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Caravan, performance powerboat and yacht rolled into one. Many have tried to achieve it but Poland’s Imexus Yachts does it better, reports ALLAN WHITING

Imexus 28

In the one day, we managed to sail around Pittwater, upwind and downwind, in 15kts of breeze, motor at speeds from two to 20kts and tow a biggish bloke on his surfboard - all in the one boat! Such is the ability and appeal of the powersailer.

American Roger MacGregor started the powersailer business in the 1980s and the MacGregor 26 is still the biggest selling cruising yacht in the world. Little wonder there have been competitive models introduced to grab some of that lucrative global market.

We tested Hunter's Edge 27 last year and now the most recent powersailer competitor to appear Down Under is the Imexus 28.

Although new here, the Imexus 28 began life back in 2002, when it was released under the mantle of Odin 820, with design inputs from Bavaria Yachts. The Bavaria influence is obvious in the style of the cabin windows, with a distinctive blue flash.




Boarding the Imexus 28 from a dock is easy, thanks to webbing 'siderails' that unclip. Boarding from the water, or when the boat is on its trailer, is done via a boarding ladder and cockpit transom door.

The Imexus is the only powersailer to offer sidedeck walkways, and that feature helps its big-boat image.

Mast raising and lowering is made as easy as possible by a clever A-arm fixture on the foredeck. With the mast pad in its hinged base and the tack of the furling genoa locked into the pivoting A-arm, the assembly is simply winched upright. The A-arm remains attached when the stem locking pin is in place. A battened main in its lazy-jack boom bag, shrouds and a tackle-adjustable backstay complete the single-spreader rig.

The alternative form of propulsion - an Evinrude 90hp outboard in the case of the test boat - power tilts on the transom, where it's flanked by a pair of dropdown blade rudders.

Like competitive powersailers the Imexus uses water ballast that fills via a transom port. However, it has a large capacity of 730lt and supplements that with 165kg of fixed ballast, plus a 55kg, 1.45m-draft centreboard.




A three-step companionway ladder leads to a spacious interior that boasts 1.85m headroom, a king-size berth aft under the cockpit and a forward double V-berth. The berth sides are padded with quilted material.

Between the fore and aft berths are a galley with one-burner spirit stove (two-burner optional), sink and fridge; a head with chemical toilet (marine toilet optional) and a four-seat dinette with drop-side table that incorporates wine storage. The table pedestal is the fin case and the mast compression post doubles as a handhold.

There's ample storage space in shelves and under the dinette seats, while trim is light oak panelling and cupboard fronts. Fit and finish is very good throughout and a considerable improvement over the original Odin model.




In the company of Imexus importer, Clive Calder and Pittwater-based dealer, Jason Gribble, we headed out for a day's fun.
With the northeast breeze filling in quickly on Pittwater our test started with a sail, followed by a blast under power.

As we motored out from Newport we opened the water ballast port and the breather under the forward bunk, filling the tank in around 10 minutes. The main went up quickly and the headsail unfurled, while the engine was tilted and the rudders lowered.

Like all water-ballasted yachts the Imexus adopted an early heel in 10kts of breeze, but it settled at that angle and powered quite respectably to windward at 5kts. The sail controls fell readily to hand, but the tiny steering wheel had a very heavy action that made steering through wind shifts difficult. The local agents are looking at a disconnection system so the wheel doesn't have to turn the weight of the tilted motor in addition to the rudders while under sail.

We thought a reef might be called for when the wind came in at 15kts, but the Imexus felt quite secure with full sail. Like all lightly ballasted boats the Imexus was more at home off the wind and it could be trimmed wing-a-wing when square.

Cruising types will be happy with the Imexus' sailing performance, but it's no club racer ? twilights maybe.




With the outboard snarling away behind, the Imexus' personality changed entirely. The transition from sail to powerboat wasn't difficult to achieve - rudders flipped up, sails stowed and motor lowered - but best performance came only when the ballast tank drained to empty, after around five minutes of brisk motoring.

Jason Gribble emerged from the companionway in his wetsuit, clutching a surfboard under his arm. "We're going to do some 'scurfing'," he declared. Clive rigged a bridle off the stern cleats and the wakeboard tow rope was clipped to it, before Jason leapt into the briny.

It's hard to know what was more impressive: the wake antics of Jason scurfing (a combination of ski technique using a surfboard), or the looks of disbelief on the faces of onlookers.

With the boat tied to a mooring in a sheltered bay we reflected on the features of the Imexus 28: it's not the best yacht in the bay, but it sails quite well; it's not the best powerboat you can buy for the same money, but it'll do 20kts easily; and it's not a caravan, but it can be trailed and will sleep four in comfort. If you're looking for a three-way leisure bet, you could do a lot worse.




Like the Hunter Edge, the Imexus 28 is a larger boat externally and internally than the MacGregor, and it can handle a larger engine: up to 120hp on the Imexus' transom. The Imexus aims for a big-yacht feel below decks and has achieved that aim better than any in the powersailer class. The trade-off is a bulkier hull that incorporates simulated clinker mouldings to relieve the slab-sided look.








In terms of ease of moving around on deck and a big-boat feel below decks, the Imexus 28 is the best of the powersailer breed. It's legally trailerable without a permit and offers the expected combination of power and sailing abilities.




$112,000 w/ galvanised steel two-axle trailer




Evinrude E-TEC 90 outboard, furling headsail, battened mainsail in lazy-jack boom bag, antifouling, fridge, anchor kit, inverter, pressure water system, bowsprit, 65lt fuel tank, bilge pump, boarding ladder, and 2700kg-rated trailer




$77,000 sans motor




MATERIAL: FRP monolithic hull
TYPE: Monohull
BEAM: 2.5m
DRAFT: 0.3m (board up); 1.45m (board down)
WEIGHT: 1300kg (no ballast); 2030kg (with ballast)




BERTHS: Two doubles and two single settee berths
FUEL: 45lt (65lt optional)
WATER: 24lt
HOLDING TANK: 24lt (optional)




SAIL AREA: 28.2m² (standard)




MAKE/MODEL: Evinrude E-TEC                                                                                                                         TYPE: Two-stroke outboard
RATED HP: 60 (up to 120hp optional)




Church Point Brokerage,
122 Crescent Road,
Newport, NSW, 2106
Phone: 0411 231 230
Fax: (02) 9997 3027




The Imexus 28 is a craft that tries to combine the abilities of a floating home, a powerboat and a small yacht, and it does the compromise job reasonably well. It lacks the one-level living space of the same-length powerboat; it certainly won't race around the cans with a similar-length keelboat; and it's squeezier than a caravan that takes up the same amount of road space, but it manages to roll all these functions into one towable unit. That's no mean achievement.


Find Imexus boats for sale.


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