10-meter inflatable boats haven’t been making news for years if we consider size as the most important feature of a boat. In their golden age, whose acme can be found in summer 2008, ” the bigger, the better” philosophy was even rampant and 60- or even 80-foot ribs were quite ordinary. An insane thing? Facts seem to confirm this.
History hasn’t vindicated these choices – it is no coincidence that certain shipyards no longer exist – and an examination of the reasons for this situation would be long and inappropriate. What is certain, however, is that it’s not just a matter of economic crisis.
Yet, over the last 10 years, the market has actually rewarded the brands that have reinterpreted the concept of adult boat as a craft whose size is more consistent with the category itself. Boasting a history of over 40 years, the Italian shipyard Mar-co is one of them. During the Mercury Days at the Marina di Verbella, we had the opportunity to sea trial an amazing Mar-co 35 R-Evolution, powered by twin Mercury Verado 350hp outboards, that perfectly materializes the reasons for the company’s market success.
Mar-co 35 R-Evolution – Description
Despite of a clear center consolle layout, the boat looks bigger that it actually is (hull is a little less than 10 meters long). With spacious interior and exterior volumes, the Mar-co 35 R-Evolution features a beautiful T-Top with stainless steel tubes and fiberglass cover along with two large spaces entirely devoted to daily conviviality.
The overall aesthetic design of this model – custom versions are available, of course – envisages an uninterrupted connection between the brilliant white of the cockpit, of the cushions and cone-shaped floats ( they have a diameter of 64 cm in the bow and 50 cm in the stern) and the light grey of the steering console, of the T-Top cover, of the helm bench, of the shower compartments’ covers and of the fuel and water caps.
The profile enhances the dynamic look of this boat through a variable tube diameter and a clear inflection of the sheer framed by a darker saddle tank.
The fore sun pad has a traditional triangular plan which can stretch and cover the walkable surface which contains one of the numerous lockers of this boat. The forward section of the steering console houses a real toilet room. The total absence of portholes made this space almost invisible when seen from the outside. However, it houses a marine wc, a sewage tank, a crystal washbasin and an autoclave-equipped shower.
Well-protected by the windscreen, the helm station is fully equipped: a physical compass ( a rarity nowadays), a chartplotter, a Nemo touchscreen display that functions as an electric panel and an on-board automated equipment control unit ( even accessible from smartphones), and the Vessel View 7, the innovative system offered by Mercury SmartCraft that monitors all information coming from the various boat systems: engines, generator, echosounder and so on. The standard equipment is completed by a Vhf radio system, three analog indicators – two for the trim of the two outboards and one for fuel level – and a six-diffuser audio system which serves every area of the boat (bow, consolle and stern). Small and large lockers offer enough stowage room everywhere.
The double Mercury throttle is complete and enables the pilot to access the propulsion system through a single lever while the software supervises their synchronization. Pilot and co-pilot’s settees are both equipped with a tilt mechanism that convert them into a unique stand-up station when necessary. Behind them, there’s a wet bar with sink, tap, induction cooktop or stove, reclining worktop and a 70-liter refrigerator.
The stern features the most versatile area of the boat which can be used both as a dining area and a sunbathing platform when the electrically-operated table becomes a large C-shaped sofa. Upholstered back/headrests serve the whole side and rear perimeter and accommodate the sun shade when it is not in use: this way, it is protected and invisible during navigation.
The stern layout is completed by a large bathing platform covered with grey SeaDeck with the same black-and-white details that can be found in the side-decks (inner flooring, on the contrary, is uncoated on this model). SeaDeck is a material particularly appreciated for its softness and heat-resistance, that is even better than natural or synthetic teak’s one.
Despite the massive presence of the two Verado 350hp engines, there is so much room between the transom and the grille of the two outboards that guests can lie down there comfortably, without feeling threatened by these two “giants”. Furthermore, following a popular trend of the Greek yachting market, the Italian shipyard offers the possibility to install, under a specific preset cover, an aft anchor. Opposite, on the starboard side, there’s a pivoting boarding ladder. The Mar-co R-Evolution 35 is made of infused vinylester resin and multi-axle layers.
The propulsion system features three-bladed Enertia Eco propellers, designed to guarantee the best fuel efficiency and extraordinary performance. This system was actually designed for heavier and more powerful boats where fuel efficiency is more important than top speed. With a diameter of 19″, the propeller has blades that deliver progressive inclination and tend to keep the bow high in order to keep the deck dry and reduce friction. And since, at sea, perfection doesn’t exist and objects can be perfect only under certain circumstances, the optimization of the propeller’s geometry is aimed at improving performance when travelling at cruising speed.
Mar-co 35 R-Evolution – Sea Trial
We tested the Mar-co 35 R-Evolution in the low waters of Lake Maggiore, just outside the Ticino River estuary.
The surface of the lake were so smooth that they seemed to get out of a painting. However, while conditions were perfect to test performance and fuel efficiency, the context was not the ideal one to see the genuine seaworthiness of this hull. Anyway, we seized the opportunity to live this new experience.
What we immediately appreciated was the steering console: comfortable, highly-ergonomic and with excellent visibility both when sitting and standing up. An inclined footrest, covered with SeaDeck and engraved with the name of the model, provides the helmsman with great stability and comfort.
Electronic throttles are precise and easy to use. Of course, we are far form the typical responsiveness of a 7-meter model but the boat is surprisingly agile and fast. Of course, the 700 horsepower installed at the stern gives a hand in this sense, as you can see in the table below. The boat is on plane at about 2,400 rpm. This means that it takes just 2.5 seconds to reach 13 knots.
The boat was always stable and well-balanced during our test, even when we experienced sudden accelerations. Yet, from 3,500 rpm on, the optimal trim was the maximum one. The trim, in fact, helps the boat to deliver the best performance with a significant reduction in friction and therefore in the power it needs to move.
After some tight and sudden turns that never compromised stability, we aimed at the redline of the rev counter. Although propellers are more saving- than performance-oriented, the gps displays 50 knots with two passengers on board, 40% of water load and 45% of the total 313-liter fuel tank capacity.
Performance and Fuel Consumption
|rpm||Speed (knots)||Fuel Consumption (l/h)||Fuel Consumption (l/nm)|
|Economical Cruising Speed||3,500||26.00||64.00||2.46|
Mar-co 35 R-Evolution – Technical Specifications
|Overall Length||10.65 m|
|Hull Length||9.98 m|
|Inner Length||9.49 m|
|Overall Width||3.60 m|
|Inner Width||2.35 m|
|Tube Diameter||0.64/0.50 m (conical)|
|Maximum Power||2×350 hp|
|Water Tank Capacity||150 l|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||760 l|
|Tube Material||Neoprene – Hypalon|
|Hull||infused vacuum-sealed fiberglass|
Comfortable, elegant boat with great attention to comfort and safety. Perfect for those who want to enjoy sea without having to climb on board a luxury yacht. A boat to enjoy a day trip in total comfort. The Mar-co 35 R-Evolution is offered with different engine options ( 2 x 350 hp, 2 x 300hp and 2x 400hp engines). Fuel efficiency and exciting performance are always guaranteed.