Greg Copp takes a close look at Saxdor Yachts new flagship, the striking and innovative 400 GTO, which looks set to take the competition by storm …

Though new to the industry, Finland-based Saxdor have not been slow in coming forward. Their new 400 GTO is a good example of cutting-edge innovative design, providing an open-boat feel from a wheelhouse construction. The concept is nothing new, but the GTO, with its expansive use of glass, along with the fact that the aft quarters of the wheelhouse are open in the literal sense, has a great feeling of continuity with the water. The rear section of the coachroof is the only area really enclosed by GRP as the forward section has a twin-aperture sunroof, which slopes forward, giving a cooling breeze underway. Looking aft from the helm, there are only two, relatively thin, stern-quarter pillars breaking up the virtually uninterrupted 180-degree view of the sea. Saxdor have employed the folding bulwark concept with this boat, which extends the 3.5m beam to 5m. Unlike many other yacht builders, they have chosen to extend this feature further forward than just the cockpit area. The result is that it runs up to the helm on the starboard side and past the galley on the port side. On the starboard side, you can extend the L-shaped sofa out over the folded bulwark, should you want to laze close to the water.

Saxdor 400 GTC

The cockpit area of the 400 GTO has two social spaces. The aft section, with its unique glass transom, enables those reclining on the aft sunbed to get a water-level view. The stern quarters, meanwhile, house two tall coamings – the one on the starboard side provides fender storage, while on the port side, lifting the top reveals a small second wet bar with a griddle

With the coachroof extending to the full beam of the hull, living space in this area is maximised, and since the wheelhouse has open sides, you can step directly out onto the folded bulwarks. In less warm climates, these open sections, with the bulwarks raised, can be fully enclosed by clever ‘Isinglass’ screens. These flexible screens slide out from hidden compartments in the stern pillars and, courtesy of runners in the coachroof, connect to forward roof supports, thereby enclosing the wheelhouse.

Saxdor 400 GTC - Great all-round visibility.

Great all-round visibility.

The cockpit area of the 400 GTO has two social spaces. The aft section, with its unique glass transom, enables those reclining on the aft sunbed to get a water-level view. The stern quarters, meanwhile, house two tall coamings – the one on the starboard side provides fender storage, while on the port side, lifting the top reveals a small second wet bar with a griddle. The idea behind this is that if you are barbecuing meat, you have a well-ventilated spot, rather than the main griddle under the coachroof. The forward social spot is focused around the hi/lo table, with seating on all four sides. With the teak table lowered, you can create an extra double bed if needed, but the most innovative aspect of this seating area is the convertible forward-facing seats. At the press of a switch, the aft-facing sofa section rises to the level of the helm seats, while also sliding aft in the process. The seats’ rear support can then be slid back, providing forward-facing seating for three, in addition to the helmsman and double navigator seats. Being able to create extra forward-facing seats when needed is always a smart move, but Saxdor have managed to do this while providing a decent view for those who are seated.

Saxdor 400 GTC - The fold-down bulwarks provide great open continuity with the water.

The fold-down bulwarks provide great open continuity with the water.

A well-equipped griddle galley sits on the port side opposite the helm. Along with storage, a sink and cooking facilities, it has two fridges: one large fridge under the galley top and a smaller one opposite under the navigator’s seat.

Like many Scandinavian designs, Saxdor have managed to create a hidden sleeping compartment where you least expect it. In this case, lifting the port-side end of the aft sofa reveals steps to a cabin beneath the aft sunbed. Inside it is bigger than you might expect, with plenty of natural light from three windows, and if you remove the central sunbed section, you have the benefit of an escape hatch for even more illumination. It is quite cosy for two to sleep, however it will likely prove popular as a teenager’s den.   

Saxdor 400 GTC - The helm position is well elevated.

The helm position is well elevated.

The helm can actually seat three quite reasonably. In standard form, the boat comes with one 16in Simrad MFD, but the dash is built to take three, so you can see everything you need to know at a glance if you choose this upgrade. The throttles are located perfectly for your right hand, the adjustable wheel can be set to suit and the 400 can be specified with Mercury’s joystick – which few will ignore. Forward-deck access through a windscreen gate on the port side takes you to a seating area with a hi/lo table, which can also convert to a sunbed. As is becoming the trend, inset handrails run along the inside of the bulwarks.

The anchor locker reveals a clever deployment system, which folds the anchor out and down from its aperture in the bow, before letting it drop. When not in use, the external anchor blade sits flush to the stem. 

Saxdor 400 GTC - The aft cabin offers more than you would expect.

The aft cabin offers more than you would expect. 

Below decks, there is 6ft of headroom (1.83m). The double bed is located forward under a folding escape hatch, which when open provides easy forward-deck access, and the ability to drop your bags down into the cabin. Two large roof lights provide an abundance of light, while a small seat and hanging locker sit forward of the heads compartment. With full headroom, a sink, a shower and a vanity unity, the heads will suffice for most people’s needs.

Saxdor 400 GTC - Full standing headroom below.

Full standing headroom below.

Saxdor 400 GTC - Plenty of natural light in the main cabin.

Plenty of natural light in the main cabin.

There is one last hidden feature below, and that is the third cabin. You could be forgiven for missing it, as it hides behind the cleverly designed folding companionway steps, which, once folded up, provide access to this single-berth cabin. Ideal for a single child, it will most likely be used for storage, but it just goes to show how Saxdor have maximised every inch of space to its full potential.   

Saxdor 400 GTC - Full headroom in the heads, but no separate shower compartment.

Full headroom in the heads, but no separate shower compartment.

Engine options are either twin 300hp Mercury Verado V8s or twin 400hp Mercury Verado V10s. The first boat built, not surprisingly, has been fitted with V10s, producing around 46 knots, which with some prop testing will likely improve. The hull is an elongated version of the twin-step Axopar 320 hull, providing for a 38-knot boat with twin 300hp engines. The extra torque of the 400hp V10s will facilitate a more responsive drive and a more relaxed cruising pace, and will likely be the most popular option.

Being built in Poland does keep costing down, but the price is impressive. In basic form with twin 320hp Mercury V8s, this boat costs 266,400 euros (inc. VAT). There will, of course, be some extra costing on top of this, and the options list will no doubt tempt you further, but even so, this is a hard act to beat.

Get a flavour of the Saxdor 400 range as we walkaround the Saxdor 400 GTC in this video

www.saxdoryachts.com

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