Our resident used boat expert Phil Sampson explains how to find a good Nimbus 335 Coupé on the secondhand market and what features to look out for…
In build: 2009 – 2015
Price range: £125,000 – £165,000
First of all, let’s clear something up: what makes a boat a coupé? It depends on where you look but the definition we’ve used over the years is that a coupé is a sportscruiser with its helm and socialising area at main deck level within a fully enclosed hard top that leads out to an open aft cockpit.
Nimbus itself dates back to 1968 when the Nimbus Group was founded in Långedrag, near Gothenburg, on Sweden’s west coast. Starting with the Nimbus 26, the company established a reputation for building practical, seaworthy boats that stood the test of time.
The company and the range expanded over time, doubtlessly helped during the 1980s by a high-profile marketing collaboration with tennis superstar Björn Borg.
It wasn’t just tennis royalty that took a shine to its products; in 1996 the Royal Clubs of Sweden presented King Carl Gustav XVI with a Nimbus 19 Nova as a 50th birthday present, cementing its standing as a manufacturer of smart, high quality boats with lasting appeal.
It was around this time that Nimbus launched its first coupé – prior to this it had focused on open and semi-enclosed wheelhouse boats.
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The concept proved a great success both at home in Sweden and overseas where customers relished the convenience of a fully enclosed saloon, galley and helm on a single level which could be heated in winter and opened up in summer. Nimbus gradually expanded the Coupé range over the following years, launching 28, 32, 35 and 38ft models.
In 2009 these were joined by two more, the Nimbus 335 Coupé featured here and its larger sibling the Nimbus 365. Although the 365 was a foot wider than the 335, it was only 13 inches longer, meaning the two boats were actually quite similar – the key differences being an island double bed and ensuite access to the heads as well as more space and bigger engines in the 365.
However, the 335 was around £60,000 cheaper than its big sister, making it a more attractive proposition for cost conscious customers. Around 100 of these smaller 335 models were constructed before it was phased out in 2015.
As with many Scandinavian boats of this size, the 335 is a single-engined craft that was originally offered with a choice of 260hp or 300hp versions of Volvo Penta D4 on simple shaft drives. These delivered claimed top speeds of 24 and 26 knots respectively.
Our review boat, a 300hp 2013 example, was on the books of Ancasta’s Chichester branch for £165,000 tax paid. It was being sold by a Scandinavian family, the Eklos. Originally from Norway, Olaf Eklo had purchased his Nimbus 335 Coupé to enjoy a more quiet lifestyle following a busy working life.
Sadly, this was not to be and just three days after the boat was delivered to Shepperton Marina, he passed away. Olaf’s son, Kristian, took on the vessel, and after learning how to handle it was soon using it with his family as a very comfortable day boat.
“It’s a very manoeuvrable boat,” says Kristian. “During my training I was prompted not to use the bow and stern thruster unless absolutely necessary and I found it quite easy unless it was windy – a lot of the boat is above water and consequently its windage is quite high. In terms of accommodation, there was always plenty of room for three or four family members.”
Another boater with experience of the model is Ken Haynes, who moved up from a Seaward 25 to a Nimbus 335 Coupé named Tigris, which he kept at Mercury marina on the Hamble. “At the time we wanted a boat with more accommodation, to take the family out,” says Ken.
“I also wanted something a bit faster than the Seaward. As it turned out it wasn’t much faster but the ride was smoother and there was less spray over the bow. While the performance was acceptable, it never achieved the 25 knots it was reputed to do. I got 23 knots occasionally but only with a clean hull and prop.
“A jet wash and thorough clean of the prop was necessary every six months, by which time speed was cut down to under 20 knots. I had the prop recalibrated twice but saw little improvement.
“Fuel consumption was pretty good, particularly if I cruised at 12 to 16 knots. In terms of handling, we probably went out in up to Force 6 with no trouble but mainly in the Solent. Handling became easier in cross winds when I managed to sort out the trim tabs!”
Ken purchased his Nimbus 335 Coupé from Offshore Powerboats of Lymington, the UK importer for Nimbus. “We only had one or two minor faults after delivery and their aftercare was first class,” he says.
An interesting design feature of the Nimbus 335 Coupé is its asymmetric side decks, with the wheelhouse being offset to port. While this results in a very narrow side deck on the port side, it frees up more space inside the saloon while still leaving room for a wide side deck on the starboard side.
This can be accessed either from the aft cockpit or via a full-height door next to the helm. The latter is an important consideration for anyone looking to operate the vessel single-handed, as it enables the skipper to quickly hop outside to lasso a cleat when berthing.
Despite the boat having a beam of just 10ft 6in, there’s a generously-sized bathing platform with lockers either side of a swim ladder, and four fender baskets for easy stowing under away. Despite the majority of the main deck space being given over to the saloon, the open aft cockpit is surprisingly spacious.
An inviting L-shaped seating area lies to port with a removable table perched atop the access hatch to the engine bay. The engine sits immediately below this hatch, meaning easy access for daily checks – no unpleasant bending or contortions required here!
Despite the asymmetric design, the relatively narrow beam does catch up with you in the wheelhouse, which feels relatively compact due to the multiple roles it needs to fulfil. There are three separate areas – dinette, galley and helm – which rub up against one another as they compete for space.
The galley, for example, extends all the way to the rear of the helm seat. This does mean that it’s comprehensively equipped with a one-and-a-half bowl sink, two-burner hob, oven, fridge and plenty of storage drawers.
With the hob and sink covers in place, the galley also provides a good amount of worktop space for food preparation. Wisely, our review boat was also fitted with a hinge-up splashback to the left of the hob to protect the helm seat’s fabric.
Opposite the galley, the dinette provides seating for four. In common with all the interior woodwork, the dining table is fashioned from high quality mahogany and looks great. The tussle for space continues here though, where a clever flip over mechanism allows the rear-facing forward end of the dinette to become a forward-facing double seat under way. Directly in front of this is an attractive mahogany unit incorporating a chart storage tray and a pop-up television/computer monitor.
The helm has a single bolstered seat and a compact but well laid-out console. Two cup holders are provided but most other items would need to be stored on the port side unit. Visibility from the helm is good all round, and the starboard side door, together with the vessel’s two manual sunroofs, ensures a plentiful supply of fresh air and natural light.
Two steps lead down from the wheelhouse to the lower deck. To save space these are only half width and offset to alternate sides so that you have to lead with your left foot then your right to avoid stepping into thin air.
There is no companionway door here either, so anyone standing alongside the helm when the boat is moving will need to watch their step, although there are handholds to steady yourself with as you descend.
Once there you will find two cabins. The owner’s cabin, located in the forepeak, has a vee-berth with an infill to create a double bed. It’s a cosy but comfortable space, albeit with limited storage for longer cruises.
The second cabin is also compact but manages to include a double bed (with restricted headroom) and enough storage space to see you through a weekend. The single heads is a wet room, with the basin’s tap doubling up as a pull out shower head.
Nimbus 335 Coupé verdict
The Nimbus 335 Coupé is an easy boat to like. It’s a welcoming, versatile vessel that will appeal to those seeking a comfortable, manageable boat that’s high in quality and low in operating costs.
Well suited to families with a pair of young children or older couples looking to downsize, it’s small enough to use as a day or river boat but large enough to stay aboard for weekends or even weeks at a time.
Like all boats it has its foibles – not everybody likes the idea of a single engine on a cruising boat of this size – but few other 33ft boats can cover quite so many bases quite so well while still being usable all year round.
Nimbus 335 Coupé surveyor’s report
Extensive use of vacuum infusion, cored laminate and inner mouldings is such that access is tricky in the tight recesses of the engine bay and service areas.
It is critical when surveying these boats to check as far as possible for good bonding of the inner moulding to the hull moulding, and careful assessment of the cored hull at low level is important, especially where it tapers back to solid construction.
Points to note when considering buying:
- With dark-coloured gelcoats, the imprint marks from build due to the vacuum infusion process can be visible. This is not of any structural concern, but cosmetically it can be quite noticeable.
- Being of cored construction, have the undersides and topsides carefully hammer sounded and checked by an experienced surveyor to ensure the core has not become delaminated. Similarly, any impact damage should have been well repaired to ensure moisture has not ingressed into the core material.
- Access around the single engine is awkward, especially to monitor the sterngland and access the cooling water seacock. You could fit an articulated rod to the seacock handle.
- The maximum speed I achieved on the survey was 22.5 knots with the D4 260. With the 300, up to 25 knots is possible. Hull cleanliness makes a significant impact on the speed of any boat but this model seems to be particularly sensitive to it. Consider a mid-season lift out for a pressure wash and anode check. This will easily pay for itself in saved fuel consumption.
- Check the machinery service history, and insist on a thorough sea trial with your surveyor. Heat exchanger cleaning regimes are so often forgotten, and generally a thorough sea trial can detect issues.
- Check for any signs of cracking around the mullions for the A post around the windscreen, due to flexing. The dark blue gelcoat is prone to blooming over time, so allowance will need to be made for regular compounding, or ultimately painting or vinyl wrapping to preserve its looks. The tinted acrylic windows will also age over time, so regularly examine their bonding.
– Chris Olsen, Olsen Marine Surveying
Nimbus 335 Coupé specifications
LOA: 33ft 9in (10.27m)
Beam: 10ft 6in (3.2m)
Draft: 3ft 6in (1.1m)
Fuel capacity: 480 litres
Water capacity: 190 litres
Max speed: 25.3 knots
Cruising range: 206nm at 19.8 knots with 20% reserve
Design: Joacim Gustavsson and Mats Jacobsson
Hull type: Semi displacement
RCD category: B
Annual fuel burn: 1,720 litres (based on 25 hours at 25.3kn and 25 hours at 6.9kn)
Annual marina mooring: £7,291 (based on £710 per m on the Hamble River downstream of Bursledon bridge)
What’s on the market
Price: £165,000 inc VAT
Engine: 1 x Volvo Penta D4 300hp
Price: £165,000 inc VAT
Engine: 1 x Volvo Penta D4 260hp
Lying: Inverkip, Inverclyde
First published in the August 2023 issue of MBY.
In association with SETAG Yachts. Design and refit specialists SETAG Yachts bring luxury to the pre-owned market – by creating the bespoke yacht of your dreams, with no compromise. To fall in love with your boat all over again visit www.setagyachts.com or call +44 (0)1752 648618 for more details.
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