What happens when a specialist adventure firm gives a tough Nordic pilothouse cruiser the expedition treatment? Alex Smith heads for Lymington to drive the Arksen 30...
Beneath bruised skies and scurrying clouds at a windswept Lymington pontoon, the imposing Arksen 30 is sitting alongside its smaller dayboating sibling, the Arksen 28.
As I make my way towards them through ranks of white fibreglass, it’s fair to say that these new Arksens look unlike anything else in the marina.
The ‘Jungle Green’ livery of the 28 is certainly not something I’ve seen before, and the Arksen 30 blends its ‘Arctic Grey’ hull with contrasting black trim and vivid orange highlights that leave you in no doubt that it’s designed to be something special.
That said, it’s clear from the outset that the singularity of the Arksen approach goes way beyond the paint job. While it has a very well-earned reputation for designing expedition boats from the ground up, it also has a policy of cherry-picking what it deems to be the best boats on the market and upgrading them in line with the needs of adventurers.
It wants to create boats that, even in their standard guise, can be used every day, all year round, in a range of remote and challenging environments.
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More to the point, it wants to empower its customers to use their boats 200 days a year instead of just 20 – and it aims to support that laudable ethos with a range of safe, well-equipped vessels, alongside an in-house Explorer’s Club that provides the logistical back-up and expedition experience to help Arksen customers bring even their most ambitious boating dreams to fruition.
The starting point for the Arksen 30 is certainly promising. Like the XO EXPLR 10 upon which it is based, it uses a robust Finnish-built aluminium hull, with an 8mm keel, 6mm bottom and 5mm sides.
It also features the same soft-riding deep-vee design as the XO, with a fine entry, a full-beam pilothouse and an open aft deck. And yet, as the prototype model, this is not a boat built to Arksen spec in the XO factory, as production models will be.
This is a standard off-the-shelf XO, imported into the UK by Arksen and then retrofitted to give an impression of how the production boats will look. As you would expect then, some of the finish is not quite up to scratch and some of the equipment is not yet fitted.
In terms of the structural work, the intention on the production boats is to integrate a set of internal hull reinforcements that will upgrade its RCD rating from category C10 to a category B6 – and that hasn’t been done yet either.
But even though the first production boat isn’t due to be released until Boot Düsseldorf 2023, it doesn’t take a tremendous leap of faith to envisage what this boat is going to be all about.
Read Alex’s full review of the Arksen 30 in the March 2023 issue of MBY, out February 2.
Arksen 30 specifications
LOA: 31ft 7in (9.50m)
Beam: 8ft 2in (2.50m)
Draft: 3ft 0in (0.90m)
Displacement: 3.6 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 2 x 225 litres
Engines: Single 350hp to twin 250hp outboards
Top speed on test: 38 knots (single 350hp)
Fuel consumption: 38.6 lph at 21 knots
Cruising range: 187 miles at 21 knots
Noise: 84dB(A) at 21 knots
RCD category: B for 6 people/C for 10 people
Price as tested: £339,824 as tested