Dominator 800 review

You rarely hear ‘custom boatbuilding’ and ‘affordable prices’ mentioned in the same breath, but the Dominator 800 has achieved that

The Dominator 800 is an unusual beast. Nowadays, mainstream boatbuilders are churning out production boats of 80ft or more in surprising numbers.

That is the polar opposite of Dominator’s approach. Instead it builds bespoke boats in very small numbers.

The Dominator 800 may be based on a standard glassfibre hull and deck, but the company customises all its boats so heavily that they are to all intents one-off boats.

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Our four cabin 800 – three is an option – was quite understated in its decoration, so subtly that it took two separate visits to Italy for its true character and its elevated quality to fully sink in.

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Dominator 800 saloon

The Dominator 800’s saloon is bright and modern

Our 800 was a remarkably well lit boat, and this characteristic combined perfectly with Dominator’s extensive use of subtly smoked mirrors to reflect light around inside and visually enlarge the spaces.

The boat is as solidly built as any similar craft I have come across, in particular its internal doors are impressively weighty and will help damp internal noise.

Our particular owner had decorated all his bathrooms (even the day heads behind the inner helm) with Botticino marble, and it was all finished with exquisite precision.

Dominator 800 master cabin

The master cabin has a totally flat floor and a luxurious ensuite

Bear in mind that what you see here are only one person’s preferences – minutiae such as handles and head-linings, taps and towel rails, and the lights and the leather are all up for grabs, the only limit is your imagination.


Our test boat was powered by the biggest engine option, the twin 1,800hp MAN diesels. However, whereas the first boat was shaft drive, in consultation with the owner Dominator installed the Rientjes Fortjes 4000 pod drive system on the second 800.

Dominator 800 flybridge

Dark hardtop looks great and adds shade if needed

Pod drive itself is not new, but this is the first time we’ve come across the Rientjes system in an 80ft, 30+ knot flybridge cruiser.

Flat out, we achieved a top speed of 32.6 knots, so it appears that the system holds its own in the performance stakes, but doesn’t really offer any conspicuous gains over a good shaft drive boat.

That’s probably because the Rientjes pods are fixed, so unlike IPS and Zeus, they need rudders too.

With both pods and rudders anchoring the 800 to the water, it was no surprise that the boat was extremely docile and predictable manoeuvring at slow speed around the marina. Yet the 800 was an agile boat underway that responded very quickly to the wheel.

You can read the full report on the Dominator 800 in the October 2015 issue of MBY.

Contact Dominator. Tel: +44 (0)7903 742523 Web:

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  • Low profile design is unusually sleek
  • Custom boatbuilding at near-production boat prices
  • A strikingly well illuminated boat inside
  • Shaft drive or Rientjes pod drive options
  • Choose details such as handles and taps and towel rails


  • Rientjes pod drives offer no significant benefits

Price as reviewed:

£3,146,000.00 ex VAT


Custom boatbuilding can be a notoriously expensive process, but somehow Dominator has managed to offer a high quality, full custom build (albeit inside a standard GRP hull) and yet not charge over the odds for that luxury.


Length: 80ft 5in (24.5m)
Beam: 19ft 8in (6m)
Fuel capacity: 1,584 imp gal (7,200 litres)
Water capacity: 327 imp gal (1,485 litres)
Draught: 5ft 11in (1.8m)
RCD Category: A (for 16 people)
Displacement: 62 tonnes
Test engines: Twin 1,800hp MAN
Top speed: 32.6 knots
Cruising speed: 20-30 knots

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