Nick Burnham picks out four tempting used boat options for under £150,000 from the likes of Bavaria, Beneteau, Sunseeker and Jeanneau
A price tag of £150,000 is easily enough to slot you into some tasty new machinery. This ex-display model Bavaria S30 neatly bridges the gap between new and secondhand: it’s been antifouled and exhibited but never owned, so the warranties start from scratch.
It’s a proper sportscruiser, so headroom is capped to maintain its sleek lines, but you’ll get just over 6ft in the key areas. There’s room aplenty below decks, with a large dinette forward that converts to a big double bed and a separate mid cabin with a permanent double and a small settee. In between, a generous galley and heads compartment complete the arrangements.
The S30 is actually an S29 with a different cockpit layout better suited to our northern European climate. Gone is the sunpad aft in favour of a larger cockpit with seating that runs all the way back to the transom. It also frees up space for extra forward- facing seating alongside the helm.
For those rare occasions when the sun does shine, dropping the cockpit table restores sunbathing facilities. The optional extended bathing platform offers room for watersports.
Although available with twin engines, a big single suits this boat well, specifically the Volvo Penta D4. The 260hp version is adequate but the enhanced 300hp version fitted to this boat should push the top speed into the mid thirties, giving economical cruising in the mid twenties. You also gain plenty of space with one engine in a bay big enough for two.
A wide beam makes the S30 stable and a displacement of nearly five tonnes gives it a planted demeanour. For the same reason, it’s pretty docile in close quarters too.
Length: 30ft 5in (9.3m)
Beam: 9ft 8in (3.0m)
Draught: 4ft 2in (1.3m)
Displacement: 4.8 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 137 gallons (520 litres)
Engine: Volvo Penta D4-300 300hp diesel
Contact: Clipper Marine
In 2010, French yard Jeanneau launched a new model line – the NC range, starting with this 36ft NC11. NC stands for New Concept, and the idea was to create deck saloon boats with the main deck accommodation fully enclosed. It has since been joined by both larger and smaller siblings like the Jeanneau NC14 and NC9.
The deck saloon is full of clever ideas that make the most of the available space. There’s a sliding roof above and a sliding door next to the helm; even the four section cockpit doors can open either way.
The rear seat can join the dinette or face aft into the cockpit, and its opposite number further forward can face the table or flip to provide forward-facing seating. The galley is also on this level, freeing the lower deck for two generous cabins that share a heads. There’s also an inordinate amount of very useful stowage beneath the saloon floor and in the engine space.
Moving parts aren’t limited to the interior. The whole transom moulding, complete with seat, can slide back for more cockpit space or pull forward for more room on the swim platform. Asymmetric side decks create an extra-wide walkway on the port deck.
Twin Volvo Penta D3 motors are the only engine option at 200hp or 220hp each, the former giving the boat about 34 knots in perfect conditions. Despite being relatively small, they push the boat on to the plane easily and run comfortably, cruising in the mid twenties. There’s plenty of ‘top hamper’ to catch the wind but bow and stern thrusters should make light work of berthing manoeuvres.
Its big windows provide great visibility and the noise levels are commendably low. Lightweight D3 motors help the NC11 plane happily at speeds below 20 knots, a useful asset in big seas.
Length: 36ft 6in (11.1m)
Beam: 12ft 3in (3.7m)
Draught: 3ft 3in (1.0m)
Displacement: 5.9 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 158 gallons (720 litres)
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta D3-200 200hp diesel
Contact: Blackrock Yachting
Sunseeker Sportfisher 37
Sunseeker had one eye firmly on the US market when it launched the Sportfisher 37 in 2003. It is a rare sight in the UK but if it does look familiar, it might be because it made a fleeting appearance in Casino Royale as Bond arrives in the Bahamas.
Below, a large centreline double bed dominates the open-plan cabin. There’s a small settee and a compact galley down here too, as well as a spacious heads with a shower cubicle. The finish is classic Sunseeker – gloss or muted satin cherry woodwork.
The large and open aft section of the cockpit is pure sportsfisher, big game or otherwise. A side gate also makes this area a good diving platform. The central helm puts the skipper in close contact with the anglers behind and the seating area ahead of it, shaded by an optional GRP bimini.
US boats were fitted with multiple petrol outboards but European models were powered by a pair of sterndrive diesels, 285hp Volvo Penta KAD300 or the more recent D6-310 units of this boat, good for 40 knots.
The twin-stepped deep-vee hull was capable of channelling up to 900hp and has no qualms coping with 620hp. It’s a balanced ride, combining fast long-distance cruising with decent fuel economy.
Length: 37ft 0in (11.3m)
Beam: 11ft 0in (4.6m)
Draught: 3ft 8in (3.3m)
Displacement: 8.3 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 220 gallons (1,000 litres)
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta D6-310 310hp diesel
Contact: Sunseeker Brokerage
Beneteau Antares 13.80
It’s easy to buy a big cheap boat – just buy an old one. However, getting one that’s still relatively new, say post 2000, is a little harder. This is where mass-produced French boats tend to score highly. They lack the detailing of the best British and Scandinavian boats but they do offer a solidly built solution that’s comparably cheaper.
Having said that, it’s almost as though Beneteau forgot that they were piling them high and selling them cheap. Sure, there are a few exposed screw heads and a bit more bare GRP on show than you would find in more prestigious models, but there’s plenty of high-gloss cherry, adding a touch of class to an interior that is light and roomy.
Three cabins and two heads compartments mean that six people can sleep very comfortably, with at least two bulkheads between each cabin. Only the galley, moved up to the main deck by the three-cabin layout, is a little cramped.
The side decks are over a foot wide with 6in raised bulwarks adding another margin of safety. Everywhere is teak laid and the windows are trimmed in stainless steel. The deck gear is good too, with 16in cleats. The styling is purposeful and timeless, and the cockpit and the flybridge are unusually generous for its size.
A pair of big, simple Volvo Penta TAMD 75 diesel engines fire their combined 960hp down big, simple shaftdrives, making for relatively low maintenance costs and a top speed of over 30 knots. So there is absolutely no skimping on performance.
There is no skimping on the seakeeping either. The narrower-than-normal forward hull sections give good head sea performance, while there is plenty of flare to the topsides to keep the inevitable spray to a minimum.
Length: 45ft 9in (14.0m)
Beam: 14ft 1in (4.3m)
Draught: 3ft 7in (1.1m)
Displacement: 11.9 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 330 gallons (1,500 litres)
Engines: Volvo Penta TAMD 75 480hp diesel
Contact: One Marine
The Bavaria S30 puts you into what is effectively a new boat with full warranties; a nice place to be, and an economical one with that big D4 single engine. Tempting. The Jeanneau NC11 trades a little age for a bigger boat, twin engines and a wonderfully adaptable all-weather layout. It would make a great all-season boat.
Then I found the Sunseeker Sportfisher and rather fell for it. I love the quirky styling, the rarity, the finish and near-40- knot performance. I was set to make it my choice but then I discovered the Beneteau: three cabins, masses of deck space, a flybridge, two big shaftdrive diesel engines, recent build and classic styling, all sub £150,000. Incredible! Only my bank balance is keeping Smuggler’s Blues 2 safe.