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Issue 29. Out Now!

Powering to Windward Print E-mail

 A sheltered cockpit with both sail and power controls easily to hand are good features of the Imexus 28. Pic Kevin Green In power mode, accelerate to go, up to 24kts.

The advantages of powersailers can be summed up in on word - VERSATILITY.

The power sailer has come a long way from the early models of a decade ago and the latest  Imexus 28 with a Volvo 140 hp turbo diesel will have a wide appeal.

However the best seller of these European built boats is the outboard powered version that has sold about 600 worldwide, and after a day aboard in a variety of conditions I can clearly see why.

The advantages of power sailers can be summed up in one word:  VERSATILITY. Thanks to a hull shape that can both sail and plane, with the addition of a large outboard – up to 120hp on the latest incarnation of the Imexus 28 – you can reach speeds of 24knots. When the other main features of the Imexus are included – swing keel, water ballast and a beam that permits towing – this all adds up to an amazingly versatile craft.

The Imexus cockpit is a comfortingly deep and sheltered area thanks to the high forward bulkhead and spraydodger with bimini, while the transom door hinges to access swim platform, water ballast gate and outboard. The cockpit area is self draining – through the transom – and washboards slot into the large main hatch. The only thing that indicates it is a power sailer is the centre console with small diameter wheel plus throttle adjoining it. However, as I found out later, the wheel is large enough to allow the helmsman to sit comfortably in the cockpit with good vision to sail telltales. An upgrade from previous models, this optional hydraulic steering easily turned the twin rudders and outboard. Instrumentation on our review boat included a Raymarine plotter/sounder on the binnacle with bulkhead compass, again a simple layout that works. The large volume hull ensures plenty of storage space here, with two small coaming lockers and a couple of larger ones under seating, whilst fuel or generator is  stored in a secure aft locker accessed from the rear deck swim platform. The cockpit is a good length with room for six and enough bench width to stretch out for an afternoon siesta in the sun.

The sailing setup is simply laid out with mainsheet and  block attached to solid stainless bar on the helm console while a pair of  Andersen 50 winches either side of the main hatchway control the jib sheets, roller furler and halyards; with four jammers either side.

A fully equipped bathroom with standing room ensures comfort for those weekends away. Comfortable open plan space, quality fitted in golden oak.

The overall topside layout of the Imexus is similar to many small cruising yachts: sidedecks, knee high stanchions and cabin top grab rails with non-slip mouldings integrated into the GRP.  Twin shrouds are inboard on the cabin which nicely keeps the decks clear as you move towards the pulpit, which is strongly specified with sturdy stainless. A teak and stainless bow sprit is pleasing to the eye and handy for bow-to landings and secures the anchor snuggly for quick release.  For easy single hand  mast lowering/raising, a factory supplied stainless integrated A-frame and tabernacle setup was installed on our review boat.

The single spreader alloy rig is held up by twin backstays with pulley adjustment. The shrouds are strongly located through the cabin and attached to the hull with bottle screws to sturdy stainless chainplates.. Slab reefing is used on a semi- battened dacron cruising main which flakes into combined lazy jack/mainsail cover for easy dousing and stowing.

Comfortable double berth forward with large double aft. Pic Jason Gribble.


Accommodation on the Imexus is open plan with large double forward and kingsize under the cockpit, though this is reduced to a double if you choose long range tanks and turbo diesel model. Comfortable couch seating either side of the saloon table, which is also the keelbox, and good headroom (1.85cm) for an average sailor all go to make this a very comfortable space. The practicalities are well taken care of, tastefully fitted in satin finished Oak  with ample cupboard space twin burner metho stove to port alongside a stainless sink and 45l top loading ice box .The Sydney owner of our review boat  “IMPULSE” had installed a fan forced low energy 12V eutectic system from Moorebank Marine and several other creature comforts including  plumbed hot and cold water. Obviously power is limited by an outboard’s  reduced alternator output versus diesel, so one option is to install a  generator as this owner had done, a honda four stroke 4KVA inverter/generator fits nicely into the stern locker. Alternatively, solar panels would be the go. The house battery is a 70ah and a quality switchboard controls the boats electrics, LED interior lights are standard as is shorepower, a Waeco 252A charger/inverter was also fitted to the test boat. Ablutions are well taken care of on the Imexus, especially if you opt for the pump-out head, thanks to a sizeable bathroom  with headroom, vanity sink and hot shower fitted.

Integrated mast lowering A frame with teak and stainless bowsprit to snug anchor. Pic Jason Gribble. Comfortably reefed in 20+kt gusts and no drinks spilled.Pic Jason Gribble.

Cruising yacht and planing powerboats have very different hull requirements, the latter requiring a flat rear section to reduce friction and induce lift while some degree of keel deadrise is also needed for stability (or rocker in sailboats).  For stability the water ballast is essential of course but this weight is inside the relatively narrow hull (2.5m to conform to European and Australian towing restrictions) with taller topsides, rather than in the keel. To compensate Imexus offer 165 kg of lead, along with the 75 kg steel swing keel which helps overall form stability. Another plus for the Imexus is a reasonable Sail Area to Displacement ratio (SAD) which comes out at 17.02, thanks to a modest sailplan. So, working within these parameters as the Imexus has successfully done is no mean feat. The GRP hull has a clinker moulded exterior which looks aesthetically pleasing and nicely breaks up the effect of a higher freeboard.

Yet another plus for the Imexus is the quality overall build. It has a substantial feel for the type of boat it is. I noted that all the bulkheads and rovings were smoothly finished and thickly laid up. The hull and deck are hand-laminated, with solid GRP for the hull with bulkheads oak veneered or encased in GRP. All trim and furniture is solid oak. Sandwich construction is used on the deck, which aids insulation and reduces weight. Additional hull stiffness comes from the integrated 730l ballast tank that runs along the keel spine and the inbuilt 165kg of lead ballast. Dealer Jason Gribble explained that. “The Imexus has an impressive ballast-to-weight ratio of 45 percent with the 75kg steel swing keel and  extra fixed ballast of 165kg fitted as standard on all Australian delivered boats.”

Stable decks on the Imexus offshore. Pic Kevin Green. Enjoying the sights. Pic Jason Gribble. Slipping along nicely in light airs. Pic Jason Gribble.

Prospective owners have plenty of choices thanks to a good option list and the engine of course is a major choice. The more expensive  diesel version offers arguably better reliability, better fuel economy, and weight lower down but does reduce the size of the stern berth. A trailer is another option (costing about $8k upwards) which makes that dream trip to the Whitsunday’s  a viable reality if you’ve a four wheel drive with 3 tonne towing capacity.

Heading to your favourite cruising grounds at high speed, or on its trailer, is what the Imexus is all about so after clearing Sirsi Marina I accelerated the 115Hp Etech to propel us down Pittwater, reaching speeds of 20.1 knots. Instantly noticeable was the relatively smooth ride, unlike the bouncy feel of a speedboat. Tweaking the outboard trim button, and then standing up, gave clear views ahead, as we sped past other yachts whose owner’s gave us more than a few inquisitive looks. With no waves to speak of I banked the boat into a series of figure eight turns at full throttle and noted how the squared hull gripped well in the turns, which induced plenty of confidence. Motoring out past Barrenjoey Head in search of some sea we powered on through the 2m swells with only the occasional spray coming aboard as our speed rose to 15 knots. Wanting to capture the moment I walked to the foredeck with my camera and felt secure doing so. Back in the cockpit, on the helm proved an enjoyable experience, with few bumps or groans from any part of the Imexus, and it was easy to forget a mast was installed.  “For punching into a choppy head sea, we sometime add a little water ballast to smooth the ride, full ballast tank also comfortably steadies the boat at anchor for a good night sleep “ explained Jason.

With keel up, shallow water or beaching's no problem. Pic Jason Gribble.

Preparing for sailing was also an easy affair as we glided to a stop, opened the water ballast gate along with the drop down twin rudders before I let gravity and a line on the sheet winch swing down the keel. The water ballast tank has a forward breather which speeds the induction, which took around five minutes, after which we hoisted the mainsail and unfurled the genoa. Using the electric tilt for the outboard  was the last job before I settled at the helm. Sitting in the cockpit  with hand on the small wheel was comfortable, with mainsheet near while a quick step forward allowed headsail adjustment. The blustery southerly wind was gusting around 20+ knots at first up Pittwater, so we unrolled only half the genoa and hardened up to windward. Once I’d mastered the feel of the small hydraulic wheel, the yacht settled into a steady groove, while occasionally easing the main on larger gusts to minimise leeway and ensure the vertical outboard  rudders maximized grip. On the smooth water the hull accelerated quickly and once it had dug in we tracked well, reaching a speedy 6.1 knots to windward.

The hydraulic steering option is worthwhile I’d say as the engine is permanently connected and reportedly heavier without it on certain points of sail in previous models. Smaller diameter hydraulic helm requires extra turns, which may lead to oversteering, but after a bit of adjustment it did a pretty good job. Throwing in a few tacks went smoothly as all lines ran easily.  Similarly gybing was easily done, just grab a handful of mainsheet as we spun around. On a run the Imexus didn’t disgrace herself feeling nimble with no bad habits reaching a tad under 6 knots in the 14 knot breeze.

With the breeze dying it was back to power mode for our lunch stop so we motored along for about five minutes to empty the water ballast before approaching Portuguese Beach with keel and rudders up to glide into shallow water gently nudging the beach.

In summary  of this boat , that word ‘VERSATILITY’ again comes to mind and really does apply to the Imexus 28, a boat  that  admirably  acquits itself on both sides of that age old equation. Power versus Sail.

Checking under the bonnet of the new volvo 140hp diesel version. Pic Kevin Green. Quality deck hardware features as standard. Pic Jason Gribble. Swim platform encompassing boarding ladder, transom door, H/C deck shower and secure aft locker for generator or fuel storage. Pic Jason Gribble.


Price: $85,919.00 (base boat, 70hp Yamaha)
Price: $104,000 (review boat well optioned)
Length Overall: 8.50 m
Length Waterline: 8.05 m
Beam: 2.50 m
Width waterline: 1.90 m
Draft: 0.30m/1.45 m
Swing keel: 75 kg
Fixed ballast: 165 kg
Water ballast: 730 L
Weight (Light): 1,300 kg- 1,500kg
Towing weight incl trailer: 2,150kg-2,750kg
Engine: 50 HP - 120 HP Outboard, Turbo Diesel up to 140hp
Mast length: 9.00 m
Sail area: Mainsail 16m2; Genoa 18.5m2
Height cabin 1.85 m
Water: 70 + L
Fuel (built in): 85 + L
Design: Germany, Built Imexus Yachts, Poland.
Imexus Yachts Australia – Church Point Brokerage
Sales inquiry
Jason Gribble  0411231230, 02 99994188  
Sirsi Newport Marina ,122 Crescent Rd Newport NSW 2106  
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Wendy Elliston
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