Marex Power Boats
Marex Power Boats
Marex Boats produce multi award winning launches from 31 to 42 feet and are world renowned for their unique craftsmanship and marine engineering quality. The Marex 330 is their newest addition, boasting 2 cabins, a full bathroom, indoor/outdoor dining areas under twin opening sunroofs. Configured with either twin or single motors in shaft or stern drive options the boat cruises between 23 and 30 knots. The bonus of a side helm door and extended boarding/fishing platform make this boat the perfect family cruiser.
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Marex 330 Scandinavia
Norwegian boat builder Marex is on to winner with its Lithuanian-built 330 Scandinavia, as evidenced by taking out the Best of Boats Award 2021 in the category ‘Best for Family’ and European Boat of the Year 2022 at Dusseldorf. Best of Boats is the largest annual award for motorboats in Europe.
The 330 Scandinavia is a development of the Marex 375 and 360 CC models, scaled down to a 33-foot (10m) hull. The 360 CC is itself a BOB award winner (2019) and we were able to briefly compare the two boats side by side in Whitianga Waterways while conducting our review of the 330 SCA. It’s fair to say the 330 doesn’t give a lot away in terms of utility or specification to its larger sibling, though of course it remains a smaller vessel.
The Boating NZ team travelled to Pauanui on the Coromandel Peninsula to join Marex agents Richard and Suzy Wardenburg aboard the first 330 SCA in New Zealand. Called Marene, the boat was secured to marina berth in front of the Wardenburg’s nearly finished Pauanui Waterways home-to-be.
The boat’s owners were hoping to motor Marene home to Auckland the day after our review, so the plan was to take her part way up the coast to Whitianga, where we would leave her overnight for the owners to pick up the next day.
First impressions are important and my first impression of the Marex 330 SCA was positive. It’s a neat, well-proportioned design with broadly European styling, but seen through a Scandinavian lens. Boats from Danish, Swedish and Norwegian manufacturers tend to share certain traits – robustness, generally good seakeeping, the ability to enclose the cockpit and efficient heating – informed by a desire to extend the boating season into the region’s long winters.
The Marex 330 SCA has these features and more, making it a genuine year-round boating proposition. It is a great summer boat with its sliding roof panels, al fresco cockpit dining, sun lounger on the foredeck and extra-wide swim platform, an option for this model that takes the overall length to 10.5m, but you can enclose it snugly for winter boating too.
Upon stepping aboard, we slid the cockpit side covers into shallow lockers moulded into the cabin wings for this purpose. Once stowed, they are completely hidden inside the superstructure. We left the cockpit’s canvas and stainless-steel convertible top closed for now, but it too slides back seamlessly into the cabin top, a simple operation we carried out a bit later in the morning.
The 330’s side decks are wide enough for easy access to the foredeck with its extensive lounging area (sun pads zip and dome down) while the low bulwarks, wrap-around railings and cabin-top handrails ensure negotiating the side decks is safe and easy. Unlike some other European boats, the cabin is not offset to one side with just one wider side deck for easy bow access; both side decks are equally wide enough and a helm door provides quick access to secure lines etc.
We cast off the lines around 9:30am, using the bow and stern thrusters to move the boat sideways off the dock. I noted there are four large, heavy-duty cleats on either side, so finding a suitable cleat to secure the vessel should never be an issue. The cockpit’s high sides also impart a pleasing sense of security – great for kids or dogs – while the teak cockpit handrails are both useful and attractive.
Also great for kids, as well as fishers, scuba divers and watersports enthusiasts, is the oversize teak swim platform. The stainless-steel staple to accommodate the Manta bait board (or portable BBQ) was fitted in Tauranga, but the retractable boarding ladder under the platform’s teak sole is standard, as is the large underfloor fish bin/kill tank. The platform can also accommodate a small tender – Marene’s owners store its TrueKit inflatable tender under the bed in the master cabin when it’s not in use. Roof rails can stow paddleboards, kayaks – even bicycles.
The transom hatch converts to a dickey seat in the open position – a useful feature – and the transom locker houses washdown and shower facilities. The cockpit door is on the starboard side. This model is also available with the standard swim platform, so it fits a 10m marina berth.
The teak-decked cockpit is reasonably generous for a 10m boat, with plenty of seating wrapped around the teak cockpit table (folding) and against the side opposite. The seats on both sides have storage beneath. My feeling is that the cockpit would become the main dining and entertaining zone. A grill is optional.
Attractive and hardwearing Sunbrella Alicantra fabric upholstery is used inside and out, along with macro-suede for the wall panels inside. The folding cockpit table doubles in size and drops down to make an additional berth with infill cushions, the boat potentially sleeping six. With the convertible roof slid back, the cockpit is open and sunny; close the roof for shade and rain protection and secure the side covers to completely enclose the cockpit – the Wallis diesel heater will keep it toasty in winter (this is a Norwegian boat, after all).
The saloon opens wide to the cockpit through a sliding glass and aluminium door. The modest-sized galley is ranged along the starboard side behind the helm station with the saloon table and seating on a raised plinth to port. The front seat has a reversible backrest with the seat base on a cam system: reverse the backrest to sit facing forward and the seat lifts a few centimetres for perfect vision through the windscreen. A swing-out stool provides an additional seat at the saloon table.
Especially with the roof panel open, the saloon feels spacious. Ventilation is good, particularly with the doors open, and the side windows let in plenty of light. The galley has everything you need for day-trips or longer stays, with an under-bench induction oven/microwave, a diesel cooktop, storage lockers, the standard fridge under the helm seat and an optional under-bench fridge-drawer.
Appliances are 230V, powered by an inverter. Batteries, including an extra AGM storage bank, are topped up by flexible solar panels glued to the cabin roof. A genset is an option, but with diesel cooking, the extra batteries and solar, there’s no need, reckons Richard. Plenty of power and USB outlets too, including in the sleeping accommodation and cockpit.
Twin engines are another option, but Marene has just one, a Volvo Penta D6 480hp with shaft drive – a simple installation that leaves ample room in the machinery space, accessed via hatches in the cockpit sole. With both bow and stern thrusters, single engine versions give very little away to twin-screws at docking time, while benefitting from lower fuel consumption and servicing costs.
After a five-knot guided tour of Pauanui Waterways, where the Marex ably demonstrated its manoeuvrability in tight spaces, we headed down harbour and out over Tairua Bar. A reasonable easterly swell was running outside, but not enough to make the bar a challenge. On the other hand, it meant there was a metre-and-a-half of swell, plus wind chop on the quarter to deal with as we headed up the coast.
The helm seat is comfortable, offering good vision ahead, to the sides and aft through the glass doors. The helm station is nicely laid out, a 12-inch Raymarine Hybrid Touch MFD taking up most of the space on the fascia, along with Autopilot, fuel burn and rudder angle gauges. Simple toggle switches control lighting, wipers, horn, anchor and other basic functions, trim tabs are by Bennett, and there’s an overhead console with additional gauges and the Fusion stereo head unit. It’s large enough for an additional MFD or graphic display, if desired.
Progress up the coast was comfortable, the 330 SCA cruising at around 22 knots and comfortably coping with the sea conditions – the windscreen wipers got little use. This boat cruises nicely at anywhere from 20 to 25 knots and will touch 30 knots at full throttle – faster with twin engines. The indicated fuel burn at 22 knots was a very reasonable 65 litres per hour – pretty good considering there were four adults plus gear on boat, half a tank of fuel and a bit of a sea running.
We stopped and anchored up in a pretty bay, tight behind a reef that offered protection from the swell. A remote control for the Quick capstan makes anchoring easy. Once swinging securely on the stainless-steel anchor chain, we slid the roof panels back and relaxed in the sunshine, which gave me the opportunity to explore the accommodation below.
The Marex 330 SCA has a two-cabin layout, but both are large, as is the bathroom in the middle of the boat. The owners’ cabin is in the bow, with an angled queen berth tucked against the port side to make room for the bathroom, and enough space for a good-sized hanging locker to starboard. The cabin’s big side windows and skylight hatch flood the space with light, while the bulkhead mirror accentuates the feeling of space. Like the rest of the boat, standing headroom is good – Scandinavians tend to be tall people.
The second, mid-cabin is likewise roomy and bright, also benefiting from its side window (with a sliding port for ventilation). The bed is positioned athwartships under the saloon sole, but there’s full standing headroom for easy dressing beside the door and hanging locker.
Big for a vessel of this size, the bathroom has a fresh, clean Scandinavian vibe, plenty of bench space, ample storage, and a separate, enclosed cylindrical shower stall.
Refreshed and with sea conditions having moderated, we pressed on towards Whitianga, detouring to check out ‘The Cave’, Richard braving the swell to back the Marex inside, and also stopping at Cathedral Cove, which we had virtually to ourselves.
Next stop was another quiet bay where we again dropped anchor to eat lunch, which was served al fresco in the cockpit, the five of us easily fitting around the table.
Now just a short run from Whitianga, and with the day drawing on, it was time to head to our final destination. The Wardenburgs had arranged to berth the boat beside Leigh Hopper’s Whitianga Waterways home, where the owners could pick it up the next day.
With the boat safely moored, Leigh treated us to a quick tour and showed us Hopper Developments’ plans for the rest of the Waterways. He then flew the whole crew back to Pauanui in his Squirrel helicopter – a fine end to a very fine day!
The Marex 330 SCA represents not only good value, but also good design – it’s a compact vessel, but doesn’t feel that way, and its contemporary styling is clean and crisp. The build quality impressed inside and out, with little things – like the magnetic transom door latch and teak handrails – setting it apart from the usual run of European production motoryachts. The model’s modest size means it is fuel efficient, especially in single engine specification, and easy to manage. Equipped with the standard swim platform, it fits a 10m marina berth.
Already a multiple award winner in Europe, I’d suggest the Marex 330 SCA will have little trouble winning over Kiwi boaties as well.