In Greg Copp’s carefully considered opinion, few 20-footers offer such an engaging drive as Protagon’s 6m centre console craft …

For the UK boating population, the Protagon 20 is a new kid on the block. Hailing from Poseidon Boats in Greece, a company with over 40 years of boatbuilding behind it, this robust multi-purpose sports boat offers good value for money and a great driving experience. It will appeal especially to those new to the water, but its attributes will make it popular with many. The Protagon’s seagoing abilities exceed its size, and its tall topsides and vertical stem are typical of the current trend in sports boats. Less obvious is the dagger-like forefoot, which, sharpening to a transom deadrise of 23 degrees and enabled by twin hull steps, is a healthy recipe for a good driver’s boat.

It is minimalistic, our test boat coming with bare GRP decks. However, the build quality is pretty good, and the bright-red embossed upholstery is of a reasonable standard. Access for our test boat meant stepping over the port-quarter locker – an optional modular moulding that blocks what would otherwise be easy access from the port-side bathing platform. Personally, I would not choose this extra locker, as this boat has an abundance of storage, and even without the extra seating it provides, it can still seat five around the cockpit table. To sit down for lunch, the helm seats rotate facing aft, and the table, though not supplied for our test boat, fits in any of the larger lockers, the most suitable being the one beneath the transom bench seat. Beneath the cockpit there is a large locker that is perfect for a collection of fenders. Large lockers can also be found on each quarter (under the seat cushions), and a small one lies under the helm seat. In the forward section of the boat, there is a storage cavity on the forward side of the console (under the small seat), a locker under the foredeck and another one under the forepeak seat, as well as a big anchor locker in the bow.

Protagon 6m - All upholstery is nicely finished

All upholstery is nicely finished

Protagon 6m - The seats provide a secure driving position

The seats provide a secure driving position

Deck movement is great, made easier by having inset handrails running close to waist height inside the bulwarks. One thing I liked in particular was the grab rail that runs around and behind the top of the windscreen. It is not only perfect for the navigator to hold on to when conditions dictate – as I found out – but moving forward underway is a lot easier, and the windscreen itself is virtually bulletproof as a result of its support. The foredeck area is limited in size, but it does serve to provide easy access up to the blunt bow, which, being covered in synthetic decking, provides an elevated step – ideal for stepping onto tall docksides.

Protagon 6m - Helm ergonomics work well.

Helm ergonomics work well.

The helm is just wide enough for two, as side-deck access has not been facilitated by overextending its width. In terms of luxuries, it has three cup holders in the middle of the dash, along with a Fusion hi-fi, and a wireless phone-charging cradle on the navigator’s side. The primary switches sit on a neat stainless panel in front of the helmsman, with a 7in Raymarine MFD above – which can be upgraded to a larger unit if need be.

Protagon 6m - All seating can turn in to face the table for dining.

As with most new boats, there is a list of extras, as the basic-spec DF150APX-powered Protagon 20 supplied with leaning posts, as opposed to the optional £704 rotating bucket seats, costs £45,595. The water ski A-frame costs £704, and the Fusion hi-fi and speakers are an extra £407. Apart from charging for seats, this is pretty much par for the course, as is the £2,817 price tag for foam deck flooring and the £5,948 for an aluminium T-top – two extras worth having that were not on our test boat.

Inset handrails run inside the tall bulwarks.

Inset handrails run inside the tall bulwarks.

Engine options

Currently, these are all Suzuki, ranging from 70hp to 200hp. I doubt anybody will choose the smallest 70hp option, which makes the DF115 the most realistic small-engine option if 30 knots is all you need. The DF140 makes a good contender against the DF150 due to its lighter 188kg weight (lightest version). However, the bigger-capacity DF150 will produce more torque, which certainly benefited our test boat, so on balance I would say this is probably the best option. The DF175 and DF200, being based on the same 2867cc 4-cylinder engine block as the DF150, will not spoil the good weight distribution this boat enjoys, but restraint of the right hand may be needed on occasions.

Protagon Suzuki - The water ski frame is an extra worth having.

The water ski frame is an extra worth having.

Driving the Protagon

This boat is a bullet, capable of hitting 30 knots in 6 seconds. With good weight distribution, she instantly picks up her stern, planing from around 12 knots – not that you are likely to hang around at this speed. Even in the force 4–5 conditions of the test day, this 6m boat was not taking any nonsense. If you need to, you can cut along at a leisurely 17–20 knots with the boat running with perfect poise, which we did in the bigger seas that were heaping up at the southern end of Southampton Water. Pushing up the estuary with better but still potentially challenging conditions for this size of boat, I found this to be one of the most composed 20-footers I have driven for some time. It has a rock-solid, twin-stepped, narrow deep-vee hull, with a sharp transom deadrise of 23 degrees. Its high freeboard provides the weather protection you need when driving at wide open throttle into gusty short-chop conditions. Her ride across the weather pattern was very sure-footed for a small rakish boat, but her most impressive point of sailing was into the weather, where you can drive her quite a bit faster than you expect. I drove standing most of the time, which gave a great view over the bow, and the angled footboard gives your feet the anchorage they need in such conditions.

Protagon 6m underway

 

However, the windscreen could be a touch taller as you get a bit of windblast, so you may gravitate to sitting. This is no bad thing, as with the seat bolster folded down, you are secured comfortably in the bucket seat. Ergonomics are very good when seated, as the throttle falls perfectly to hand with your right arm rested on the seat armrest, and the wheel is easily in reach. When standing, your throttle arm does not have the support of the armrest, so you need to wedge your rear securely into the seat if you intend to enjoy this boat to its full potential.

Protagon 6m

Though tough, the windscreen could be 2in taller.

Though tough, the windscreen could be 2in taller.

The ride is reassuringly soft and stable even at 38 knots, and at this speed the boat needs just a little trim out on the outboard to get the last 2 or 3 knots – around 2 bars on the gauge. When running into the weather, the ride softened only slightly by trimming in. As there seems no need to trim the bow down to punch up onto the plane at low speed, you could easily just leave it at this setting. Tucking into fast turns is a lot of what the Protagon is about. At 6m, she can cut some seriously tight turns – and without any hull slide or cavitation. Her steering is hydraulic, offering a good balance of response and predictability, with no hint of overreaction, so you can comfortably throw her about with just one hand on the wheel. 

Protagon 6m

Even more storage in the console.

Even more storage in the console.

One of two beam lockers in the cockpit.

One of two beam lockers in the cockpit.

Protagon 6m - The under-deck cockpit locker is large.

The under-deck cockpit locker is large.

Verdict

This boat’s abilities exceed its size, which makes for an easy point-and-shoot driving experience, and it is great fun to drive hard. Its hull appears to be pretty capable, being more fuel-efficient at 30 knots than at 20. Behind the scenes, the fit and finish is much to be expected of a 20-footer, while the construction is certainly solid. This is supported by the fact that this boat did not produce the occasional ‘hull creaks’ that vessels of this size often do when driven hard in choppy weather.

Protagon 6m - The blunt bow provides an ideal step off for high docksides.

The blunt bow provides an ideal step off for high docksides.

What we thought

For

  • Efficient hull
  • Good performance
  • Solid construction
  • Responsive handling
  • Dry ride
  • Soft-riding hull
  • Plenty of storage

Against

  • It could benefit from a slightly taller windscreen.

Specifications

  • LOA: 5.95m
  • Beam: 2.3m
  • Displacement: 850kg (no engine)
  • Transom deadrise angle: 23 degrees
  • Power options: Single 70hp DF70 Suzuki – single 200hp DF200 Suzuki
  • Fuel capacity: 150L
  • RCD category: C for 9
  • Test engine: Single 150hp Suzuki DF150APX

Performance

  • 38 knots (2-way average), sea conditions F4 to F5,  crew 2, fuel 40%
  • 0–30 knots: 6 seconds

Price

  • From: £43,085 (inc. VAT) with Suzuki DF115BTGX
  • As tested: £52,000  (inc. VAT)

boot Düsseldorf International Boat Show this year saw Protagon Yachts display 3 boats. The Greek manufacturer showcased their all new 25 in two different deck configurations. In this video; TMS gives us a run down of the two boats, the differences and an overview of this new twenty five footer, take a look.

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