Right from the start, the XXL from Buster has two very prominent weapons in its armoury. For a start, it is constructed from marine grade aluminium, which is extremely strong and yet sufficiently tensile to resist significant impacts, making it ideal as a boat building material. Aluminium does not rust, corrode, split, rot or become brittle and it will not ignite or burn. It withstands all natural conditions of freezing and temperatures as high as 200 degrees Centigrade. And to make matters even better, it’s also very lightweight, easy to clean and simple to repair.
And then we come to the Buster’s second key asset - its country of conception. It is designed, tested and built in Finland, where the land is cut through by thousands of lakes and waterways and littered with countless islands. Here, just about everyone owns at least one boat and uses it in a very concerted everyday fashion - and this seems to engender a resolute cultural insistence that boats should be both durable and very easy to live with. If an anchor at the stern or a ladder at the bow makes sense, it happens. If embarkation from the nose is necessary, the builders make provision for it. And if feedback from customers suggests that a change is necessary, that change is quickly and effectively implemented. In short, when you sit at the helm of a Finnish built boat, you expect things to feel very right indeed.
As expected, once on board, the space is as versatile as it is ample, with lots of uninterrupted access to every part of the boat, making it just as handy for a fishing trip as a family day out. Back aft, there are huge swim platforms flanking the outboard, along with a boarding ladder and some unashamedly conspicuous grabbing handles both on the sturdy A-frame and on the extreme edges of the transom.
Ahead of this is a fairly conventional looking aft bench with a pair of swivel seats at the helm and a walk through screen to a V-shaped bow section. Up here, once again you get continuous peripheral grab rails allied to an elevated grabbing point at the bow, where the impressively large units are used both as storage compartments and as graduated steps to embark or disembark from the nose in safety and comfort.
It’s all very secure, very practical and very neatly arranged, but what you see here doesn’t tell the whole story, because the real versatility of a Buster interior is the way in which it can be adapted by the owner. In the case of the XXL, the sliding aft sofa can be entirely removed, creating a huge aft space that is ideal for fishing. And if you think your intended boating activity would benefit from some additional storage boxes that double as seats, then these are also available as an optional accessory.
This built-in capacity to adapt the boat to your requirements might sound a little convoluted and unnecessary but it’s really not. It’s a fantastic idea, and one which is very easy to understand if you visit the Buster website. Go to www.buster.fi/en and hit the ‘Design your own Buster’ button. This allows you to apply various options and packages to your chosen model, and as well as making it very easy to generate a boat that fits your needs, it is also peculiarly addictive.
How about a Hard Top?
The Buster XXL is also available in a Hard Top version. Once known as the AWC (or All-Weather Cabin), it is now known simply as the XXL Cabin and it makes an already practical craft extraordinarily comfortable as a four-season boat. Not only does it offer a huge amount of room under cover, but it does so in a way that ensures plenty of internal light, with low-profile stanchions and a huge sliding tinted roof section. The walk-through, centre cabin also has seating for six and berths for two, and as well as offering unobstructed visibility in every direction (including upwards), it uses a level of soundproofing to minimise engine, wind and water noise that may surprise you.
Like the open model, it is easy to get on and off in safety, with easy-grip stepping areas, ample swim platforms and heavy-duty stainless steel grab rails. And because of the Cabin’s additional windage, trim tabs are included as standard. Meanwhile, the bow remains open to the elements and so does the excellent aft space, but if you want to shut the aft space away under canvas, the option is there - and so too is the option of an external steering console so you can helm your boat in the open air.
Of course, the Cabin version is slightly longer (6.6 metres) and slightly heavier (1,085 kg) than the basic XXL, but it also enjoys a higher power band, with 175hp outboards brought into the reckoning. But like the open XXL, the Cabin version is a rather bold example of just how much versatility Scandinavian boat builders are able to factor into their leisure craft.
A boat for life
We all know that aluminium can sometimes be a little rough looking compared to GRP and it can also be a little noisy underway but it is a great boat building material and in the hands of the excellent Buster stable, its qualities are beautifully showcased. Like the rest of the range, the Buster XXL is a boat that will last you a lifetime, with immense durability allied to a rigorous clarity of thinking in the design process. If you are able to drag your thought processes away from the conventional British default setting of ‘GRP, GRP, GRP’ - a Buster can provide several decades of very easy, reliable and entertaining boat ownership. As far as I’m, concerned, that makes it one of the very best do-it-all leisure boats money can buy.
For more details see Howard Marine Sales or Buster Boats.
Deadrise 18 degrees
Seating capacity seven
Max load 680kg
Min power 115hp
Max power 150hp
Engine Yamaha F150
Fuel capacity 155 litres