Countdown to Southampton Boat Show 2021: XO DFNDR 9

If you like your sportsboats with aluminium hulls and an added pinch of ruggedness then this all-new model from XO will be well worth a visit at the 2021 Southampton Boat Show.

The original DFNDR took an existing XO 240 hull, removed many of the creature comforts, replaced them with scaffolding and shock absorbing seats and touted itself as a bit of a rough tough 4×4 of the sea.

This new version, though, appears to have grown up somewhat and, in a crude but unavoidable comparison, has made the sort of transition that Land Rover recently performed with its own Defender.

The XO DFNDR 9 is slightly softer, less military in appearance and strikes a much better balance between rugged point-to-pointing and more comfortable deck spaces when you want to chill out with the anchor deployed.

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Based on the 250, does the XO DFNDR offer anything more than some fancy bodywork and cool gadgets? Jack Haines

The deck can be arranged with sun pads at either end but there is also a table that slots into the aft deck to create a dinette that can be protected from the sun by a canopy cover which attaches to the aft end of the wheelhouse.

The wheelhouse can be open-sided but optional screens provide shelter in the winter months when the four-seat interior provides a warm and comfortable space for the commuting duties the DFDNR’s domestic market requires.

The other string to this boat’s bow is the accommodation, which for a slender 28-footer looks comfortable enough for a couple to use over a weekend thanks to a dinette that converts into a large double bed and a toilet and shower room with standing headroom.

This softening of the interior spaces is unlikely to deter from the 9’s seakeeping, however. With an aluminium deep vee hull and a pair of 225hp V6 outboard motors good for 55 knots, performance and handling are still very much a priority.

XO DFNDR 9 specifications

LOA: 28ft 2in (8.6m)
Beam: 8ft 5in (2.6m)
Engines: Twin Mercury 225hp outboard
Top speed: 55 knots
Starting price: £140,279 (inc. VAT)