falcon br

The best entry-level boats

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Bowriders, i.e. motor boats with seats in the open front area, are ideal as a first own motor boat for beginners. This year, three of the best new series boats in the finals of the Best of Boats Award 2020 are bowriders. For the largest motorboat award in Europe, 17 jury members – all experienced test pilots, including two women – carried out more than 550 boat tests in 15 countries in twelve months. Her credo, especially in the entry-level category: Always look at the boat from the perspective of the future user. That makes the European boat price unusual. The award ceremony takes place at the end of November at the Boot & Fun boat show in Berlin.

The fourth boat in the group among the compact beginners’ boats is a RIB, i.e. an open inflatable boat with a solid hull made from the boatbuilding plastic GRP. All of the 4.95 m to 6.51 m long entry-level boats 2018 in the selection are motorized with outboards. The strong Finnish presence among the nominees is striking. The AMT 190 R, the Falcon BR 7 from the new boat series of the same name and the Silver Fox in the Avant and BR variants show the Scandinavians who are busy with small motor boats. From France comes the universal RIB Zodiac Open 5.5, which float presented in the test as a boat-shaped Swiss Army knife.

AMT 190 R: runs well and is spacious

The AMT 190 R is a well-styled and spacious center console boat that is great for day trips as well as fishing. The boat is a lot of fun to drive: the new sporty hull runs soft, stable and safe. Driver and passengers are well protected at all times. The AMT 190 R offers plenty of space and storage space. In addition, there is the great quality of the finish in all details.

The shipyard of former racing driver Mikael Winqvist invests a lot of time in the hull design. Here, different deck layouts are not placed on the same hull in order to conjure up different model innovations. In addition, this keeps the development effort low. At AMT, every hull is tailored to the deck layout – whether bowrider, day cruiser or center console.

In an interview with float at the Finnboat event, shipyard manager Mikael Winquist announced that in future all new models will also be made of marine aluminum. So the customer can always choose, says Winquist. Depending on the intended use, either aluminum (fishing) or fiberglass (cruising) is the right choice as a material.

Technical data AMT 190 R

  • Length: 5.60 m
  • Width: 2.25 m
  • Weight: 650 kg
  • CE category: C (coastal waters)
  • Number of passengers: up to 7 people
amt 190

Falcon BR 7: second largest in the new quartet

The Falcon BR 7 is two kinds of boat: Made from an aluminum hull, it has an inner shell made of GRP. The BR 7 is the second largest boat in the new model series from the Bella shipyard. The bowrider, open at the front, is suitable for fishing as well as for water skiing. Although slim, the boat offers plenty of space for passengers and equipment.

With the new aluminum model series Bella Falcon, the Finnish boat builders celebrated a premiere in the 50-year history of the shipyard that was surprising to everyone. In September last year, the new models were presented to the professional world for the first time in Espoo. The first two of the four models, Falcon BR 6 and the nominated Falcon BR 7, are strongly reminiscent of the GRP variants 600 BR and 700 BR, which incidentally won the Best of Boats Award in 2016. A boat that runs 45 knots with just 250 hp at the stern.

From the point of view of the float editors, the best overall package in the bird of prey quartet is the Falcon BR 7 with the 175 hp Mercury V6. The combination of boat and engine system is convincing in all disciplines: pulling power, background noise, weight and consumption clearly differ from the Previous model and from what competitors have to offer. The 7-series Falcon – in the configuration we drove in the island world of southwest Finland – reaches a maximum of more than 45 knots.

The Falcon BR 7 is very easy to drive and pleasant to handle. The robust construction offers very good comfort even in demanding conditions on the water, i.e. with waves and lots of wind. Exemplary driving behavior with a low noise level is included free of charge.

Technical data Falcon BR 7

  • Length: 6.51 m
  • Width: 2.34 m
  • Weight: 1 060 kg
  • CE category: C (coastal waters)
  • Number of passengers: up to 7 people
falcon br 7

Silver Fox Avant and BR: quick twins

The beautiful beginner’s boat is called Silver, but it is not silver – despite the shipyard’s long history as experts in aluminum boats. The Silver Avant is a sporty side console boat for coastal waters like those of the Finnish island world. But above all, the compact boat is suitable for lakes. In both cases, not only beginners but also sport fishermen will like it.

The interior is significantly more spacious than in the previous model, although the external dimensions have remained almost the same. As a bowrider variant – with a double console and the BR in the name – the Silver Fox is an elegant and safe to drive all-rounder.

We got to know the new silver Fuchs BR at boot Düsseldorf 2018, and we will later see the Avant version for the first time in Helsinki: Here too, the newly designed aluminum hull has a GRP inner shell suitable for sports boats. The wide side console offers good protection for the driver and passengers, while the relatively large foredeck is on the left.

Conclusion: A practical and versatile little boat at a good price. Both world premieres are designed for rivers and lakes. With their economical motorization, they also cut a fine figure in the Archipelago. They bravely weather waves, and the maximum speed is also a positive surprise.

Technical data Silver Fox Avant / BR

  • Length: 4.95 m
  • Width: 1.95 m
  • Weight: 540 kg (BR) / 510 kg (Avant)
  • CE category: C (coastal waters)
  • Number of passengers: up to 5 people
silver fox avant

Zodiac Open 5.5: like a Swiss Army knife

Slim lines, an ergonomic cockpit and a deep V-hull give this small RIB the best stability even in rough seas. This is beneficial for boaters who are traveling on air cushions for the first time. The French manufacturer Zodiac, which is said to have invented the inflatable boat as such, calls the well thought-out concept “crossover””.

The Zodiac Open 5.5 offers an impeccably ergonomic cockpit and an exceptionally deep and robust V-hull. This ensures very good stability both when running straight ahead and when cornering. The Open 5.5 takes self-generated waves calmly. Even in the front seat it doesn’t get uncomfortable. Incidentally, the maximum speed is 40 knots.

The modularity means that the compact RIB can be used for various types of activities – many options and extras are available for fishing, water skiing and the “Peche Promenade”, the French type of family excursion. And doesn’t drive the Open 5.5 on its own reinforced keel: The lightweight is also suitable for trailers on the road.

With a length of almost 18 feet and a width of 2.50 m, the Zodiac Open 5.5 is designed for a maximum of twelve passengers. That number seems high for such a compact boat. For active water sports such as water skiing or fishing tours, there are a maximum of six people on board.

Technical data Zodiac Open 5.5

  • Length: 5.40 m
  • Width: 2.54 m
  • Weight: 585 kg
  • CE category: C (coastal waters)
  • Number of passengers: up to 12 people
zodiac open

This is how the boats are selected

In the opinion of the 17 members of the jury for the Best of Boats Awards, a beginner’s boat should be an easy-to-use and safe boat that was built by a customer-oriented shipyard. A boat is only “best for beginners” if it is economically favorable in terms of purchase price, fuel consumption and maintenance and repair costs.

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