In the words of ABBA…Gimme Gimme Gimme! Think Sweden and you will probably think ABBA, Volvo and of course Artemis. Well, you can now add yet another quality Swedish brand, Nimbus Boats. Barry Thompson checks out this latest arrival to our shores.
Often a boat that is suited for a particular market overseas doesn’t always stack up when put into the Kiwi environment. In many respects, our boating needs are different from those in Europe and even the US, so not every boat suits our boating lifestyle. However, in the case of the Nimbus 305 Coupe, it ticks nearly all the boxes and although it still needs to have a few Kiwi additions when it comes to fishing, it’s extremely well suited to boating on our waterways.
Distribution for New Zealand and Australia is now in the hands of Sports Marine, who brought in the first Nimbus, a 305 Coupe just in time for the recent Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show.
Sports Marine’s, Scott Williamson said that the reaction at the show was better than expected and people loved the fact the boat has a lockable cabin, one level living and above all was a shaft drive diesel.
“The 305 Coupe is an extremely cost effective boat to run, especially with a single engine, with low maintenance and a great performance from a boat that offers a lot more for its size than most of the competition”, says Scott.
Just as the Italians are known for their style, the Swedes have always been at the forefront of innovation. The Nimbus 305 Coupe is full of ideas and features that set it apart from others and I was continually amazed at all the cool stuff I found on the boat as I walked through it.
While Nimbus is not a well know brand in this part of the world, they have been in the boat building business for over 45 years and are one of the largest powerboat builders in Scandinavia. The range consists of nine models, comprising flybridge, coupe and open sports models from 7.0m to 13.5m.
Single Shaft Drive
The Nimbus 305 is based on a semi-displacement hull, which has been developed and optimised for speeds from 0 to 22 knots. It is made for smaller engines and built to run equally comfortably irrespective of speed. Engine options are the Volvo Penta D3-110, D3-150 and D3 220, plus if you are extremely environmentally conscious, then you can fit a Torqeedo Deep Blue electric engine package. But don’t expect much more than 6 knots top speed.
While most boats of this size have stern drives, not so the Nimbus 305, which has a V shaft behind the single Volvo Penta D3 engine. If you want twins, you will have to upsize to the Nimbus 365 or 405. The fact that the boat comes with a bow thruster (stern thruster is optional) having a single engine when docking isn’t a problem. I found the thrusters worked great when I had to reverse the boat into the marina after our test.
Maximum speed with the Volvo Penta D3-220 was 21 knots @ 3800 rpm, with the best cruise around 3200 rpm @ 15.5 knots. If you go for the D3-110, you can expect a maximum speed of 14 knots and the D3-150, 18 knots.
The hydrodynamic shape of the hull means that the boat essentially has no planning threshold at all. My test time aboard was on a very choppy and windy Auckland Harbour, so I was able to give the Nimbus 305 Coupe a really good run. Coming out of the Tamaki Estuary we went straight into a short 1m Northerly swell that left the huge front screen obliterated with spray. Thank goodness for good wipers! As I punched the throttle down and gave the boat some more tab, I found I could run across the waves comfortably at around 15 knots. With the boat at speed, it also eliminated most of the spray off the screen. Not much I could do about the rain though.
There is a solidness and strong feeling about the boat, with no rattles or creaks, even when I went a maximum 21 knots. A few bumps as would be expected, but I was very impressed overall with the way the semi-displacement hull handled the seas.
In the following sea, it was tabs off and throttle down. In the short patch of calm water we found, the Nimbus 305 showed its sports car-like attributes and was nimble and responsive in every hard turn. It doesn’t express a lot of heel and when you correct the wheel, it comes quickly back on track without losing too much speed.
I liked the driving position and the panoramic views from the helm, thanks to the unsupported screen that offers uninterrupted viewing and the high side windows. With the sliding sunroof open, I could stand and look out over the bow, which is a bonus when docking or anchoring.
The interior of the boat provides a gentle and warm atmosphere, particularly regarding space and light. The bulkheads are all upholstered in light colours accented by polished mahogany timbers throughout. The boat has integrated ventilation and five large opening portlights for extra light intake.
The boat has two cabins, an owner’s cabin (available with Queen bed or V-bed) and a guest cabin, sharing a common head with shower. An opening overhead hatch and opening side ports let in plenty of light and ventilation to the forward cabin. There’s a deep hanging locker, plus extra storage under the berth(s).
The word innovation comes up when you look at how the toilet and shower have been configured. The shower stall and toilet are all one, with a lift up cover hiding the toilet when not required and a curved glass screen pulled in place when using the shower. Very neat, very simple and very Swedish.
Two cabins is always a hard ask in a boat this size so what Nimbus have done is slip the second accommodation area under the saloon sole. The actual berth is over 2m long and side ports again provide some natural light and fresh air. A soft curtain is provided for privacy.
Space & Light
The light, airy and spacious saloon, features four large glass roof panels complete with curtains that neatly hide away when not in place. While the aft two panels are fixed, the forward pair slides open to bring in more natural ventilation.
A dinette provides plenty of room for four people and converts easily into a double berth. The dining table folds down into a cocktail table with glass holders, giving the saloon a little more open space.
Another well thought out feature is the way the forward dinette settee rotates up, so the base forms the backrest for a forward facing seat. All this is mounted on a raised platform to allow for maximum headroom in the cabin below. A great way to maximise the space available.
Nimbus offer a straightforward and practical helm that has been designed to provide the greatest possible flexibility and can be equipped with accessories according to individual requirements. Our boat came with a Simrad 9” MFD, Fusion entertainment centre, Simrad VHF and all the necessary controls and instruments. Included was the latest engine management display from Volvo Penta. Access to the battery switches and circuit breakers is under the helm sole.
Another great feature of the 305 Coupe is the full sliding side door beside the helm. This is not something you see on many boats this size and means you have easy access to an especially wide side deck.
Talking of side decks, the 305 Coupe has an interesting design that the builders call ‘Sidewalk”. This is an asymmetrical deck layout where the side deck along the starboard side is extra wide and deep and provides safe and generous freedom of movement. The port side deck is much higher with no trench and is also much narrower. With the wheelhouse pushed across to port, the interior has a greater beam, than if the wide decks were used both sides. Another innovative idea from Nimbus.
Aft of the helm seat is the galley, complete with Corian bench, ceramic LPG cook top, fridge, dual sinks, microwave and plenty of storage. There’s a dedicated trash bin and every boat comes already fitted out with Nimbus branded cutlery and crockery.
The aft deck shares the same level as the bathing platform and saloon. Overhead is an extended hardtop, offering full weather protection and it is also available with drop down clears so you can close off the whole area.
It has a generously sized, comfortable L-shaped sofa for five persons with foldable seating. The dining table folds down into a cocktail table with glass holders with stainless steel handles. A full sliding door means you can lock up the cabin.
Sports Marine will fully customise the 305 Coupe for you with any extras you need. Some popular options are a bait board, bbq, rod holders and a rocket launcher.
The Nimbus 305 Coupe is unquestionably a great boat for New Zealand boating conditions. If you are looking to step down from a larger cruiser and still want a boat that will provide all the comforts for overnighting or extended cruising, then the Nimbus 305 Coupe is worth a look. It comes with an exceptional reputation for quality and like anything the Swedes make, it’s got world-class stamped all over.