The opportunity to spend serious time on board doesn’t come around all that often, so it was without hesitation that we accepted Approved Boats’ offer of a loan of a Galeon 335 HTS for the weekend
This was an opportunity to put ourselves in the deck shoes of an owner, with a couple of days to enjoy some time in one of our favourite cruising grounds: the Solent.
So it was on a warm and breezeless Friday during the late May bank holiday that my wife and I stocked up the fridges, loaded on some bedding and edged the Galeon 335 HTS out of her berth in Ocean Village and crept out towards Southampton Water.
The 335 is one of eight models in Galeon’s Tony Castro-designed sportscruiser range and it’s a rival to the Jeanneau Leader 33, Bavaria Sport 34 HT and Sealine’s S330. All good boats in a highly competitive segment of the market that focuses on value for money but which nevertheless can’t be seen to be cutting corners or obviously built to a price.
There are no such issues with the Galeon 335; a small boat it may be but it is not finished like a boat with a sub-11m LOA. The stainless steel is a generous gauge, doors are full size and with wide doorways, latches are solid and chunky, the counter tops are finished in Corian and the water pump is of high quality, forcing out powerful jets of water from the taps and shower head. Lighting is LED and a mixture of bright spots and subtle rope lighting. Small needn’t mean cheap.
The boat we borrowed came in at £314,826 inc VAT with a pair of Volvo Penta D4 225hp engines. It had a reasonably comprehensive spec including heating, a bow thruster, extended wetbar, painted hardtop and console (part of the Platinum pack) and a modified white oak interior but no joystick for the sterndrives (unnecessary in my opinion) or air-conditioning.
A typical spec reflective of what most UK customers would want from a turnkey package. There are two petrol engine options and a larger diesel version with twin 260hp on the same block as the 225s for around £9,200 more.
We have a rendezvous with our snapper Paul and his RIB in Cowes so, once clear of the speed restrictions, I glide the throttles forward and, once over the hump, the boat eases into a 25-knot cruise.
The ride feels most comfortable with the Bennett trim tabs between half and three quarters of the way down to give the stern some lift and keep the running attitude comfortably level.
With fly-by-wire steering and sterndrives the boat feels poised and attuned to inputs from the helm, as we discover when Paul asks to pull a few hard turns for the lens. It may not be the focus of a boat like this but it is a lot of fun to drive and a reminder of how enjoyable a small sportscruiser with sterndrives can be.
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In this video, Jack Haines takes the helm of one of the most unexpected launches of 2014 – the Sealine
Our first overnight stop is Buckler’s Hard on the Beaulieu River, an easy crossing from our photo shoot location just east of Cowes. We top out at 28 knots with the throttles on their stops and soon discover that cruising is most comfortable between 22 and 25 knots.
For this reason it seems sensible to shell out the extra dough for the larger 260hp engines. They are likely to provide that bit more low-down shove to get the boat out of the hole and then, when cruising, not be revving quite so hard to maintain that 25-knot cruise, making for a more relaxing journey.
Read our full test of the Galeon 335 HTS in the October edition of MBY, out September 5.