means to adventure, creating access to hidden fjords, private bays, or even small islands, where cars and tourists simply cannot go. For buyers wanting a tough dayboat that handles chop with aplomb and delivers plenty of speed and a good dose of comfort, there is the newly improved Axopar 37, the line’s 11.5m flagship model.
Axopar is not yet well known in Asia, but that could change. The brand is handled in Asia by Thai-based dealership Derani Yachts. Finnish company Axopar markets itself less as a yachting company and more as an experiential company. The aim with the 37, and the smaller yachts in the range, is to provide a platform for adventure.
Heading out to sea on the last day of the 2021 Cannes Yachting Festival, I had the chance to see just how well the Axopar 37 held up in more challenging conditions. Winds were gusty, with an average speed of about 15 knots. The bay around Cannes was choppy – the perfect conditions to trial a yacht whose claim to fame is its high-performance hull. Axopar says the 37 is capable of speeds nearing 50 knots – very fast by any measure.
I was not to be disappointed. We headed out of the harbour, hit the throttle, and in seconds we passed 30 knots in seas with a one to 1.5-metre swell. The acceleration and speed on our boat was one thing. But the important bit was the fact that we could seemly charge through chop while registering only a tiny bit of slamming. We took tight turns at speed without any loss of control or handling. This is a yacht that a first-time boater would feel comfortable in, even at high speed.
A comfortable ride in choppy sea is a big plus for Hong Kong owners, who often find themselves seeking daytime adventures in Sai Kung, where conditions can be far from flat, especially in autumn or spring. The reason for that easy handling and comfortable ride is a hull shape that seems to borrow heavily from offshore racing. The hull has a very fine entry point that’s been brought far forward, creating the appearance of a reverse bow shape. That fine entry is the key to the comfort. The twin steps on the hulls allow faster and better planing when the throttles are up, while the big chines yield better handling characteristics. They also open up a lot of beam forward, which allows for the versatility in layouts that Axopar offers with its 37.
We headed out of the harbour, hit the throttle, and in seconds we passed 30 knots in seas with a one to 1.5-metre swell
This boat is fun to drive, pure and simple. At the helm, you are always tempted to push the 37 a little further. The Axopar 37 has been around for a few years, but Axopar has been fine-tuning its flagship ever since. The original model had an approximate range of 200 nautical miles. The newer version of the 37, launched in early 2020, can now manage 300 nautical miles, even at speeds of over 25 knots. To put that into perspective, the trip from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung is about 340 nautical miles, while Phuket to Penang is 190 nautical miles.
Recent improvements on the 37 also include rejigging the steps on the main deck. Movement around the boat is easier, with high bulwarks that provide protection when underway. The driver stands down a notch on the main deck, giving better protection against the elements. The finish and features are geared towards common sense and are very functional, reflecting Axopar’s focus on adventuring rather than luxurious living.
This boat is fun to drive, pure and simple. At the helm, you are always tempted to push the 37 a little further
Our test version was the hard top, but there is also the Spyder (open-air, no hard top) and the XC, which features an enclosed cabin on the main deck. The hard top makes the most sense for Asian buyers, as the enclosed version is ideally suited for colder climates. With the hard top, you get protection from the sun and plenty of cooling breeze while underway. Even as we pushed the 37 well past 35 knots, the noise from the engines remained relatively low.
Axopar offers different layouts in terms of on-deck seating and facilities below deck. A forward lounge area can be worked up into a cabin. Gullwing doors can be used to access the forward cabin area, a design trick that creates more available space. The area aft of the centre console can be left open for storage of toys and equipment, and a wet bar can be added, as can seats or even a small cabin.
Buyers can configure a powerful dayboat that’s hardwired for waterborne adventure
The list of options is long, even including a rooftop storage rack that carries mountain bikes and kayaks – Axopar is an adventure company, after all. The base price for a 37 is about US$115,000, not including outboard engines or the engine fitting needed for the bow thruster tunnel.
The best thing about the 37 is the range of options and layouts. Buyers can opt for a high-performance motorboat that offers a good degree of comfort for overnighting, or they can configure a powerful dayboat that is hardwired for waterborne adventure. Whatever choices buyers make, they will be guaranteed a high-speed, high-thrill, high-comfort ride.
Technical Specifications – Axopar 37
Weight (excl engine): 3.6T
Passengers (max): 12
Cabin capacity: 2 (+2 optional)
Speed (Max range): 38 to 48 kts
Engines (Max power): 2 x 350hp outboards
Fuel capacity: 730L