X-CRAFT X8.0 TEST REPORT by TIM FLEMING Tim@Boatingmatters.com58 KNOT SPEED LOUNGEI travelled up to the 14th century port city of Hoorn, 35 kilometres from Amsterdam onthe Ijsselmeer, to test the X Craft 8m RIB. It was a typical November day in Hollandwith the temperature hovering around 7 degrees Celsius and a strong breeze. Theboat was moored in the small harbour that served as an important home base for theEast India Trading Company‟s fleet 600 years ago when it was a very prosperoustrading centre; the modern lines and colours of the X Craft were in stark contrast tothese medieval surroundings. I could see the whitecaps beckoning outside theharbour walls and so X-Craft‟s Sales Director Sytse de Vlas and I set out immediatelyfor a robust sea trial.Our test boat was powered by a 300 hp Mercury Verado 4 stroke engine and with thecrew weight and fuel load, we were packing 1650kgs in Force 4/5 conditions. Acompetitive power to weight ratio! I was very confident with the boat. It is animmaculate handmade machine built with a very high quality approach to boatproduction. The design is X Craft in conjunction with Dutch yacht designers SimonisVoogd.The hull and deck are built in a vacuum infusion process ensuring that the highquality Vinylester resin is thoroughly infused in the glass but with a precise degree ofcontrol to the weight. The inner stringers and transverse bulkheads, along with thetransom are made from high-tech foam, cut from 3D drawings on a CNC machineand these are sandwiched between the hull and deck. The steering console is a onepiece moulding created in the same process as the hull and deck and then boltedand bonded to the deck. It, as well as the interior surfaces of the deck, had a metallicgrey exterior which gives a “Bentley level” finish. The teak-like deck coveringprovides an effective non skid surface and the entire deck in self bailing thru 2scuppers through the transom.Seating is provided by X Craft‟s own in-house suspension seats. The driver and co-driver seats are “top of the line” Comfort models which feature a fully adjustable
patent protected shock absorbing system. Made from polished stainless steel (s/s)and powder coated aluminium, they are virtually maintenance free. The upholstery isavailable in a variety of colours and feature multi density foam for comfort and rigidity.The seats have various handholds integrated into the frame for passengers seatedon them or standing behind them. I have spent a good deal of time on suspensionseats in the last 10 years and found the X Craft model to be a nice combination of aneffective adjustable dampening system, comfortable upholstery, high qualitylooks/finish in a compact package. I certainly had the opportunity to test them out inour sea trial.Looking around the boat, one is struck by the high level of quality, the finish and theattention to detail. The hinges for the hatches were flush with the surfaces due to themoulded in recesses. Handles, dashboard and other accessories were perfectlyaligned and immaculately installed; even the screw heads, where used, were allaligned in one direction.I was not surprised to see the neatly installed electrical system, positioned inside thesteering console, protected by 2 hatches. The larger and heavier outer hatch,supported by 2 gas operated hydraulic rams, operated silently and effectively like thedoor on a premium automobile; the highly polished s/s recessed latch lockedeffortlessly, It was difficult to fault anything.This attention to detail and an uncompromising approach to design and build of boatsRIBS and suspension seats is the dream of X Craft owner and founder Niels Deen.Having gained experience in ergonomic design from previous businesses, hecombined this with a passion for RIBS into launching, 3 years ago, a 4 boat rangepowered by either outboards or diesel stern drives.I would rate this boat‟s performance and quality up there with the very best. The priceand its principal application limit its appeal to the high end performance orientedsegment of the market, including Superyacht Owners. They would appreciate thetime and effort that has gone in to making this an excellent product for what it is andhave the required budget to acquire one.Observations by the pilot… Tim FlemingIt soon became apparent that we were driving a special boat. The acceleration wasinstantaneous and the roar of the Verado was only interrupted by the growls whenthe propeller left the water. Heading into I-2m metre waves at over 40 knots, I bracedfor the shocks but both the hull and the suspension seats immediately allayed myinsecurities. This is a very comfortable boat with its 23.5 degree deep V to drive inthese conditions.
The sea conditions in the IJsselmeer are typically this sort of back-jarring, shortwavelength combination but the performance through them from the X Craft wasimpressive. There were plenty of permutations to try out with the engine trim, speedand directions so we spent an hour or so seeing what worked and what didn‟t.There was not much that didn‟t work. Obviously in these moderate to freshconditions, one had to be prudent with the engine trim, especially heading upwind,but the hull always seemed secure and surefooted. The boat maintained a relativelyflat trim at the higher speeds and whilst we hit one or two waves that kicked thetransom up, there was not tendency to bury the bow. The very fine entry andrelatively small windage of the bow made it easier to sustain a course within 10degrees of the wind. At high speeds, one could feel the effects of the wind only bythe slight heeling of the boat away from the wind. We took absolutely no spray overthe bow or the quarters which was a real bonus in these cold conditions. Comingabout and travelling downwind, we launched off the backs of some of the waves andleapt clean over them only to come down with an elegant and pleasantly soft „slice”through the water. One could feel that this was a light but absolutely solid and rigidboat. On the few times when we came down hard, there were no vibrations that Idetected. The power steering and controls of the Verado added to the drivingpleasure of this high performance package in such sea conditions. Totally responsiveat all times, we went back and forth pushing the boat to its limits each time. I washaving such a good time; I would have stayed out there all day if the weather hadbeen a bit warmer.Conditions :Wind force 4/5, 2 persons on board, 50 litres petrol, engine 300hp, prop Inertia 21p.1000 rpm : 4.5kn2000 rpm : 7.0 kn3000 rpm : 20kn4000 rpm : 29.1kn5000 rpm : 39.4kn6000 rpm : 58,3kntsTime to get on plane : 3 secCruising speed : 2800 rpm / 18.5 knMax speed : 6280 rpm / 58.3 kn
The aft bench seat looks The steering console doorgood and is well finished in opens effortlessly with gaskeeping with the other seats activated support strutson the boat. The backrest revealing a tidy electricalwas too low for my likingand was uncomfortable. system.Other backrest designs areavailable to order.The mercury Verado fully trimmed out keeps The outboard well drains by a 12v pump.the propeller out of the water The other piping on the starboard side is the bilge pump outflow
The s/s aft arch is finished Nice attention to detail with to a high level; even the a handle/cleat bonded to the welds have been polished top of the collar out. The LED navigation lights. Note the fine attention to detail. The hinges have their own recess in the foredeck. More recessed hinges in the console mould.Specifications :Length overall 8,00 mt.Maximum beam 2,65 mt.Draft 0,45 mt.Displacement 1.400 kgFuel tank capacity 280 lt.Light displacement max. speed 58,3 Knots (108 km/h)
Hull, deck, console and other composite components constructed from infusedvinylester, Orca 866 Hypalon tube (diam. 0.45 metre) with 5 separated air chambersand pressure relieve valves. Dual tone style. Ergonomic steering console with tintedwindscreen and stainless handlebar, Two X-Craft Suspension Seats and stainless fullbeam bench at transom, Electric hydraulic steering unit, Stainless propeller, Stainlesssteering wheel and other components are from 316 grade stainless, Bow eyelet,Liquid compass on dashboard, LED navigation lights, Hatches with lockable latchesand fuel filler in stainless, Fire-extinguisher, “Teak” deck from PermateakExtra options X8.0 Speed Lounge :Mercury Verado 300 Hp engine, Metallic painted console, deck and transom, Custommade A-frame with ski tow eye, Steering wheel clad in leather, Lounge (sunbathing)beanbag, Courtesy LED lighting, Garmin 5012 Marine network GPS, touchscreen,Fusion Marine Radio (Iphone docking station) with speakers, Grab line with cleatson tube, Full boat cover.Pictures taken by Ingmar Timmer:
High quality fuel filler recessed in side ofconsole.
The X-Craft Comfort model suspensionseat performed flawlessly during our seatrial and adds a hi-tech look to the boat.
The forward seat is comfortable and wellfinished. Note the polished s/s grab railson each side. The walkway past theconsole and the collar is tight but it‟s wideenough.
The bow box and the forward area of the boat issmall but elegant. The mooring cleat is foldable.There are no anchoring components that areobvious; the anchor warp needs a recess to exit outof the bow box.
The seat back offers handholds to thoseseated or standing behind. Note thecompact volume of the seat adding to theuseable deck space.
The console facia is well laid out and ofhigh quality finish. The ergonomic of it allworks well with optimum control of thewheel and the throttle lever.
The dashboard has a carbon fascia andprovides plenty of room for a large screenGPS chart plotter as well as the Mercuryengine instrument screen. The fly-by-wireengine throttle/gear lever gives preciseeffortless control of engine speed.