Mar.Co R-Evolution X36, full marks

With a pair of Mercury V12s turning out 600 horsepower, you can do 61 knots even though it feels like you are doing thirty: stable and safe, it delivers high performance, beyond anything you could imagine

by Niccolò Volpati – photo by Andrea Muscatello

Mar.Co is an unusual yard. It only makes to measure and does so to be sure that it checks its output down to the smallest detail. At first, a sight that could be a fairly widespread characteristic, and nothing unusual. Many firms make custom or semi-custom boats, so what’s different about this? For a start, Mar.Co makes dinghies and there aren’t that many made-to-order RHIBs.

Every possible part of the X36 deck space is put over to open-air activities, but it nevertheless manages to provide space under the steering console.

Also because the range of boats isn’t made up of enormous maxi-inflatables, and the largest is 10.73 metres long overall, like the X36. And that was precisely the model that we were able to try out on Lake Garda, and it is worth pointing out that officially it is less than ten metres long and is thus classed as a natante boat. It also qualifies through its width with a beam of just three metres when uninflated – which avoids all the hassle of an oversize load when moving it by road.

On deck, a glance is enough to see the quality. The finishings and setup are excellent. The bow can be transformed, with a very large cockpit with high backs to protect the passengers as well as possible. The dining table even has electro-hydraulic extendable legs. You just press a button for the cockpit table to rise out of the floor of the cockpit. The level of equipment is similar to what you find onboard a superyacht, but I would like to concentrate on what you can’t see.


During the test, I had a pair of Mercury V12s each developing 600 horsepower. They are the most powerful outboards on the market and the only ones with twelve valves. And 1,200 horsepower is the most power you can fit the boat. On paper, it almost seems too much. Ten metres of inflatable which, unladen, only weighs 2,400 kilos, and is powered by 1,200 horsepower. So, in practice one horsepower for every two kilos of weight. Those sound like the specs for a rocket waiting for liftoff, rather than a natante boat.

There are rubber seals between the windscreen and the stainless-steel supports of the T-Top to avoid damage and reduce vibrations, even when bouncing on waves.

The first thing that hits you is acceleration. The V12s have a lot of torque and in just over two seconds the hull rises out of the water, but that is not the most striking feature. Honestly, the strange thing is that at a certain point you realise that you are doing over fifty knots. The Mercury engines are one reason for not realising what speed you are going: they may have a lot of power, but it is delivered progressively and also silently. But above all the credit must be given to the boat. The hull is exceptionally soft. There are never any bangs or jumps. The lake was completely calm, without a wave. But even when it went across the wakes left by the ferries, it was safe and calm. I continued to open the throttles right up, but the feeling didn’t change. At top speed, the GPS device showed a beautiful 61 knots.

When you think of it, that is an unbelievable speed. Particularly since I was on board a ten-metre inflatable. Had I been told about it, I wouldn’t have believed it. And the most surprising thing is that I didn’t even notice. As well as by the hull and the engine, the feeling of complete tranquillity is created by the windscreen and the T-Top, which ensures excellent protection. To remind me just how much wind hits you at 61 knots, I had to move to the stern sofa. The protection from the windscreen doesn’t reach that far back, and for a moment you can feel the very high speed. The hull is also very stable and easy to handle, which are a further two features that contribute to the general feeling of being safe when underway.


The two outboards are placed very close to one another. That is possible with the V12 because it is only the gearcase – which is submerged – that turns, while the powerhead is fixed. That means you don’t need a huge distance between the two engines to avoid them hitting each other while turning. Turning was perhaps the only thing that didn’t entirely convince me. It isn’t a problem with the boat, but rather with the engine. The turns could be very tight, perhaps too tight. The engines would need to be calibrated to limit the angle, because if you turn that tightly you run the risk of losing passengers overboard, especially at fifty knots. Mercury has, however, included features that increase the level of safety on board.

I especially liked the decision to put the idling button right on the throttles. It is very close to hand, and so it is easy for it to become something that you do every time that the engine isn’t in gear. It is a safety feature because it stops the boat from taking off at speed if you accidentally knock the throttle. And that is, unfortunately, something that happens quite often, perhaps even when you are anchoring at a busy roadstead. And it is possible for someone moving around onboard to unintentionally touch the accelerator. But an idling button means that accidentally touching the throttle will increase the revs but without going into gear, whether forward or reverse.

The Mercury V12 is also the first outboard to have two gears. As you accelerate you can feel the change at 2900 rpm, even though it is very much a continuation and you hardly notice it. What you do notice when you move up to second is that the rev counter immediately falls by 400 rpm. If you go the other way, so decelerating, the move from second to first takes place at 2500 rpm. That is why at the same rpm level, so 2500, you can get two different results in terms of speed: as you increase speed it is 13.1 knots while slowing down it is 19.6. It was a bit like doing a stress test with two engines of this kind on the transom. I think it is probable that you could get sporty enough performance even with 300 horsepower less. But having a pair of 600s meant that I could assess everything that you normally don’t see because it is under the waterline. And the test was passed with top marks, with distinction.

It is stable and manageable when underway, even when you do far more than fifty knots. The waterlines, steps and strakes do their job very well.

Engine data
The most power you can fit is 1,200 horsepower, but even 900 is more than sufficient to get sporty performance.

Via Edison, 64
I-20835 Muggiò (MB)
T. +39 039 2787336
[email protected]

Shipyard technical department

LOA 10.73m • Length 9.49m • Maximum beam 3.64m • Tube diameter 0.50/0.64m • 7 compartments • Dry weight 2,400 kg • Fuel tank volume 750 l • Water tank volume 150 l • Maximum power rated 2×600 hp

2xMercury V12 Verado 600 • Outlet mechanical power 441 kW (600 hp) • Swept volume 7.6 l • 12 V-shaped cylinders • Gear ratio 2.50:1 • Maximal rotational speed 5600-6400/min • Weight including propeller 572 kg


405,000 €, Excl. VAT,
powered with 2 Mercury V12 Verado 600 (April 2022)

(Mar.Co R-Evolution X36, full marks – – April 2022)