Is the Cormate T28 sharp enough to outshine its swift and sweet-riding predecessor? Hugo Andreae heads for Poole in search of answers...
Way back in September 2018, we staged a group comparison test between three 28ft sportsboats: an Axopar 28, a Nimbus W9 and a Cormate T27. At the time, the Cormate seemed like the outlier.
Equipped with a modest 250hp V6 sterndrive engine and curvy retro styling, it looked on paper to be underpowered, outdated and overpriced compared to its more modern outboard-engined rivals.
It was only when we got behind the wheel that the picture changed. The Cormate T27 was by some margin the most fun to drive and the most capable in the rough – and even though it was considerably more expensive than the 300hp Axopar, it looked and felt the most special of the three.
In short, it punched well above its weight and remains seared in our collective memory as one of the most entertaining boats we have ever driven.
So when we stumbled across a brand new Cormate T28 model at the Southampton Boat Show last September, it got us thinking. Could this boat be even better than the original T27 or had it lost some of its magic in the intervening years?
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For those unfamiliar with the Cormate brand, the company can trace its roots back to 1985 when founder Egil Ranvig launched Hydro Design to develop a new range of affordable sportsboats under the Hydrolift brand name.
His fast efficient hull designs soon caught the eye of powerboat racers and before long, Ranvig was producing everything from centre-console leisure boats to high-performance racing cats.
Ranvig sold the business in 1999 and after a brief period building and selling a new range of RIBs under the Stormway name, he set up Cormate with his old Hydrolift colleague, Frode Svendsen.
Their stated mission was to produce “quality boats with excellent seaworthiness and timeless lines but with a revolutionary layout adapted for today’s lifestyle”. Their first boat, the Cormate T27, was launched in 2006 but it wasn’t until 10 years later that Fine Design Marine began importing them into the UK.
Finally, in 2021 after almost 15 years in production, the T27 was replaced by this new Cormate T28. Although visually very similar with an almost identical hull shape, it is in fact an all-new boat, boasting a raft of significant improvements.
Designed in Norway but built in Poland, it now forms the central pillar of a four-boat range from 23ft to 35ft – most of which are available with either inboard or outboard power and with top speeds right up to a fearsome 72 knots.
Read Hugo’s full review of the Cormate T28 in the May 2023 issue of MBY, out April 5.
Cormate T28 specifications
LOA: 27ft 7in (8.41m)
Beam: 8ft 4in (2.54m)
Draft: 3ft 1in (0.95m)
Fuel capacity: 250 litres
Engines: Single Mercruiser 350hp
Top speed on test: 47.3 knots
Fuel consumption: 29.1lph @ 20 knots
Range: 137nm @ 20 knots
RCD category: C
Price as tested: £180,972 (inc. VAT)