I don’t know if the Explosion Marine X44 is the next generation of the inflatable boat, but I am sure that enjoying the sea on your private floating balcony is a unique experience.
X44 of Explosion Marine is an eye-catching design mega-Rib, which stands out mainly for its stern section that can be transformed into a magnificent and exceptionally spacious platform for entertainment, with a total width of 5.6 meters.
Definitely, the fold-out lateral sections steal the show and draw our attention, but if we take a closer look we will see that special emphasis has also been given to the interior spaces of X44 where everything is finished to their last detail and made with the highest quality materials.
From the moment it made its first appearance at the Cannes Yachting Festival 2013, X44 Explosion was making waves in rigid inflatable boats industry.
This is a truly spectacular project that was born at Mar.co yard and, designed by Federico Gerna, constitutes the first inflatable boat equipped with two side foldable platforms that create a superb aft deck and offer high quality onboard living.
Giuseppe Capruzzi, who supports X44 with infinite passion and has managed to present a multifunctional mega-Rib with smart solutions coming from his long experience at sea, told us:
«X44 is truly a new approach to yachting. After 10 years of experience, research and experimentation, we started this project with the aim of creating something special for the demanding market. A few years ago it was an innovative idea that caught everyone's attention. We did not want to present a standard, usual and predictable boat and so we started designing the X44, which is studied to the latest detail and combines innovation, quality and Italian style».
X44 is not a boat we often see at the sea, and of course it is addressed to everyone who is dreaming of luxury cruises and wants to enjoy the sea with the highest degree of comfort, offering luxury and style to all people on board.
The fold-out side sections of the stern are made of fiberglass, on the outside of which D-shaped tubes have been fitted, which are filled with foam instead of air. The great advantage of the foam is that it can withstand heavy use and, even if it is seriously damaged, does not soak up any water, retaining its shape and buoyancy. And of course, its D-shaped configuration offers extra space on the deck. Thus, the maximum net width at the stern is 4.55 meters, and if we open the folding side platforms, the overall width reaches 5.60 meters creating a huge floating balcony.
On the inner side of folding platforms, which are opened by electro-hydraulic mechanism, there are very useful storage spaces.
In this specific boat, the aft lounge consists of movable sofas which of course have a very low weight and allow us to move them so as to form the cockpit according to our preferences, yet lacking the useful storage spaces inside them.
Between the sofas there are two large tables which, with the assistance of an electric mechanism, come down and nest on the floor, ensuring a large space when needed. The entire floor area that accommodates the two tables is at the same time the door, which is raised by an electro-hydraulic mechanism, revealing the entrance to the really huge area of the aft locker. Here's the heart of the boat. Batteries, generators, desalters, electric panels and whatever else we can imagine there are here, all arranged with great care and above all easily accessible in case we need to check or even repair a device or a supply.
Behind the aft lounge there is a very beautiful and usable polyester superstructure which is centrally located leaving to its port and starboard large passageways for easy access to the swimming platform.
By lifting its lid a large storage space is revealed that is self-draining and can also be used as a great cooler or a tank –livewell- of live baits or fish.
The swimming platform provides a large free surface for each activity, while ensuring unobstructed movement without the risk of injury.
Underneath its floor there are smartly designed storage areas for small items and stern-lines while the boarding ladder and the boat gangplank are nestled in their own spaces under the corresponding lids.
The helm features three individual and very comfortable seats that are placed on the fiberglass structure of the wet bar. Their adjustable bolsters allow the captain and his companion to adapt them according to their desirable driving position during the trip.
The helmseat in the middle is the captain’s one, underneath of which the appropriate space is provided for the reception of the life raft of the rib, while under the co-drivers’ seats the speakers are placed and there are small storage spaces.
Directly behind the helm seats there is the wet bar, which is really huge constituting a fully equipped outdoor kitchen.
It is definitely the centre of attention of the aft deck, which featuring a stainless steel fridge and a freezer can easily be transformed into a spectacular outdoor bar, and if you move the rear sofas, a large floating dance floor is created that fits perfectly in our Mediterranean temperament.
It is noteworthy to mention that between the helm seats and the wet bar, a large Led screen is lifted by an electric mechanism, turning the aft deck into a perfect place for watching movies or sports.
One of the great advantages of a boat of this size is that it is capable of having a large centre console without sacrificing the lateral passageways for our fore and aft movement.
Simrad's large screen is located just above the steering wheel, while in the centre of the aluminium-panel there is the engines’ screen and just below the wonderful push button switches that really add style and functionality to the overall layout. To the starboard there is also plenty of room to place another large multifunctional screen to provide extra navigation information.
One of the strongest points of X44 is of course the presence of the two individual cabins, which are accessible from the door next to the helm.
Four wide steps lead to the central headroom where even a tall person can stand upright.
In front of the headroom is the door leading to the main cabin of the boat, which is well designed so that it can accommodate two people with great comfort, having a large double bed with huge storage spaces underneath, while on the right and left there are many textile storage compartments for the reception of our clothing as well as bed linen or necessary pillows.
To the starboard of the headroom is the door leading to the individual area of the bathroom, which is worth noting that it’s separated from the toilet of the boat.
Just behind the steps the second cabin of the rib starts , which is characterized by its very large dimensions, with a length and width exceeding 2 meters and a height of 1.20 meters, while two side portholes provide the necessary natural lighting and ventilation.
Two wide steps lead to the raised foredeck where a large sunbathing area is formed, on which we can relax enjoying a sunset or the bright stars during the night.
To the port and starboard of the sundeck there are wide passageways for comfortable access to the bow.
At this place, there is also the huge locker that houses the windlass and the chain of the anchor, in which there is room even for one person to come inside in order to be able to inspect or repair the anchoring mechanism in case of need.
X44 has been designed to offer more comfort and luxury during our weekend or long distance cruising as well as very good ride quality even in rough weather conditions than high speeds that really are not of interest to any prospective owner of a mega-Rib of such class.
On the day of our test, we had two boats on the water, one equipped with a pair of Seven Marine 627sv engines which are the world’s most powerful outboards and the other with three Mercury 350hp Verados.
On the first X44, due to the luck of proper propellers in the market, the propshafts of the Seven Marine engines was turning two 18"x21" 5-blades bronze handmade propellers made by our good friend and «maitre» Silvio Scavone.
Of course, what impressed us most were the wonderful sound of Seven Marine engines, without even the slightest trace of vibration.
As the throttles were pushed forward and the engines opened up, the rising high-pitched sound of the superchargers was giving us a strong feeling that we were passing to the transonic acceleration phase of a supersonic jet that is taking off.
After several modifications, which are focused on the blades’ cup, the propellers started to perform better and so at 3100 rpm we were running with 25 knots while at WOT the engines reached 5000 rpm giving us a top speed of 44 knots.
It wan not only the sense of handling that was clearly better before the Silvio’s modifications, but also better were the slip values and the throttle response.
Of course the modifications continue and we are expecting the new performance data.
Given that the propellers’ choice must match, at the same time, with the specifications of the engines, the geometry of the hull and of course the use of the boat, we would clearly prefer in the above combination, 17"x19" propellers and of course with different blade designing so that they do not stress the gearboxes, while their blades will catch more water at midrange rpm so as not to sacrifice the 813Nm of torque of each engine, translating it to a useless spray right and left of the propellers.
It would be better yet, if we were using the high-thrust dual prop CR gearcases of Seven Marine, similar in function to those of Suzuki DF350 A, which with the respective propellers is sure to give us much lower slip numbers, higher cruising speeds with lower consumption, and will also get the boat on plane more easily and faster, while the boat will be capable to stay on plane at lower rpm.
The same day we went out to the open sea for testing the second X44 rigged with triple Verado 350’s, which were turning the 16"x17" 3-blade stainless steel Eco Enertia propellers.
With a total weight of 10,000 kilograms, 1600 litters of fuel and 3 people on board, X44 was getting on plane at 3000 rpm, holding a constant speed of 12 knots.
At 4000 rpm, our speed was 18 knots, consuming 6 litters per nautical mile, while at 4500 rpm we were running with 26 knots, consuming 4.7 litters per nautical mile.
At 5000 rpm our speed increased just 2 knots and so we reached 28 knots, burning 5.3 litters per each nautical mile.
The numbers of the propellers’ slip were ranging at high levels, while at 5000 rpm climbed to 30%.
At WOT, the engines reached 6000 rpm and our speed was 40 knots, while the slip percentage was reduced to 20%, but it was still high.
The above figures and the cruising speed-slip ratio clearly show that X44 needs more horsepower on its transom or a fourth outboard engine to be mounted on.
We believe that by installing triple Yamaha's new XTO 425’s which you’d better keep in mind that turn larger diameter propellers, X44 will find its ideal set-up, greatly increasing its cruising speed while dramatically reducing slip and fuel consumption values.
Εxplosion Marine srl
Via Pirelli NC 70019 Triggiano (BA) Italy
Τηλ.: 0039 335 626 6995