met the Axopar 37 SC during the Cannes Yachting Festival in September 2017. There, I was able to conduct an on-water test in the decidedly exotic Bay of Cannes.
The 37’s cockpit seems Florida-ready, with plenty of space for entertaining—especially if you opt for the full galley/fridge combo.
Forward of the helm, the main cabin features a queen berth, toilet, privacy curtain, a compact galley, and my favorite touch, a small bench seat where you can go to escape your company without having to lay in the bed. The cabin doesn’t offer standup headroom, but I’d call it a comfortable crouch height.
The salon makes the most of the space with an L-shaped sofa and dining table. There’s an option for an aft cabin, which is something I would certainly consider since it has plenty of headroom, along with appropriately sized windows and ports for fresh air.
We weren’t the only ones itching for a boat test; dozens of motor-yachts crisscrossed the water with prospective buyers aboard. The armada of new models churned the water into a confused mess. The conditions were perfect for testing what Axpoar claims is a high-performance craft.
“Now this, this is more like it,” I offered founder Jan-Erik Viitala, as we slipped our lines and made our way to open water. I sat in the passenger seat recording RPM and fuel-burn readings as Viitala worked the throttles. Viitala took no issue spurring all the horses from the twin 350-horsepower Mercury Verados.
The boat cut through seas well, thanks to a knife-sharp bow; but a tissue-paper-light displacement of 8,300 pounds meant that, at times, the boat was launched airborne.
After scribbling the test data down it was finally my turn at the helm. The throttle was exceptionally responsive and the boat easily leapt onto plane when we hit 13 knots (at 2500 RPM). I noticed there was almost no bow rise when I first powered the boat up. Maybe I was too aggressive with the throttle, I thought. I pulled the boat back to neutral and tried bringing her up to speed much slower and verified that the 37 in fact only lifts its nose a few degrees when powering onto plane, which complements boat’s nearly 360 degrees of sightlines.
I quickly discovered that, true to Viitala’s claim, the 37 is indeed a performance boat. But when I say performance I’m not just referring to the 45-knot top end. A lot of boats can go 45 knots with 700 horsepower on the back. I’m talking about its ability to make sharp turns with confidence (no hull slipping here), the ability to track like an arrow, and do it all with modest fuel burn. This is no accident; Axopar built the brand around its deep-V (20-degree deadrise at the transom) stepped hull. The hull and the boat’s center of gravity, explained Viitala, is such that, “you can’t get spray on the windshield unless you really do something wrong.”
My advice for the Finnish builder is to take as many people out for test drives as possible, because once you take this sports car out of the showroom, I suspect that you too will become an Axopar believer. —Daniel Harding Jr.
Draft: 2’9” (engines up)
Displ.: 8,300 lb.
Fuel: 192 gal.
Water: 26 gal.
Test Power: 2/350-hp Mercury Verado outboards
Optional Power: 2/225-hp to 2/350-hp Mercury outboards
Base Price: $250,000 (plus shipping)