Moored amid some of the more glamorous and higher priced luxury cruisers at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show, the Scimitar 1010 looked slightly bashful... and perhaps not the obvious winner of the Cruiser of the Year category announced hours earlier at the show.
But under that somewhat 'plain Jane' exterior lies a boat that has been beautifully thought out. Based on a catamaran hull by renowned sailboat designer Peter Brady, the Scimitar is an exceptionally wide boat - 5 metres - and therefore extremely stable.
Also, for such a comparatively short length, the Scimitar is able to provide a huge amount of saloon, cockpit and flybridge space. Confined by the high tunnel and narrow hulls, the accommodation that has been squeezed in is even more amazing. Twin double cabins are located forward, the berths being positioned over the tunnel section, while two additional single bunks are tucked in under the saloon either side. The latter are a little tight (you climb into them like getting into a sleeping bag).
The saloon is great. There's plenty of room, the central helm station is not in the way and it opens out on to a good-sized cockpit. There's not a lot of cockpit storage, but what's there is clever and adequate. I was particularly taken by the transom locker which not only stores the dinghy's outboard in a vertical position but has facilities for freshwater flushing.
Unusually, the head and shower are accessed from the cockpit rather than from inside the saloon or below deck. This ensures that odours don't drift through the boat, and that the head can be used without disturbing those sleeping. But then it means you have to go outside of an evening, so it remains to be seen how well this arrangement is accepted.
Foremost in the minds of the owners when commissioning the design was economy of operation, power usage and purchase price. They certainly got that. I took the claimed 20-knot performance from a pair of 100hp Volvo diesels with a grain of salt, saying I'd believe it when I saw it. Well, I believe it ! It does 21 knots and does it easy. More importantly it cruises effortlessly at 17 knots, using around 18 litres of fuel per hour.
The hull rides silky smooth with little indication of motion or the speed it is travelling. It simply glides over the water without the rumble of big diesel power and producing only a low level of wash. On one engine, it will still plane and reach 12 knots. This is simply one very incredible performing cruiser with an enormous amount of on-board living space for its length. It's not the most glamorous boat on the water, but I for one would be prepared to sacrifice this for the other benefits the Scimitar has to offer.
Prices are around the mid-$200,000 range, depending on engines and options. Along with the low level of maintenance, the low power requirements and the economy of operation, it makes this an attractive craft for charter and boat hire operators as well as weekend cruisers.
Story by David Toyer.