Benchmark is not an accolade we bestow readily upon a boat of any size, but we feel that the Windy 31 Tornado deserves the tag.

Benchmark is not an accolade we bestow readily upon a boat of any size, but we feel that the Windy 31 Tornado deserves the tag. There is little of substance to criticise and much to praise. The novelty of the aft cockpit may deter a few, but spend any time on the boat and its numerous advantages quickly become apparent.

The Tornado also provides a good excuse to examine our rather stRange perceptions of price, since even Windy would probably concede that the 31 is not an inexpensive boat. Car owners will effortlessly part with £40,000 for a vehicle which in quantitative terms may only be a 20% improvement on a similar model at £20,000. And yet boat owners are generally horrified at much smaller price differences between craft of vastly differing standards. It’s not that we refuse to recognise good design, it’s just that compared with other consumer products, we seem reluctant to pay in proportion to its true value. Analyse the Tornado 31 using our automotive spending habits, and it becomes something of a bargain.

The Tornado will not suit everybody: those of you who dislike water skiing, fishing, snorkelling, windsurfing, sunbathing, driving fast, great handling, exquisite woodwork, and high levels of safety may find other sportsboats more suitable. However, we suspect that anybody beating a path to Express Cruisers door may find an orderly queue – with us at its head.

DIMENSIONS

Length overall (LOA) 30ft 10in 9.39m

Hull length 28ft 4in 8.63m

Beam 9ft 10in 2.99m

Air draught (estimated) 6ft 7in 2.00m

Displacement 3.3 tons

Fuel capacity 117 gal 530 litres

Water capacity 33 gal 150 litres

Engines Twin Mercruiser D-Tronic 250

250hp @ 3,800rpm

6-cylinder 4.2lt turbo diesels with Bravo Three outdrives

RPM Speed Trim GPH MPG Range

750 5.1 0.5° n/a n/a n/a

1,500 9.6 5.5°