True to the brand, this timeless Baltic cruiser has lost none of its appeal. Greg Copp looks at the reasons behind its impressive longevity …

If you are familiar with this brand, you will likely realise that this boat is 10 years old now. But then if you know Nimbus, you will also appreciate that little has changed – or needs to – with their biggest all-weather coupé. It is a product of functional design, typical of this Swedish yard. Stepping aboard a Nimbus leaves little doubt that function takes precedence over form. It is a Scandinavian thing – building a boat that you would be happy to take your family out in, in almost all weathers – which is largely why we are revisiting this proven product.

It has two smaller siblings, the 305 and the 365, both of which share a very similar semi-displacement vacuum-infused hull. Sometimes referred to as a ‘fast semi-displacement hull’, it is often confused with being a planing hull, which is not surprising given its appearance and the boat’s level of performance. It does not have the traditional round-bilge semi-displacement hull form – instead it features a hard-chine design with spray rails and a sharp-entry forefoot. 

Nimbus 405 Coupe

The 405 follows closely in the design theme of the 365, with two major differences: it has a triple-cabin design and is only built with twin engines. The saloon/wheelhouse concept is well proven, as window space is substantial both in height and length. Overhead, the coachroof houses a long quadruple sunroof, which opens at the press of a switch – or it can be shut off with its automated blind system. The windows all feature quick-pull blinds, which actually do what they say on the tin – running up or down their vertical guide lines without catching, and locking where you want them. Alternatively, at night you have the option of curtains. The starboard-side galley features a 120L isotherm fridge, complemented by an extra 36L cool box under the port-side sofa. Both of these fridges are extras, with the £1,680 cool box being only slightly cheaper than the main fridge. The joinery is of a high standard – all the drawers open with precision and have push-button catches, while the worktop is a sturdy Corian composite. The 230V oven/microwave combination is made by Smeg, and like the four-ring hob it is an optional upgrade over the standard gas appliances. A lined cutlery drawer sits under the aft end of the sofa, while a pull-out crockery compartment complete with Nimbus glasses and crockery is located in the storage unit behind the helm seat.

The huge sunroof and windows provide the saloon with loads of light

The huge sunroof and windows provide the saloon with loads of light

The helm design works very well.

The helm design works very well.

The dinette is a good size, and the table can be lowered should you need to sleep an extra couple. The forward section of the dinette sofa can be easily rotated into a double navigator’s seat, which has the rare luxury of a chart drawer in front. Opening this drawer reveals not only chart storage but a TV inside the lid, and if you need to hang a fender on the port side, you can do so courtesy of the top-hinging window located next to the seat. The helm arrangement is hard to fault. The seating position is suitably elevated, and if you do need to gain extra height there are flip-up bolsters on both seats. I understand that the dash in recent years has been redesigned to accommodate the big MFDs that now grace most boats – in this case, two 12in Simrads. Basic ergonomics are good, with the wheel and throttles within easy reach.

The dash can house twin 12inch MFDs

The dash can house twin 12inch MFDs

The carbon beige upholstery option.

The carbon beige upholstery option.

Super safe side decks

Super safe side decks

Deck movement is secure, thanks to an offset wheelhouse providing a bulwark-enclosed starboard side deck. Access onto this side deck is blissfully easy for the helmsman via a wide side door, although there is the inevitable trade-off of a slim side deck on the port side. Though embellished with coachroof handrails (as is the starboard side), it is quite narrow to move along when underway. The reality is that with the navigator’s amidships window you will likely not need to do this. Solid guard rails run from the cockpit to the pulpit with a break amidships, and all the cleats are more than big enough. The deep anchor locker not only houses a windlass and 50m of chain connected to a seriously large claw anchor, but it can also store a couple of big fenders. One point on deck movement underway I will make is that the starboard roof rail needs to be 1ft longer, as you have to let go of the forward guard rail before you can grasp the roof rail. The large cockpit provides plenty of room for external dining, and with the aft cover set zipped in, the overhang provides an ad hoc enclosed extension.

The blue interior is one of three standard colour schemes.

The blue interior is one of three standard colour schemes.

The mahogany joinery option.

The mahogany joinery option.

The master cabin is well appointed

The master cabin is well appointed

Nimbus 405 Coupe - The starboard guest cabin is the bigger guest cabin

The starboard guest cabin is the bigger guest cabin

Below decks is spacious insomuch as there are three double cabins, two heads and a self-draining hanging locker for oilskins. The forward master cabin has an en suite heads on the port side, featuring a self-contained shower compartment with full standing headroom, electric toilet and sink. The cabin design is such that the central double bed has access on both sides, something you usually only get in bigger cabins. It is a good idea as it means you can get in and out of bed normally, without having to slide yourself on or off. There are two hanging lockers on both sides and two drawers underneath the bed. Natural light is in abundance thanks to portholes, a long overhead skylight and an escape hatch. The port-side double cabin is the lesser of the two amidships guest cabins, but it still boasts a hanging locker and standing headroom in the doorway. Opposite, the larger guest cabin has two single berths, a hanging locker and standing headroom, with both sleeping compartments being pretty much par for the course in this size of boat. The day heads sits on the starboard side forward of the oilskin locker; it is fully equipped with full headroom, though its shower does not have a separate compartment.

The smaller guest cabin would be a bit of a squeeze for two.

The smaller guest cabin would be a bit of a squeeze for two.

The all-important oilskin locker

The all-important oilskin locker

The cockpit can be fully enclosed.

The cockpit can be fully enclosed.

The engine access is superb - Nimbus Boats - Volvo Penta

The Volvo Penta engine access is superb.

Light oak is one of the joinery options

Light oak is one of the joinery options

Nimbus 405 Coupe - Easy access with this bathing platform.

Easy access with this bathing platform.

Driving the 405

Heading out towards the Hurst narrows at 28 knots, the Coupé ran with a typical slightly bow-up Nimbus attitude. It has a sharp entry in her lower hull sections, which, combined with two spray rails and reasonably wide chines, does a good job of keeping the spray below the deck line. This boat is fitted with Humphree automatic interceptors, so having to play with a couple of switches to fine-tune the boat’s fore and aft trim is not something you have to worry about. I tend to be slightly sceptical of any auto-trim system, as they are only as good as the person that has calibrated it, but in this case it was spot on. As I powered up from displacement speed I could see the interceptors doing their stuff on the control panel, and then backing off once planing. One thing I noticed was a turbo lag from the twin D4s below 2500rpm, resulting in the boat taking 18 seconds to reach 20 knots from a standstill. Is this an issue? In a word, ‘no’. This is not a sports boat, and running from 15 to 28 knots the response to the throttles is what you would expect from an efficient 40ft semi-displacement boat with twin 320hp engines on shafts.

Nimbus 405 Coupe - Nimbus Boats

If you choose to ‘amble along’ at a leisurely 8/9 knots, you can stretch the range to 500 miles before you run dry, but realistically this boat is built to cruise at 20–22 knots with a comfortable 200-mile range with a 20% reserve. At this speed she is very composed, and thanks to her effective soundproofing, sound levels are low. Turning into full-power turns at 28 knots you lose around 5 knots in speed, and the angle of heel is limited, which, combined with a high window line, means all-round visibility for a coupé is pretty good. As our test drew to a close, the cheeky weather that we could have done with earlier finally showed up, so the only all-weather aspect I managed to test in earnest was the no-nonsense three-speed wipers. However, having spent some time off the Needles in some steep seas in a 365 Coupé some years back, I can attest to that boat’s seakeeping, and I don’t doubt this bigger relation is no less capable.

Nimbus 405 Coupe

There is also the choice of a wide range of engines, which poses the question of whether the best option would be twin 380hp Volvo D6s – giving this boat a 32-knot potential. Apparently, only three 405s have been sold in the UK with D6s, likely because of the extra weight and the fact that the speed this boat cruises comfortably at is easily catered for by D4s.

Verdict

The Nimbus 405 is one of the few boats in the second decade of the 21st century with a production run exceeding 10 years. It does appeal to a fairly senior demographic, who understand the concept of not needing to change something for the sake of it, especially when it clearly works well. This brand has always had a timeless persona, which only needs the odd internal tweak in terms of finish and styling to maintain its appeal. Over the years, the options list has expanded with technology, providing a good range of creature comforts. However, what has kept the customer base is the reassuring drive in all weathers and climates, plus the ability to maintain a swifter pace when needed.

 

What we thought

For

  • Great build quality
  • Internal space
  • Practicality and safely
  • Low sound levels
  • Good heavy weather handling
  • Engine access is great

Against

  • Some extras are expensive, like the cool box
  • The starboard roof rail needs to be longer

 

Specifications

  • LOA: 13.33m
  • Beam: 3.86m
  • Draft: 1.2m
  • Power options: Twin 225/260/300/320hp Volvo D4s or twin 380hp Volvo D6s – all v drives
  • Fuel capacity: 2 x 500l
  • Water capacity: 2 x 200l
  • Displacement: 8.5 tonnes dry.
  • RCD category: B
  • Designer: Joacim Gustavsson
  • Test engines: Twin 320hp Volvo D4s
  • Hull type: Fast semi-displacement

Price As Tested

  • £683,398 inc VAT – Twin 320hp Volvo D4s.

Contact

Lymingtion Yacht Haven, Kings Saltern Road, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 3QD

www.nimbusboatsuk.com

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