Author : Barry Thompson
When an engine distributor can’t find the right locally built boat to promote his product, what does he do? He imports an appropriate boat brand that suits his engine platform.
While Rob McIntyre is no stranger to the boating industry, having been the Australian distributor for Steyr Motors since 1997, it is only recently that he has moved into importing a new boat brand.
Released at the 2019 SCIBS, the Focus Power 33 is both a medium to promote STEYR marine diesel engines, and a much-needed boat to fill the void left after the demise of local mid-size production sport cruisers that disappeared during the GFC.
With the lack of local brands, the potential sales for the STEYR engines into the recreational market also reduced dramatically. Rob needed a boat that could fill that gap and give some traction for STEYR and felt what better way than to offer a total boat/engine package. However, it couldn’t just be any boat and needed to be a style that reflected those great Aussie boats that had gone before.
“I have always been impressed with the smaller cruisers and sport boats that Australian manufacturers were producing and with the demise of most of them, I wanted to reintroduce a boat that filled that gap and one that suited our engine package “, says Rob.
After extensive research, he settled on Focus Motor Yachts, a Dutch boat-building company, that produce high-quality sport yachts, from 6m to 14m. The Focus Power 33 is the smallest model in their four-boat sport cruiser line up. Rob says he sees the Focus as a modern version of the Mustang and Sunrunner products that were so popular in Australia before the GFC.
Focus Motor Yachts took over the Croatia based Elan Motor Yachts in early 2018 and although based in Amsterdam, still has the boats built at the Croatian factory. The first boat into production was the Focus Power 33 based around Elan’s most successful boat, the Power 30. Styling remained the same, but the topsides were changed to feature blade-like hull windows in place of portholes, and the styling of the hardtop was redesigned. It retains the same sporty sexy image but with a little extra European flair and refinements that also make it so suitable for the Australian and Kiwi markets.
While he is well aware there are plenty of European sport cruisers in the same sphere, he is adamant that the Focus 33 has the edge when it comes to performance, handling and style. One major point of difference is that while most other imported brands are powered with a pair of Volvo Penta D3 diesel sterndrives, (the Focus 33 is also Volvo D3 powered in Europe) Rob is offering his Focus 33 package in Australia and New Zealand, exclusively with a pair of STEYR engines through Mercruiser Bravo III drives. You have the option of 230hp, 260hp or 280hp engines, with boat #1 running the 260hp STEYR SE266S36.
Rob added that when he did his research, he found that most of the boats of a similar size to the Focus 33 had a top speed in the low to mid 30’s. The Focus 33/STEYR 260 has a top speed around 37 knots and on the calm waters of The Broadwater had a sweet spot around 32 knots. Estimated displacement is 7 tonnes fully loaded with fuel/water, and gear and the pair of STEYR engines certainly has the low-down power to move the boat quickly onto the plane.
The basis behind the six cyl, 3.2 litre, 260hp STEYR SE266S36 is the unique and robust monoblock design, engine block and cylinder head. Designed for high performance and continuous rating, one of the critical features of the engine is the variable turbocharger which puts a lot of torque into the engine at low rpm.
The engine is also exceptionally quiet, even at WOT (3600 rpm) thanks to the elastic separation of the monoblock against the aluminium cast engine housing which helps reduce the engine noise levels. The pair of 340 kg engines are coupled to Mercruiser Bravo 3 drives. Running the boat off the Gold Coast in a reasonably short low swell, maintaining maximum speed was not comfortable, but I never expected it would be. Dropping the rpm, so the GPS was indicating around 23 knots, the boat settled into a soft riding, dry, predictable and comfortable groove. The range at that speed is approximately 150 nm. It took me a while to get a feel for the boat, but once I got the trim set right, I felt quite at home. It’s a delicate balance between outdrive trim and tabs, but once mastered, it is a fun boat to drive.
The Focus Power 33 is very much a full production boat, so when it comes to the layout, it’s very much ‘what you see is what you get’. But then there’s nothing wrong with that as the designers have certainly maximised the space available and presented a very practical and efficient sport cruiser layout.
One of the criteria for choosing the Focus Power 33 was that Rob and his wife Bernadette wanted a boat that was the perfect entertainer and weekender for a family of four/five or two couples, so the layout had to reflect that. Two cabins are separated by a sizeable downstairs lounge, complete with compact galley and separate head and shower unit. Two-way access to the bathroom means it can be used as the forward master en-suite as well as the day head.
Unlike in the past, when the cabins were separated simply by curtains, the Focus Power 33 has two separate cabins that can be closed off for total privacy. Both have double berths as well as every available space has been utilised for storage in lockers and drawers. What impressed me not only in the cabins but also the lower saloon, was the generous headroom. Even in the aft cabin, which has the berth athwartships running under the cockpit, there is still a large enough area to stand when dressing or preparing for bed.
A large skylight in the saloon roof floods natural light into what could otherwise be a dark, uninviting space. But when you add the light Fineline Oak timbers and furniture, plus neutral tone coverings, it certainly is an inviting area to relax and entertain. Mood lighting at night adds a sophisticated touch. To port is a lounger with an adjustable dining/coffee table, and while this is not primarily designed as another berth, it would be more than adequate to be used as such. Add a couple of loose chairs, and you have a dining area for four/five.
There is a small yet efficient galley with Corian surfaces, two-burner cooktop, Waeco fridge and deep storage drawers.
A sliding door divides the cabin from the cockpit, which is an area that is designed to be enjoyed. And enjoy it I did, when we anchored for lunch after sea trials offshore, with our stern just a few metres from the beach at Wavebreak Island, a cold drink in hand and lunch on the folding teak table. There is a generous size U-shape lounger to starboard and a small settee – with ice box under – and wet bar with fridge opposite. There is also provision for a gas hob, which enables you to do all your cooking outside. Drop down the table, add another cushion, and you have another berth or day lounger.
Overhead there is the option of full sun and weather protection from the hardtop or slide open the canvas retractable sunroof if you want to be more exposed. There is also a canvas extension to the hardtop for even more cover.
When I entered the cockpit area, my eyes gravitated to the raised helm with its double seat and the impressive dash. Finished in black faux leather with orange trim and stitching, the facia not only has the standard MFD, in this case, a Simrad GO12, but also a custom made MOTEC engine management display. Designed and built exclusively for the Focus Power 33 /Steyr package, it has all the engine information you need in one very neat and efficient unit. It is standard on all STEYR powered Focus boats.
If you are going to have a sun pad on the foredeck, then you need to make it easily accessible. In the Focus Power 33 that is achieved with steps either side from the cockpit onto wide side decks. Standard in the package is Quick winch which is all below decks and hidden from view.
I would have to agree with Rob that the Focus Power 33 certainly fills the void left with the departure of the previous locally built sport cruisers and it does it with more flair and panache. This is a boat that has having fun in the weekends, overnighting or day trips stamped all over it.
At around $AU500,000 it is also a well-priced package in this size bracket and comes with just about everything at that price. Unquestionably a timely addition.
- Boat Design Name: Focus Power 33
- Year Launched: 2019
- Builder: Focus Motor Yachts
- Designer: Tony Castro
- LOA: 10.90m
- LOH: 9.90m
- Beam: 3.47m
- Displ: (Mid): 7 tonne
- Max Speed: 37 knots
- Construction: GRP
- Fuel Cap: 500 litres
- Water Cap: 140 litres
- Engine Make: 2 x Steyr SE 266S36 @ 260hp
- Drive Train: Mercruiser Bravo 3
- Thruster: Quick
- Tabs: Uflex
- Anchor Winch: Quick
- MFD: Simrad GO12
- Classification: CE
- Priced From: $AU500,000
RANGE IS BASED ON 90% OF 430 LITRES OF USEABLE FUEL