Why is it that in the UK, aluminium is so often confined to the construction of pedestrian runabouts and yacht club support boats? Why is it so often seen as a building material solely for steadfast commercial operators or leisure boaters who have abandoned all style and aspiration? Given its stiffness, light weight, long-term durability, ecological sustainability and easy maintenance, it’s an entirely unjust state of play – so it is great to see that at the 2016 London Boat Show, Poole-based company, Salterns Brokerage, took the plunge by turning up with the striking new four-season Anytec 747 CAB.
Big build; flexible layout
For those who get precious about the looks of a boat, the key cosmetic difficulty of an aluminum hull is its propensity to develop a chalky white film. It’s by no means a problem and it can be treated quite easily, using a bit of pine oil soap in your wash-down water. But here, Anytec employs what it calls a “unique and patented” pre-emptive treatment known as ‘M400’. Used on all boats in the range, it is designed to make the hull highly water-repellent and oxidation-resistant, generating a shine that lasts.
What’s more impressive, however, is the resilience of construction in evidence on the Anytec. From the wheelhouse to the seat boxes, the grab rails and the cleats, everything here is welded rather than bolted. That certainly bodes well for the boat’s residual values - and so does the relative generosity of the features list. The Skipper is treated to a gas-damped seat, a pair of windscreen wipers, a sliding skylight and trim tabs as standard. And despite the four-season protection of the enclosed wheelhouse, the unstinting vertical elevation of the windows and the roof means you also get remarkably uncluttered all-round visibility. As you might expect, the acute heel of a hard turn tends to prove problematic for a boat of this type, but the sunroof will certainly help mitigate any issues with line-of-sight in the turn and the useful upper curve of the side windows also indicates that the helm and navigator positions have been very carefully considered. See a video of the boat below.
In terms of the layout, the wheelhouse comprises four simple seats - two small aft benches behind a starboard helm seat and a port navigator bench. The nav bench comes with a swinging backrest so it can be easily rigged to face aft and the clutter-free central walkway, which runs directly forward from the hinged aft door to the foredeck access, is usefully sunken to generate extra headroom and better views.
However, despite its credentials as an all-weather distance-maker, the 747 also offers some handy outdoor spaces at both bow and stern. At the back end, you get a deepset and well-sheltered cockpit with a compact aluminium seat box doubling as a useful boarding step in each of the four corners; and ahead of the wheelhouse, you get a long, tapering nose section with side embarkation points and the traditional Nordic step-through forepeak with elevated guard rails. It’s a useful blend of talents for a 26-foot platform, but if it doesn’t quite match your needs, you can either investigate the rest of the Anytec range or talk to them directly about your intended recreation. Such are the efficiencies and flexibilities of the manufacturing process that they are apparently able to weld in place whatever kind of deck furniture you require.
A fusion of paradoxes
In stark contrast to the pedestrian aluminium runabouts with which the UK boater is familiar, the 747 takes a very dynamic approach. Like several established Anytec craft, it offers an acutely angled, sporting hull, with a soft-riding 55-degree entry and a healthy dose of outboard power. In fact, with the Suzuki DF300 on the transom, this boat is reportedly good for a top end of around 50 knots. That’s more than enough for most family boaters, but with a 20-degree deadrise and a weight of just 1,370 kg, the 747 is also designed to be an efficient and useable performer. The quoted figures suggest a rapid and highly cost-effective 40-knot cruise, with a fuel flow of 44 litres per hour and a range (with a 10 per cent safety margin in reserve) of nearly 300 nautical miles.
Now as I say, we have yet to experience this boat on the water, but if all is as it seems, it ought to offer a very compelling cocktail of contradictory ingredients: serious pace as well as running efficiency; an extended range as well as a soft ride; authentic helm protection as well as decent outdoor spaces; stylistic appeal as well as the practicalities of aluminium. Of course, its ‘angry cyborg’ aesthetics might prove a bit forthright for some, but isn’t it about time we saw an aluminium powerboat that refuses to conform to the ranks of the bland, the workmanlike and the prosaic?
While plenty of builders from this part of the world produce boats of great sea-keeping acumen, Anytec seems to have set its sights a long way beyond that. It basically wants to create the best aluminium boating experience in the world - but even if it falls short of that lofty ambition, what we undoubtedly have here is a fast, versatile, four-season boat from a nation predisposed to excellence in exactly this kind of discipline. With its capacity to add authentic excitement to aluminium’s enviable list of boat building merits, it might even become the boat that finally converts the staunch British ‘tinny-phobe’ to a life less plastic.
Notable standard equipment
M-400 surface treatment
Anytec 747 CAB specifications
Power: 150-300 hp
Engines: 300 hp outboard
Fuel capacity: 350 litres
People capacity: eight
Top speed: 50 knots
Price: from £99,000
For more high-performance powerboat news and reviews on boats.com, see: Axopar 37 AC First Look Video or the Cormate T27 First Look Video.