Best pilothouse boats: 12 of the best boats for year-round adventures

In the last few years, we’ve noticed an explosion of interest in adventure boats that you can use all year round. Here’s our pick of the best pilothouse boats on the market right now…

From Axopar to Viggo, the new boat market seems to be overflowing with pilothouse boats right now and the appeal isn’t hard to fathom.

With enclosed wheelhouses that offer great all-round visibility as well as protection from the elements, the best pilothouse boats have outgrown their Scandinavian roots.

Yards from Italy and Turkey are getting in on the action too, and we’ve recently experienced the joys of boating around the Seychelles in a pilothouse boat.

If you’re looking to try this style of boating, read on for our essential guide to the most exciting pilothouse boats on the market right now…

12 of the best pilothouse boats

Twin-stepped hull gives the Axopar 37 XC first rate performance, efficiency and sea-keeping

Axopar 37 XC

The Axopar 37 XC is a great-looking multi-purpose adventure platform with a range of flexible indoor and outdoor spaces plus the option of authentic four-berth accommodation.

With its second-generation twin-stepped hull, it handles like a proper sportsboat too, while still returning cruising efficiency of around 2.3l/nm at 28 knots with a pair of Mercury 300s on the transom.

It also offers the option of gullwing doors for uprated access and ventilation in the forward cabin, and the options elsewhere are just as rewarding. You can upgrade to twin 350s for 48-knot performance, or spec the aft deck with a stern bench, a wet bar module, a storage compartment or a brilliant aft cabin.

You can also augment the styling with the Brabus Line package or you can add extra functionality with a forward heads compartment and a pilothouse kitchen module. For full-on adventure, it’s very tough to beat.

Axopar 37 XC specifications

LOA: 37ft 9in (11.50m)
Beam: 9ft 8in (3.35m)
Engine: Twin 225-350hp outboards
Top speed: 48 knots
Starting price: £278,000 (inc. VAT)

Read more about the Axopar 37 XC


The Dale 40 makes light work of big seas

Dale 40

Introduced in 2019, the award-winning Dale 40 is a pilothouse boat unlike any other. As you would expect of a Dale, it gives you a steady trim angle throughout the rev range and a perfectly judged balance between forward buoyancy and softness of entry, but it supplements that with extra bow flare and deeper freeboards for an even drier ride at sea.

It’s also a great boat for adding flexibility to your nav plans. The fore-and-aft ensuite cabins enable two couples to cruise for weeks on end and the wheelhouse is easily converted for a third couple.

In terms of range, a combined fuel capacity of 2,300 litres delivers 350nm at 20 knots – and if you want to leave the open sea behind and explore Europe’s inland waterways, the Dale 40’s wide side decks, open aft helm and arrow-straight tracking make it perfect for that too.

Dale 40 specifications

LOA: 44ft 2in (13.48m)
Beam: 13ft 10in (4.23m)
Engine: Twin Volvo Penta D6 340-480s on shafts
Top speed: 28 knots
Starting price: £987,777 (inc. VAT)

Read more about the Dale 40


The Dromeas D33 SUV is a stylish 50-knot weekender

Dromeas D33 SUV

As the larger of Dromeas’s two pilothouse boats, the very latest D33 SUV takes the same thoroughbred underpinnings as the D33 WA but adds an enclosed cockpit with twin side doors for uprated year-round practicality.

Available with inboards or outboards, this 50-knot offshore platform also uses aggressive spray rails, thickset rubbing strakes and elevated forward gunwales for a safe, dry ride.

There’s a range of options to help configure the aft deck to your needs, and down below, an open-plan layout provides bright, comfortable sleeping for four. Easily customised and inherently versatile, the new Dromeas D33 SUV is a seriously impressive piece of work.

Dromeas D33 SUV specifications

LOA: 27ft 1in (10.50m)
Beam: 8ft 10in (3.15m)
Engine: Single or twin outboards up to 800hp
Top speed: 50 knots
Starting price: £211,200 (inc. VAT)


Nimbus C11

This is the Daddy of the Nimbus pilothouse boat range, complete with fully enclosed wheelhouse and a pair of Volvo’s 4-cylinder 320hp sterndrive diesels for good measure.

It is, being a Nimbus, incredibly practical and well thought out. There are guardrails all the way along the side decks and wherever there isn’t a guardrail you can guarantee there is going to be a hand hold.

The side decks are deep and safe and there is bespoke storage for the boat’s fenders on the transom and a dedicated slot for the wooden boat hook outside the cockpit doors. These are the sort of practical details that Nimbus’s designers chalk off in their sleep but they make life on board so much easier.

Nimbus C11 specifications

LOA: 40ft 7in (12.4m)
Beam: 11ft 4in (3.46m)
Engines: Twin 320hp Volvo Penta D4
Top speed: 40 knots
Starting price: £361,549 (inc. VAT)

Read more about the Nimbus C11


The Nordkapp Gran Coupé 905 is available with twin 225hp outboards or a single 600hp V12

Nordkapp Gran Coupé 905

The Gran Coupé 905 is a practical, versatile (and rather beautiful) four-berth adventure companion but the V12 model ramps things up in a serious way.

For a start, there are no optional extras here because everything is included. That extends from the Webasto heating, hot and cold water, stern anchor and electric soft top to the bow and stern thrusters, forward sundeck, convertible cockpit and fully featured heads.

And then there’s the engine. While the base 905 is available with a 300hp outboard or twin 225s, this top-of-the-line variant comes with Mercury’s 7.6-litre V12 Verado 600hp outboard motor for ferocious pick-up and speeds in the region of 55 knots.

With sociable outdoor zones fore and aft, plus convertible pilothouse shelter and class-leading performance, this unashamedly high-spec four-season family cruiser is a boat you simply can’t ignore.

Nordkapp Gran Coupé 905 specifications

LOA: 29ft 11in (9.12m)
Beam: 9ft 9in (2.98m)
Engine: Mercury Verado 7.6-litre 600hp V12
Top speed: 55 knots
Starting price: £240,450 (inc VAT and 300hp engine) / £319,950 (inc. VAT and 600hp engine)


Modified chines make the Nord Star 33+ an even smoother ride than its predecessor

Nord Star 33+

The Nord Star 33+ uses the existing 32 hull with modified chines to make it even softer and more forgiving at sea. It also comes with bonded windows and smaller mullions for uprated visibility, plus revised bulwark boarding gates and twin side doors for extra practicality.

The optional Cruiser package looks particularly well judged. In addition to French doors that bring the cockpit and saloon into easy union, it offers some useful flexibility in relation to the way the galley and lower atrium interact.

You can spec each side of the atrium with a heads and separate shower; you can swap the port space for a lower galley; or you can leave the galley up top and use the port compartment as a massive walk-in wardrobe.

Either way, with a pair of D4 270s, this practical four-berth Nordic pilothouse boat offers a really satisfying combination of fuel efficiency, performance and living comfort.

Nord Star 33+ specifications

LOA: 36ft 5in (11.40m)
Beam: 11ft 1in (3.40m)
Engine: Twin inboard diesels up to 872hp
Top speed: 45 knots
Starting price: £365,000 (inc. VAT)

Read more about the Nord Star 33+

Pardo has eased back the power to give the Endurance 60 extra efficiency and range

Pardo Endurance 60

The Pardo Endurance 60 might look more like a mini superyacht than an all-action pilothouse boat, but its credentials are very strong. At 59ft in length with a fully enclosed wheelhouse and deep walkaround side decks, it uses a compact, low-slung flybridge to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible.

The decking ahead of the flybridge wind deflector is a great place to sit with a view or ideal for stowing a couple of bikes or stand-up paddle boards. Back aft, in addition to a hydraulic swim platform big enough for a proper jet tender, twin fold-down bulwarks create an extra 180ft² of cockpit space with great access to the water.

Available with a pair of IPS 700s or 800s and capable of sleeping up to eight people, the Pardo Endurance 60 is by no means a fast boat, but if you want long-distance adventure with extra style, refinement and luxury, this is a fantastic way to achieve it.

Pardo Endurance 60 specifications

LOA: 59ft 3in (18.08m)
Beam: 16ft 8in (5.13m)
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta IPS 700-800s
Top speed: 25 knots
UK starting price: €2.83 million (inc VAT)

Read more about the Pardo Endurance 60

Despite the extra weight created by the pilothouse, the Quarken 27 Cabin still tops out at 43 knots

Quarken 27 Cabin

The Quarken 27 Cabin takes all the user-friendly day boating intelligence of the award-winning Quarken 27 T-Top and adds a pilothouse for extra multi-purpose flexibility.

Like the open models, it uses an asymmetric design with a full-width port walkway to keep fore-and-aft movement free and easy. It also factors in a full-size sliding door for simple single-handed berthing, plus a seating design that enables you to face out from a sheltered position.

Capable of sleeping two people and seating up to eight, the Quarken 27 Cabin employs the same twin-stepped hull and Yamaha F300 outboard with finger-light digital steering as the rest of the 27 models.

And while the pilothouse structure does incur a little extra weight, this model still manages to achieve a top end of 43 knots, alongside claimed running efficiency of 1.6l per nm for a cruising range of 150nm.

Quarken 27 Cabin specifications

LOA: 27ft 5in (8.35m)
Beam: 8ft 6in (2.59m)
Engine: Single Yamaha F300 outboard
Top speed: 43 knots
Starting price: £144,442 (inc. VAT)

Read more about the Quarken 27 Cabin

Rhea is known for its 1970s-style flared bow and classic frigate stern

Rhea Trawler 34

The Rhea Trawler 34 is a seriously flexible boat. It’s available as a flybridge or a sedan and with single or twin shaft drives hooked up to Nanni, Volvo or Yanmar engines.

Like the Timonier line, it’s easy to helm, easy to beach and very kind in a North Atlantic swell. With flat decks, raised bulwarks and a closed transom, it’s also ideal for exposed passages.

And it also comes with a spacious forward owner’s cabin, plus a bathroom with separate shower, a starboard guest cabin and an optional crew cabin for those who need a third double berth.

Rhea Trawler 34 specifications

LOA: 34ft 1in (10.40m)
Beam: 13ft 1in (3.98m)
Engine: Single 380hp – twin 270hp inboard diesels
Top speed: 21 knots
Starting price: €585,000 (inc. VAT)

Impeccable seafaring and fit-out make the Sargo 45 our pick of their pilothouse boats range

Sargo 45

The Sargo 45 is a very easy boat to enjoy. From the quick-access fender stowage to the massive single-level side decks, the wide-gauge fuel fillers and the side-entry engine bay, the simple things are superbly executed.

With its adjustability, all-round views, skipper’s side door and whisper-quiet double-glazed refinement, the helm also feels like an object lesson in seafaring ergonomics.

And then there’s the accommodation. The fit-out is impeccable, headroom throughout is great and with a convertible dinette, an ingenious ensuite mid cabin and a pair of forward cabins with large day heads, you could easily sleep six to eight people in the utmost comfort.

Even the cruising efficiency looks good. Twin 480hp Volvo Penta D6-IPS650s will deliver 36-knot performance alongside four litres per nautical mile at 30 knots and a range in excess of 300 miles – and you also get the option of sterndrives and a flybridge.

Sargo 45 specifications

LOA: 47ft 11in (14.60m)
Beam: 14ft 0in (4.25m)
Engine: Twin Volvo D6 440 / IPS-650
Top speed: 36 knots
Starting price: €995,000 (inc. VAT)

Read more about the Sargo 45

The Targa 32 Coupe can reach speeds of up to 48 knots

Targa 32 Coupe

The Targa 32 is a fantastic all-rounder. It comes with a flybridge and second helm as standard but, as elsewhere in the range, you can also spec it with a flat roof, an aft door and a large roof rack for your kayaks and paddleboards.

Down below, two comfortable cabins make it popular for families, but you can also choose between a sociable foredeck cockpit or an optional raised bow for extra space in the forward double. It’s also the most versatile Targa in terms of engines.

Diesel options range from twin Volvo D4s right up to the biggest D6s for performance of up to 48 knots alongside a fast cruise of 38 to 40 knots. A pair of Mercury Verado V8 300 or V10 400 outboards are also an option.

But even twin D4 320s will deliver a top speed of 40 knots, while creating some handy extra space in the engine room for bulky baggage or folding bikes.

Targa 32 Coupe specifications

LOA: 35ft 4in (10.78m)
Beam: 11ft 1in (3.37m)
Engine: 640-880hp inboard diesels
Top speed: 48 knots
Starting price: £399,840 (inc. VAT)

Viggos are known for their tough aluminium construction and shallow draft

Viggo C10 Offshore

Viggo’s C10 Offshore employs the same deep-vee (24-degree) hull form as the 8m boats but uprates it for Category B use. It also benefits from a more acute bow shape, single or twin engines, separate fuel tanks, and a backup system for the power supply.

As on the Viggo C8, the layout has been designed so you can pass freely from bow to stern through fore and aft doors and remarkably, up to ten passengers can sit underway in the shelter of the pilothouse.

It’s a seriously quick boat too, thanks to a twin 450hp outboard option that brings a rip-snorting 65 knots into play. And to harness all that power, it also uses a pair of central K-Plane hydraulic trim tabs, which do much the same job as a 200-litre bow tank – pinning that nose in a rough head sea and avoiding any unnecessary air time.

Viggo C10 Offshore specifications

LOA: 35ft 11in (10.95m)
Beam: 9ft 8in (2.95m)
Engine: Single 450hp / Twin 300-450hp outboards
Top speed: 48-65 knots
Starting price: £359,400 (inc. VAT)

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