Motorboat & Yachting - - CONTENTS - Jack Haines

TESTED A pricey pack­age but the 850 is beau­ti­fully made and se­ri­ously ca­pa­ble

LOA 27ft 9in (8.5m) BEAM 10ft 8in (3.3m) DRAUGHT 2ft 8in (0.85m) DIS­PLACE­MENT 4.5 tonnes TEST EN­GINES Twin Volvo Penta D3 225hp TOP SPEED 26 knots CON­SUMP­TION AT 20 KNOTS 60lph PRICE FROM £215,240 inc VAT PRICE AS TESTED £270,000 inc VAT CON­TACT Marco Marine. Tel: +44 (0) 2380 453245 www.rhe­aboats.co.uk

Of all the boats I tested last year the 730 Timonier is one that I re­mem­ber with fond­ness. We took it into the So­lent and bat­tled a stiff west­erly against an op­pos­ing tide and though it threw wa­ter over the wheel­house with un­bri­dled aban­don the way it plugged on through the white horses left a last­ing im­pres­sion. Its hon­est, work­boat at­ti­tude to sea­keep­ing teamed with top-notch de­tail­ing make it a unique propo­si­tion so surely its larger sib­ling, the 850, is go­ing to be even more re­ward­ing?

The prin­ci­ples are ex­actly the same: a ro­bust semi-dis­place­ment hull with sin­gle or twin diesel en­gines and a wheel­house that makes year-round, turn-key boat­ing a re­al­ity. The 850 is a boat that, once on board, im­me­di­ately feels big­ger than it is. There’s the heft to the board­ing gates, the chunk­i­ness to the deck gear, the depth and width of the sid­edecks and when was the last time you saw a 28ft boat with twin an­chor rollers?

Of course in com­par­i­son to a sportscruiser of an equiv­a­lent size the 850 lacks com­fort­able out­door liv­ing space and it’s not a boat to con­sider if you are in the mar­ket for a float­ing pa­tio. The cock­pit is rel­a­tively sparse but for fish­ing or car­ry­ing a standup pad­dle­board or kayak the cock­pit and sid­edecks are ideal. You can load it up with fish­ing gear and wa­ter­sports equip­ment, head out for the day and then just hose ev­ery­thing off when you get back – a true SUV of the sea. There’s a nod to com­fort in our test boat’s cock­pit thanks to a set of flip-up benches, which with some cush­ions would be per­fectly com­fort­able for a quick lunch.

Ma­chin­ery ac­cess is su­perb even if you opt for the twin-en­gine in­stal­la­tion. The huge hatch in the cock­pit rises on gas rams to re­veal a neat and tidy en­gine bay that makes daily ser­vice checks a breeze and more in­volved work has­sle-free too. Every­where you turn there is ev­i­dence that this is a boat de­signed by peo­ple who go boat­ing and ex­pect it to be used all year round. The wheel­house is key to this as it means even in the depths of win­ter you can dash to your favourite wa­ter­side hostelry with­out be­ing dressed up like an RNLI vol­un­teer.

The fin­ish is plain but it is un­de­ni­ably solid and the in­te­rior is as well thought out as the deck spa­ces. The com­pact gal­ley is packed with clever stor­age so­lu­tions, in­clud­ing a wine rack, and it’s es­pe­cially use­ful how the for­ward end of the dinette flips to cre­ate a for­ward-fac­ing bench to sup­ple­ment the sin­gle helm seat.

As an op­tion you can have an­other side door on the port side, some­thing we would rec­om­mend to make ac­cess in and out of the wheel­house even eas­ier.

A cen­tral com­pan­ion­way leads down to the cabin where two sin­gle berths meet at the for­ward end, split by a cen­tral pas­sage. Though this means a cou­ple will be sleep­ing apart, this ar­range­ment makes get­ting in and out of the berths far eas­ier than if it were a big dou­ble, even if the port berth is short­ened slightly by the bath­room unit. The bath­room has full stand­ing head­room for some­one of 6ft but there isn’t a sep­a­rate shower cu­bi­cle.

There is a whole raft of sin­gle and twin diesel op­tions from a host of dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers but the twin Volvo Penta D3 220s we had on test are a sweet part­ner­ship. De­spite the sen­si­ble looks the 850 skips up to speed in a heart­beat and charges up to a top speed of 26 knots, where it’s con­sum­ing around 100lph. Drop back to 17 knots, where the boat feels most com­fort­able, and the en­gines are con­sum­ing al­most half of that. It is a lit­tle noisy, though, with sound lev­els reg­is­ter­ing at over 80 DB(A) in the sa­loon even with the doors closed. There’s noth­ing wrong with the way the hull goes through the wa­ter mind, it just eats up the chop and bar­rels along gamely. It is an easy boat to drive with very lit­tle to dis­tract the skip­per from do­ing so. The helm is sim­ple and clear, sight­lines are good and there aren’t even any trim tabs to think about. Sim­ply set the throt­tles at the most com­fort­able speed for the con­di­tions and let the boat get on with it. For close-quar­ters work – even with twin en­gines – I would spec­ify the bowthruster to give fine touches of con­trol when com­ing along­side.

You could ar­gue that the 850 is short on crea­ture com­forts and ex­pen­sive for what it is but as soon as you come into con­tact with it and get it out to sea it’s clear where the money is be­ing spent. You have to re­mind your­self that it is just 28ft long yet it is a gen­uinely ca­pa­ble, ever­green cruis­ing boat that few at this size can com­pete with.

The 850 Timonier bar­relled non­cha­lantly through the chop

HELM Th e sim­ple helm set- up en­joys good sight­lines and a slid­ing side door

L E F T Volva Penta D3 220s made light work of the heavy lift­ing but were a lit­tle too audi­ble RIGHT Twin an­chor rollers hint at the 850’s tough na­ture

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