The Italian Solaris 47 is intended to meet both sides of the performance-cruiser equation – and reward the discerning sailor.
- Platform great for swimming
- Wheelhouse offset to port
- Distinctive styling
- Smart design
- Decent build quality
- Spacious, Light-filled interior
- Excellent headroom
- Cockpit not overly large
- Single engine for simplicity
When Carsten and Sabine Mueller went looking for a suitable family boat, they instantly knew they’d found it after spotting the Bill Dixon-designed Sealine C330 online.
“It caught our attention straight away. We liked the spacious, light-filled interior and the elegant exterior design. We expect certain build quality standards from the German Hanse Group and so far our new boat hasn’t disappointed,” says Carsten, who has an engineering background and is currently working in the yacht racing industry.
Sealine motor yachts were manufactured in the UK for many years before the company was acquired by the Hanse Group in 2013 and manufacturing shifted to Germany.
Carsten was inspired by his friends, fishing mates and colleagues. “It’s a very Kiwi thing, the sort of boating they do, and my family and I really enjoyed our outings with friends,” he explains. His boating mates, with their years of life experience in New Zealand’s waters, supported the couple’s decision to buy the C330. “With its offshore CE Category B it provides us quite a bit of safety margin if we get into bad weather.”
Before settling on the Sealine, the Mueller family researched many other brands but none of them ticked as many boxes as the C330. At first they looked at importing a Sealine from Europe, but soon concluded they were better off buying the boat from Windcraft, the New Zealand Sealine dealer. They’re happy they did.
“They couldn’t have been easier to deal with and the sales and after-sales service have been excellent,” Carsten enthuses. The family has owned Manuwai since the end of January and Carsten reckons they have spent more family time together on the water in the weeks since taking delivery of the boat than they did in several years of owning their other vessel, a Senator trailer boat that’s great for fishing and diving.
“Our C330 is so much more comfortable for the entire family on overnight and extended day-trips. Sabine loves it.”
Carsten is impressed by what he calls the Sealine’s “smart design”. Even though the boat is only 10m (33-feet) overall, there are separate zones or living areas. “The kids love the padded sundeck on the bows. It’s a discrete area from the saloon so they’re out of our hair. They spend a lot of time up there enjoying the sunshine, both while we are travelling and when anchored up.”
The swim platform is great for swimming, says Carsten, and the family likes to socialise in the cockpit. The galley is aft, where it’s easily accessible from both the cockpit and the saloon. Carsten contrasts this with the galley down layout of many other boats.
The modern open-plan saloon is bathed in light from large, curved windows to either side, an expansive one-piece windscreen and an opening sunroof. The inside entertaining zone lets out onto the cockpit via a bi-fold glass and aluminium door and the aft window is hinged at the top, opening to the cockpit.
The cockpit isn’t huge, and if fishing is your thing you’ll be consigned to the swim step – access is on the starboard side – but it is a social space that works well. A sliding canvas panel inside a moulded fibreglass frame extends the cabin roof all the way to the transom so there’s plenty of protection when required or slide it back for more sun.
There’s ample stowage under the cockpit loungers, as well as in the engine compartment where the Muellers have commissioned a custom module to store up to eight dive bottles and other gear.
With just a single Volvo D6 400hp under the cockpit sole there’s plenty of room left over. Access to the engine and associated machinery, including batteries (1 x starting and 3 x house), fuel system, hot water cylinder and AC inverter is excellent, though it is of course a crawl space in a boat of this size. An auto/manual engine room fire extinguishing system is standard and Manuwai is fitted with a diesel heater as well, because the Muellers intend to use their boat year round.
The boat can be ordered with other engine options, too. Carsten is happy with the larger single engine and feels that the comfortable cruising speed is around 24 knots at 3,100rpm. This is the recommended 80 percent of maximum engine rpm and the fuel burn is a miserly three litres per nautical mile, so there’s a decent cruising range from the 570-litre fuel tank. Lectrotab trim tabs complement the Duoprop leg’s trim and tilt to provide the best hull attitude depending on the sea conditions.
Carsten and Sabine have opted for teak in the cockpit and elsewhere, including the side decks and foredeck. Although it’s not immediately obvious, the wheelhouse/saloon is offset to port. This allows a wider side deck with better access along the starboard side. A sliding side door gives the helmsman direct access to the side deck and bow area, which is useful for short-handed cruising. A bow thruster, combined with a steerable duo-prop sterndrive unit, removes most of the anxiety from docking. As a first-time launch owner with a reasonably tight Doves Bay marina berth, he is thankful for its easy handling nature.
He also pointed out the Sealine’s generous headroom. At two-metres tall, Carsten has to stoop inside many other boats, but there is enough head height in the cockpit and saloon for him to stand up and where the roofline slopes down towards the windscreen a huge full-width sunroof opens to sky, so there’s no need to bend his neck. Standing at the raised helm station, Carsten loves to pilot the boat with his head thrust through the roof and into the slipstream.
The C330’s comfortable accommodation is in two cabins. The master is located in the bows and features an island double berth, hanging lockers and port lights. The guest cabin to port extends under the saloon and can be configured as two singles – the Muellers usual choice – or by adding the supplied infill panels and squabs, as a double berth oriented athwartships. Storage is generous in both cabins, which are well-served by direct and indirect lighting and 230V AC electrical outlets.
Lighting throughout the boat is 12-volt LED, but appliances such as the combination inverter/microwave/convection oven, fridges and electric jug are 230V, run off the inverter. Carsten reports the batteries were still 80% full after running the microwave and two fridges for two days during a stay-away trip. The main panel with switches, relays and circuit breakers is located under the sink.
Two aluminium gas bottles are factory standard, housed in a locker in the port corner of the cockpit; the galley features a two-burner gas hob and a cockpit gas BBQ is likely to be popular with Kiwi owners, so a spare gas bottle is handy.
We took a leisurely cruise out to an anchorage at Roberton Island where we stayed awhile and then cruised back again to Doves Bay. From the helm I was struck by Manuwai’s quietness, even with the roof and rear doors open; close them and you are cocooned in comfort with only a slight rumble from the engine under the cockpit sole. We certainly enjoyed our tour of the Bay of Islands aboard Manuwai, which from the inside feels like a much bigger boat than it really is, perhaps because it lets so much of the outside in.
The Sealine C330’s styling is distinctive. A futuristic bow profile sets her apart from the usual run of motor launches in New Zealand and her sedan configuration and large glass house are typically European.
While the plumb bow might look a little unusual, the fine entry and underwater hull profile work very well. Manuwai was a pleasure to drive and answered the helm willingly, carving the turns, cutting through the waves and smoothing out the bumps.
According to Windcraft’s Dominic Lowe, who joined us on the boat for the day, Manuwai easily handled 25-knot winds and a messy sea state around Cape Brett on the delivery voyage from Auckland to the Bay of Islands. Carsten certainly feels confident in the boat’s abilities.
The Hanse Group’s Sealine C330 is an interesting package. Well-engineered with smart design, modern styling, decent build quality and attractive pricing, it could have wide appeal for Kiwi boating families. And while it’s also available with twin Volvo Penta D4 220hp engines, many customers, like the Muellers, may prefer the simplicity and smaller outlay of a single engine plus bow thruster. 330hp and 400hp single-engine options are available.