‘FI­NALLY I’M FREE TO PUSH THE THROT­TLES FOR­WARD AND WAKE THOSE MIGHTY V8s’

VANTAGE - - Test Am37 Powerboat -

be­yond the har­bour mouth. Fi­nally, the mo­ment comes and I’m free to push both throt­tles for­ward and wake those mighty en­gines from their slum­ber. Again, I’m sur­prised how muted the noise lev­els are from those two gi­ant V8 mo­tors just be­hind me. Mean­while the boat ac­cel­er­ates and the bow starts to rise out of the wa­ter – but then seems re­luc­tant to flat­ten out. The reg­u­lar cap­tain sug­gests I fully de­ploy the trim tabs (foot-square fins mounted in the wa­ter right at the stern of the boat, which act as spoil­ers in re­verse to force the bow of the boat down­wards). The AM37S lev­els out as we climb onto the plane and re­ally starts to mo­tor.

I watch the dig­i­tal speed read­out rapidly change from 25 to 40 knots on the won­der­fully clear nav­i­ga­tion screen po­si­tioned just to the right of the wheel. Aother be­spoke item, it re­minds me of the huge info screen you find in a Tesla. It’s yet another pointer to the depth of engi­neer­ing that has gone into this boat.

It’s a great day to be test­ing a sports boat but there’s a bit of chop out here and I’m do­ing my best to throt­tle back slightly as we crest a wave (to stop the boat slam­ming down on the other side of the ramp), as well as steer around any lumpier ones I spot ahead of us. I’m sur­prised the steer­ing isn’t a bit sharper. It’s geared for 4.5 turns lock-to-lock, which is rel­a­tively slow for a sports boat and means you need to add a bit more lock than you might ex­pect to when out on the wa­ter. What I am im­pressed with is the hull, and in par­tic­u­lar how well it’s han­dling the chop out here. We’re pierc­ing the waves beau­ti­fully and then rid­ing through with min­i­mal dis­tur­bance to those on board.

We’re also stay­ing com­pletely dry in­side the cock­pit and this all points to an ex­cel­lent hull de­sign, helped by the fact that it’s not a par­tic­u­larly light boat at 6.7 tonnes un­laden. This rel­a­tive heft also helps give the AM37 a great ride qual­ity, with im­pres­sively lit­tle in the way of creaks and groans com­ing from the su­per­struc­ture. The helm po­si­tion isn’t quite per­fect when stand­ing – the seat base is push­ing me too close to the wheel and I ei­ther need the wheel to be a lit­tle less dished, or the non­ad­justable seat a bit fur­ther away. Another mi­nor gripe is that the dis­play is dom­i­nated by the round speedo dial, with en­gine revs dis­played in two much smaller di­als po­si­tioned to one side. That’s the wrong way round. I want to know what each en­gine is revving at to make sure I’ve got them bal­anced. I can al­ways read the speed off the nav­i­ga­tion screen, which is more ac­cu­rate any­way.

All these is­sues are fix­able though, be­ing typ­i­cal teething prob­lems on an early build. As I turn back to Monaco, I can’t help feel­ing this is one of the most ex­cit­ing new ven­tures for a brand like Aston Martin to be in­volved in. The great thing about de­sign­ing a boat to­day is the lack of leg­is­la­tion de­sign­ers have to deal with. Talk­ing to Marek later, he tells me only the lights had to com­ply to strict mar­itime reg­u­la­tions; ev­ery­thing else was down to the whims of the de­sign team, who could then be much bolder than is cur­rently pos­si­ble in the highly reg­u­lated au­to­mo­tive world.

All this comes at a cost, of course, with the AM37 range start­ing at £1.26m. The ‘S’ costs £1.62m plus lo­cal taxes, which is mas­sively more than a ‘reg­u­lar’ 37ft sport­ing day cruiser would set you back. Does the Aston Martin badge jus­tify the circa £1m pre­mium over sim­i­lar-size boats like the Windy 39 Camira or Riva Aquar­iva Su­per? That’s up to cus­tomers to de­cide, and Aston al­ready has a few or­ders in the bag. Quintessence CEO Mariella Men­gozzi tells me pro­duc­tion vol­ume is ex­pected to be only six to ten boats a year, mak­ing this a highly ex­clu­sive pur­chase, so maybe nor­mal sup­ply and de­mand rules don’t re­ally ap­ply.

And here’s another thing. There’s no way Quintessence would in­vest in a ded­i­cated pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity and cre­ate so many unique parts for just one size of boat. It would only make sense if you were con­sid­er­ing cre­at­ing a range of boats. That’s why I’m sure there’s go­ing to be more Aston Martin boats com­ing in the fu­ture and, on this show­ing, that has to be a very ex­cit­ing prospect in­deed.

V

Above and left A small ‘bathing plat­form’ ex­tends at the rear, should you want to dan­gle your feet in the wa­ter when on an­chor. Aston Martin briefly con­sid­ered con­vert­ing its own en­gines for ma­rine use, but the cost of set­ting up a ser­vic­ing net­work ruled

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