Vandal Explorer sea trial review: Tough new powercat for serious off-grid adventure

Looking for a boat that’s as easy to enjoy in the Baltic as the Med? A unique take on the do-it-all adventure cat, the Vandal Explorer might be just the thing...

What do you really need if you want to enjoy the full range of watersports activities on a single platform? Well ideally, you need a boat with a generous waterline length, a soft ride through waves and reliable stability.

You might also want a modest draft for easy shallow-water access, as well as plenty of deck space for boating water toys and tenders. The capacity to generate your own electrical power is always handy in terms of freedom from shoreside support.

And it’s also useful on a proper adventure boat if the material from which it’s built is impact-resistant, low-maintenance, easy to customise and simple to fix without specialist equipment. In all regards then, you probably need something like this…

In a world that is finally waking up to the space, stability and versatility of twin hulls, the Vandal Explorer takes quite an unusual approach. On the one hand, co-founder Ben Mennem wanted something he could enjoy in the Mediterranean and on the other, superyacht designer Espen Øino was interested in something he could enjoy in the waters of his native Norway.

In their attempts to marry these contrasting requirements, Vandal’s first foray into the world of tough adventure-ready powercats feels extremely distinctive. Built in the Netherlands by the team at Tenderworks, whose expertise lies primarily in superyacht tenders and chase boats, the Vandal Explorer is 46ft in length with a surprisingly modest beam of just 14ft 5in.

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But to ramp up the scale of the available space, it comes with outboard engines and a flybridge; and to help maximise the running efficiency and the ride quality, it uses a set of fixed foils between the hulls. It also marries its robust aluminium construction with a style, fit-out and finish that projects a very profound sense of commercial toughness.

Both the main and fly decks have been left wide open, with skeletal frames to keep the views big and sea access simple and to preserve as much space as possible for custom furniture and expedition-style toys.

Up at the blunt, squared-off bow, the thick integrated boat fenders wrap all the way around the leading edges of the hulls – and on the foredeck itself, sturdy Samson posts are supplemented with a huge elevated grabrail, as well as a massive bullbar around the anchor.

Read Alex’s full review of the Vandal Explorer in the March 2022 issue of MBY, which is out now.

Vandal Explorer specifications

LOA: 46ft 0in (14.00m)
Beam: 14ft 5in (4.40m)
Draft: 2ft 4in (0.70m)
Displacement: 11 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 2 x 630 litres
Test engines: Twin Yamaha 425 XTO outboards
Top speed on test: 39.3 knots
Fuel consumption: 100lph @ 20 knots / 59.9lph @ 12.8 knots
Cruising range: 202nm @ 20 knots / 215nm @ 12.8 knots
Noise: 84.9 d(B)A @ 20 knots
RCD category: B for 14 people
Design: Scott Jutson / Espen Øino
Price as tested: €950,000 ex VAT


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