The day the Modern Boating team met with the Nimbus importer, Sven Magnusson, he had two vessels to test and a lot of information for us to process.
We featured the Nimbus Commander 340 in the November 2006 issue of Modern Boating and noted that the multi-level single engine 34ft flybridge cruiser was more like a 40-footer with all the features packed into its saloon. The single screw 320 Coupe was more traditional in its layout, but was just as impressive against the split-level Commander 340.
One thing was clear, both vessels displayed an uncompromising build-quality. This was clearly demonstrated by the abundant polished timber finishes, innovative layouts, great use of natural light and exceptional engine room soundproofing.
Performance & Handling
The 320 Coupe forged such a tidy performance from it's single engine that a quick trip in modest offshore conditions confirmed the solid working reputation these Swedish boats have earned since they came off the production line in the 1960s. The first Nimbus boats were originally created as a platform to house the Volvo Penta range of marine engines.
But these days with around 20 vessels in the range, there's a Nimbus/Volvo package to suit everyone. And it doesn't stop there. The Nimbus group manufactures Nimbus Boats, Maxi Yachts, Ryds and Storebro Roral Cruisers, making them a big player on the European market.
Our performance trial revealed that the 260hp Volvo diesel engine produced an economical cruise speed around 20 knots at 2800rpm and 23 knots at full noise. The 320s got onto the plane effortlessly without having a problem getting over the hump and the 3.7 tonne hull delivered a solid but lively ride.
Manoeuvring this vessel was a no fuss affair and she was able to dart about the place like a much smaller vessel thanks to her light steering. The shaftdrive vessel has a long skeg that offers good protection for the propeller and assures the vessels tracks straight at all speeds. Overall, the 320 was a pleasure to drive and her quick response and easy trim gave her standout performance.
The 320 Coupe's helm was neat, with good visibility, a comfortable helm seat and well-positioned grab holds for anyone standing. It also had an attractive solid timber and stainless steel wheel.
Some enclosed helms can be noisy, hot and claustrophobic, but there was no chance of that happening on the 320
It has lots of opening windows, a large double sunroof and possibly the best soundproofing the Modern Boating team has seen in an engine room. Nimbus builds a sealed-engine box within the engine room, which has a twofold benefit. It reduces noise to extremely low levels and offers extra fire protection. Nimbus didn't even forget that all-important freshwater windscreen wash to get the salt off the screen.
The timber and stainless steel helm is matched by a comprehensive array of engine instruments and had a very handy chart zone located in front of the skipper. The twin passenger seats double as a settee when flipped backwards and the settee table folds back to offer more space. The saloon has a sophisticated air about it, which is exemplified by curtains with timber pelmets, traditional lampshades and generous clothes lockers. The full timber galley featured an oven, which is something often left out in cruising boats of this size. Perfect for a Sunday roast.
The main forward double berth appears set back from the bow, which creates a larger than average forward bed with good legroom. I tried the bed out and yep, it's certainly comfy. It's surrounded by a series of portholes, deck hatches and coach house windows servicing the main berth, so it wasn't like a cave! The oversize forward berth also features large full-length clothes lockers, a dressing seat and a generous bathroom.
There's a second berth with clothes locker located amidships under the saloon and if a third double berth is required the settee converts into a bed. This three double-bed layout with dressing seat in the master suite was an option chosen by Sven Magnusson. He feels that although it's a little bit more expensive than the standard V-berth setup, it really makes the accommodation areas much more usable.
The vessel's outdoor areas featured good use of stainless steel and teak and wide walkways with continuous grab rail. Grab handles seemed to be located everywhere, including in the saloon roof. The aft cockpit is perhaps smaller than what we would see in locally built 32-footers, but the sumptuous outdoor seating makes good use of the space.
The reality is that the Nimbus Coupe takes advantage of every nook and cranny available. There's even a moulded life ring port, fender holders, a fold-up cockpit settee table and a storage bay for an extra teak deck chair. The Modern Boating team have a soft spot for teak finishes, so with a teak swim platform, teak decks, teak tables and timber cabin sole it's little wonder the 320 left a lasting impression.
A flick through the 105-page Nimbus World Magazine reveals the full extent of the Nimbus boat range. If you want a top quality vessel that will stand out in the crowd take a good look at the Nimbus range. It starts with some rather spicy open runabouts and ends with a couple of substantial 50-footers.
The 320 Coupe is an economical single screw boat that delivers inspirational performance. This is a great European package that will endure the test of time.
WORDS : ANDREW RICHARDSON