100 miles aboard the new Solemar SX27.
It is difficult to be unimpressed by Solemar’s big comeback. These are legendary inflatables that, starting in the 1980s, literally captivated a loyal audience of owners who chose them for their proven hull qualities and strong cruising-oriented attitude, even for long distance.
You can therefore understand how, as soon as the chance came to me, I climbed aboard the new Solemar SX27 to make a long transfer, which gave me a chance to test it thoroughly.
New Solemar SX27 Sea Trial
The clamor of the Genoa International Boat Show is a distant memory as we enter the basin of the Marina Fiera Genova; it is early in the morning and it is also cold. The Solemar SX27 is waiting for us at her berth and I take the opportunity to observe her hull. The pronounced V-bow and the deadrise angle are as I like them, pronounced, I am not a big fan of flat-hulled inflatables and this is fortunately not the case with this boat. Four skids on each side complete the design of a hull that already suggests to me that we will be navigating on velvet today.
Our destination is the Marina of Cala de Medici, and to get there, we have 90 miles of navigation to travel in variable weather and sea conditions. In the first part the sea will be rough with a tense northern wind, which should diminish after leaving Liguria to give us almost calm seas in the last part of the route.
Our Solemar SX27 is launched, we climb aboard, and, immediately, we turn on the Mercury Verado V8 300, cast off our moorings and leave the harbor. The boat is equipped with two tanks of 140 liters each, and the gauges indicate that we have about 50 percent fuel available so, despite the professed cheapness of Verado V8s, we will have to stop to refuel.
Forecasts were right, and as soon as we leave the harbor, we find a bit of a live-water wave coming in from the port beam. I gradually throttle up and our boat immediately gets up on plane, already at 11/12 knots. I give it a little more throttle, get up to around 25 knots and put the bow on the Portofino promontory. At this speed and in spite of the sea coming in sideways we travel really well, the hull smoothly absorbs roughness and it all translates into great cruising comfort, we are at around 4,000 rpm with a fuel consumption of 1.8 liters per mile.
The seaworthiness of this boat, as well as the space available on board, are really very similar to those of a Maxi-Rib, even though the boat is less than 9 meters long. Solemar has not skimped with the fiberglass, gelcoat and finishes, we are certainly aboard a very well-made boat, the total absence of squeaks confirms that.
I throttle up again and bring the speed up to around 30 knots, the Solemar SX27 is still navigating very well so I decide that this will be our cruising speed for the transfer. We are at 4,500 rpm and we are consuming 2 liters of fuel per mile which, given the set-up of this boat and its two tons of weight, seems like a very good result.
Arriving at Punta Chiappa I glimpse a stretch of calmer sea, which seems like the right chance to get into it and test the performance. So, I give full throttle and the boat promptly accelerates, I get to 44 knots in no time then trim up and we record a top speed of 44.8 knots. Really not bad for such an inflatable, it doesn’t need a lot of horsepower to go fast.
I slow down and perform a series of turns, first wide and then increasingly tight, trying to get the boat in trouble but nothing, it just keeps going like it’s on rails. I counter-turn and accelerate but nothing: this Solemar SX27 does not drift and does not tend to widen, the hull is planted in the water and there is no way to find fault with it.
I get back on course, back to 30 knots, and in just under an hour and a half we get to Portovenere. Here we slow down to 5/6 knots and pass under the stunning St. Peter’s Church, probably one of the most photographed places in the world. We stop here to refuel and then set off again.
From here on the sea is really calm so I test again the top speed of the Solemar SX27 which, despite a full tank, improves to 45.6 knots.
From here to Livorno we cruise smoothly, always around 30 knots, with a sea that becomes flat and glassy and a sky made gloomy by the moisture. We pass the Secche della Meloria, Castiglioncello and, again in less than an hour and a half, enter Marina di Cala de Medici.
I had a really good cruising time with the Solemar SX27, she is comfortable and goes great. This inflatable boat is certainly the worthy heir to such a prestigious brand.
Speed in kn
Fuel Consumption in l/nm
Fuel Consumption in l/h
The Solemar SX27 in detail
Entry level of this new range of boats, the smallest model in the Solemar family has little to envy its two bigger siblings. Solemar SX27 is really well made, the quality of the materials, gel-coating and finishing are high-end; not surprisingly, I called it a mini Maxi-Rib.
The deck plan is designed with comfort and safety in mind. Climbing aboard from the stern, the platform surrounding the outboard is immediately noticeable; it is shaped and equipped with excellent footing, an indispensable feature for enjoying sea bathing.
The dinette is cozy and smart; in fact, reclining the driver’s seat creates a lounge area where four sofas allow 7 to 8 people to sit around the table, looking each other in the face, which is uncommon on inflatables of this size. The center table is removable and also allows this area to be converted into a second two-person sundeck, which, another notable feature, leaves the passageway to the bow unobstructed.
The helm station on the Solemar SX27 is set to starboard and comfortably accommodates two people who can then navigate while sitting here, enjoying excellent forward visibility. The cockpit provides plenty of space to accommodate two displays, all switches, the hi-fi system, VHF and even a useful and convenient space for smartphone induction charging.
The roll-bar houses the navigation lights, two speakers and a canopy that covers both the dinette and the helm station.
Moving forward, again carved out of the helm station, we find a forward-facing armchair that, personally tested during a driving change, is extremely comfortable and allows the feet to be stretched out on the sundeck, thus also transforming into a chaise longue. Underneath this seat is a small interior cabin equipped with a toilet, where guests can also change their wet suits.
The bow section houses the main sundeck, which, really large, not only allows two people to sunbathe but, slightly inclined, is also an ideal place for resting under the shelter of the shade cloths. At the far bow we find oversized bollards and an anchor windlass that is positioned so as not to force acrobatics to use it.
In conclusion, this Solemar SX27 is not only beautiful but damn smart, the spaces are exploited to the maximum and the finishes are flawless. Anything but entry level, with this inflatable boat you can really go anywhere.
Width (deflated tubular)
Fuel Tank Capacity
2 x 143 l
Fresh Water Tank Capacity
Blaclk Water Tank Capacity
CE – B
1 x Mercury Verado V8-300