by Dom Wiseman

Every now and then a new boat comes along that really stands out from the crowd. The Axopar 28 T Top is one of those boats. Designed in Finland it is mainly used in Europe as a tender to large super yachts, yet here it will make a perfect day boat and has the versatility to be a genuine multi-purpose vessel, with a toilet and accommodation should you need it.
While it may look unique, with a design that is closer to a sleek yacht than a power boat, it is also very functional with an exceptional amount of space onboard. The design team has obviously put a lot of thought into both the design and layout of this boat.
On the water, the freeboard looks low compared to many of its competitors but the hull is a beauty and easily slices through chop courtesy of its 22 degree deadrise. The Axopar 28 T Top really is a pleasure to drive and with a decent sized outboard on the back is also an impressive performer.
This boat is definitely capable of much more than simple flat-water cruising. Our test involved heading out through the Sydney heads and well off-shore in search of  migrating whales before heading back into more sheltered waters for a relaxing lunch in a secluded bay.  The Axopar handled both tasks admirably.

WHAT YOU GET
The Axopar 28 T Top is striking with its flexi-teak deck throughout and bright orange upholstery. While these are the first things you’ll notice, there’s plenty more crammed into this neat 28-footer.
At the bow there is a large locker with plenty of room for ropes and an anchor winch should you choose to fit one. Directly behind the locker is a luxurious entertaining area, with the aforementioned bright orange seat covers. The seating runs across the bow and down the left hand side creating quite a spacious area for four people. The adjustable table can be lowered to create a sun lounge with the addition of some more cushions. The right side has no seating but you can stand and the gunwale is a perfect height to lean against making it a pretty comfortable spot.
Either side of the centre console is a walkway that provides easy access from the front to the stern of the boat. At the front of the console, hidden behind a lockable door, is a well-appointed toilet finished in walnut timbers and stainless steel highlights. There is even a fresh-water sink and mirror to freshen up. When inside, and with the door closed, I found it to be a little enclosing as there are no windows but it could merely be my personal space issues as this room is really quite well designed.Axopar 13
Axopar 11Moving back around the console which is protected by an expansive integrated bimini top finished in a custom North Sails material, you step down into the helm area accessed between the front row of drivers and passenger seats and the rear lounge seating, which can comfortably accommodate four. In here, you feel immensely safe and secure, which is very reassuring for owners with kids or partners who are not so at ease on the water. A large raked glass windscreen provides ample protection from the elements.
The steering wheel is all class, as is the stylishly minimal dash design. To the left is storage while ahead of the driving position you have a large flat space for a sounder/GPS unit and to the left, a slot designed to accommodate an ipad which can run Navionics as we did on the test day. Also within reach are the controls for the bow thruster and trim tabs. The Smartcraft gauge is also positioned here with the throttle easily accessible on the other side of the wheel.
Behind the front two seats is a long, bench seat with arm rests at either end. The upholstery, like all the upholstery on the boat is plush, durable and extremely comfortable. Underneath these seats is storage and a fridge to keep the cold ones, well, cold. It will fit a good number of drinks and food for a day out. Behind this seat is where it gets really interesting. At the rear sits an elevated sun lounge that is spacious enough for two and hides a nifty two person cabin accessed by lifting the rear seat. There are two small windows either side and should you have too many refreshments, you can climb in and sleep it off.
At the stern of the boat, either side of the engine well, is a teak-covered swim platform that allows access to the water. There are also mooring lines and fender storage on either side of the boat. These help keep lines and the boat tidy when underway.
POWER
The hull is powered by a 300hp Mercury Verado engine built on a 2.7-litre in-line six cylinder platform that delivers impressive acceleration and performance. With a newly designed super charger and vents that direct cold air into the engine more efficiently, it is quiet, effortless and more efficient.
Mercury claims that this engine can operate on Unleaded 87 Octane or 90 Octane with no more than 10% ethanol. In any case, the higher the Octane, the better performance and fuel efficiency you will get from your outboard.
Axopar 10
Axopar 1The trim controls are precise and while at 28 feet, this boat comes with both engine trim and trim tabs, it was easy to get the engine to sit at the right amount of trim and have the boat riding over swell without being to nose down or nose up.
Engine controls are situated to the left of the steering wheel and in this situation, they have opted for the Mercury Vessel View platform. This keeps the dash space clean and uncluttered while still allowing all necessary reading to be located on one display. It’s easy to navigate and understand, even for novice skippers. The engine is rated 2 stars putting it in the very low emissions category.

ON THE WATER
The performance of this twin-stepped hull is the complete opposite to what I expected after looking at the boat. My first thoughts, after seeing the low sides was it would struggle to handle rough conditions. But I was very wrong, the sleek knife-like hull slices through the water with purpose and rides smoothly over lumps and bumps with no banging and surprisingly very little spray over the front when running both into and with the waves. The steps in the hull help break up water making the hull more efficient by reducing drag. The helm position is also exceedingly comfortable and secure and is one of the main reasons this boat is such a pleasure to drive.
Throw the boat into a turn and again, she impresses with a sure feeling throughout. She beds into the corner well and is capable of reasonably tight cornering that is impressive for a boat of this length. It can be driven standing up or sitting down equally well. The seat folds back to create a back rest when standing and there is a foot rail that ensures you can lock yourself in place nicely when sitting. I actually didn’t want to get out of the drivers chair and when Dan from Windcraft suggested he would drive it down the Sydney Harbour from Pittwater, I was tempted to cancel my plans and tag along. I found it extremely difficult to fault the ride both offshore and inshore.
The 300hp Mercury Verado is a perfect partner for this hull and pushes it onto the plane easily and it always felt like there’s plenty left. You could elect for a lower horsepower, say 200, which would save some money and I would expect provide ample performance on a boat like this which, while sporty, will be used for more entertaining based activities.
All round the performance is exceptional whether running into a swell and wind or cruising around a more sedate waterway. At rest the stability this hull provides is surprising, despite the steep deadrise.
OVERVIEW
The Axopar 28 T Top is a fantastic package that offers a lot for the Australian market. The purposeful design, crafty additions and clever use of space deliver a sports boat package that is immensely usable. Too often, boats lean too much to one side of this equation, but Axopar has balanced great looks with functionality better than most. The open style of the boat creates a usable area which you can also feel completely safe in. There’s enough sun protection, courtesy of the inbuilt bimini, and plenty of areas to soak up its rays keeping you happy all day long.Apaxopar 2 The space and performance make this boat perfect for cruising, overnight stays and even fishing.
POSITIVES

  • Innovative design
  • Use of space
  • Excellent finish

NEGATIVES

  • Small fridge
  • Expensive

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: $195,967 (as tested)Axopar 14Construction: Fibreglass
Length Overall: 8.60m
Beam: 2.85m
Draft: 0.75m
Dry Weight: 1690kgs
Engines: Mercury 300hp Verado
Fuel Capacity: 260 litres
Persons: 8

 

  • John Shah

    I want one ! … I shall start saving for it today.