- At wide-open throttle, pushing past the 30-knot barrier, the Galia proved to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing …
- This boat benefits from not trying to be all things to all men.
- The standard of build in the Galia 750 HT exceeds that of most comparable boats.
- Galia have achieved a good balance between sports cruiser and fishing boat, without either dimension impinging on the other.
Is it a sports cruiser or a fishing boat? Greg Copp shares his view and delves deeply into what makes this multifaceted craft from Poland tick …
Launched into a sector of the market dominated by the French boatbuilding industry, the Polish-built Galia 750 HT is a boat set on making an impact. With its sporty hard top, this keenly priced weekend cruiser stands out from the normal crowd of small sport fishing boats and, like its competitors, this boat is blatantly practical.
On the water, initially this pocket cruiser takes some getting used to, as you just can’t throttle forward and go like a sprightly sports boat. She needs to be tabbed down first to pop up on the plane, and then around 15 knots the trim tabs need taking up halfway. Fitted with fast-acting Volvo QL trim tabs, this is a quick and easy process. Failure to follow this procedure results in cavitation, but after that she is then good to go. With the outboard leg subsequently trimmed out, a few clicks on the torque of the 250hp Honda VTEC outboard make themselves felt – relentlessly reaching for the redline. The Galia responds well to trimming both the tabs and outboard leg further once you get past 25 knots. As I found, you need to fully trim the tabs up to reach the boat’s top speed of 34.2 knots, as well as pushing the outboard leg out that little further.
If you are running into steep chop between 25 and 30 knots, tabbing the bow down to the halfway mark pays dividends. Likewise, when turning hard, keeping the bow down works a treat. If you forget and leave the tabs up, two things can happen: either she drags her stern in tight turns and you lose speed, or if you are running head on into chop she can bang. In fairness, I only got one complaint from her when hitting a head sea, and that was down to user error, and testament to her build quality. At wide-open throttle, pushing past the 30-knot barrier, the Galia proved to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, steering in a quick and responsive manner in the increasingly feisty conditions of the day.
This boat has a distinct sweet spot at 27 knots. This is down to two factors: firstly, at this speed the engine is spinning at 4500rpm, a point where the BF250 starts to really come on song; and secondly, the extra stern lift produced at this speed gets the hull forefoot cutting its stuff. Realistically, weather permitting, this is the speed to cruise at, as the boat returns a very respectable 2.67mpg (factory-fitted fuel flow meter). However, that said, this boat has a remarkably flat fuel curve from 4000 to 5000 rpm, making the cost of cruising at 20 knots near identical to that at 30 knots. This is testament to the effectiveness of Honda’s VTEC with its variable valve timing and lift electronic control, which tailors the valve timing and fuelling in accordance with the needs of the engine across its power spectrum. Once you push up to its top speed of 34 knots, the fuel consumption increases to 1.76mpg.
Helm ergonomics for the moment are a mixed bag. I say ‘for the moment’ as this is boat number one – subsequent boats should be improved on. The positive ergonomic points are: good forward visibility enhanced by the glass roof enabling you to look across the port beam when turning hard; good wheel position; a folding bolster seat that works just as well seated as standing; and perfectly positioned windscreen wiper switches – which were frequently put to good test. The negative points are: the positioning of the trim tab controls behind the wheel, which made using them a fiddly affair; depending on your dexterity, the throttle arguably is too close to the wheel (although I didn’t actually find it a problem); and the boat only has a cradle-mounted VHF hand-held radio located at the aft end of the cabin. Considering how far offshore this boat is capable of going, I would say that a fixed VHF radio is a must. In fairness, the first two issues were pointed out to me at the start, as the trim tab controls will subsequently be positioned next to the chartplotter, and the throttle moved away from the wheel.
You soon become aware of a blind spot over the starboard quarter caused by the heads compartment. This is unavoidable given the need for an on-board toilet in a boat capable of 180-mile passages, and to a degree this problem is negated by the side door enabling you to look out down the starboard side. Deck movement could not be much better with the bulwark-enclosed 12″ starboard side deck, either quickly accessed from the helm or a step up from the cockpit. The cockpit boasts two fish lockers on each side, as well as a hidden bait table on top of the transom and a discreet folding bench seat. A beautifully crafted stainless transom gate opens to a small aft platform concealing that all-essential fold-away bathing ladder. There is the option of a cockpit table should you so desire.
Storage is plentiful, mainly in the form of a big lazarette, which, housing a holding tank and a fuel tank, also has enough space for all that essential junk. Moving forward, there is also a locker in the main cabin floor, which, apart from giving access to a bilge pump and the freshwater tank, has room for more cruising stores. What it could do with here is a lined storage compartment, which could be retrospectively made, otherwise smaller items stored here are likely to move about under the deck during rough weather.
The heads is huge considering the size of the boat, and consequently I was surprised not to find a shower, but then arguably they are rarely used in smaller boats. A manual toilet and a small sink sitting neatly in a Corian-topped vanity unit are the order of the day. Overnight accommodation is limited to one forward double cabin, which, due to the lack of headroom, has the bed at deck level. There is no door, but then privacy is not an issue in a boat that can only sleep two. The galley and cabin seating area are, not surprisingly, compact. To have made them any larger would have encompassed a total wheelhouse redesign, involving a slightly smaller heads, which would not be such a bad idea, and losing the wide starboard side deck, which would be a bad idea.
The standard of build in the Galia 750 HT exceeds that of most comparable boats. This is not just evident in its ability to handle the weather, but in the standard of fitment, especially the stainless fittings. This is even more impressive when you consider the boat’s price – a reflection of the cost of building boats in Poland. This boat benefits from not trying to be all things to all men. Galia have achieved a good balance between sports cruiser and fishing boat, without either dimension impinging on the other. I would venture to say that it is more cruiser than fisher, which becomes apparent when you start cracking on through the rough stuff.
Options & Upgrades
This boat has a very long list of options, which is reflected in this test boat actually having £13,000 worth of extras on top of its modest base price of £55,920 (inc. VAT). Some of these extras are reasonably priced, like the Raymarine A67 chartplotter at £829 and the Volvo QL300 trim tabs at £771. However, some of the extras do raise a question mark. For example, the heads compartment is £1,105, while the actual toilet itself and holding tank cost £633. The bow bathing mattresses cost £449, cockpit teak steps £898, and the drawer fridge at £771 is certainly a tad on the costly side. Finally, the hand-held Entel HT20 radio at £380 is scandalous considering Force 4 Chandlery sell them for £99, and a fixed radio is not an option … yet.
What We Thought
- Good seakeeping and handling
- Fast for a 2.5-tonne boat (dry) with a 250hp engine
- Very solid build quality – hard to abuse
- Good weather protection and relatively dry ride
- Potential 180-mile range with a 20% reserve
- Needs the dash redesigned to make trim tab controls accessible
- Could do with some more galley storage
- Lack of separate lined storage compartments in the under-deck stowage
- Many of the extras should be included in the base price
- LOA: 7.64m
- Beam: 2.74m
- Transom deadrise angle: 23 degrees
- Displacement: 2300kg (without engine – the Honda BF250XL weighs in at 278kg)
- Power options: Honda 175hp to 250hp VTEC – all 3.5L V6s
- Test engine: 250hp Honda BF250XL
- Fuel capacity: 400 litres
- RCD category: C for 8
34.2 knots (2-way average); sea conditions wind F4 gusting F6 with 30% fuel (30 gallons)
Price as tested:
£68,919 (inc. VAT) inc. engine & extras
Hendy Marine, Unit 7/8 Swanwick Marina, Swanwick, Southampton, Hampshire SO311ZL