Nimbus Commander 340 Review

Commander in Chief – The Swedes hit the lead with this stylish flybridge cruiser

My father has a soft spot for Swedish ladies. Oops! Sorry Dad, what I meant to say was you have a soft spot for traditional Swedish flybridge cruisers. So it was only natural I asked him along on this test. I'd heard Swedish-built Nimbus boats appeal to gentlemen who appreciate well built cruisers. I thought that just maybe, this Swedish lady might tempt my father back into boating. Either way, at least I'd get a second opinion. Actually, the day turned into quite a family affair with Nimbus's Aussie importer, Sven Magnusson, getting a hand from his nephew Douglas and his partner Kristy.

We boarded the boat at Pittwater and the first thing to strike us was the amount of boat Nimbus has fitted into a 34ft vessel. The Nimbus Commander 340 is described as a 'yachtsman's yacht', possibly because the interior has a traditional sailing yacht feel about it – with steps, enclosed cabins and multiple settees. The second point we noted was the attention to detail the builders have maintained on every level.

I spent much time photographing items up close on this boat, because it's the little things that make this vessel really stand out – everything from the timber and stainless helm to the impeccable cabin lining. But the Nimbus Commander 340 isn't just a show pony – she delivers topnotch performance with minimal engine noise. Low engine noise is achieved by having a fully enclosed engine box within the boat's engine room. It's a feature that complies with Swedish boat-building standards and aids the first class fire management system. 

A single Volvo D6 310hp diesel shaft drive, with bow thruster to supplement slow speed handling, supplies power to the Nimbus. On the test day the craft was fully loaded, but even so she delivered a good cruise speed of 19 knots and topped out at 23 knots. Driving from the open flybridge, the helm position was great with good allround vision. What struck me as excellent was the eff ortless way the boat got onto the plane and once up, the steering and throttle were extremely light.

It was an almost perfect day with not a lot of rough stuff about to test the hull on, so I took the vessel across its own wake several times and worked her hard into the turns, but Nimbus felt solid and tight. It's fun running the 340 at 20 knots, but I reckon most on-water time would be spent at the economical displacement speed of 8 knots, where she felt like a true gentleman's cruiser. At low speeds the Nimbus 340's 'planing-hull like' forward section holds the vessel on a firm course without any tendency to drift offline.

Like many parts of Europe, every nook and cranny of the 340 Commander's cabins have been fully utilised. Th e swim platform has its own storage and the aft cockpit has a built-in settee. A step down into the aft cabin reveals a settee and well-equipped galley. From here there's steps up to the interior bridge and navigation station, which is also next to another settee. From the amidship's pilothouse there's access up more steps to the flybridge, or down to the accommodation, which comprises a forward double and amidship's double berth.

A centrally-located starboard head and shower service both cabins. It's impossible to cover this boat in intimate detail, because she has so much to off er. Every time I turned around Sven was pointing out more and more additional features on a vessel he was obviously excited about. Some of these features include the industrial strength windscreen wipers (built for those big European seas), the open bow rail for easy access, wide walkways, oversize deck fittings and two drink holders at the helm – one for coffee and the other for the beer! At the helm, the latest Volvo engine management system stands out.

It offers a range of data right up to the cruising range based in real-time fuel levels. There's plenty of solid grab holds around the boat, in the cabin and on the flybridge. There's no air-conditioning, but good cross ventilation ensures the cabin will be comfy during summer. The enclosed engine might be a bit hard to work on, but at the other end of the scale, the batteries, located under the main saloon settee near the aft door, are easy to get at.

The balanced use of quality teak on the decks gives the test boat a real touch of class and it's worth noting some of the options include teak rails and bulwarks (for the traditionalist). Other options include air-conditioning, a flybridge bimini (to suit Australian conditions), custom hull colours, autopilot and a stern thruster.

As tested, the Nimbus 340 Commander has a $479,000 price tag.

Coming in under half a million (for a well-built little ship), isn't bad considering the attention to detail that's gone into her construction. This Swedish lady is well worth a once over. Oh! And by way Dad, Sven says he'll do a special deal if you're keen! 

A single Volvo Penta D6-310 310hp diesel shaftdrive powered the Nimbus Commander 340.

Fully loaded in calm conditions the 340 recorded the following performance data.

5 …..1000
7 …..1500
8.5 …..2000
11.5 ……2500
18 ……3000
19 …..3050
22.5 …..3500
Length: ……34'
Beam: …..11' 1"
Weight: …..5300kg
Fuel: …..400lt
Freshwater: …..200lt

Words : Andrew Richardson

Issue: November 2006