Reporting from the 2022 Southampton Boat Show, MBY's Alex Smith takes us on a full tour of the Archipelago 47, which was making its global debut...
Designed in collaboration with commercial specialist, Chartwell Marine, this British-built, long-distance aluminium powercat is the first in the firm’s hotly anticipated explorer range and it’s refreshing for a variety of reasons.
For a start, the pronounced elevation of those hull sides creates two very handy benefits. Firstly, it drops the relative profile of the pilothouse, giving the Archipelago 47 a potent military aesthetic that makes the most of the raked roofline and the inverted screen.
And secondly, it creates some superb internal space, both in terms of the storage lockers at the aft ends of those side decks and the headroom for the cabins inside those hulls.
The aluminium construction is also very handy for a boat of this type. In addition to keeping the weight down, improving impact resistance and enabling much simpler repairs, it also makes custom upgrades much easier.
From the big aft deck to the central saloon and the cabins, it can all be tweaked in line with your needs – and so can that big expansive rooftop.
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While the show boat uses a huge rack for your toys, plus extra space that looks ideal for solar panels or a tender and crane, a flybridge version of the Archipelago 47 is also under development, which should prove exciting news if alfresco seating is a key priority.
That said, the existing layout feels great. With its wide-open space and pale, naturally textured oak fit-out, the main deck saloon is a thoroughly welcoming part of the boat.
The all-round views are great, thanks to the use of sailboat-style guardrails rather than solid bulwarks. And the galley is also a treat, courtesy of elevated work surfaces that enable you to stand rather than stoop as you prep your food and drink.
Down below, Archipelago has confined the accommodation solely to the hulls, avoiding a deep-chested bridge deck, which might threaten to compromise the boat’s running efficiency and ride softness.
But even on boat number 1, the calibre of those sleeping spaces is very clear to see. There’s an outrageously indulgent owner’s cabin in the port hull and there will be a pair of guest cabins, divided by a central heads to starboard, although they weren’t finished in time for the Southampton Boat Show.
You can also spec it with four cabins if required but in all cases, the vast hull windows and lofty side decks make this intriguing new cat a seriously attractive proposition for ambitious cruisers.
Capable of running at speeds of up to 30 knots, sleeping up to eight people in four separate cabins and cruising continuously for more than 3,000nm, the new Archipelago 47 is all about expanding your horizons.
While hybrid and electric boat options are likely to prove popular on production models, the first Archipelago 47 will be powered by twin 420hp Iveco diesels on straight shafts running in half tunnels.
As for the Archipelago’s aluminium construction, not only does that help keep the weight down, improve impact resistance and reduce development costs. It also makes custom models much easier to create and impromptu repairs much simpler to execute during remote off-grid adventures.
Company founder, owner and CEO Dr Steven Weatherley is a cyber security specialist with a PhD in astrophysics and an experienced motor boat owner.
After searching in vain for a fast, go-anywhere powercat to replace the family’s Mitchell 31, he decided to commission and build one of his own. He was so pleased with the concept drawings that he decided to turn it into a business.
A second Archipelago 47 is already in build and plans for 38ft and 56ft models are also being developed.
In the short term Weatherley plans to use his new boat for day trips and weekends in the Solent with his wife and four young children but ultimately has ambitions for more adventurous bluewater cruising – hence the range requirements.
“The march of the multihulls seems to be gathering pace with every month but this one really does it for me,” says MBY editor Hugo Andreae. “Small and fast enough for day trips but also robust and efficient enough to cross oceans, it really does seem to offer the best of both worlds.”
Archipelago 47 specifications
LOA: 47ft 7in (14.50m)
Beam: 21ft 3in (6.50m)
Engines: Twin 420hp Iveco diesels
Top speed: 30 knots
Starting price: £1,100,000 (inc. VAT)