- The 190 BR is a spacious, well-equipped and user-friendly bowrider with some pleasantly distinctive detailing.
- It’s good to look at, easy to own, impressively affordable and far more versatile than most American-style bowriders.
- This is a resoundingly easy boat to drive.
- It’s not fast or especially sharp, it won’t widen your eyes or elicit screams of delight from your passengers, but it functions very competently in every regard.
- It could hardly be more Scandinavian if you gave it a beard, fed it pickled herring and called it Magnus.
AMT 190 BR
Alex Smith climbs aboard a very modern bowrider from AMT’s Honda-powered fleet …
AMT are one of those rare companies that continues to design, test, develop and build everything in its home nation. In fact, while plenty of prestigious Nordic companies have cut costs by taking advantage of the burgeoning industrial might of eastern Europe, AMT continue to take pride in the authenticity of their Finnish origins. They were reportedly the first boating brand to receive the Key Flag award from the Association for Finnish Work in recognition of their wholesale ‘Finnishness’ – and in their conceptual approach as well as their aesthetic, AMT’s boats continue to be defined by the stringent practical demands of Finland’s prolific boating public.
Bowrider Number Four
First launched at the Helsinki Boat Show in February 2016, the 190 BR joins the 170, the 200 and the 230, taking AMT’s bowrider line to four – and like those existing models, their core aim is to make your bowrider experience just that bit easier by means of generous internal space and a comprehensive standard features list. However, despite its progressive aesthetics and its nominal ‘bowrider’ tag, the money here has been spent on the things the regular boater really needs.
For instance, the standard package includes a windscreen wiper at the helm, but leaves the port wiper on the options list. Similarly, the cockpit cushions come as standard but the bow cushions are extras; and while the overhead canvas is a core necessity, the covers for the bow and cockpit need to be specced by the buyer at additional cost. And as if to push the point home, the standard complement of lines, fenders and stainless steel fittings is also backed up by some very useful safety and security measures. In addition to Securmark anti-theft marking as standard, the dry lockers all come with a one-key Abloy locking system. You also get a spare 10-litre fuel tank to supplement the integrated 100-litre steel unit, and AMT’s ‘Safely to Shore’ approach to construction means that in the event of a critical impact or a swamping, the boat’s deck will keep it afloat, buying you vital time to get ashore or call for help.
Safe, Secure and Versatile
When you step inside, the practical, security-conscious methodology is again very evident. At the back end, there’s a broad step-through walkway to starboard, a ready-rigged canvas behind the seatback and twin swim platforms littered with grabbing points for easy reboarding from the water. The battery is very tidily concealed out of harm’s way beneath the hatch for the step-through transom, and there’s plenty of space inside the platforms for a stern anchor (or even two) if you’re so inclined.
It is also notable that, even when you’re sitting on the aft bench, the mouldings come right up to around chest height. That’s very rare on a boat of this type, and it’s a big bonus for those with a family to think about – particularly as the AMT’s lofty mouldings are also topped with a proper stainless steel grab rail that wraps around the cockpit’s entire perimeter.
There’s plenty of storage space in here too. Even with the optional Waeco drawer fridge in position beneath the co-pilot’s seat, there’s ample room, partly because the under-deck compartment is so cavernous and partly because the fenders are all bungeed into place in their recessed housings to starboard.
Elsewhere, the key strength of the AMT consists in its sheer usability. The co-pilot’s backrest can be swung forward, enabling them to put their feet up and face aft or keep an eye out for a skier. They also get a pair of cup holders, a 12V point and a stereo beneath the lid of their lockable, console-top glovebox. As you would expect, the AMT also comes with a hinged windbreak beneath the central part of the screen to keep out the worst of the chill, and both helm positions enjoy the luxury of an angled foot brace, a comfy swivel seat and an armrest, plus proper adjustability so each can be tailored to your body shape.
As for that all-important bow, it could hardly be more Scandinavian if you gave it a beard, fed it pickled herring and called it Magnus. It’s every bit as deep-set as the space behind the consoles, and in place of the conventional American-style wrap-around U-shaped bench seats, it offers a pair of lateral pods on the leading edge of the console, which double as handy boarding steps. The rest of the bow comprises unobstructed deck space, leading up three tiers to a broad step-through bow, framed on both sides by attractively angular (and usefully elevated) grab rails. Perversely, like most Nordic bowriders, it’s not a bow that provides you with much reason to linger, but it does add greatly to the AMT’s credentials as a multipurpose dayboat.
And the stylistic package is also particularly pleasing, with an integrated consistency that really hits the mark. The boldly angular nature of the mouldings is very clean and modern, the granite and steel colourways are very much in tune with the idea of power sport, and the detail in the trim is attractive. The grates over the deck drains, for instance, are built from removable stainless plates with the ‘AMT’ insignia laser-cut into the metal; the textured, wipe-clean fabrics use a porous mesh backing to promote quick drying; and the cushions themselves are not just dense close-packed foam but a lightweight, easy-drain, mould-resistant substance that allows water to escape without obstruction.
In Pursuit of Perfection
However, this commendable AMT bowrider is not all blue skies and Nordic fanfare. On the contrary, the grab handle for the co-pilot is hopelessly positioned, way ahead of where it needs to be for your left hand. And there is nowhere at all to stow your phone, handheld GPS or wallet at the helm – nowhere in fact to put anything down without it bouncing onto the aft deck.
As is so often the case on new boats, there is no drain fitting (or even a drain hole) cut into the aft end of the big under-deck storage compartment, and without such a feature it will inevitably need sponging out after each trip. There are also some sharp self-tappers protruding into the console storage space, and while the fibrous, grey, planking-style deck works well when wet, there are places on the test boat where it has been applied in a rudimentary fashion, with countersunk screwheads that stand proud of the laminate.
The swinging backrest for the port lounger (which uses the same stainless stanchions as the Finnmaster line) is also imperfect. It’s very attractive, but the metal bars do separate and reunite as they swing, which could easily trap unwary fingers, so it’s good to know that a protective casing is being designed to help remedy this. And while it’s good to see dedicated fender storage points, the fenders on the test boat, which are way too fat for their recesses, hang most of their bulk out into the cockpit space. Small things I know, but it’s the perfection of these tiny details that makes Finland’s very best boats so difficult to fault.
When you get underway, the sheer depth of accommodation means that the wind and water noise is oddly muted. In fact, the only impediment to relaxed conversations at any speed is the noise of the engine itself. In this case, that engine is a Honda BF100, but you can specify anything from 80 to 115 hp for a top end of around 34 to 38 knots. In all cases, however, this is a resoundingly easy boat to drive. It’s not fast or especially sharp, it won’t widen your eyes or elicit screams of delight from your passengers, but it functions very competently in every regard. It is safe, composed, solid, predictable and obedient – and while really keen drivers might want a touch more joy from their helming than even the 115 can provide, there’s really no dynamic weakness here worthy of criticism.
The 190 BR is a spacious, well-equipped and user-friendly bowrider with some pleasantly distinctive detailing. It’s good to look at, easy to own, impressively affordable and far more versatile than most American-style bowriders. However, if it’s the length and budget, rather than this specific layout, that make sense for you, then you should investigate the extraordinarily good 190 HT from the same builder. It’s not quite the stylistic treat you see here, but it drives at least as well, it’s much the same price and it offers that extra dose of flexibility so coveted by the UK family boater.
- Competent drive
- Generous storage
- Comprehensive features list
- Attractive stylistic detailing
- Honda-only power
- Misplaced co-pilot grab handle
- No ‘small stuff’ cubbyholes at the helm
- The new Bella 600 BR offers stiff competition
Notable Standard Equipment
- Stainless steel fittings
- Grey laminate set
- Ready-rigged canopy with storage
- Dry lockers with one-key Abloy locks
- Hydraulic steering
- Windscreen wiper
- 12V DC outlet
- Fixed fuel tank with spare 10-litre unit
- 2 aft anchor lockers
- Anchor with 30m anchor line
- 3 mooring lines
- 4 fenders with lines and storage
- Securmark anti-theft marking
- Keel guard
- Teak (or teak laminate) set
- Port wiper
- L-sofa and sunbed
- Bow cushions
- Waeco CD 20 refrigerator
- Dual battery
- Bow cover
- Cockpit cover
- Mooring cover
- Waterski pole
- Trim tabs
- Audio player and speakers
- LED deck lights
- Raymarine nav pack
- LOA: TBC
- Beam: TBC
- Power: 80–115 hp
- Engine: Honda BF100
- Top speed: 40 knots
- Fuel capacity: 100 litres
- People capacity: TBC
Tel.: 01590 679588