WATERSPOOR 777 QUICK SPIN

We thought Dutch sloops were just meant for pootling along canals, but Waterspoor is out to prove us wrong

Motorboat & Yachting - - Contents -

Waterspoor’s lat­est Avi­a­tor model is a devil in dis­guise with a sting in its el­e­gant tail

There are party tricks, and then there’s the Waterspoor 777 party trick. To per­form it, find a suit­able vic­tim, prefer­ably one wear­ing a blue blazer and a peaked cap. He’ll need to be at the helm of some­thing large so he can of­fer a con­de­scend­ing wave to the poor soul in the lit­tle sloop bob­bing in his wake as he bur­bles past im­pe­ri­ously. Just as his wash is about to en­gulf you, ease the slen­der throt­tle all the way for­ward and revel in the look of sheer as­ton­ish­ment as the Waterspoor lifts up its faux clinker-built skirts and rock­ets past.

Puerile high jinks aside, there is much to be said for an open day­boat that can do the peace­ful poo­tle up­river as well as any slip­per launch, but still has the power and sea­keep­ing to take coastal ad­ven­tures in its stride. That’s the real pur­pose of this new 777 Avi­a­tor, and why its mak­ers have seen fit to of­fer it with a range of Nanni diesel en­gines that run from a mere 21hp to the full-fat 270hp. Our test boat had the 200hp ver­sion of the Nanni T4 en­gine and topped out at a very use­ful 22 knots, more than enough for tow­ing a wake­board or in­flat­able toy, not to men­tion sprint­ing home af­ter a long day out on the water.

It’s not just the per­for­mance that sur­prises; Waterspoor is a rel­a­tively new yard with am­bi­tions to broaden the ap­peal of the Dutch sloop to a younger, more ac­tive au­di­ence, so the cock­pit gets the youth treat­ment too. Out go the trad blue up­hol­stery and hon­ey­coloured teak decks and in come bright red seats, black Flex­i­teek and car­bon-fi­bre-ef­fect de­tail­ing. It sounds hor­ren­dous, but I have to ad­mit that in the flesh, it looks re­ally good. A bit like an open-topped Bentley, it takes a cer­tain chutz­pah to carry it off, but that’s half the fun.

De­spite the 777’s turn of speed, the helmsper­son still has to con­tend with a wheel more suited to an ocean-cruis­ing yacht than a sports­boat, but some­how it works just fine. The rud­der is sen­si­tive enough for quite small move­ments to have a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on your head­ing at pace, while a shal­low keel en­sures it tracks nice and straight at lower speeds with­out the need for con­stant ad­just­ments.

Hav­ing a sin­gle shaft rather than an out­drive, it’s not as ag­ile as a proper sports­boat but it grips very well through turns and has ex­actly the kind of un­shake­able ride you’d ex­pect of a semidis­place­ment craft with a ver­ti­cal stem to part the waves. The fit and fin­ish is mostly very good, although the con­sole shud­ders a bit at speed and the bow lifts up enough to block the view for­ward when seated so you may want to think about in­stalling trim tabs. I’d also like to see some form of gas-as­sisted ram to help lift the en­gine box (at the mo­ment it’s a two-man job), and a catch to hold the heads door in place un­der­way.

Th­ese mi­nor foibles aside, it’s a very civilised boat with co­pi­ous lined lock­ers

for stor­age, a proper bathing plat­form and walk-through tran­som for ac­cess to the sea, a semi-rigid wind­screen that folds away when needed, a small but just-about-use­able heads in the bow and no fewer than four cleats down each side for moor­ing du­ties. As a day­boat for use in har­bours and es­tu­ar­ies like Poole or Sal­combe with the abil­ity to stray fur­ther afield when re­quired, it makes a lot of sense. It will pot­ter all day with barely a whis­per from the en­gine and an im­per­cep­ti­ble ef­fect on the fuel tank level, but is happy to flip from Jekyll to Hyde when the mood takes you, or that old boy in the blazer needs pulling down a peg or two.

Con­tact Bray Marine Sales. Tel: +44 (0)1628 773 177. Web: www.ten­der­sloepen.nl

Words & pic­tures Hugo An­dreae

The 777 Avi­a­tor has quite a sur­pris­ing turn of speed if you opt for the big en­gine

Plenty of smartly lined lock­ers un­der all the seats The small heads is ba­sic but use­ful

More sober colour schemes are avail­able if you don’t want to gam­ble on black or red

En­gine op­tions range from 21hp to 270hp

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