Marex is one of the most innovative builders in this sector and the 330 Scandinavia is a shining example of its simple and effective design ethos. The Norwegian yard builds boats designed to be used all year round and they are incredibly practical and well-thought-out cruising machines.
With this in mind, the opportunity to test the boat in tough conditions in Poole presented the perfect challenge for the 330. On board, there are two cabins and a separate bathroom with single and twin diesel engine options from Volvo Penta and Mercury.
Marex 330 Scandinavia Key Facts
- LOA 34.416ft
- Model Year 2021
- Cabins 2
- Max Speed 32 knots
- Status In Production
- Yacht Type Coupe
- Use Type Weekending
Test & Review Video
Marex offers an unusually useful mix of single and twin diesel engine options with shaft or sterndrives on the 330 Scandinavia, so there should be a configuration to suit all tastes. The bulk of the engines come from Volvo Penta in either single D6 440hp or 480hp form or twin D3s with 220hp per side. The D6 480 is mated to a V-drive shaft, the smaller D6 and twins are on sterndrives.
There is also an option from Mercury 270hp diesels, which Marex says has proved popular due to the fact that you get a joystick as standard. It's a great system that not only takes the sting out of slotting the boat into a berth but also has the brilliant Skyhook system, which holds the boat in place at the touch of a button.
These engines also provide the punchiest performance with a top speed of 36 knots, the others will generally push the 330 to a maximum of just over 30 knots.
Around the Marina
Having the joystick as part of the Mercury engine package takes a lot of the stress out of berthing manoeuvres and it's not necessarily all about the twist-and-go nature of the controls when coming alongside. If anything, Skyhook, which uses GPS to hold the boat in position, plays a bigger part because it allows the skipper to pause and take a breath safe in the knowledge that the boat isn't going to drift on the wind or tide while they regather themselves.
That said, the 330 is almost as easy to control at slow speeds without the joystick, as we found on our test boat, fitted with the single D6 440 on a sterndrive. As standard, the boat has a bow thruster with a remote control and between that and the beautifully light steering, it's very easy to swing the sterndrive from lock to lock and ease the boat into position. The stubby Volvo Penta throttle snicks in and out of gear with satisfying positivity and though you can't spin the boat on its axis as easily as you can with the joystick, it's not far off.
What about crewing? Well, the inclusion of a side door makes this job a lot easier, especially when you consider that most of these boats will be run by one or two people. To so easily be able to get from behind the helm to the side deck is of huge benefit and thanks to tall guardrails and plenty of hand hold it is a very safe boat to move around on. Neat touches like dedicated fender storage built into the aft end of the side decks and a step built into the top of the bulwarks to help with boarding are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of smart practical detailing aboard this boat.
Poole Harbour, the location for our test, dished up quite a challenge for the Marex during the sea trial. A fierce south-easterly pouring across the bay rendered the usual sheltered spots useless so it had to buckle up and face it front on. Given the white-tipped chop and deepening swell the sup-35ft 330 handled the conditions incredibly well. We weren't blasting through the waves but the hull rode through the crests with real confidence and didn't shower the decks with spray, even when we were heading dead upwind.
Downwind, the single sterndrive handling comes to life, allowing the boat to happily surf down the back of larger waves and change direction with impressive agility. With the single D6, it feels like a very well-balanced boat, rarely needing any input from the trim tabs even in a messy seaway. In fact, with auto trim on both the sterndrive leg and the trim blades there is very little for the skipper to think about in bad conditions, simply set the most comfortable speed and let the electronics deal with the rest.
These weren't the conditions to really test the boat out at the top end, though 32 knots should be easy to achieve with this motor, the quick reactions of the 6-cylinder diesel to inputs from the throttle make fighting out of deeper troughs very easy. There always seems to be plenty in reserve to dig the boat out of trouble and the pick-up across the rev range is sharp.
Which engine to go for? There will always be a portion of customers who cherish the redundancy of twin engines but the case is strong to opt for the single D6 here. Not only does it feel incredibly well suited to the 330 out on the water but it also means there is one less engine (and sterndrive) to service and much more space in the engine room. The V-Drive shaft with the 480hp D6 is even easier to look after, given you don't need to service a shaft, but it's unlikely to be as fun or efficient as the sterndrive D6 440.
The fuel data for the 330 with the sterndrive 440 demonstrates clearly what an efficient combination this is. Once on the plane, the boat is most efficient between 25 and 30 knots and even flat out at 33 knots it's still consuming just 3 litres per mile. The upshot is that even if you want or need to travel at higher speeds, there is no major penalty in terms of efficiency.
Builder Speed & Range Data
430 nm @ 7.5 knotseco
236 nm @ 24.4 knotscruise
231 nm @ 32.8 knotsmax
Marex 330 Scandinavia version 2021. *Data supplied by the manufacturer.
View Full Test Results
From the outside, the 330 Scandinavia's styling is safe and inoffensive but peer beneath the surface and it quickly becomes apparent how much time and effort has gone into the packaging of this boat. There isn't an inch of space wasted and the attention to practical detailing is outstanding. It's the little things that make the difference and feed into the Marex ethos to "make the little things easy". So, as an example, flip down the teak-covered transom bench and behind it, you will find a freshwater hose, fitted with a gun and mounted on a recessed inertia wheel so you can quickly deploy the hose for wash down and reel it away again.
The aft end of the side decks disguise lockers deep enough to swallow all of the boat's fenders, often an issue on boats of this size where the fenders take up valuable storage space. Storage in the cockpit is superb and accessed by lifting the seat bases, which are lined in smooth GRP and mounted on cantilever hinges. The foredeck cushion floats so it can be launched into the water and used as a floating sun pad when the boat is on anchor. It goes on and on, from the quality of the teak decking to the beautifully fitted out galley with its array of soft close drawers and fiddled storage. Time has been spent on the day-to-day workings of the boat.
The speed with which the 330 can flick from being a fully enclosed wheelhouse cruiser to a near fully open deck boat is key to its appeal. With two manual sunroofs overhead and the brilliant curtain cover system - whereby the covers pull out of the wheelhouse uprights and join in the middle to seal the cockpit off from the elements - it takes mere seconds to switch between the two and with cockpit doors in the middle there's total flexibility depending on what the weather is doing. All of it can be heated, too, so winter boating is very much on the agenda.
These features also mean the 330 is a very easy boat to live with, simply close the sunroofs, slide the doors shut and pull the cockpit covers out and you can hose it off and go. No wrestling with thumb-breaking poppers here.
The sleeping accommodation is probably the most compromised area of the 330, simply due to the natural space restrictions on a boat of this size. Inside the guest cabin, there is only space to stand in the entranceway before the level of the ceiling drops down below the saloon floor. As with the rest of the boat, however, what space there is has been used wisely so there is a very wide double bed, a small sofa and a good array of drawer and hanging storage all finished in warm teak.
The master is forward and whereas the Nimbus 305 Coupe has an island double berth, because of the intrusion of the bathroom on the 330, there is only access to the bed from one side meaning the person sleeping on the starboard side will have to disturb their partner if they need to get out of bed in the middle of the night. The payoff is that the bed is huge for a boat of this size and natural light is excellent due to the pair of hull windows and a big opening hatch overhead. There's a good amount of storage in here, too, with a hanging locker behind the door and a decent-sized drawer set into the base of the bed.
The bathroom may impinge on space in the master but it means there is enough room for a separate shower cubicle with a rotating shower screen and plenty of storage space. A spacious separate bathroom is probably more important on a boat that will generally be used by couples so this is a calculated trade-off by Marex. For two people or a family with young kids, the accommodation works well but four adults would probably feel a bit cooped up for anything longer than a weekend.
Any budding boat designer should look closely at the 330's helm station because it's a masterclass on how to create an effective one. The driving position, the layout of the dashboard and the use of materials are all spot on and it plays a big role in making the boat so enjoyable to drive.
It starts with how easy it is to get comfortable and is another fine example of Marex going the extra mile in the name of good design. It has put together - from scratch - its own seat slide mechanism with the seat mounted on a runner with button-activated gas ram adjusting the seat back and forth. Unlike a ratchet arrangement, it can stop anywhere along the runners so with that, an adjustable steering wheel and flip-up seat bolster you can find the perfect seated position really easily.
It says quite a lot about the quality of the seated position and views forward on this boat that even in the rough weather of our test I was never tempted to stand up to drive.
The actual dash design isn't exactly bursting with flair but it is so sensibly arranged and draped in dark, soft-to-the-touch material so there isn't a chance of any glare on the windscreen on bright days. The helm station itself isn't huge and only has space for one 16in Raymarine MFD but the designers have utilised the empty space above the windscreen to find space for another should you so choose. It's also great to see analogue dials on both the lower and upper dash so if you do only have one MFD you don't have to constantly be flicking between screens to check engine readings.
Storage at the helm itself is limited to a couple of cupholders and a small wallet below the steering wheel but there is a much larger detachable wallet opposite the navigator, which is perfect for stowing loose odds and end and even paper charts (yes, those things).
A single-level main deck separated by sliding doors is nothing new but there are other elements to the 330's deck design that set it apart from the competition. The combination of two manual sunroofs - one over the cockpit, the other over the salon - and the brilliant cover system make this area incredibly versatile and easy to adapt to the conditions.
The curtain cockpit covers draw a lot of praise but if you're used to sliding covers into their runners and wrestling with zips and poppers you will know what a joy it is to be able to attach covers in seconds with only one hand. Their ease of deployment means you will use them more readily and, with the heating on deck, be able to extend the useable covered living space into the cockpit on cold and wet days.
The tall cockpit sides, which are topped with classy teak handrails, offer great protection inside this area and create tall backrests for the dinette seating so there is plenty of back support. You'll easily get six people around the dinette and another two on the bench opposite (unless you specify the optional BBQ) and the gorgeous teak table opens up to stretch to the other side of the cockpit, too.
The galley is to starboard just inside the salon doors and given the limited space it's a well-designed space. You can have induction cooking - though this requires the addition of a generator - but our test boat had a simple two-burner gas hob with a gas-fired oven. You won't be cooking Christmas dinner any time soon but it's perfect for knocking up breakfast. Again, the fit and finish are great with solid countertops and quality joinery and fiddled drawers to hold everything from crockery to cutlery. The boat is a little light on cooling space, however, with just a small fridge below the helm seat. On longer cruises, this could be a frustration.
Opposite is the dinette, which has a hi-lo table to create another double berth enabling eight adults to sleep on board. There's lots of clever design going on here, like the pop-out stool that adds another seat to the end of the table and the two-way backrest which quickly switches the forward end of the dinette into a raised two-person navigator seat when the boat is on passage.
The decks are symmetrical and equally easy to negotiate but most will try to come alongside the starboard side to make the most of the side door. The side decks have decent toe rails and tall, substantial guardrails so it feels perfectly safe to move forward even if the boat is rolling around at sea.
Engine room access is via a pair of hatches in the cockpit. With the hatches up it's an easy drop via a ladder into the engine room itself which is neat and tidy and has excellent access to the engine and ancillaries. If for any reason there is the need for more involved work, the dinette table can be removed and the hatch below it lifted for even greater access to the motor. It's a brilliant machinery space that makes both day-to-day checks and in-depth maintenance a doddle.
The 330 is a premium product which you will pay more for than more traditional sportscruisers from the likes of Bavaria and Sealine but the price is justified by both quality of the construction and use of materials and also the healthy standard specification. Marex includes as standard many options that other builders will leave on the options list, such as diesel heating, battery charger, trim tabs, bow thruster and an electric toilet.
Our Options & Pick
Unless you really want twin engines we would opt for the engine setup of our test boat: a single D6 440hp on a sterndrive. This offers the best balance of performance and economy, saves on the engine and drive servicing and leaves more space inside the engine room.
Items to add on top of the standard spec include the bow anchor package (£6,000), teak (£15,000), Alcantara upholstery (£3,500), Raymarine Axiom 16in MFD (£5,500) and drop-down table in saloon (£2,800). If you're likely to spend a lot of time away from marinas then the £4,000 4kw generator and £4,100 444w solar panels could be useful additions.
The Marex range has scooped armfuls of awards over the years and it feels as though every ounce of its boat design knowledge has been poured into the 330 Scandinavia. The designers consulted with the dealer network and existing Marex owners to hone this product and the evidence of that is seen across the boat with the likes of the side door and solar panels. Practical additions that make the boat easier to live with.
That is the key takeaway from the 330, it's such an easy boat to live with. Easy to drive, easy to care for, easy to clean and easy to lock up and leave. If you use your boat a lot then this makes all the difference.
Yes, it's expensive but the price is justified by its build quality and the brilliant bits of design that jump out all over this craft. Ultimately, 330 Scandinavia is a boat built for real by real boaters, and that is what makes it so special.
Reasons to Buy
- Outstanding practicality
- Build quality and attention to detail
- Ride and handling
- Efficient cruising
Things to Consider
- Headroom isn't great in the guest cabin
- Low on fridge space
Rivals to Consider
In truth, the unique design of the 330 Scandinavia means it doesn't have many direct rivals but here is a selection that is worth considering if you're in the market for a boat of this size.
The Botnia Targa 32 is a far more traditional offering than the Marex but it is a similarly practical design with true year-round usability. The Botnia isn't finished with the same gloss as the Norwegian boat but at this size, you won't find a more robust machine and the quality of construction is through the roof. These boats cut their teeth as commuter vessels for the Finns, designed to whisk people between islands whatever the conditions so if it's rough weather reliability you're after then it doesn't get better. The layout and accommodation are more compromised than the Marex, though, and it doesn't feel as luxurious. However, performance is astonishing - nearly 50 knots with the twin Volvo Penta D6 440s.
The most direct rival for the Marex is the Nimbus 305 Coupe. Its main deck isn't quite as clever as the Marex's but it has that brilliant blend of indoor/outdoor living on the main deck and a very comfortable, fully enclosed wheelhouse. It's an equally easy boat to crew, as well, and as the all-important side door that makes single-handed crewing so much easier. The sleeping accommodation is almost identical but the layout is slightly better and offers a bit more space, most noticeably in the forward master where the bed is centrally mounted and easier to get in and out of. There is a good selection of single and twin Volvo Penta engine options, the largest of which will push the 305 to a top speed of 32 knots. The Nimbus, like the Marex, is a quality product and there is a premium to be paid for that but the standard equipment list is generous.
The Beneteau Swift Trawler 35 is quite different prospect to the Marex but it's a similar size and one of the most practical boats in the sector. If the intention is to spend long stints on board a boat of this size then the ST35 is a great option that packs a serious amount of volume into its 11.3m LOA and is bursting with storage solutions both on deck and inside the accommodation. It's a semi-displacement shaft drive boat with only one engine option, the brilliant Cummins QSB6.7 with 425hp for a top speed of 18 knots. That may sound sluggish but at 15 knots it will go through pretty much anything and drop down to displacement speeds and thanks to a fuel capacity of 800 litres it will cover 600nm. It has nowhere near the level of the finesse of the Marex and lacks the smart detailing but it's a solidly made boat that is built to last and offer a lot of space for the money.
The Tiara C39 Coupe is a somewhat left-field offering that hails from the United States but it possesses many of the same attractive traits, namely an open cockpit linked to a fully enclosed wheelhouse. At 12.5m it's larger than the Marex so the cabins are a fair bit more spacious with an island berth in the forward master and superior headroom in the double guest cabin amidships. It has a more traditional layout on the deck with a simple bench in the cockpit and sliding doors separating the area from the wheelhouse, which houses a compact galley and dinette and has an electric sunroof overhead. With no side door adjacent to the helm, the Tiara won't be as easy to live with as the Marex but its only engine option is Volvo Penta IPS500 with 370hp each for a top speed of 35 knots and joystick control at slow speed.
Specifications & Performance
Marex 330 Scandinavia version 2021. *Data supplied by the manufacturer.
- Liters Per Hour
- Liters Per Mile
- Range (nm)