Nim­bus Yachts’ Sport-Cruiser

Passage Maker - - Contents - Brian K. Lind

Chalk it up to my Scan­di­na­vian roots, or to the many sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Scan­di­na­vian and Pa­cific North­west boat­ing, but I was im­pressed by the Nim­bus 405 Coupé the se­cond I laid eyes on her. I’m a sailor at heart, and while the bulk of my power cruis­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is with the stout and sturdy tug and trawler world, Nim­bus de­signs feel like they bor­row from many clas­sic styles.

The Nim­bus 405 is de­signed for cruis­ing, that is for sure, but she def­i­nitely leans to­ward sport-boat styling and per­for­mance. Nim­bus knows how to build a boat and has been do­ing so since 1968. The Nim­bus 405 has dis­tinctly Euro­pean lines that are both modern and clas­sic. And while de­cid­edly a coupe-style de­sign, the boat has a level of stout­ness and cruis­ing ap­peal, even from the dock, thanks to an over­size swim step, large aft cock­pit, and spa­cious glass-en­closed sa­loon. Go­ing aboard con­firmed my sus­pi­cions that the 405 Coupé was a wolf in sheep’s cloth­ing as she had a clear cruis­ing lay­out be­neath her sim­ple, straight-line Swedish de­sign.


The most no­tice­able de­sign fea­ture is that the cabin house is off­set to the port side, leav­ing a skinny port-side deck. This cre­ates room on the star­board side for a com­fort­ably wide pas­sage that al­lows you to walk eas­ily from bow to stern. A slid­ing door opens at the helm sta­tion, mak­ing the boat easy to sin­gle-hand as the pi­lot can step out from the wheel to man­age lines as the boat eases into the dock.

From both the dock and in­side the boat, you can’t help but take in the open, airy sa­loon. The Nim­bus 405 sports a beau­ti­fully wide, curved, and un­in­ter­rupted wind­shield. Win­dows run down both the port and star­board sides but save a lit­tle space at the af­ter end of the cock­pit where you will find the gal­ley. Over­head win­dows help fill the sa­loon with light and make you truly feel like there are no walls be­tween you and the out­side world. (And one can ap­pre­ci­ate the need to max­i­mize the nat­u­ral light this way, es­pe­cially in the far north­ern lat­i­tudes of the boat’s ori­gin.) But the fixed sun­roof panel has a great blind sys­tem if you need to block out the harsh sun at mid­day, and the for­ward panel re­tracts to al­low plenty of fresh air to cir­cu­late through the house on warmer days.

Step­ping aboard the 405 is done from the spa­cious swim plat­form. It’s big enough to eas­ily stow a ten­der, and it houses a built-in fender rack that folds aft to ex­pose a large stowage area in the stern bulk­head of the cock­pit. With a built-in swim lad­der and well-de­signed shore­power cord stowage, the af­ter three feet of the boat hint at the sort of at­ten­tion to de­tail that you will find through­out the Nim­bus 405.

The size­able cock­pit fea­tures a large ta­ble that ex­pands to seat eight peo­ple. In ad­di­tion, the cock­pit ta­ble elec­tri­cally low­ers to set­tee height and, while still ex­panded, ac­cepts a cush­ion to cre­ate a sun lounge large enough for mul­ti­ple guests. This makes the cock­pit the go-to hang­out on a nice day while run­ning at speed or an­chored in a quiet cove.

A slid­ing door opens into the sa­loon, and it can be left open to ex­tend the liv­ing space into the cock­pit. The sa­loon of the Nim­bus 405 is no­tice­ably Scan­di­na­vian with its sleek lines, open feel,

straight edges, modern look, and sim­ple, func­tional de­sign. The U-shape set­tee on the port side can eas­ily seat six to eight peo­ple. The set­tee sur­rounds a size­able ta­ble with a for­ward sec­tion that trans­forms from din­ner ta­ble to cock­tail ta­ble, com­plete with cup hold­ers. The clas­sic straight gal­ley fea­tures a sin­gle, un­der counter re­frig­er­a­tor but am­ple counter space. The in­duc­tion cook­top is kept below a sec­tion of the coun­ter­top, pro­vid­ing extra stor­age and workspace when not in use. There is an extra drawer re­frig­er­a­tor un­der the set­tee as well, so you won’t have to get up for an­other drink. For­ward of the gal­ley, the helm sta­tion has a full ar­ray of Sim­rad elec­tron­ics in a low-pro­file dash that doesn’t im­pede visibility (a Garmin op­tion is avail­able). The helm sta­tion seats two on a com­fort­able but sup­port­ive loveseat-style bench. All con­trols are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble while seated, stand­ing, or even op­er­at­ing with one foot out the helm door.

De­scend­ing a few stairs you reach the three-cabin ac­com­mo­da­tions. The master state­room is for­ward and fea­tures an en suite head. The two nicely sized guest state­rooms share a guest head. One dis­tinctly Scan­di­na­vian fea­ture is the hang­ing wet locker in the com­mon hall­way be­tween state­rooms, which al­lows you to hang your rain gear over a sur­face de­signed to al­low for drainage. While a small fea­ture, it is one that shows how sea­man­like the Nim­bus is.


I took the helm of the Nim­bus 405 in Fi­dalgo Bay and was pleased with her re­spon­sive­ness. While the steer­ing was a lit­tle heavy, she tracked solidly and carved into and out of turns well. The au­to­matic Humphree trim/list sys­tem helped keep her from lean­ing into turns, and it kept the boat level as I ac­cel­er­ated from idle to WOT.

Be­cause her dual Volvo Penta D4-300 en­gines with V-drives are way back aft un­der the cock­pit sole, the boat is quiet, even while run­ning at high speed. We reg­is­tered lev­els be­tween 50 and 75 dB(C) be­tween idle and WOT. This makes the only de­trac­tor to con­ver­sa­tion at WOT not the en­gine’s noise but the fact that you’re hurtling along at 28 knots.

Fuel con­sump­tion was lower than ex­pected for a boat that does a high cruise around 22 knots and 28 knots at top speed. The Nim­bus 405 starts to bal­ance com­fort and fuel economy be­tween 8.5 and 11 knots, where she got nearly two nau­ti­cal miles per gal­lon. For the same fuel burn at max speed, we were net­ting just un­der one nau­ti­cal mile (0.9 to be ex­act). Over­all the boat felt just right at 17 to 20 knots, where she still burned fuel fairly ef­fi­ciently.

With the com­bi­na­tion of the wider star­board deck, a slid­ing door at the helm sta­tion, and twin screws, dock­ing the Nim­bus 405 was a dream. Her stout body and low pro­file kept windage to a min­i­mum, and her ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies made dock­ing a breeze, even in a tight space along a face dock. A few hours on the Nim­bus 405 left me wish­ing I’d been able to cruise her for a week or more. She has that sleek, so­phis­ti­cated Euro­pean look, but once aboard, it’s clear that she is a trav­eler and cruiser at heart. While per­haps lack­ing name recog­ni­tion in the United States and Canada, Nim­bus is a tried-and-true de­signer and builder. Nim­bus Yachts started in Swe­den in the late 1960s and has sold more than 4,000 boats since then. To­day Nim­bus boasts a wide va­ri­ety of mod­els that are pop­u­lar all over Europe. Their 305, 365, and 405 Coupés (in­clud­ing a 405 fly­bridge op­tion) con­sti­tute their cruis­ing se­ries. The 405 won a Best of Boats Award in 2014 and was nom­i­nated in 2015 for Euro­pean Power­boat of the Year, so my draw to this boat clearly has a ba­sis in some­thing more than my ge­netic bias.


With plenty of large win­dows and a sky­light, in­door liv­ing on the 405 feels like out­door liv­ing.

With room for two, the 405 helm feels com­fort­able and nat­u­ral. The com­pan­ion bench also fits two, but with lim­ited legroom. Mid­dle: The for­ward state­room fea­tures great nat­u­ral light with an over­sized sky­light-style hatch.

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