Axopar Boats has just launched a brand new boat – the Axopar 22 Spyder, which looks like a great new addition to their model line up that has been garnering a lot of attention in the marine industry for the past few years. And for good reason. This boat is a European-style, sporty day cruiser with elegant lines that could be equally at home as a luxury tender or an entry-level, fully capable family day boat. Read on for an overview of this boat and check out our full walkthrough review below.
Before we delve into the new model, I first have to talk about Axopar as a boat builder in general. Since launching in 2014 the Finnish company has done an amazing job introducing innovative walkaround style open boats, available in T-top and cabin models. The boats are stylish and sleek, with an overall look akin to a RIB, appearing somewhat like a cross between a luxury tender and a defender-class response boat that you might see the US Coast Guard use as a patrol boat. (However, they don’t have the added nuisance of inflatable tubes to deal with.) The boats have a narrow “arrow-like” appearance helping them slice through and over the top of rough water. They are manufactured using lightweight materials and handle extremely well, making them safe in inclement weather and challenging sea states.
Axopar’s European roots are somewhat of a breath of fresh air in a crowded, center-console-dominated US market. Though these boats can technically fall under the center console class, they have a wholly unique styling that stands out from the crowd and a slew of options and features that set them apart. Since Finland is one of the world’s most northern and geographically remote countries that is subject to severe weather, we can bet that a Finnish boat builder will craft a sturdy, seaworthy vessel. The layouts and features offered on Axopar boats, along with a handful of other European brands such as Nimbus, Jeanneau and Astandoa, fill somewhat of a hole in cabin cruiser and sedan-style weekenders and small, seaworthy affordable boats available on the American market.
In fact, one of my favorite boats to come out in the last few years is the Axopar 37 XC cabin. The boat is not only reasonably priced, but chock full of innovative design features and stylish functionality. The gullwing doors on the forward cabin are a Lamborhini Countach-esque revolutionary concept – definitely one of the coolest things I’ve seen on a new boat in a long time. When you fully open both starboard and port cabin doors, the entire interior feels like an open air cabana on the water. Of course they can be closed and the boat cockpit sealed up tight to protect against the elements in inclement weather.
Above: A 2021 Axopar 37 XC Cross Cabin Center Console Sport Boat. Photo via Nautical Ventures and Axopar Boats.
Yes, a lot of boat builders out there tout their models as the best of both worlds, in terms of open boat design AND protection from the elements, but the Axopar 37 XC truly lives up to that claim while providing a bona fide “weekender boat”. Plus, on our sea trial test drive on this boat two years ago, I was absolutely blown away by the way it handled in choppy waters on a very windy day in Biscayne Bay and around Miami. We were literally doing figure 8’s at 50 MPH in 3-4 foot waves and the ride was super smooth.
As much as I loved that boat, it’s unfortunately simply a bit too long to be practical for a lot of the boating that my friends and I do up North, in and around Cape Cod Bay and the islands. We all have moorings and anchorages that are in shallow water marshes, small harbors and very basic marinas that make maneuvering a 37 foot vessel of any size a bit impractical. Of course Axopar’s 28 footers are a bit more maneuverable in those tight spaces, but they were still on the longer end of things for certain scenarios, such as pulling up to sandbar or launching at a smaller, shallow ramp. That’s where the new 22 Spyder comes in, and why I think it’s such an exciting new boat for the builder.
At 22 feet, the Spyder is an easily-trailerable, entry-level day boat, with some serious capabilities inherited from her bigger sister boats. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more capable boat priced under 100K (depending on options) than this model. Her smaller hull retains the twin-stepped design from larger Axopar’s and she still features the signature “axe bow” which helps her handle like a patrol boat, ultimately delivering efficient, sporty performance numbers. She has a 20-degree deadrise and V “sharp entry” hull shape, that gives her the ability to bank through chop and hold her own with any other boat in her class.
Although I have not yet gotten to ride on one myself, I did send our crew along with boat reviewer Marilyn DeMartini to test the boat out on an extended sea trial with Nautical Ventures in Florida last month. They reported back great things and we were able to produce a full walkthrough video as well. As you can see from the smiles in the video below, no one had a bad word to say about the experience aboard this boat.
Written by: Ryan McVinney on September 14, 2021.
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