Founded in 2019, Saxdor Yachts are one of the fastest-growing brands in Europe. The company’s latest 320 GTC displays a commitment to the use of cutting-edge technology and delivers a great driving experience as well as overnighting. Barry Thompson reports …
Saxdor have produced a total of six models since the launch of the initial Saxdor 200, and soon to be joining the highly successful line-up will be the much-anticipated Saxdor 400. Whatever model in the ever-growing series you choose, though, every Saxdor continues the company’s now well-established Scandinavian design theme, which is both distinctive and functional.
The three models in the 320 range share the same hull form, plus a near-identical forward lounger and rear cockpit seating arrangement. However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The C on the 320 GTC stands for ‘cabin’, the R on the 320 GTR designates a fully open ‘runabout’ configuration with a mid-cabin, and the O on the 320 GTO, not surprisingly, stands for ‘open’, though this variant does include a hardtop. While the GTO and GTR are full mid-cabin walk-arounds, the GTC has a full-beam wheelhouse with narrow side decks and recessed rooftop handholds. In terms of its design, as we shall see, it’s clear that the internal beam of the wheelhouse has certainly been maximised.
A brief tour
All these craft offer open bow areas, albeit in different forms, and while the GTO and GTR offer easy access on either side of the console via wide bulwarks, the GTC has only slim side decks for companionway use. That said, the GTC 320 has this issue covered by means of a port-side forward wheelhouse door within its generous, full-beam wheelhouse specification.
Following the massive successes of the company’s 320 GTO and GTR models, 2022 saw the release of the 320 GTC, and from this time onward, Saxdor’s market has expanded considerably again. Hardtop and especially wheelhouse boats are becoming hugely popular in places where hot, sunny, cloudless days are not always guaranteed, the UK being a prime example. Owning a boat that offers genuine protection from the elements and all-year-round boating therefore has obvious appeal. But while it’s true that the 320 GTO isn’t totally open to the elements thanks to its large T-top, it’s the fully enclosed cabin GTC, the subject of our test, that will no doubt strike the biggest chord with the northern European markets.
It’s clear that Saxdor are putting a great deal of thought into what families want and need in the way of amenities and features. As a result, the GT series of craft have strong eye appeal and many practical and well-thought-through details. Of course, these boats are finished to a price, but they have to be in order to deliver value for money. Nevertheless, the build and fit-out quality being achieved by the company’s Elk plant in Poland is undoubtedly contributing to Saxdor’s good reputation in the market. Furthermore, a Saxdor buyer tends to get a considerable amount for their money when compared to some other brands in this same category/sector of the market.
The GTC cockpit
But to the subject in hand. The cockpit of the 320 GTC is not overly large, due to the space taken up by the triple aft bench seat, which also has a reversible backrest and teak table. But the forward-facing edge of the table folds out of the way nicely when not in use and will provide another – third – table surface when fully opened. Add in some loose chairs and you have a dining area for four to six people. The split table can likewise be lowered to transform this same space into a sunlounger, and while it may seem tight in the cockpit, that’s easily fixed with the simple push of a button, whereupon the decks drop down on either side to transform and increase the usable cockpit space by as much as 30%.
The well-appointed, all-weather wheelhouse, with its sliding aft door separating the internal and external spaces, boasts an internal beam large enough for a trio of forward bucket seats. At the same time, generous access between the twin helm and the passenger seats means this area doesn’t become a ‘pinch point’.
To port, hidden below a countertop, you’ll find a wet bar and sink that also offers a diesel or electric hob option. It may be a compact galley, but it’s certainly adequate for a boat this size. You have the option too of a couple of fridge freezers, plus there’s plenty of storage, and good use is made of space throughout this area. On the opposite flank, you’ll find a fold-out teak dinette table and rear lounge. As the forward helm seats swivel, it allows for a generous dining area with seating for four inside the vessel. Another feature here is that the table drops down to form the base for a second double berth. Additionally – and likely a first, I think, for Saxdor – there is an optional floating floor, which brings another level of soundproofing to the construction of the wheelhouse.
At the helm and beyond
The twin helm seats have bolsters, so you can be seated or standing when taking the wheel to drive. The large dash allows twin glass screens and plenty of space for all the system controls. The 320 GTC also comes with Mercury DTS controls and a SmartCraft system. Within easy reach beside the engine throttles are the toggles for the auto-trim tabs and the bow thruster. From this standpoint, the GTC scores well in terms of its internal ergonomics.
Ergonomic dash with large screens.
A couple of drink holders with LED lighting are provided so you don’t have to fumble in the dark when the main lights are off – a useful addition, in my view! The test boat also had a Fusion sound system fitted, no doubt with the party-going contingent in mind. The standard package comes with massive side windows, but if you prefer more ventilation, there is the option of sliding side windows. The boat features an extra-large soft sliding sunroof as standard too. The latter guarantees that the GTC’s occupants are never going to be short of air whatever the clime! And for those who wish to employ their GTC all year round, a Webasto diesel heater is installed to keep both crew and guests snug and warm.
Open layout with plenty of light and space.
In addition to the foregoing, on the port side of the cabin you’ll find a door that gives access to the foredeck area via a wide bulwark. The latter, finished with Flexiteek flooring material, gives way to yet another very inviting area of the boat – the huge sun pad, which takes pride of place up in the bow. And while in the prow of the craft the anchor locker is easily accessible, activating the auto-system means that all the hard work of weighing anchor can be done from the helm itself. (The tackle housing is located below the deck line, where a specially designed anchor launch-and-retrieval system ensures that the tackle doesn’t knock against the inverted bow.)
Solid swivel seats.
The forward cabin is surprisingly large and features a good-sized forward berth, an ergonomic mattress base, a private heads compartment, a raised washbowl and ample storage. If you wish to take a shower, this is provided for in the cockpit. Two big Lewmar hatches and a pair of fixed roof panels supply plenty of natural light, so the cabin interior avoids feeling oppressive. Furthermore, the colourways and choice of fabrics give the craft’s interior a vibrant and modern feel. I will also add that the cabin hatches can be equipped with a sunshade and a mosquito net, and commendably you can still open the deck hatches when the foredeck squabs are in place.
Entry to forward berth.
Stylish and modern interior design ensures the ‘furnishings’ are both functional and contemporary.
Performance and handling
The Saxdor 320 GTC is based on a performance-orientated hull design, featuring a sharp vertical entry and a twin-stepped hull. The boat has three Mercury engine options, ranging from 300hp to 600hp. You can choose either the one-engine or the twin-engine option, i.e. twin 225hp or twin 300hp outboards. Our test rig featured a pair of Mercury Verado 225s, which recorded a top speed of 40–42 knots, but if you upgrade to a pair of Mercury 300s, then according to the manufacturer, the top speed increases to a bracing 47 knots.
As expected, the ride was sea-kindly and the handling reassuringly predictable. The GTC responded well to the helm, and the whole feel of the driving position was such that it engendered confidence. With good all-round vision, the driver is helped to feel in command of their craft, and thanks to the vessel’s well-appointed seating design, the person at the helm can also have confidence that their occupants are well catered for in terms of comfort and on-board security. For these reasons, I would say that the CTC is worthy of being described as a ‘driver’s boat’. In fact, it’s a lot of fun to helm and would no doubt be suited to a variety of leisure roles and coastal sea states.
Having been exposed now to a fair number of Scandinavian boats, in my judgement, the Saxdor 320 GTC benefits from being functional, generous in terms of its features, efficient in design and admirably stylish too. Indeed, it appears to offer all the ingredients necessary to deliver great family recreation time afloat as well as the valuable option of overnighting aboard. Couple these likeable attributes to the GTC’s price point and it’s understandable why this Saxdor model is proving so successful for this dynamic Finnish boatbuilder.
- Type: Sports cabin vessel/overnighter LOA: 10.28m
- Beam: 3.19m
- Construction: GRP
- Fuel capacity: 428L \
- Water capacity: 117L
- Engines: 2 x Mercury Verado 225
- Max. power: 700hp
- MFD: 2 x Simrad 12
- Bow thruster: Sleipner SE50
- Winch: Quick BL2
- Trim tabs: Uflex
- Flooring: Flexiteek
- Heating: Webasto
- Hob: Wallas
- Stereo: Fusion
- Category: C
- With single 300hp £139,465 including VAT.