- Where it excels is in providing those key creature comforts needed to drive and navigate fast in all weathers.
- The saloon/main cabin rightly is the place to be.
- Running into the strengthening F4 you could feel and see the sharp vertical bow making light work of the sea.
Greg Copp explains his affinity with Scandinavian craft and tests the latest prototype to emerge, the imposing and impressive XO 360 …
Every time I visit a boat show I am always impressed by the Scandinavian presence. Not just are their striking lines all the more impressive out of the water, but the seemingly never-ending range of new models makes you wonder how many don’t own a boat in that neck of the woods. The range of practical innovative features and the zero compromise approach towards construction are constant reminders that boating in the Baltic is a serious business.
Fresh from the Dusseldorf Boat Show, the XO 360 is the latest Scandinavian invader. True to Finnish form it is a striking boat. Its carbon-wrapped 5mm aluminium hull sporting a vertical stem and sharp forefoot gives the boat an imposing presence. Apart from increasing the waterline length and hence the displacement speed, the vertical stem acts like a wave cutter. Being aluminium it is stronger than GRP and weighs less. A network of cross members and stringers keeps this rakish hull in shape all the way back to its 23-degree deadrise transom. Internally, the construction is GRP and teak, with a healthy dose of practical features.
What I like about testing out of Poole in the early spring is the lull before the storm. With the speed limit not yet in force, you get a chance to fine-tune low planing speed. With the Zipwake automatic trim tabs off, she planes at 12 knots, which I am told can be dropped to 10 knots with the tabs on. This is one of the benefits of a light 5.2-tonne displacement, but it is also testament to the well-balanced design, as 1500kg of its displacement comes from its big 370hp D6 engines and drives.
Out on the open water the XO 360 comes alive like a 2-tonne sports boat. The experience is slightly surreal insomuch as you know you are going fast but you do not realise at first just how fast. What really gives this sports cruiser a sports boat feel is the light and highly responsive steering, beckoning you to test it in forever tighter and faster turns. It has none of that tendency to drop the stern briefly in the turn before getting back into its stride. She is keen to get moving as soon as you pile on more horsepower. Since she has a particularly sharp hull from stem to stern the XO hangs on to the line through the turn with grim determination. Once you are accustomed to the boat’s finer points in this area, and only then with a manic right fist, you can get the stern to hang out briefly before spitting itself back onto an even keel.
The double seating set-up at the helm I found surprisingly effective. I say ‘surprisingly’ because I like to stand, which with the flip-up bolster seats you can if you wish. However, the tall seats and footboards work well in relation to the height of the dash, and with the boat displaying very little bow-up attitude you feel perfectly poised to see over the bow when seated. I did like the dash arrangement of two 16-inch plotters with everything like leg trim, auto trim tabs, engine speed and temperature seen at a glance on one side, and navigation on the other. It was pointed out to me that this boat is hull number one – hence a prototype. The next boat will have a redesigned dash, which will put the throttles as well as the Volvo and Zipwake trim tab displays slightly closer to the helmsman. This bit of ergonomic tuning will no doubt make the helmsman’s lot that little easier, though being 6ft tall I had no problems with the present set-up.
As the sea became increasingly lumpy as we headed offshore, the other side of the XO made itself felt. Running into the strengthening F4 you could feel and see the sharp vertical bow making light work of the sea. Old Harry was serving up its normal portion of testy wave patterns, which largely went unfelt in the XO. For a boat that has no spray rails I was surprised how dry the ride was. Though I had no cause to use them, I did notice that the windscreen wipers looked a bit on the skimpy side. The Zipwake automatic interceptor trim tabs were turned off for the early part of the test. However, once running through rough water their benefits were felt. The moment you turn them off you feel the boat lean slightly into the wind and then quickly back again the moment they are switched on. Running into head seas at between 25 and 30 knots you can just feel the benefit as they quickly get a grip on the bow. However, once you really get cracking on you get the impression that the hull is doing most of the work.
Like many boats with a sharp entry and good fore and aft running trim, its running sweet spot is around 30 knots, which you quickly appreciate in choppy weather. You start to realise that more is less as you reach towards 40 knots. My trim readings later showed that at 35 knots the boat starts to drop her nose further, which tied in well with how I found she drove above that speed in chop. However, from a purely cruising perspective, 30 knots with the XO 360 relates to a leisurely 2700rpm, at which point she is returning 1.9mpg. If you fancy a more leisurely pace, then 25 knots is this boat’s economy sweet spot at a frugal 2.1mpg.
Internal styling is definitely on the minimalistic side. This is just as well as otherwise the below-decks space would feel cluttered. The forward cabin is purely a double berth, but with a huge amount of natural light from the deck hatches. It is normally open plan but it can be shut off from the rest of the boat via a discreet folding door. The heads sensibly is full-standing complete with shower – though not an enclosed separate arrangement. If you have a guest or two who do not mind a snug hideaway to sleep in, there is a compartment under the saloon table. You could argue that it does not justify the term ‘mid cabin’, as there is no door and it can only be entered on your knees having folded up the rear saloon seating, but it is a clever and logical use of space.
The saloon/main cabin rightly is the place to be. It is flooded with natural light from its massive windows, patio door and the gigantic sunroof. You can seat six at a squeeze around the folding table, but this is not a boat where you are going to serve up three-course meals. In line with this concept, the galley is a slim affair, which in this prototype had a smaller fridge than normal and no hob. Boat number two will have a bigger fridge and a twin-ring hob.
Deck access is typically Scandinavian with an asymmetrical cabin allowing 8 inches of enclosed side deck on the starboard side. This is made all the better by a side door next to the helm – perfect for single-handed use. All deck hardware is powder-coated stainless steel, which complements the carbon-wrapped hull. Fender and warp storage is a bit limited, though adequate providing you do not want an upgrade in fender size. The engine bay located through a cockpit hatch is reassuringly well engineered. At a quick glance you can see and get to grips with all the main service items, including centrally handed dipsticks. The fuel filters are on the forward bulkhead and the calorifier sits just outboard of the starboard engine.
This is a no-nonsense boat that was designed for Scandinavians, who are known for their hard-core approach towards boating in all conditions. It may appear to lack all the bells and whistles that some yards consider essential for the average family, but boaters are rarely average people. Where it excels is in providing those key creature comforts needed to drive and navigate fast in all weathers, while it is also hugely capable as a family dayboat either for pottering between sandy coves or pulling skiers.
Options and upgrades
Technically the only extras at the moment are 370hp Volvo D6 engines (an extra £12,000) as opposed to the basic option of 300hp Volvo D4s. However, there is a list of extras that you would expect on a 37ft sports cruiser. At the moment there is no charge for these extras, as for the first year of production and potentially longer they are free of charge. This is very unusual and a great example for a yacht builder to set – hopefully other yards will realise that there is no point in charging for items that can’t or shouldn’t be ignored.
What We Thought
- Efficient hull – good running trim at all speeds
- Genuine 43-knot performance
- Very responsive handling
- Good seakeeping – especially in head seas
- Bulletproof construction – especially with an aluminium hull
- Good helm ergonomics
- Safe deck access
- Large bathing platform and cockpit
- Poor gas struts on deck lockers (this is likely to be rectified on subsequent boats)
- Reduced beam visibility when seated during hard turns
- Needs more fender storage – ideally fender cages
Speed and trim
RPM Speed (knots) Trim (degrees) MPG (both engines)
1800 15 3.0 1.9
2100 20 2.5 2.0
2300 25 2.5 2.0
2700 30 2.5 1.9
3000 35 2.0 1.7
3200 40 1.5 1.6
3400 43 1.5 1.4
Maximum top speed: 43.1 knots (2-way average with 2 crew, 50% fuel and 50% water, sea conditions F4, gusting F5)
- LOA: 37ft 2in (11.28m)
- Beam: 10ft 10in (3.29m)
- Displacement: 5.2 tonnes (dry with twin Volvo D6s)
- Fuel capacity: 165 gal (750 litres)
- Water capacity: 29 gal (130 litres)
- RCD category: B for 10
- Engine options: Twin 300hp Volvo D4s or twin 370hp D6s both with DPH sterndrives
As tested: £298,800 (inc. VAT)