- The GRP-built Axopar 28TT, like the recent plethora of fast offshore craft hailing from the Baltic, has radical and aggressive styling.
- When you consider what you are getting for your money, the Axopar 28TT is a no-brainer for the wind-in-your-hair powerboater.
- True to Scandinavian form, the Axopar is no less impressive when it comes to functionality and practicality.
- She is capable of incredibly tight sure-footed turns, with her stepped hull showing not the slightest intention of losing the plot.
Greg Copp faces the wrath of a feisty sea to test a craft clearly designed to tackle all but the most challenging of conditions…
It looked like a line drawn in the sea, similar to a Google Earth photo overlay. The line ran west from Hurst Castle to the Isle of Wight. It marked the demarcation between the sanity of the Solent and some of the sharpest and shortest chop I have come across. With the wind blowing hard from the west and the tide funnelling out against it through this notorious spot, I should not have been surprised. However, to do the Axopar justice I needed some testing conditions, and that is exactly what I got.
Closing in, I backed off from 40 knots and moments later I was in a totally different world. We hit the first crest expecting a hard, wet dose of reality; instead we crested two wave tops with the boat’s sharp, vertical stem making light work of the fury around it. I was expecting a spine-jarring roller coaster ride with the intensity of the sea pushing the boat down to semi-displacement speed. Instead, the Axopar cut its way through the angry water in a reassuringly determined manner. I eased the throttles forward again and noticed we were now doing 29 knots – an impressive speed for a 28ft boat in such weather. The rakish Axopar is clearly built to deal with head seas, and that is exactly what it did. As the Needles drew closer and the sea became steeper, it was soon apparent why I was the only boat out, and it was clearly time to test the boat’s stern sea credentials.
She turned sharply and securely as she ran up, over and then briefly beam on to the chop. It was one of those moments when you wonder if you have judged it right. However, unless you have a death wish, the Axopar is built to take some of the guesswork out of helming in confused water. Boats that combine a full beam aft of amidships with a sharp fore section can have a tendency to dig the bow in, so I was keen to see how she performed with the sea snapping at the stern. Even with the motor initially trimmed in, she kept a level head. With the engine then trimmed out, I could nail the throttles, with the weather spitting us back out into the calmer waters of the western Solent.
Without doubt, powered by a supercharged 300hp Mercury Verado outboard the Axopar 28TT is a fast boat. I recorded a two-way average of 45.6 knots – a tad short of the 48 knots I was told she can achieve with a clean bottom. She is capable of incredibly tight sure-footed turns, with her stepped hull showing not the slightest intention of losing the plot. Steering is quick and responsive. The wheel and throttles are perfectly positioned whether you sit or fold up the seat bolster and stand. Weather protection from the wrap-around windscreen and T-top is superb, especially considering the sub-zero January conditions of the day. Her sweet spot is around 30 knots, which equates to 2.7mpg according to the fuel flow meters, though Steve at Offshore Powerboats has found that 26 knots with a clean bottom is the boat’s most frugal speed. One thing is for sure – 30 knots feels like walking pace, especially with such a level of weather protection. If you feel the need to drop the speed down to 22 knots, which I doubt, you will still get 2.7mpg. However, once you start hitting 40 knots, the supercharged thirst of the 300hp Verado makes itself felt at 2.25mpg. Flat out at 45.6 knots, with the tacho notching 5500rpm, she was guzzling fuel at a rate of 29gph, which equates to 1.57mpg. These figures are par for the course for a powerful petrol engine, but on a calmer day with a totally clean hull you could easily improve on this.
True to Scandinavian form, the Axopar is no less impressive when it comes to functionality and practicality. On top of building an open boat that can be used safely in all but the worst conditions, the yard has slipped in some discreet accommodation – so discreet that you could be forgiven for not knowing it was there. A heads is built into the front of the console, accessed by a sturdy secure door. This compartment has been built deep into the hull, so it is no shoebox affair, and is complete with sink and mirror. Such ‘luxuries’ are not uncommon in Finland, where people use fast, smaller boats to cover relatively long distances, often in the course of commuting. From my experience, the concept of trying to get family members to cross their legs while you enjoy the coastline at 40 knots does not work. In the event that you need to overnight in some tranquil setting there is a double berth hidden beneath the double sun pad, accessed through the aft bench seat. It is deceptive in size and quite capable of accommodating the largest couples, providing they do not want to stand up.
The cockpit and deck areas clad extensively in G2 Flexiteek are typically Scandinavian. Moving forward underway on fender duties is blissfully easy with high bulwarks topped with rock-solid guard rails. The hidden anchor locker is superbly finished internally, with not a hint of the compromise that is often found in such out-of-sight places. To complement the aft sun pad, an infill turns the forward seating area into a second sun bathing spot if need be. Lockers on both quarters are just about adequate for all fenders and warps. Of course, like any sports boat worth its salt, it has a large bathing platform – comfortably large enough for a semi-deflated towable inflatable toy.
Scandinavian boats in many ways are like German cars – distinctly solid and irresistible to those with practical taste. The GRP-built Axopar 28TT, like the recent plethora of fast offshore craft hailing from the Baltic, has radical and aggressive styling. Rightly this yard, like many from the region, has calculated that its boats will prove equally popular alongside the comparatively conservative boats of southern Europe. In the same way that the RIB proved a hugely popular alternative to the stern-driven weekender, the Axopar presents an equally popular alternative to the RIB. When you consider what you are getting for your money, the Axopar 28TT is a no-brainer for the wind-in-your-hair powerboater. If you want something different to the 28TT, there is also a cabin version and a totally open boat.
What We Thought
- Great seakeeping and handling
- Rapid performance
- Solid build quality
- Easy movement on deck
- Good weather protection
- Just one engine manufacturer on the options list
- Long extras list, some of which should be included as standard items.
- LOA: 8.60m
- Beam: 2.85m
- Transom deadrise angle: 22 degrees
- Displacement: 1690kg (no engine)
- Power options: 150 to 350 hp
- Fuel capacity: 260 litres
- RCD category: C for 8
- Test engine: 300hp Mercury Verado
45.6 knots (2-way average), sea conditions moderate, wind F4 gusting F6
Price As Tested
From £37,000 plus engine and many extras
Offshore Powerboats Ltd – Lymington Yacht Haven – King’s Saltern Road – Lymington – Hampshire – SO41 3QD