by Dom Wiseman

We’ve already tested the Axopar 28 T Top and came away thoroughly impressed with the build and performance of this beautifully crafted Finnish boat. The Axopar 28 Open is built on the same hull as the T Top version we tested but this boat is powered by a formidable 350hp Mercury. The T Top had a 300hp engine on the back. While it might not seem much, the 28 Open is my style of boat with tonnes of open space and storage for skiing, snorkelling, fishing or diving, and plenty of performance.
This time, we managed to fit in a spot of snorkelling, followed by a quick, and I mean quick, trip up to Brisbane Waters to grab some fish and chips at popular waterside eatery, Woy Woy Fisherman’s Wharf.

WHAT YOU GET
The Axopar 28 Open has teak highlights on the rear swim platforms either side of the engine. Unlike the 28 T Top, the internal floor has been left bare as non-slip fibreglass. While most owners to date have opted for the flexi-teak on the internal floor as displayed in the T Top, I quite like the look of the bare fibreglass in the Open. It still looks classy and makes clean up that much easier.

From the bow back to the helm and passenger seating the Open is much the same as the T Top. There is a lounge area, with comfortable cushions that convert into a sun bed by dropping the teak table, in the front of the boat. It also has a toilet at the head of the console that is sure to keep even the fussiest partner happy, and side by side seating for the driver and passenger with a row of three seats behind. The upholstery in this case is grey, which can get a little hot in the Aussie summer sun.
The bow area on this boat is all about entertaining and has space to accommodate up to five people comfortably. There is a row of seats on the port side and stand up space with a cushion to lean on to starboard. On a summer’s day, it’s the perfect space to stretch out and relax and once you’re done, you can remove the sun bed cushions and turn it into a relaxing lounge area as the sun goes down.
The toilet is well appointed and features brilliant timber veneer offering an upmarket and classy feel. There is a sink, mirror and toilet in here with a cage-like storage arrangement on the left. It could get a little enclosed, but in reality it’s a part of a boat many find a necessity and a must have on their list of things to look for. When it comes to pleasing your partner, few items go such a long way.
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Axopar 28 Open 1
The windscreen is all glass and wraps around the helm area to provide a comfortable and enclosed feeling while still maintaining a sporty feel and function. Sitting at the helm, the wind simply hits the screen and sails straight over your head. The helm position itself is classy with a certain minimalist feel about it. There is ample dash space for any electronics you will, or think you will, need. The Mercury Vessel View screen was mounted low and to the left of the steering wheel, with the fly-by-wire throttle control in a very comfortable position for driving, whether standing or sitting, on the right. As per the T Top, the space for an ipad in the dash remains and is perfect if you want to keep the dash clean and only need navigation that can be displayed on the ipad.
The test boat also had a bow thruster fitted and while with judicious use of the throttle, using prop torque and engine angles you can steer the boat without it, it adds a little peace of mind when getting into really tight spots.
Under the port helm seats is an icebox that can be upgraded to a fridge if you wish. In any case, they are accessed by lifting the seat that folds forward to provide space. The upholstery, like all the upholstery on the boat is plush, durable and extremely comfortable.
From here the boat differs significantly from the T Top. Where the T Top had a large two-person cabin at the stern, this boat has the aforementioned three-seat rear lounge and an open space behind it, hence the name. The floor compartments here are massive and will accommodate everything you could ever need, and that which you probably don’t.
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Axopar 28 Open 8The owner had recently stowed two 5’9” (1.8m) surfboards down here on a run over to well known surf spot Box Head. The top of these compartments are finished in non skid of course and provide a fantastic area to prepare for a dive, fishing, snorkelling or surfing for that matter. Either side of the open area are storage boxes for ropes and fenders, enabling you to keep this entire area clean. The port storage box also doubles as an icebox for the aft deck with drainage and insulation.

POWER
The Mercury engine fitted to the Axopar 28 Open is a beauty. The 350hp Verado engine is built on a 2.6-litre in-line six cylinder platform that propels the Axopar to unbelievable speeds in excess of 47 Knots (87km/h). The newly designed super charger and vents that direct cold air into the engine more efficiently do their job while it is quiet, effortless and definitely more efficient.
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Axopar 28 Open 14On the run from Pittwater to Woy Woy and back again, we only used about 30 litres of fuel. It can also operate on Unleaded 87- or 90 Octane with no more than 10% ethanol.
The engine trim controls do a good job in this boat and get it riding along efficiently. You could opt for trim tabs that would help level the ride when the boat is carrying some equipment. The engine is rated 2 stars putting it in the very low emissions category.

ON THE WATER
It’s hard not to get excited driving these boats. Every time I step behind the wheel, I simply cannot get myself out of the drivers’ seat. The hull is one of the most comfortable I’ve ever stood aboard and driven and I even made the comment to the importer, Windcraft, that it’s a boat I would never tire of driving. If someone asked me to take them on a sightseeing trip on any waterway and I had an Axopar 28 at my disposal, I’d put my hand up straight away, no matter the conditions.
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Axopar 28 Open 5While the hull looks more suited to flat water, the appearance belies its capabilities. Performance in chop and swell is exceptional. The knife like leading edge cuts through the water with ease and the 22 degree deadrise chews up oncoming chop. Running across open water such as Broken Bay to Woy Woy is simply a joy as the boat handles swell with ease. The long, yet sleek hull almost rides on a cushion and while I’m sure the length helps, the hull design is truly a marvel. It is comfortable sitting or standing and I was happy doing either.
There are also two steps built into the hull that add aeration, lessening friction and improving fuel efficiency.

OVERVIEW
Functional, fun and fast, the Axopar 28 Open is truly a versatile offering from this Finnish boat builder. They have already made quite the impact in Aussie waters with buyers queuing up to own one of these innovative boats. The Open is suited to anyone looking for a water sports and cruising package with a difference. It’s sleek enough to look comfortable next to any super yacht, yet functional enough to be at home on any mooring or on the wharf at any waterside residence anywhere around the country.

Axopar 28 Open 16POSITIVES

  • Innovative design
  • Use of space
  • Excellent finish

NEGATIVES

  • Cost
  • Tiny wipers

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: $170,935 (as tested) $157,244 (With 200Hp Verado)
Construction: Fibreglass
Length Overall: 8.60m
Beam: 2.85m
Draft: 0.75m
Dry Weight: 1690kgs
Engine: Mercury 350hp Verado
Fuel Capacity: 260 litres
Persons: 8