With its distinctive contemporary lines, this Teutonic sports boat looks destined for our shores. Greg Copp scrutinises a craft that more than lives up to its name …

Of the many boats vying for attention at the Palma Boat Show, the new and previously unknown STERK 31 caught our eye. Its vertical stem, distinct hull lines, minimalistic exterior and a name like STERK hinted at a Germanic or Nordic identity. In fact, the word ‘Sterk’ in German or Dutch means ‘strong’, ‘unbroken’ or even ‘undefeated’, which is apt considering this company’s first moulding facility in Ukraine was destroyed by Putin’s war. Now this yard operates entirely from Germany, and the 31 represents its debut in powerboats, having built sailing craft before. Headed up by Milan Sterk, the design team comprises Carlos Vidal, the designer, and naval architect Sasha Vlad.

First appearances can be deceiving with the STERK 31, as hidden within its open-boat design is a smidgeon of domestic accommodation.

First appearances can be deceiving with the STERK 31, as hidden within its open-boat design is a smidgeon of domestic accommodation.

Its deep-vee hull has been perfected through hundreds of hours of CFD testing, producing ‘predictable handling, fast running and an agile response’. The hull features a twin-stepped design, with strategically placed spray rails to enhance lift and reduce spray. There are hooked rails on the aft planing surfaces – a novel feature that is unique to STERK. These, combined with the boat’s negative chines, provide great bite and less heel in fast turns, thereby reducing the chance of spin-out when driving hard, it is claimed. Lightweight composite materials are handcrafted by specialists in the new manufacturing facility. Cleanliness, high precision and meticulous quality controls are maintained so that every 31 is a ‘unique and durable masterpiece made in Germany’.

The enclosed helm provides a high degree of security.

The enclosed helm provides a high degree of security.

The helm seats can reverse.

The helm seats can reverse.

The forepeak area converts to a sunbed.

The forepeak area converts to a sunbed.

All stainless fittings are flush.

All stainless fittings are flush.

Sterk 31 engine options

The power options are Yamaha or Mercury outboards – either a large single engine or a double option like the twin Yamaha F300s as featured.

The power options are Yamaha or Mercury outboards – either a large single engine or a double option like the twin Yamaha F300s as featured. Their first prototype has been built with twin F300s, producing a claimed top speed of 58 knots. However, this first boat is stated to displace 600kg more than the production boats due to follow it, possibly because vacuum infusion will be used in the hull construction, but as of yet, this is speculation. The performance figures provided to us by STERK are for a boat with a crew of two and a substantial amount of fuel. It displaced 4.2 tonnes on the test day, so this is a realistic reflection on how this boat is likely to perform in the real world, rather than a best-case scenario. It is interesting to see that the craft’s sweet spot, where it returns 2.3nmpg, is at 3000rpm, just short of the point at which the 4.2L V6 Yamaha F300 starts to produce maximum torque. So we can suppose that these figures are reasonably accurate, and that the twin-stepped hull is quite efficient. As is often the case, the first boat built has been rigged with the most attractive engine option, and I would say that at present it is also the most realistic choice. Though one single Yamaha XTO 450, or a 400hp V10 Mercury, will still provide a decent power-to-weight ratio, and a small improvement in economy over twin 300s, the twin F300 set-up does not start to break sweat until it is past 40 knots.

By sitting deep, the heads has a good degree of headroom.

By sitting deep, the heads has a good degree of headroom.

Beneath the sunbed, cabin height will be limited.

Beneath the sunbed, cabin height will be limited.

The cabin access is through the sunbed.

The cabin access is through the sunbed.

First appearances can be deceiving with the STERK 31, as hidden within its open-boat design is a smidgeon of domestic accommodation. There is a heads compartment in the front of the helm console, which, making full use of the 1.85m console width, allows a toilet, sink, storage pockets and a shower to be fitted. The headroom will suit some of our more vertically challenged brethren, but others may have to crouch slightly if they want to take a shower. In the Rear Cabin version (31 RC), below the 1.96m-wide sunbed lies a double cabin, with a double bed across the beam. Calling it a cabin is certainly rather generous, as you simply lift up the central section of the sunbed and then slide yourself in. This cabin has windows, sleeping space is generous and you can sit up in bed, but obviously there is no standing headroom. There is the option of two bimini tops, which, if you choose the optional T-top, enables you to connect the aft bimini to the T-top, providing an extension over the sunbed, with vertical side sections ensuring on-board privacy. There is also a forward bimini available that encloses the foredeck area. The Wet Bar version (31 WB) has no aft sunbed or cabin beneath; instead, a large U-shaped dinette faces a generous wet bar, with two 52L fridges and galley facilities. With a drop-down table and an infill, the dinette can convert to a sunbed, as can the forward seating area, so seating and sunbathing space is relatively generous in both versions.

With the 31 RC, cool storage is located beneath the bench seat that sits behind the helm seats in this design. This comprises two large fridge compartments, or one fridge and one freezer – as is also the choice with the 31 WB.

One of two fridges under the bench seat on the 31 RC.

One of two fridges under the bench seat on the 31 RC.

STERK refer to their helm design as being ‘car-like’, which is a fair comparison in terms of enclosed safety and good ergonomics. It features a double 10in chartplotter with 4G modem, Q App and remote MFD control, which offers user-friendly digital control of all systems, including navigation. The enclosed design gives good weather protection, while everything can be easily seen or reached by the helmsman. The 2.99m beam allows plenty of side-deck width either side of the console, which is enclosed by tall 73cm bulwarks and clad in PlasDECK synthetic teak.

This is the first boat from this new company, and we understand that there is a larger model in development. At the moment, there is dealer interest in the UK, so it is not unrealistic to expect this brand to be expanding its footprint onto our shores by the end of the season.

Sterk 31 fuel figures

Specifications

  • LOA: 9.73m
  • Beam: 2.99m
  • Draught: 0.84m
  • Water capacity: 130L
  • Fuel capacity: 347L or an upgrade to 530L
  • Berths: 2
  • Engine options: One single outboard to twin 300hp outboards
  • RCD: B for 6 or C for 9
  • Displacement: 3.25 tonnes (dry with twin Yamaha F300s)

Contact

www.sterkyachts.com

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