Marlin 24 SR, nothing is as it seems

The Marlin 24 SR is original in form and fit-out: the first bow rider inflatable boat, designed for fun trips on the sea with room  for plenty of guests

by Niccolò Volpati, photo by Andrea Muscatello

I saw it for the first time at the Genoa Boat Show, and it immediately caught my attention. And it wasn’t just the gaudy colours of the upholstery I liked. Even at a glance, the Marlin 24 SR is so original you cannot help but be struck by it. «I haven’t invented anything new here», Stefano Selva noted modestly, and perhaps this is true, in the sense that the forms have all been seen before.  Marlin 24 SR 

However, the design combines styles from different boats, creating something completely new. The boat is 6.5 m long, 7.5 m if you include the platform on the stern. Not unprecedented, but normally the domain of the extra-large RIBs.

Opting for a sterndrive for an inflatable boat of this size was certainly brave, but it was the right choice for maximising space on deck.

The bow is similar to that of a bow rider, although not identical. There’s a 1.8 m sun deck in addition to the seats. The fitting-out decision I liked most was the central walkway on the deck. This too is very similar to American bow riders, with the windscreen dividing the boat horizontally, but it opens with no difficulty, providing easy access to the bow area.

Marlin 24 SR There’s no need to be a tightrope walker, hanging on to unlikely handrails and walking precariously along tiny side decks; you can get around without any problems, in part because the deck plan is all on the same level, so there’s nothing to climb over. Anyway, enough of the aesthetics; now on to the nitty-gritty.

The test conditions are completely stress-free: the lake is a mill pond, without a wave in sight. Accelerating produces a great deal of thrust. The seating position is very comfortable, and the visibility is excellent, so you don’t feel any need to stand up. The acceleration is powerful, in part because the 4.5-litre MerCruiser has a Bravo Three drive, with dual counter-rotating propellers.Marlin 24 SR 

Two propellers produce more thrust than one, which creates more powerful acceleration. In addition, the sterndrive is really accurate and sensitive, with a gentle movement enough to change direction.

Going in the right direction is not difficult, partly thanks to the flat lake, but mostly due to the Marlin 24 SR hull, which is exceptionally stable.

I therefore decide to have a go at some unadvisable manoeuvres. I push the boat to the max, just under 40 knots, and then go full rudder, just to see what happens. Not content, I then turn hard in the other direction.

The hull remains glued to the water. The Marlin 24 SR is extremely agile, and almost steers itself. Only a joystick could turn a boat in less water, but not at over 30 knots. When steering, you never feel like you’re losing control of the boat; I feel like I’m driving a dodgems car at the funfair.

Marlin 24 SR 

The width of the hull also has a lot to do with the stability. The beam helps with navigation and gives you almost 1.8 metres of internal width. That’s a lot, especially when you consider the boat is only 6.5 m long.

I must confess: I decide I’d better find a defect to make sure I receive my pay check. Perhaps some little thing that they missed; after all, this is the first version. But to no avail.

I really liked the Marlin 24 SR. It challenges conventions and is certain to test us. If you’re someone who gets worried about any small change, and if you think an inflatable boat can only be steered on your feet from a central console, you won’t like it.

However, if you appreciate creative flair that doesn’t impinge on the performance in the water, if you think that boating is more enjoyable when shared with lots of other people, and if you can get used to the idea that you won’t see cowling sticking up from the transom if you look back at the stern, you’ll fall in love with the Marlin 24 SR.Marlin 24 SR 



PROJECT: Stefano Selva
HULL: LOA 7.55m • Length 6.60m • Maximum beam 2.98m • Beam 1.78m •  Tubes diameter 0.58m • Compartment: 5 • Tubes building material: Hypalon Neoprene 1300 gr/m2•  Light mass displacement 1550 kg • Fuel tank volume 220 l • Water tank volume  42 l • Maximum power rated 300 hp
MAIN PROPULSION: MerCruiser 4.5L V6 outlet mechanical power 186 kW (250 cv) • 6 V-shaped cylinders, 2 valves each cylinder • Swept volume 4.5 l • Bore&Stroke 102mm x92mm • Maximal rotational speed 4800-5200/min • Dry weight 343 kg Bravo Three sail drive
EC CERTIFICATION:  Cat. C 14 people
PRICE:  69,000 €, Exclusive VAT

Via Luigi Galvani 2
I – 22070 Luisago (CO)
+39 031889866
[email protected]

(Marlin24 SR – Febbraio 2018)