The English Harbour 27 should be equally at home wafting gently past millionaire’s mansions in Marlow or speeding across the channel for a weekend in France
Versatility is the name of the game with the English Harbour 27, as it comes with three distinct types of power plant.
The smallest engines will enable it to potter along at inland waterways speeds, either using an 11kW electric motor or one of three diesel sail-drive units (30hp, 55hp, 75hp).
For those who want to head offshore, there are two bigger diesel engines to choose from, both Volvo D3 SX sterndrives at 140hp and 170hp.
English Harbour calls its style ‘beach house’ and its intent was to produce an informal interior that didn’t feel like it needed endless polishing and cleaning.
I’d say English Harbour has succeeded, but more importantly designer and English Harbour mastermind Adam Greenwood (ex Fairline design director) has conjured a remarkable interior for a 27 footer.
It’s bleached oak finish and oversized portholes only serve to emphasise just how roomy it is inside. For instance, how many cruisers this size sport 6ft 3in (1.91m) headroom and a separate shower cubicle in the heads?
Testing the 27 out of Bucklers Hard at high tide gave us the chance to run all the way up the meandering Beaulieu river to the head of navigation.
Even with hands off the wheel, the 27 tracked well. Despite this, it turned very quickly indeed when asked, in fact combine a rapid prod on the throttle with a dollop of bowthruster and the 27 would almost turn in its own length.
At any speed, the 27 turns almost completely flat, and the Andrew Wolstenholme-designed hull does feel very planted and stable.
Today’s cruising boats often force you to choose between good looks or voluminous accommodation. Somehow the English Harbour 27 manages to distil both these characteristics into a single twin cabin, four berth cruiser that can potter along at inland waterways speeds or whizz along offshore