TEST­ING

Just how far can the Aston Martin brand be stretched? A £1.5m powerboat should pro­vide the an­swer. We as­sess the AM37

VANTAGE - - Test Am37 Powerboat -

teak deck­ing beau­ti­fully – but what re­ally grabs my at­ten­tion is the ex­tra­or­di­nary wind­screen, which not only wraps around the cock­pit but whose bot­tom edge splays out­ward as it meets the deck, so that it ap­pears to be al­most float­ing above it. I’m told such a shape has never been achieved be­fore, and I sense it’s given the team re­spon­si­ble for the con­struc­tion of the boat some sleep­less nights along the way.

There’s a clean, min­i­mal­ist theme through­out. Clut­ter sim­ply isn’t tol­er­ated any­where; there’s no safety rail around the for­ward deck, for ex­am­ple, which also means there’s nowhere to tie the fend­ers when you come into dock. In­stead, they’re fixed in po­si­tion us­ing neat chrome pegs that click into ded­i­cated hold­ers along the side of the hull.

At the pointy end, rather than hav­ing an ugly an­chor and chain on con­stant dis­play, the an­chor is de­ployed us­ing a pivot arm that swings into po­si­tion re­motely from un­der a hid­den hatch within the nose of the hull. And rather than hav­ing a fab­ric cover with a mil­lion press-studs to seal the boat up when it rains, on the AM37 you sim­ply press a but­ton on the key fob and a car­bon­fi­bre lid slides out from un­der the rear deck, com­pletely seal­ing the cock­pit from the el­e­ments.

When the time comes for me to climb aboard, I be­gin to won­der if all this min­i­mal­ism has gone a bit too far, as there’s noth­ing to hang onto as you board the boat. A wob­ble now and you might find your­self over­board and very wet very quickly. Thank­fully I man­age to avoid any mishaps as I clam­ber onto the vast ex­panse of rear deck be­fore mak­ing my way down into the cock­pit via a cou­ple of teak steps that dis­ap­pear at the press of a but­ton to free up the bench seat­ing be­neath.

The cock­pit it­self is a cut above any other day­cruiser I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced. As a piece of de­sign, it’s ex­quis­ite, and ev­ery­thing you can see and touch is be­spoke to the AM37S: the unique dig­i­tal dash, the de­li­ciously trimmed seat-pods for both skip­per and as­sis­tant, the deeply dished steer­ing wheel, com­plete with milled alu­minium spokes and enam­elled Aston badge on the boss. The beau­ti­ful, leather-trimmed throt­tle con­trol pod is a vis­ual marvel in its own right. Fash­ioned from car­bon­fi­bre and in­cor­po­rat­ing con­trols for other me­chan­i­cal func­tions, in­clud­ing trim tabs and prop legs, it has been de­signed purely for this boat rather than be­ing the stan­dard Mer­cury unit that you might ex­pect to see.

Ac­cess to the cabin, lo­cated be­low the front deck, is via an elec­tri­cally pow­ered slid­ing door, lo­cated just to the left of the helm po­si­tion. It’s beau­ti­fully fin­ished in leather and rose­wood, and packed with good­ies, in­clud­ing 48in TV, es­presso ma­chine (which can be con­trolled via your mo­bile phone, ap­par­ently), fridge, mi­crowave and, tucked into one cor­ner, a mini wet-room, com­plete with toi­let, wash­basin and shower. The space is nicely bathed in light thanks to two nar­row sky­lights po­si­tioned di­rectly above the seat­ing area ei­ther side of the ta­ble, and, once night falls, clever LED light­ing hid­den away through­out the cabin takes over. Should you fancy stay­ing the night on board, all you have to do is lower the ta­ble, pop a foam insert on top and voila, there’s a de­cent-sized bed to snug­gle into. Try that in your One-77.

The crew are ready to start the sea trial and, be­ing a rea­son­ably ex­pe­ri­enced skip­per, I’ve been cleared to take the helm once we’re clear of the pon­toon. The V8s are started via two push­but­tons to the right of the dash and, even though we’re still at tick-over, I’m sur­prised by how quiet they are. That big ex­panse of deck be­hind me must do a great job of in­su­lat­ing the cock­pit from the mighty en­gines po­si­tioned inches be­neath. We’re soon clear of the pon­toon, keep­ing to the 3-knot har­bour limit by pow­er­ing the boat along with just one en­gine en­gaged.

As we round the cor­ner, the open sea be­yond is tempt­ing me to crack open the throt­tles but the speed limit ex­tends sev­eral hun­dred me­tres

Above and right Very few mo­tor­ing writ­ers also have ex­pe­ri­ence of ex­pen­sive mo­tor yachts, but for­tu­nately we know one who does… Harry Met­calfe takes the helm as the AM37S leaves the har­bour in Monaco. Be­low right: ex­quis­ite cock­pit de­tail­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.