Axopar was co-founded by Jan-Erik Viitala in 2014 in response to the extreme sea conditions of his homeland. The first model was a 28-footer with a twin-stepped hull and a knifelike bow that slices through all kinds of wave sets. But it was the success of the 37 that helped turn Axopar into the biggest boatbuilder in all the Nordic countries, garnering international attention for a performance-oriented vessel available at a highly competitive price. (They also offer a 24-foot model.) Today, Axopar has 100 dealers in 50 countries. They can produce six boats in five days at their factory in Poland, and their models—like the 37 XC Cross Cabin—are found all over the U.S., including Miami.
That’s where I found one in February. On a Biscayne Bay limned with light, I took the helm of the new 37. The walkaround cabin offered solid visibility. It was a flat-calm morning before a parade of boats inundated the bay, but we were able to find a decently sized trawler kicking up wake to get a feel for the boat’s seaworthiness. Not only was the 37 seaworthy, its tracking and handling were exceptional. Like Boating for Dummies exceptional. Like where-has-this-been-all-my-life exceptional. Outfitted with twin 300-hp Mercury outboards, we saw a top end close to 47 knots.
Like past models, the 37 is available in three different versions: Spyder, Sun-Top and XC Cross Cabin. While the XC offers a fully enclosed helm and seating area, the other two configurations have more of a wind-in-your-hair feel to them, offering a full-length roof with open sides (Sun-Top), or the complete dayboat experience (Spyder). According to Viitala, 98 percent of the parts have been completely redone, including the running surface, providing better tracking and fuel efficiency. Axopar has also optimized volume and accessibility wherever possible, including the addition of optional gullwing doors ($5,525) for three different access points to the cabin and forward berth. Together, these features equate to a pretty big departure. “For example, the cockpit on the 37 XC is still almost the same in centimeters, but it feels way bigger than its predecessor,” said Viitala.
Speaking of the cockpit, aft modules allow owners the ability to personalize their boat a step further. Our test boat was equipped with a wet bar, which included a sink, fridge and grill. But choices abound, including an aft sun pad, bench seating or additional berth. Or do away with the options entirely to create more space for fishing or water toys. For a company with such an emphasis on performance, Axopar certainly gives owners a lot of agency to tailor amenities to their lifestyle. Viitala says they want to offer options for boaters throughout their different stages in life. More than half of all Axopar customers have owned multiple boats in the past, but 15 percent of clients have never been boating before. “We have a lot of customers that boat first with Axopar and now maybe they are in 40-foot boats,” said Viitala. One assumes that the new 22 will bring even more boaters into the sport. —Simon Murray
Displ. (excluding engines) 8,311 lbs.
Fuel 193 gal.
Power 2/300-hp Mercury Verados
Cruise Speed 26 knots
Top Speed 48 knots
Standard Horsepower 600