Nick Burnham takes a look at four tempting boats that can be bought for less than the cost of a holiday cottage
Of all the ‘Find Me A…’ features I compile, I think I enjoy the price challenges the most, for two reasons. Firstly, it’s ultimately how most of us buy boats. We might have preconceived ideas about the type of boat we want, whether we prefer a sportscruiser to a flybridge, fast or slow, new or old.
But ultimately our guiding principle comes down to budget. How much we physically have to spend is first and foremost the overarching decider as to whether a boat comes within our sphere.
But also it’s always fascinating to delve into the used boat market with zero preconceived ideas beyond a financial limit and just see what turns up. This month I’ve set the bar at £200,000. It’s a chunky sum, but still less than a holiday cottage that’s stuck in one place. And I’ve found four very different ways of spending it…
Bavaria Sport 360 HT
Bavaria’s Sport 35 was always a popular boat. A classic two cabin mid-30ft sportscruiser, it didn’t reinvent the wheel, instead it simply ticked all the boxes for a lot of buyers. So when it was replaced in 2015, Bavaria stuck closely to its winning formula, evolving and improving the concept with some carefully considered upgrades.
Put a plan view of a 360 over the 35 and not much appears to have changed – a cabin at each end and a dinette opposite the galley in the middle. But on board and in three dimensions there are a few differences. The most obvious is swapping the vee berths in the forward cabin for a centre-line double.
It takes up a little more space, but an infill allows users to opt for more bed length or more floor space depending on their priorities. In the saloon area the electrics panel is tucked neatly behind a cupboard door, as is the microwave in the galley. And in the aft cabin, the settee area has been lengthened.
In the cockpit, the big news is seating right of the transom rather than the sunpad aft of the previous model. And while the option of open cockpit or open backed hard top remain, a further option of enclosed hard top was introduced, putting glass doors across the otherwise unchanged cockpit. Overhead, a sliding roof or folding fabric roof were offered, the latter creating a larger aperture.
Twin Mercruiser petrol engines or a single Volvo Penta D6-370 engine are available (not that you’ll find any mention of engines in the brochure, strangely). However, the twin D3-220 option fitted to this boat is the most popular, giving about 30 knots flat out.
Solid and capable, the Bavaria is a decent sea boat, although the bow can scoop up some large wet chunks of spray at times.
LOA: 35ft 3in (10.8m)
Beam: 11ft 8in (3.6m)
Draught: 3ft 8in (1.2m)
Displacement: 6.8 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 520 litres
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta D3-220 220hp diesel
Contact: Clipper Marine
Azimut 42 Evolution
There are plenty of manufacturers building worthy circa 40ft flybridge boats (or at least there were in 2005 when this one was built). And the Azimut 42 is no exception to this pantheon. But what the Azimut layers on top is a dash of irresistible Italian style and a high quality finish. Inevitably there will be other boats that are slightly more practical, but who cares when the boat looks this good?
The standard two-cabin two-head layout with the galley on the lower deck works as well as ever but what Azimut brings to the party is beautifully sculptured headlinings, a stunning lustre to the high-gloss cherry woodwork and frameless bonded windows. Those windows are big too, there’s plenty of light and a great view out – who says stylish has to be impractical?
It’s the same story on the outside, cream gelcoat and plenty of curves but in combination with generous side decks and great access via twin transom gates. Only on the flybridge do the compromises begin to show, with low sides and rails making this a place where you sit on, not in, the boat. Huge sunpads up here suggest a Mediterranean vibe rather than Ramsgate drizzle.
Only one engine option, a pair of Caterpillar 3126TA 7.2-litre turbo diesels living beneath the saloon floor and powering straight shaft drives. Access is via the lazarette through an opened bulkhead but noise levels are commendably low, right up to the 33-knot maximum speed we achieved when testing the boat in Portofino (tough job, etc). 27 knots is an easy 2,300rpm.
There’s a reassuring solidity to the Azimut 42. It’s a dry boat too, with great spray management. But perhaps most impressive is the efficient way it goes through the water. When we tested it we achieved 1.6mpg at fast cruising speeds, a good 30% better than most rivals.
LOA: 42ft 8in (13m)
Beam: 13ft 8in (4.2m)
Draught: 3ft 7in (1.1m)
Displacement: 10.5 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 1,200 litres
Engines: Twin Caterpillar 3126TA 375hp diesels
Contact: RPA Boat Sales
Hatteras 52 CMY
As we’ve seen, £200,000 is plenty to buy you a very recent, smart sportscruiser or a slightly older, larger flybridge cruiser. Or you can step back in time and buy a rock-solid classic that was once the preserve of multi-millionaires. When 1980s TV series Howards’ Way introduced property tycoon Charles Freer to its audience, it did so with a shot of Freer sailing up Southampton Water on a huge Hatteras not dissimilar to this.
With 53ft of length and 16ft of beam to play with, not to mention vertiginous topsides, the interior of the 52CMY is predictably vast. It’s an aft cabin layout with a twist – although the aft cabin reaches back beneath the aft deck, there is a small cockpit at the very back of the boat behind it (it’s what CMY stands for – Cockpit Motor Yacht).
As well as a large fore cabin, a dinette on the lower deck opposite the galley and a massive saloon, there’s also a vast owner’s suite aft and a twin guest cabin.
The trade-off with aft cabin boats is a high, exposed aft deck instead of a cockpit. The aft deck on this Hatteras is high, but certainly not exposed. GRP sides surround it and a massive solid bimini shades it. Clear canopies link the two for protection from the elements, and you’ve still got that aft cockpit on a lower level. Steps lead through doors to the flybridge where you can drive the boat wearing a cream suit for the full Freer effect.
Thrust the two appropriately retro chrome throttle levers to the stops and a pair of huge GM Detroit 8V-92 TAC 2-Stroke 720hp diesel engines shoulder 30 tonnes of all American dream up to 24 knots flat out for a high teens cruising speed.
Imperialistic probably best sums up progress of this 50ft leviathan. Just like Charles Freer himself, not much slows its bombastic progress, much less stops it in its tracks.
LOA: 52ft 11in (16.1m)
Beam:16ft 0in (4.9m)
Draught: 5ft 2in (2.0m)
Displacement: 29.9 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 3,760 litres
Engines: Twin GM Detroit 8V-92 TAC 2-Stroke 720hp diesel
Broom 35 Coupe
Launched at the Southampton Boat Show in 2012, the Broom 35 Coupe and its smaller open sister the 30 Coupe were the first boats launched by the company without its traditional aft cabin layout since the 1990s. Aimed at capturing a new and perhaps more youthful audience, the 35 Coupe was intended as both a river runner and an offshore cruiser, with engine options to suit both genres.
The interior may have been more contemporary but the build quality remained, with thick lustrous carpentry and quality upholstery. The galley was in an extended saloon, leaving space on the lower deck for a separate heads and shower plus a utility area aft of the master cabin in the bow, or even a second cabin.
But actually most 35 Coupes went out with the layout you see here, which has a shorter main deck, putting a larger galley on the lower deck opposite a toilet and shower.
A sharp modern profile sporting flush bonded glass and optional hull colours, the 35 Coupe is nonetheless a very practical proposition with wide side decks. The saloon doors slide and fold and there’s a side door next to the helm. The cockpit seat reverses to face aft.
Broom fitted a range of shaft drive engines to suit different applications. Smallest was a 60hp Nanni for displacement speed cruising of up to 8 knots. At the other extreme, twin Nanni 170hp engines were offered initially, but Broom soon switched to the single Volvo Penta D4 260 that this boat has; more efficient but with the same 16-17 knot top speed.
Andrew Wolstenholme designed the semi displacement hull which combines a shallow keel for low speed stability with the ability to go offshore. It’s a solid performer, if a somewhat wet boat when the going gets tough.
LOA: 35ft 1in (10.7m)
Beam: 12ft 4in (3.8m)
Draught: 3ft 1in (0.9m)
Displacement: 8 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 500 litres
Engine: Volvo Penta D4 260 260hp diesel
Contact: Bates Wharf