With over 1,400 boats on display at the 2018 Miami International Boat Show few stood out from the crowd, but the Axopar 28 Cabin and the topic of today’s review, the Axopar 37 Sun-Top, certainly drew more than their fair share of eyeballs. Anyone who’s seen these boats knows why: with a razor-sharp 60-degree entry, plumb bow, and wedge-like shape, the Axopars certainly didn’t blend in. And that’s before you consider any of the many details that set the 37 Sun-Top apart from all other powerboats of this size. Yes, we will dig into those details—but first, lay your own eyes on this unique creation.
Below the Waterline
The Axopar 37 Sun-Top hull’s unusual look reflects its main mission: chewing through rough seas while providing a sooth ride. But it’s also designed to be highly efficient, with twin steps that reduce friction with the water’s surface and boost performance. With a pair of 350 HP outboards—one less engine than you’ll see on many outboard-powered boats of this length – the 37 Sun-Top can break 50 MPH. And, while that 60-degree entry and narrow bow would make one wonder about the boat’s stability, tapering the bottom to 20-degrees of deadrise at the transom keeps it from too much rocking and rolling.
The look of a hull does not, of course, tell its entire story. And while we couldn’t run the Axopar during the show (it was under a tent, on dry land) by all accounts the design also provides excellent handling. The term most often applied is “RIB-like,” which shouldn’t be a surprise especially considering the boat’s relatively truncated profile. All of the weight is kept as low to the water as possible in this boat, and the resulting center of gravity improves both handling and stability.
Fun in the Sun
More unique design features can be found abovedecks. The large hard top that gives this model its name has a rigid fiberglass frame with a slide-open canvass convertible top that opens up to let the sun shine in over the helm-deck seating. Sure, you’ve seen that before. But have you ever seen a top that flips up in the back, to open up the cockpit’s outdoor galley (with a wet-bar and electric grill) as well? We didn’t think so.
Underneath that top there’s seating for seven in fore and aft rows, three up front and four to the rear, with an adjustable cockpit table between them. The forward seats swivel aft, to turn the helm-deck into a social zone after you’ve pulled the throttles back.
The aft cockpit itself is something of a variable design, since it can be open, as on the model we saw, or can be fitted with the “Daycruiser” version aft cabin. Opt for the cabin and you lose cockpit space, but gain sleeping quarters for two with a sunpad on top. Like some other Euro-boats the cockpit flows almost seamlessly into the swim platform, separated only by a small step up and/or removable rails. A fender box is built into the starboard-side gunwale, and there’s a cooler to port.
The bow is also designed for outdoor enjoyment, with a large sunpad with back and arm rests positioned atop the cabin. While that’s to be expected, the surprise up here comes when you raise the foremost section of the sunpad and discover a large access hatch to the front of the cabin.
Cuddy Cabin, or Cruiser?
More about that cabin: along with the forward queen-size berth, there’s a seat and stowage cabinets. We’re not sure that the privacy curtain, which drops down from the overhead to close off the berth, is necessary, since there aren’t any other berths in the forward cabin. The lower cabinet, however, is a great touch. Swing open the top and you’ll discover a head. No, enclosing it like this isn’t really necessary either, but it is nice to be able to shut the cabinet and move about the cabin without having the porcelain throne front and center at all times.
Many boaters will opt for the outdoor galley, but if you instead choose the aft cabin, the forward cabin can be fitted with very basic meal prep ability. A single-burner gas stove and sink fit in the cabinet, to port. Don’t worry about the lack of a refrigerator, since there’s a pull-out drawer reefer located in the helm seating base.
Boaters who have been looking at imports from the European market will be relieved that in one way, the Axopar isn’t like its overseas brethren: cost. Fully rigged and ready for action, the boat we saw at the show was listed at just over $230,000. That’s a number one would expect from a center console of this size, as opposed to a boat with a full cabin. For most people, however, the number that will really stick out is 60. Because that 60-degree entry and the boats’ entirely unique hull design is what makes the Axopar 37 Sun-Top truly one of a kind.
Other Choices: This is one of those times when we have to preface our choice of competitors by pointing out that there really are no other boats just like it. That said, interested boaters may also want to look at day-boats with cuddy cabins like the Boston Whaler 350 Realm, or the Formula 350 CBR. Those inclined more towards the European styling may want to check out the VanDutch 40, or the Atlantis Verve 36.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on boats.com. Republished with permission.