Looking back: Oliver Royale 370

By: Greg Adams, 2006


Looking back: Oliver Royale 370 Looking back: Oliver Royale 370
Looking back: Oliver Royale 370 Looking back: Oliver Royale 370
Looking back: Oliver Royale 370 Looking back: Oliver Royale 370
Looking back: Oliver Royale 370 Looking back: Oliver Royale 370
Looking back: Oliver Royale 370 Looking back: Oliver Royale 370
Looking back: Oliver Royale 370 Looking back: Oliver Royale 370
Looking back: Oliver Royale 370 Looking back: Oliver Royale 370
Looking back: Oliver Royale 370 Looking back: Oliver Royale 370

Unlike other models in the Oliver range that are evolutions from previous designs, the 370 is pitched as all new… (or it was in 2006, when this review was first published)

In reality, though, it’s a "little sister" of the 400. It has the same beam and similar cabin and saloon layouts, but is three feet shorter overall. The interior space is similar, but the flybridge is noticeably smaller.

The 370 measures 39’ 7" (12.05 metres) overall, including swim platform and bow roller, with a 13’ 6" beam (4.15 metres). The actual length of the hull is 37’ 7" (11.45 metres) so it fits snugly into a 12-metre berth.

Based on the 400’s successful design, the hull is high quality (it comes with a 10-year structural warranty) and made tough for New Zealand conditions – as well as to meet New Zealand Marine Safety Authority (MSA) standards. Its solid, hand-laid GRP laminate incorporates a layer of Kevlar from chine to chine, for strength and impact resistance. The first layer of fibreglass is laid down with vinylester resin for added strength; the fibreglass resin is isophthalic, a high-grade polyester, which offers higher structural strengths over the orthothalic resins. Three water-tight compartments and collision bulkheads are built-in into the hull.

In brilliant winter sunshine out on the Hauraki Gulf, the 370 certainly looked the part and showed performance to match. It’s very soft riding, turns tightly and responds nimbly to the helm. Engine noise is remarkably low, despite the twin, 370hp turbo-charged Cummins positioned under the saloon. Multiple engine options are available. Oliver prefers Cummins and Caterpillar engines which together account for about 90 percent of fit-outs, but they have also used Volvo and Yanmar.

Horsepower choices range from 305 to 390hp. With its twin 370hp Cummins, the review boat cruised comfortably at 22-24 knots and exceeds 30 knots fully loaded. Both electrical and mechanical fuel injection is available – electrical offering slightly better efficiency and cleaner running. The engines are mated to twin disk gearboxes driving four-blade Briski propellers.

Engines are easily accessible through a hatch just aft of the saloon doors. The bays are painted white, so it’s a well-lit area. Despite space being tight, there’s enough room for maintenance purposes and service points. Exhausts exit underwater, helping to dampen noise and reduce fumes in the deck areas.

Oliver’s design philosophy is "as comfortable on board as you are at home". Of course, this could never really be the case but it’s easy to appreciate and accept this in the spirit it’s meant.

Definitely roomy for its class, the 370 is littered with the sorts of decadent touches that leave good impressions – from leather upholstery and cherry wood cabinetry throughout, down to the subtlety of heavier and better quality stainless steel cleats.

The cockpit is a good size, with a coaming that is high enough for safety, but not too high. The test boat was equipped with non-slip, moulded GRP flooring, but it’s available in teak.

Clearly, the boat that can be ratcheted-up quickly for serious fishing. There are plenty of decent sized lockers, including one by the saloon door, for rods and tackle, and a bait tank on the platform. There are toe "kicks" or holes around the inside base of the coaming, allowing fishers to stand closer to the edge. There’s also a reinforced sole for a game chair.

Royale3

Access along the sides to the foredeck is relatively easy – the inset steel hand rail is both ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing. A 40lb Sarca anchor has a 50-metre 8mm galvanised chain controlled from a Maxwell windlass. A bowthruster is optional but unnecessary with twin engines, which make the 370 very manoeuvrable.

Up the ladder is a comfortable and airy flybridge. Passenger seats line the port side and the front of the helm station – this latter area could do with more leg room. There’s room for two helm seats and clears fully enclose the area. The seating layout makes for easy interaction between helm and passengers, and provides unobstructed 360 degree views. There’s also visibility to the cockpit below – through a glass window in the hatch.

Controls and electronics are customised – there is no "standard". The review boat’s instruments included a Raymarine C120 radar/GPS unit. As a guide, these boats typically have radar, GPS, sounding, chartplotter, auto pilot and inverter or a generator.

Accommodation

Below, the quality is apparent. The immediate impact is the warm, welcoming sight of wood – on the floor, tables, cupboards, doors and frames. The saloon although fairly conventional in design, is light and roomy, with good all round vision – especially through the front curved window, which is toughened and tinted. The side and aft windows are also tinted and can be opened. One settee is angled around the main dining table; the other settee runs along the side (and doubles as a bed), in front of which there’s a pull-up TV, stereo system and pull-out drinks cabinet.

Designs allow for forward or aft positioning of the galley; the aft offers better flow and connection to both saloon and cockpit. The area use space well and is fully-equipped – boasting a three-in-one oven/microwave, two hobs, sink and a handsome amount of storage. Across the other side of the door, there’s a fridge and freezer, and switch panel above.

With the slide-out settee, the boat’s designed to sleep six in comfort. Three steps lead down to the cabin area. The 370 has an double-berth forward cabin, with shower/toilet to port, and a two-bunk guest cabin to the starboard side.

The master cabin is generous and dominated by a queen size bed. Storage is plentiful, both underneath and in hanging lockers either side. The guest cabin has two reasonably sized bunks, and natural light from portholes (which, again, are optional).

The 370 offers a good entry level to the high quality launch scene – and will also appeal to those coming down in size who want to retain a certain level of look, feel and performance. There is little to criticise. The height of the flybridge and game poles may make it look slightly top heavy, but this is not borne out on the water. One major concern, however, is a lack of a connection port for iPods. (2006) The 370 Olivers are proven fishing machines and incorporating the right specifications provides for a formidable game fishing craft.

Nevertheless, it’s far from an out-and-out fish finder and the combined performance, attention to detail, and high levels of comfort of the 370 also make it good for family fun – chances are lucky owners will enjoy a little of both.

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