by Dom Wiseman
December 19, 2016
The Arvor Weekender designs are boxy which doesn’t make them aesthetically pleasing to look at but the advantage is the headroom they are able to deliver inside the cabin. Sure the window is swept back but the high sides and square transom angles make it look, well square.
We recently had a good look at the Arvor 755 Weekender and came away impressed with the all round package. The boat is built well, delivers a comfortable time away on the water and has all the items required for overnight stays and weekends away. But say you want more. More luxury, more room and, more versatility. Well step right into the 855 Weekender. This boat is about 1.2m longer than the 755 and has so much more space it’s hard to believe what they have managed to achieve.
At their core, these are both boats you can take away for a weekend, but the 855 Weekender with the extra space just feels that much more comfortable and capable of longer stays of up to a week or more. It’s still manageable for a small family and can also double as a fishing boat or cruising platform while you enjoy a summer afternoon with friends, or even fireworks on New Year’s eve (if you live in Sydney).
WHAT YOU GET
The weekender series is based around versatility and the rear cockpit coupled with spacious accommodation inside really delivers the best of both worlds. During inclement weather you can be safe and dry inside the cabin with beautiful views out the large windows and rear sliding door and when it’s sunny, tucked up on the back deck eating or simply relaxing. There’s even a sun pad on the bow, a walkway runs up the starboard side of the deck providing access. A grab rail extends along the length of the roof and a high bow rail offers additional protection.
The outboard power also adds to the space internally with no engine to account for. It also provides a little comfort for anyone who is stepping up from a large trailer boat to something like this. It’s that familiarity that I think is partly responsible for the appeal of these types of pocket cruisers.
Realistically, where you’ll want to spend most of your time on the 855 Weekender in the cockpit at the rear of the boat. It is here that you can enjoy the best of the Australian weather and all that it has to offer. There’s enough room here for four comfortably and plenty more if you desire. The floor is fibreglass, making for easy cleaning, and has enough grip to ensure it is not slippery. There is an L-shaped seat running along the transom and up the port side of the boat that was finished in grey upholstery. I was impressed with the drop-in table that is not square but rather curved allowing for access back into the cabin. The table also drops down to create a sun pad. The layout takes full use of the available space in the cockpit.
Internally the design of the 855 Weekender is equally efficient in its use of space with a modular lounge/dining area to port with the galley located just inside the floor to ceiling glass sliding door on the starboard side. A single helm chair is located ahead of the galley with a sliding door immediately to the right allowing access to the walkway along the starboard side. The modular lounge is a beauty with a series of locking pins allowing you to convert it into a spare bed, dining area, rear facing companion seat or forward facing companion seat. The upholstery is durable and comfortable. One thing I found, well, silly, was the cushion design that requires two separate cushions so you can set it up to face forward or backward.
Ventilation in the cabin can be achieved by opening the sliding door at the rear, the roof and the sliding door adjacent to the helm position. There is also a window set into the port side where one can eat a meal and admire the expansive view.
The galley is well appointed and finished in a dark timber that sets it off against the teak floor inside. The top of the bench space opens up to reveal a two-burner stove and sink while there is a microwave, fridge and drawer and cupboard storage beneath. The placement allows easy access through the sliding door to the cockpit and with the door stacking to the right as you look at it, you can still engage in conversation while you are there.
Accommodation is broken up into two rooms with doors. The main berth is located at the bow and includes a large centrally located bed. The bed can also be extended, which is a great design because it creates more space around the bed during the day and a bigger bed at night. Access to this room is down a set of three steps. On the port side extending underneath the dining area and across under the middle of the cabin is a large void that has been turned into a second room. There is plenty of room here for a second couple or a couple of kids. If needed, you also have the third bed as an option in the cabin proper.
Amenities are located ahead of the helm bulkhead and include a toilet and shower delivered via a retractable faucet. It adds some convenience while maintaining space for the important stuff. While it’s comfortable enough, it is not a space you’ll be spending a lot of time in.
A single Mercury 300hp Verado that got the boat moving at a reasonable pace powered the 855 Weekender. I wouldn’t call it spritely but rather adequate in its performance.
You can fit a 350hp engine, a move I believe would provide almost sports-like performance given the mid 30 knot top speed achieved with the 300.
The 300 Verada, which weighs 288kg, has an inline six-cylinder engine that produces 224Kw. It has sequential multi port fuel injection and a supercharger. It runs on standard unleaded fuel.
ON THE WATER
The 855 Weekender is a functional boat, a bit like driving a Toyota Tarago. That aside it turns easily enough and the hydraulic steering responds well to driver input. The helm position is comfortable and the controls are within easy reach. I may have opted for a different layout but everything you need, including a large sounder/chart plotter, trim tab controls and bow thruster, are there. The switches are located in the top right hand corner of the dash, but I would have them where the engine gauges are currently located. The bow thruster controls are easy to use and make manoeuvring simple.
The helm position offers a great all round view although being shorter I felt I had to stand on some occasions. The 17deg deadrise is ample and the hull’s hard large chines almost make it look like a tri hull of sorts. It can hit hard occasionally but responds well to a little lift in the bow, achieved with the trim tabs. The reverse chine that starts well forward does an exceptional job of keeping spray down and away in what is a relatively high-sided boat.
At rest the hull is stable even with people moving about.
If you’re looking for a sporty cruiser, then the Arvor 855 Weekender is not the boat for you. The appeal lies in its relaxed nature and versatility with three separate beds, plenty of space and more than enough luxury to keep everyone happy for more than a few nights. It is also the perfect size for a family to handle and can be towed with a truck if needed but you will need oversize permits and signage. I would certainly alleviate the need to buy a caravan.
NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price (as tested) $184,500
Length Overall: 8.91m
Engine: Mercury 300hp Verado
Fuel Capacity: 300-litres
Deadrise: 17 degrees