While shooting photos from the official press boat during the recent America’s Cup races in Bermuda, I got enthused in a way I almost always do when riding what I like to call “a goin’ machine.” The excitement partly arose from the fact that the two 250-horsepower Mercury Verados on the transom of our flat-black XO 270 Cabin OB tended to generate speeds well over 40 knots almost instantaneously, whether conditions happened to be smooth, rough, or somewhere in between. But there was also something else that sent shivers up the ol’ spine—the way the 270 handled as our young, obviously fearless skipper rocketed her hell-bent-for-leather around Bermuda’s Great Sound during the races. Indeed, I found the little 270’s solid, no-nonsense ability to track (even while slicing and paralleling the wakes of larger, slower support boats) to be flat-out remarkable. And hey, noise levels were modest and the running attitudes seemed pretty low and efficient, too.
Aluminum was the key to all the virtuousness, I’d say, along with a skinny, very-deep deep-V hullform (transom deadrise: 24 degrees), and a squared-off bow. Like all boats from XO, the 270 was designed in Finland and then built in Poland with longitudinally framed internal strengtheners and shell plating of exceptionally light, military-spec aluminum; a deck, cabin, and some interior components of fiberglass; and numerous details comprised of carefully crafted but eye-catching sturdy woods, fabrics, and metals.
Seating gets the crew out of the wind generated by 40-plus-knot speeds.
The cabin sported a convertible dinette and a minimalist galley, by the way, as well as a starboard-side helm station that seemed to encourage high-performance-style driving. Moreover, our photo boat, the skipper said, had a fully adjustable, seriously shock-absorbing helm seat to facilitate re-entry after leaping off wave crests. And he added that he was a total fan of the wraparound sightlines from the helm, thanks to an array of safety glass window panels circumscribing the cabin.
At press time, the folks at XO (who also founded Axopar Boats) were planning to stretch their market beyond the Scandinavian countries, Europe, and Russia, and displaying one or more of their boats at some of the upcoming boat shows in the United States later this year. While I dearly wanted to enjoy a delightful little stint behind the wheel of our XO 270 Cabin OB photo boat in Bermuda, the clamorous nature of the vessel’s purpose during the often fast and furious races precluded any joy riding or, should I say, joy driving. Maybe during the Ft. Lauderdale Show, though? Or even Miami 2018? We shall see.
This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.