By Rebecca Hayter

by Holly Dukeson


A 36-foot launch branded as The AllSeason Boat for a mainly Scandinavian market has an interesting selection of features, intended for a climate where boaties tie up to ice floes. As Rebecca Hayter discovers, such features can extend the New Zealand boating season.

Rapid acceleration, quiet and soft-riding, superb handling, smooth helm – those are stand-out qualities of the Sargo 36, The AllSeason Boat, from Finland. They attracted Leighton Henshaw, co-principal of European Marine in Christchurch, when he was looking for a boat for his young family and for the New Zealand market. After canvassing several Europe-based brands, he selected the Sargo. ‘My wife and I have two children aged two and five years old,’ Henshaw says. ‘We were looking for a boat that had a walkaround style, nice high rails, two cabins with two heads if needed, and a boat that could cope with New Zealand seas so we were looking for a deep vee hull and a sea-kindly hull.’ The Sargo 36 met his wishlist, along with his requirements for easy manoeuvrability, thanks to its powerful bow thruster as standard and twin sterndrives, and the economy of diesel engines while delivering on speed: the Sargo 36 cruises comfortably at 28 knots and tops out at 41 knots.

It even comes with a nice backstory: in 1967, Edy Sarin of Finland began his boatbuilding career constructing boat interiors for companies including Nautor Swan before founding his business in 1967. His three sons now run the company, which was rebranded Sargo in 2014. The boats are built in Ostrobothnia, Finland where, according to Sargo, the locals are ‘tough, practical, independent and inventive’ – which sounds like a Scandinavian take on Kiwi number eight wire. They’re also into fishing. Sargo was designed primarily for a Scandinavian market and here are just some of the features for chilly climes where boats moor up to ice shelves: the 5kW diesel heater with blowers in all cabins and bathrooms, defrosters at the reverse sheer windscreen, double-glazing and a hull fully insulated during construction. These features will be popular in New Zealand, too, especially for families who want to enjoy their boat year-round. The Sargo is noticeably quiet underway in terms of engine and riding noise, and I’m sure the insulation is a factor.

Other features will also fit well for Kiwi boating, such as the open bow rail which allows Finnish boaters to tie up to ice shelves and rocks in deep fjords and which will be handy in picking up moorings and for some New Zealand locations, such as steep-sloping beaches in Abel Tasman. As for the exceptionally robust rubbing strip either side and the ice-breaking rail that runs down the stem and along the keel – well, no one gets it right every time. The walk around decks, sheltered cockpit and generous swimboard/fishing platform will be popular with the crew at docking time, but the real treat is the gate in the bulwark on the starboard side, just outside of the helm station. This gives the crew a manageable step off onto the dock. It would also be extremely handy when operating the boat single-handed. Sargo representative, Bruce McGill skippered the boat for my outing from Westhaven Marina in Auckland. Onboard, the Sargo 36 encapsulates a lot of good ideas. The bow section is home to a spacious master cabin with sufficient stowage, a double island berth and an ensuite bathroom with a separate shower and electric toilet.

To accommodate the master cabin and its generous headroom, the helm station is well back from the windscreen, which felt a little strange for me, but it has good visibility, almost all-round. The day of our review was a fine Sunday with plenty of boats on the water; I was mindful of a blind spot in my view at about two o’clock, relative to my straight-ahead view, but I could accommodate it comfortably. The helm was well-spec’d and adaptable; the wheel is tilt-adjustable and even the console could move out and tilt for skipper’s comfort. The helm definitely has a ship-like feel, partly thanks to the reverse sloping windscreen and, the excellent feature of the sliding doors either side to access the side decks. These doors had an attractive timber latch system to keep them secure at various stages of opening for fresh air. There are twin seats for the skipper and co-skipper; the skipper’s has a bolster for support in a standing position. The co-skipper’s seat swivels to face the saloon table.

Thanks to the generous specs, there are plenty of electronics including two large 12-inch Garmin screens; a switchboard, easily accessed, for ship’s operations such as bilge pumps, search lights, integrated bow thruster with dedicated battery, Fusion radio, compass and black water tankage. 

The Sargo 36 has Volvo Easy Connect so the skipper can monitor the boat’s status remotely from a hand held device. The Sargo’s clever trick is another cabin beneath the saloon. To accommodate it, the saloon table and C-shaped seating are slightly higher than expected, which gives a good view through the windows. Above the saloon, the sliding, 1.25 x 1.9 m sunroof opens up for an al fresco vibe. The galley has adequate storage, two-hob electric stove and a one-third/two-thirds sink with hot and cold water. At first glance there is generous bench space, however most of the bench comprises solid timber covers, one over the sink; the other over the hob. Presuming that the sink and/or hob would be in use when preparing food, prep space would be tight. And to the secret second cabin below the saloon. It’s accessed by lifting the rear seat at the saloon table. That done, it’s an easy two steps down, with full headroom on the starboard side. The double and single bunks are to port beneath the galley, with crouching room only. There is a toilet compartment to starboard, although privacy and ventilation are limited. Kids will love it.

The Sargo’s exterior will appeal to lovers of water sports including fishers and socialising at any time of day, thanks to the canopy over the cockpit. The large swimboard will suit fishing, swimming and getting on and off the tender, and reaching for mooring lines when docking. There is a substantial rail all-round and the branded fenders line up in a classy rack – a great idea. All external fittings, including cleats, are ultrarugged. Due to the open bow rail, the anchor is offset to port. There is comfortable seating for six to eight in the cockpit with a chiller to take care of the catch or to supplement the capacity of the galley fridge. The walkarounds either side are secure with generous bulwarks and offer options for fishing parties to spread out. Washdown will be easy, thanks to the slope of the side decks from bow to stern. The cockpit sole lifts courtesy of a remote-controlled hydro-electric strut to reveal the twin Volvo 440 hp engines, genset, batteries and cables in a neat, albeit snug installation. Power options for the Sargo 36 include twin 320 hp, 340hp, 380 hp and 440 hp. 

On a sparkling day on the Hauraki Gulf, I enjoyed driving the Sargo 36, although I’m still a yachtie at heart and was much happier helming at around 23 knots than in the 30-plus range which McGill was more than happy to demonstrate. We had a slight harbour chop mixed up with ferry wakes and recreational craft from cruising yachts to high-speed launches. Motuihe Channel was doing its windagainst-tide demonstration so there was enough movement to test the boat’s handling and I was impressed. There was no slamming off the waves and the boat’s spray chines effectively deflected the spray. Apart from a sea-kindly hull, the skipper has additional tools for optimum trim. The Sargo’s Volvo Penta power trim assist allows manual adjustment of the stern drives to achieve optimum pitch for the speed. It also has a system similar to Zipwake, allowing either manual or auto adjustment of the trim tabs. I felt the Sargo could easily and comfortably handle more boisterous conditions; its sea-keeping and speed range would make it an ideal candidate for a quick run out to the Great Barrier.

The hull has a moderate vee extending its length and the boat handles well with fly-by-wire steering. It’s super responsive, including the acceleration from the stern drives and duoprops. The insulation in the hull makes for a quiet boat, especially with the rear door closed; conversation was easy in the saloon. The Sargo is berthed in a narrow fairway but thanks to the bow thruster and twin sterndrives, docking was easy. 


The Sargo 36 has fitted in a lot of desirable features such as the walk-around decks, side doors and spacious main cabin with en suite. The trade-off is the impact on space in the helm, galley and saloon. It’s a slightly tricky manoeuvre to get into the helm seats and to make the step up to the saloon table; a table that folded from dining-size to coffee table size would help. The galley-cockpit door is narrower than Kiwis might expect, and generously proportioned folk would find the boat’s interior tight when moving around.


That said, as above, I liked the handling, quality of build, quietness underway and manoeuvrability. It’s always interesting to see new concepts in overseas manufactured boats and the Sargo 36 has plenty of reasons to appeal to the New Zealand market. 


Price as tested $1.1m

Type Launch

Construction Hand Laminated Fibreglass

LOA 11.8m

Beam 3.65m

Test Power 2 x 440 hp

Power Options Twin Sterndrive

HP Range 320hp – 440hp

Fuel Capacity 860L

Water Capacity 300L


 RPM         KNOTS          L/h         L/nm

700          4.3             3.9           0.9

1500         9.1             26.2         2.9

2000         13.9             57.1         4.1

2200         16.7             64.9         3.9

2400         21.2             70.0         3.3

2600         25.0             76.7         3.1

2800         28.4             84.3         3.0

3000         31.6             101.1         3.2

3200         34.7             116.5         3.4

3400         37.6             131.2         3.5

3600         40.2             150.9         3.8

3800         42.3             181.9         4.2

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