Many models, even more innovations, and a lot of technology. These Chinese electric outboards have what it takes to be successful
by Niccolò Volpati – photo by Andrea Muscatello
NOT JUST CUSTOMISED, BUT TAILOR-MADE! If you thought that was just a privilege reserved for Giga and megayachts, you were wrong. Even inflatables can be made to measure. It is a speciality of Mar.Co, which has always only made boats to order. You can’t change the hull and the waterlines, and also you would be wrong to not trust them on this, but you can have everything else just as you want it.
The ergonomics of the dashboard is good. The throttle rests on a fibreglass surface that sticks out and is thus in the perfect position vis-à-vis the wheel.
A great example is the E-Motion 36, which was presented at the boat shows in Cannes and Genoa in 2019 and – despite the pandemic – quickly won some new fans. The one that we tried out on Lake Como is a special version. It carries three engines, with a full three Mercury L6 400-hp outboards fitted, producing a total of 1,200 hp. A bracket had to be added to have this installation. It is made of fibreglass, as opposed to the traditional stainless steel ones. The waterline length increases, but that doesn’t have an impact however because of the new rules on official lengths.
It will still be considered a natante boat in terms of length, and its uninflated beam doesn’t exceed the three and a half metre that would require for exceptional road transport. The bracket that has been added in the stern isn’t just useful to take the three outboards but has also been used because of the surface that it brings to the game, and it can become a large stern beach area. This is a plus in the design, which was the work, as always, of Federico Gerna who has been working at Mar.Co since 2005 and has designed all of the E-Motion range and also the R-Evolution line. The technical areas have been covered by hatches and which creates a very comfortable platform with simpler access to the sea, despite the three outboards. One of the three hatches hides the extendable ladder.
The deck layout has been well designed. You get a lot of space in the cockpit and the bow, but you can also move around easily thanks to the wide gangways and the numerous grab bars that are located just about everywhere.
The other feature which you quickly notice is the T-Top. It is very protective. It is a single piece that starts at the deckhouse and reaches the roof reaching past the windscreen. It looks solid, not least because it rests on parts made from fibreglass. This doesn’t look like a structure that will suffer from wind or vibrations, not even – I would guess – at the high speeds that the 1,200 hp developed by the engines that are on the transom can push it to. Additionally, I like the shape of this T-Top, because it doesn’t take space on the sides. It protects well, but vertically, without taking away those vital inches from the gangways and thus getting in the way of getting around on board. An additional perk is that it is surrounded by grab handles, with the ones on the side shaped like upside-down Vs, so they can be easily reached from various heights. The ease of getting around aboard is ensured by the deck layout. We have already talked about the gangways on the sides, and perhaps we should also add that the possibility of having a walkway that in part goes over the tubes, means that a larger surface area is gained. There is plenty of room for your feet, and a lot of grab handles to hang onto, and there is everything that you need to get around safely, even when underway.
And finally, I liked the cockpit. It is large, but at the same time well protected. That is owing to the high backrests and is also because of the system that means you can fold down the two outer ones to ensure easy access to the stern platform. So basically, if you want, you can stay inside the square without wasting room on a walkway, but when you have to move, you just fold down a backrest to get a gangway.
The interior provides perfect living quarters for two people. The cabin can be transformed and is welcoming, while the bathroom is equipped with a separate shower compartment.
E-Motion 36 is also equipped with a transformable cabin, which gives two people enough room to stay overnight. The head is in a separate room, and the shower is also in a separate cubicle. Lake Como, especially where we were – in the southernmost part of the bit that goes down to Lecco, was distinctly flat. There were no waves, not even wakes, and no wind. But since we were alone, we could open up all the power of the three outboard engines. There is no denying the amount of thrust they create. You need less than three seconds to start planing, and we got to the top speed (of over 55 knots) after twenty seconds. Those figures in themselves describe the situation. It is an inflatable that goes fast. Very fast. But fuel consumption reflects that. Up to 45 knots, consumption is fairly restricted because all the three engines together use 207 litres an hour, but if you want to use all of the speed available, the flow meter jerks upwards. At top speed, we used more than 423 litres an hour overall, and even the litres per nautical mile figure were sizeable: 7.6. But the hull isn’t twitchy. You have to work with the trim, not least because if the three stern drives stay lowered, they tend to weigh the bow down a little too much, so it is a good idea to raise them once you start planing, leaving the trim perfect.
Visibility is always good, not least because the inflatable never sits back on the stern. Furthermore, the end of the bow doesn’t have a bulky fibreglass bow roller. The anchor comes from the eye of the hawsehole and that means that the shape of the tube in the bow is thin and doesn’t block the view. If anything, the only visual defect comes from the glass of the windscreen. Unfortunately, it is slightly bent, and that curve produces a lens-like effect, which slightly distorts the view.
The cockpit table with an electro-hydraulic control means you can create a lunch area with three linear sofas in just a few seconds.
1,200 horsepower can also be obtained with two 600 hp engines. Mar.Co has already ordered the two new Mercury V12s.
The T-Top does its job extremely well, perhaps even too well. It protects well, and so there is a risk that it will mislead you, as at 45 knots it feels as if you are doing 20, and even when you hit 55 you don’t feel like easing up on the gas. It also feels great when turning. It turns tightly and it is always ready to respond to the helm. The hull doesn’t have any hydraulic suspension pads or steps, but frankly, it doesn’t feel as if it even needs them. The one thing to bear in mind is that three 400 hp outboards are a lot, and also that it is the highest applicable power that can be fitted. There is a lot of thrust, pure speed and so you have to know how to handle it. Otherwise, you can make do with a pair of outboards.
Three 400 horsepower engines are the most powerful unit you can fit. And performance is in line with that. Whoever wants to can go for a pair of 450 hp engines, and get an inflatable that is still sporty, but slightly less racy.
PROJECT: Shipyard technical department
HULL: LOA 10.70m • Length 9.98 m • Inside length 9.49m • Maximum beam 3.60m • Tubes diameter 0.50/0.70m • 7 compartments • Dry weight 3,200 kg • Fuel tank volume 830 l • Water tank volume 277 l • Max power rated 3×400 hp
MAIN PROPULSION: 3xMercury Verado 400 L6 • Outlet mechanical power 298 kW (400 hp) • Swept volume 2.6 l • Type L6 (6 cylinders inline) •Bore&Stroke 82mm x 82mm • Reduction ratio 1.75:1 • Maximal rotational speed 6200-6800/min • Weight 303 kg (including the propeller)
EC CERTIFICATION: CAT B
PRICE: 205,000 €, Excl.VAT, bare boat
(E-Motion 36, a bespoke rib – Barchemagazine.com – June 2021)