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Icon R533

The Icon R533 is the fourth boat built by Icon Custom Boats I have reviewed and it’s their best yet. While the others were great creations in their own way, their latest offering really establishes the builders credentials.

This is a cat that oozes quality in every aspect. It’s got the looks, it’s got the style and it’s certainly got the finish. Couple all that with great sea handling and performance and you’ve got an exceptional power cat.

When I was last in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds it was to review the Icon R545 mono, the second of two monohulls I have done with Icon. A year previous I spent some time, also in the Sounds, trialling the Icon R433 (13.1m) powercat, so I was very interested to see just how different the much larger R533 (17.2m) is.

I soon discovered they are two totally different boats and while the R433 was designed for day cruising in mind, the R533 is a true liveaboard. This is a boat that you would comfortably go away for months, gunkholing in secluded bays as you cruise the coast and harbours of New Zealand.  The R533 carries more beam than the R433 and with a higher tunnel is even better in the rough than the R433 was. With a limitation on the berth width at Waikawa Marina, the R533 was restricted to 5.5m beam, although the designer says he would normally have worked to a 5.8m beam.

“ We were looking for a boat that offered the size and comfort of a small apartment, that we could handle ourselves and would give us peace of mind in most sea conditions…..and we found it in the R533”, say owner’s Lex and Marie Lindley.

Their brief to designer Scott Robson was for a power cat that they could cruising for extended periods, dive, fish and entertain from and never feel confined.

“We spent a lot of time with both Scott and the builder’s Icon Custom Boats to make sure that we were all working towards the same result and I am more than happy with what has been achieved”, added Lex.

He remarked that it has proven a boat so easy to live on and has been tested with families overnighting and on day trips, plus six blokes out for a fishing weekend.

The R533 is the largest powercat launched by Icon Custom Brands and is the first with the composite superstructure and alloy hull and is certainly the most luxurious they have built. It is also the first shaft drive powercat the company has produced.

Alloy Meets GRP

Construction is a little different, with an all alloy hull and epoxy foam core composite deck and superstructure. The construction provides all the benefits of an alloy hull, but with the lightweight composite superstructure. This also allowed the designer to give the boat softer lines and eliminate any of the harshnesses some all-alloy powercats portray.

The hulls are 6 mm on the running surfaces and 5mm sides, with the hull and deck joined by toughened epoxy resin and stainless fasteners.  Displacement of the R533 is around 24 tonnes.

To achieve the speeds required by the owner and the twin 500hp engines, Robson Design designed the boat around a full planing hull concept, including a foil assist. This is not the first powercat Robson Design has foiled and it certainly makes a difference to both handling and fuel economy. While there is a small vibration as the hull transitions onto the plane, as soon as it is up and running you have no indication the foil is there and working.

Acceleration is also very impressive with the R533 reaching 50% of the maximum speed in just 7 secs, 75% in a mere 9 secs, 90% in 13 secs and 26 secs for the final run to the top speed around 26 knots. A very slippery hull through the water with the foil assist.

According to the official Cummins test data sheet on the R533, top speed during trials was 25.5 knots with a fuel burn of 194 lph. Drop the tacho back to 2000rpm @18.5 knots and there is a big drop in consumption to 109 lph. If you are happy to cruise at a very leisurely pace around the Sounds at 10 knots, then the twin Cummins burn a miserly 50 lph.

Quiet Elegance

There is a quiet elegance about the contemporary interior of the R533, with gentle colours and muted shades of timber and carpet that are understated, warm and welcoming. It is a very high-level interior, but it is not ostentatious or overpowering. The entire boat is finished in light American Oak and from the saloon to the accommodation areas there is a feeling of space. Sometimes power cats hulls seem to be cramped, but not so in the R533. While the boat didn’t have any air conditioning (optional), it did have a Webasto heating system, something that the owners felt was more appropriate for the boat in the Sounds.

Being a semi-custom boat, the internal layout is very much owner driven and Icon Custom Boats will do their very best to accommodate an owner’s requirements. In the case of the first R533, the floor plan is reasonably conventional for a forward lounge area and aft galley that offers a seamless flow through between the dedicated areas.

The galley exemplifies the owner’s request for versatile use of the living areas, with loads of Corian bench space, under bench storage and the usual equipment such as four burner hob, convection microwave oven and fridge/freezer. There is a great little breakfast bar with twin stools forward and a rear hopper window opens to expose the cockpit. Great for indoor/outdoor living and really opens the boat up to a new level of spaciousness.

The full width raised area forward is equipped with soft leather loungers either side and a fixed dining table to starboard.  The low profile seat-line means you get uninterrupted views no matter where you are seated. The lounge seating is split by an accessway that leads to the two forward cabins.

To starboard is the master, which makes the best use of the top of the tunnel to provide a queen size berth. Surprisingly there is plenty of space in the cabin, plus ample drawer and locker storage is provided. The owners have an en-suite aft, which is generous in size and exceptionally well appointed.

In the port side hull, the VIP guest cabin has been fitted out with a double fore and aft and a single athwartships berths. Again there is plenty of storage options provided and excellent light from side windows and overhead hatches. The VIP shares the day head/shower space, which like the master’s en-suite is finished with a Corian vanity surface, white tiled bulkheads, plus has a large shower stall and head.

Access to the aft cabins of each hull is via stairwells either side that split the lounge area from the galley. To starboard is the third cabin, which in the case of our boat had twin single berths. There is also a double berth or even triple berth option, although space is quite limited.

Port side aft is the utility room that also includes the laundry with washing machine/dryer, another fridge freezer, an extra large pantry and some work bench space.  

Use of Space

A curved staircase leads from opposite the galley to the enclosed flybridge where again the focus has been on making the best use of space.  “The flybridge works well and like the rest of the boat the layout has been designed to cater for eight, be it around the tables, in the lounge areas or the cockpit”, says Lex.

If you are going to spend a lot of time on the water, then you want a serious electronics package. Forward of the twin MTI Voyager helm seats are twin Raymarine GS 17 MFDs, flanked by a Raymarine autopilot, Flir camera, a Mercury Vessel View engine management screen and the usual anchoring and communication displays and controls. Everything is neatly set within a textured dark vinyl panel with timber oak accents.

To port is an L-shape chaise-lounge, with a utility space opposite, complete with Corian top and drawer storage. A drawer fridge under the lounger means you don’t have to go downstairs for your next cold drink. 

Step out onto the upper deck and you’ll find a starboard side docking station and an open area that is serviced with loose furniture. A fixed seating arrangement is an option.

Fish or Party

The cockpit layout is a multi-purpose arrangement, with dedicated spaces for fishing, relaxing, dining and even tender storage. The upper deck area features an electric bbq, ice maker and separate tackle gear cupboard and dedicated rod locker. If you are not into your fishing, then this area could be used for the day head. In the centre is a wide lounge across the transom and fixed teak table, with access either side to the lower deck.

Drop down to the massive lower deck where the fishing is done and you have eight rod holders, a live bait tank, four electric reel connections, a couple of custom built removable mini fighting chairs, bait prep area and a deep recess on top of the tunnel for the Takacat tender.

Since taking delivery of the boat in late July 2015, the Lindley’s have notched up over 60 hours of sea time.  They plan to log a serious amount more hours on the water this summer around the Marlborough Sounds and then look forward to venturing a lot further in the future. “We love it and it certainly does everything we want and more”, said Lex.

Icon Custom Brands has now built seven Robson Design powercats and are currently in the design process for a 22.8m (75ft) displacement powercat, which they hope to start building in the new year. I certainly look forward to spending some time in the Sounds on that.


  • Boat Design Name: ICON R533
  • Year Launched: 2015
  • Designer: Robson Design
  • Interior Designer: Owners & Designer  
  • Builder: Icon Custom Boats
  • LOA: 17.2m
  • Beam: 5.50m
  • Draft: 1.50m
  • Displ  (Dry): 24,000 kg
  • Max Speed: 26 knots
  • Cruise Speed: 18 knots
  • Construction: Alloy hull/GRP superstructure
  • Fuel Cap: 1800 litres
  • Water Cap: 1200 litres
  • Engines Make: 2 x Cummins QSC 8.3 @ 500 hp
  • Gearboxes: ZF – 2.011 ratio                    
  • Drive Train: Shaft
  • Propellers: Bri Ski 28 x 30 4 bld
  • Generator: Cummins 7.5 kva
  • Inverter/Charger: Mastervolt
  • Heater: Webasto
  • Anchor Winch: Maxwell
  • Anchors: Manson Supreme
  • Steering: Ultraflex
  • Engine Controls: Cummins/Glendinning
  • Lighting: Cantalupi
  • Paint (Antifouling): Altex
  • Hatches: Cule
  • Wipers: Exalto
  • Windows: Icon
  • Porthole Hatches: Icon
  • Heads: Dometic Sealand
  • Woodwork: American Oak
  • Tender: Takacat RIB
  • Stainless Steel Fab: Icon    
  • Saloon Doors: Icon
  • Trim Tabs: Lenco
  • Helm Chair: MTI (Voyager)                      
  • Upholstery: Leather/vinyl
  • Night Vision: Flir
  • BBQ: Cookout deluxe


  • Autopilot: Raymarine
  • MFD Screens: Raymarine
  • VHF: Raymarine
  • Satellite TV: Raymarine
  • Ent Systems: Fusion & Samsung
  • BBQ: Cookout deluxe
  • Base Price of Boat: POA































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