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Axopar 24 T-Top

Axopar 24 T-Top

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  • When you consider what you are getting for your money, the Axopar 24 T-Top is a no-brainer…
  • … she made light work of cutting her way through the choppy narrows at wide-open throttle.
  • [it] has equal appeal for the white-knuckle powerboater as it does for the family man.

Axopar 24 T-Top

Greg Copp test-drives the latest model to emerge from the Axopar production team and discovers a craft capable of bringing the joys of fast Scandinavian boating to those on a budget …

Looking at Axopar’s latest 24-footer, I can’t but help think we Brits may have got it wrong. The RIB industry aside, our yards, keen to balance their books, seem forever focused on bigger and better. The Scandinavians, on the other hand, keep to a proven formula, which they just tweak here and there as technology permits. Size is never an issue, but in all senses performance is always paramount.

Following hot on the heels of its bigger sibling, the Axopar 28 T-Top (PBR issue 132), the Axopar 24 T-Top is barely any less impressive. Its radical looks, vertical stem and innovative, spacious design are a trademark of this Finnish yard, as is a tempting, fully specified price tag of just over £60,000. Like its bigger sibling, the 24 T-Top is no less eager to pile on the knots the moment you pile on the power. Weighing just over 1.5 tons (dry with 200hp Mercury Verado), the 24 T-Top is both fast and exceedingly quick on the wheel, and like all Axopars it has a twin-stepped deep-vee hull. Whether you like stepping or not, you can’t ignore how well it works with this boat. She pops quickly up onto the plane around 16 knots and then reaches mercilessly for the 6000rpm redline.

Fast cruising is 28 knots, which actually does not feel that fast. True to form, the engine is blissfully smooth and relatively quiet at this speed, made all the more serene by the oily, calm conditions of the day. At this speed she was burning 44Lph at 4800rpm, which equates to about 2.9mpg. You certainly get the feeling that you can eat some sea miles in this boat, especially as the T-top either keeps you dry or, as I found, perfectly shaded. However, she is more Sports than Gran Turismo and capable of the most reckless tight turns. Some stepped hulls have been known to lose the stern with overenthusiastic use of the wheel, but not in this case. Try as I might, this boat grimly hung on in the turns, even at well over 30 knots with the outboard leg trimmed out.

When I first throttled the Axopar up onto the plane, it was evident that this boat has little bow-up attitude, which helps when you throw her about. Subsequently pushing the boat towards its maximum speed of 37.2 knots requires just a small amount of trimming out, and then only once past 30 knots. If you trim her too much, which is easily done, you will lose a few knots – it is a case of coming to terms with just a quick dab on the trim button. Alternatively, for the sake of 2 knots, you can just leave the leg.

With the flat calm sea state of the day, true testing conditions were unfortunately not really an option. That was until the tide turned and proceeded to funnel through the narrows of Hurst Castle. I hit this patch of choppy water at 35 knots and instinctively backed off a touch. This was a mistake, as at 25 knots the Axopar is just that little less stable in her aft quarters in rough water than at 30 knots, which I would credit to the extra lift provided by her twin-stepped hull. With such a sharp forefoot and a ‘wave-piercing-like vertical stem’, she made light work of cutting her way through the choppy narrows at wide-open throttle. Likewise, running through the wake of the photo boat at full chat was an easy point and shoot affair that left you in no doubt about the ‘creak-free’ build quality.

Though it is a very lively drive, I will say that the 200hp Mercury Verado does not really do the boat justice, as it can easily handle another 50hp on its transom. It is blatantly obvious that the hull is hugely capable of pushing deep into 40-knot territory, but at the moment this is the most powerful engine option.

Helm ergonomics are slightly mixed as the normal seat height is on the low side if you want a perfect line of sight over the bow. The option is to flip up the seat bolster and sit on top of that, which worked well for me at 6ft. The throttle position is absolutely spot on thanks to a padded rest for your forearm, and the wheel comes easily to hand. The instrumentation is a simple affair consisting of a plotter and a touch screen engine display panel, mounted on a dark-grey, tough composite dash. The cockpit has been well thought out as forward of the helmsman and navigator’s seats are two single berths that tuck discreetly under the forward coaming beneath the windscreen. Alternatively, they provide plenty of storage for water sports kit.

You could easily be forgiven for wondering where to store fenders, lines and a boathook until you look carefully around the stern quarters. Behind the rear seats runs a slim full-beam locker just wide enough for fenders and long enough for boathooks. Complementing this are two stern-quarter lockers discreetly built into the cockpit coamings on either side. Under-deck storage runs the length of the boat in no less than three internally lined deck lockers. The upholstery throughout is Silvertex, which is a fabric-like, tough-wearing waterproof material in much the same vein as Sunbrella.

The forward seating area, though designed for four, would be a squeeze with that number of adults. Alternatively, with the table dropped it provides a great sunbathing area, or with the forward cover fitted, an extra berth – albeit with limited headroom. Decking is courtesy of Flexiteek 2G, which I can confirm holds its cool in the midday sun and looks the part covering the deep half-beam bathing platforms that flank the engine.


Verdict

The GRP-built Axopar 24 T-Top brings the joys of fast Scandinavian boating to those that do not want to remortgage their house, and/or want a boat light enough to trail. It also provides a comfier option to a RIB with the ability to overnight, which for those that do not live near to their boat can make a world of a difference. When you consider what you are getting for your money, the Axopar 24 T-Top is a no-brainer, which has equal appeal for the white-knuckle powerboater as it does for the family man. If you want something more conventional than the T-Top, there is also an open-boat version.


What We Thought

For

  • Great seakeeping and handling
  • Rapid steering
  • Solid build quality
  • Practicality/safety
  • Good weather/sun protection

Against

  • Just one engine manufacturer on the options list.
  • No 250hp engine yet?
  • Long extras list, some of which should be included as standard items.

Specifications

  • LOA: 7.60m
  • Beam: 2.55m
  • Transom deadrise angle: 20 degrees
  • Displacement: 1510kg (with engine)
  • Power options: 150 to 200 hp
  • Fuel capacity: 220 litres
  • RCD category: C for 8
  • Test engine: 200hp Mercury Verado
  • Price as tested: £62,013 (inc. VAT) (euro exchange rate of 1.15)

Performance

37.2 knots (2-way average), 70% fuel, 1 crew and moderate sea conditions


Price

From £52,800 with 200hp Mercury Verado


Contact

Offshore Powerboats Ltd

Lymington Yacht Haven

King’s Saltern Road

Lymington

Hampshire

SO413QD

www.offshorepowerboats.co.uk

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