The ancient city of Istanbul, Turkey, is cleaved by the mighty Bosphorus Strait, which sits tightly wedged among the city’s skyscrapers and mosques as if a craftsman had used molten silver to repair a crack in a vase. The strait is a paradox in itself. It connects East and West as a major passageway between the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Mediterranean beyond. Simultaneously it acts as a clean and concise border between Old World Europe and its urbane and crowded cities to the west, and the astronomically vast landmass of Asia that splashes endlessly to the east like a barrel of spilled paint. Framing this metaphysically dense waterway are three soaring bridges, colloquially known as the First, Second, and Third Bosphorus Bridges. It was near these bridges that much of my sea trial of the Numarine 22XP took place. It was a fitting setting.
The Numarine 22XP (as in 22 meters, just over 74 feet) forms a bit of a bridge in its own right. As the smallest offering in Numarine’s XP expedition series, which also includes 26-, 32-, 37-, and 45-meter models (85 feet to over 142 feet LOA), the yacht may at first seem to be about standard for the volume-focused, range-obsessed class of cruisers that have become popular in all corners of the globe of late. However, this model has a trick up its sleeve.
At the 2022 Palm Beach International Boat Show, Numarine announced its new model, and it came with a twist. The model would come with two different hulls—a full-displacement and a semi-displacement version, each ferrying boats with identical layouts and above-the-waterline design. But why?
The answer came down to the simple economics of supply and demand. Or demand and supply, as the case may be. “Not all of our customers wanted slow boats,” Omer Malaz, CEO and founder of Numarine told me as we sat in the spacious salon of the 22XP. “We had customers who liked the drawings, and the volume this boat offers, but maybe they don’t always want to go 8, 10, 12 knots. Maybe they want to be able to open up the engines a little.”
Malaz understands the appeal of both kinds of boating. He was involved with racing boats as a younger man, and is happy to mention that he drives a BMW M5 and has a tender that hits a scorching 94 miles per hour. But he is also a bit older than he once was, and with two daughters in school across the pond in America, he has a new appreciation for time spent on board his own full-displacement 26XP with friends and family. “If someone on my boat is talking to me,” he says, “it’s important to me that I’m able to hear them.” To that end, great care was taken during the 22XP’s design and construction process to ensure a quiet boat. It worked. At no point as I ran this boat from the lower helm did decibels crest 65 dBA, which perhaps, not coincidentally, is the sound level of normal conversation.
The fast version of the 22XP comes powered by twin 1,200-horsepower MANs, and can top 20 knots on the pins, with a cruise speed right around 18 knots. However, the power configuration that feels more in line with this model’s soul are the twin, 425-hp Cummins that rumbled softly in the belly of my test boat. When equipped with these powerplants, the 22XP’s bottom has a wave-piercing bulb and a full keel for efficiency and stability. And though conditions in the inland body of water we plied were not exactly reminiscent of rounding the Cape of Good Hope, she did have an unmistakably solid feel to her as we plowed through the mountainous wakes of the oil tankers that heavily freckle this strategic waterway. With the Cummins irons, the Numarine has the numerical bona fides of the proper expedition vessel she was imagined as. At an 8-knot cruise, she burns just over 8 gallons per hour, giving her a 2,000-nautical-mile range—enough to make it from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, up to the Oregon Coast without refueling.
At the helm, the captain benefits from another long-range-cruiser feature: an inverted-rake windshield that both clears water faster than a standard windshield, and also helps to keep the boat’s interior cool by eliminating any greenhouse effects gleaned from overhanging glass. Sightlines there are unobstructed for nearly 360 degrees and the electronics package is customizable, though Raymarine is the standard offering. A beefy, RINA-class door to starboard opens up to a wide side deck, to aid with docking and lookout duty.
The 22XP’s windshield is not only functional, it also serves notice to those on the dock that this boat is purpose built for adventure. The yacht’s interior and exterior design was done by longtime Numarine collaborator Can Yalman, with naval architecture by the Italian, Umberto Tagliavini. Their creation is sufficiently aggressive in profile the way one might expect of a long-range cruiser. With high bulwarks and a beam that carries well forward, this Numarine looks almost as if it is spoiling for a fight. However, the flying bridge sweeps aft with a gentle curve that leavens the 22XP’s pugilistic appearance with a dollop of grace.
On board, this yacht is laid out with longer journeys in mind. The salon is open and beachy and benefits from natural light let in through sole-to-ceiling windows. The galley is to port and enclosed as the Europeans are known to do. But there is a three-burner cooktop and plenty of counter space for meal prep. I found the head-high refrigerator there a bit small for my liking for this style of boat, but was pleased to find that there was a second, similarly sized fridge hidden in the wood paneling just outside the galley.
The accommodations level comes in three- or four-stateroom layouts, and my test boat had the four-stateroom design. A full-beam, en suite, amidships master is the belle of the ball on the accommodations level, though the forepeak VIP was nearly as large and benefits from massive, angular, hullside windows that keep it feeling light and airy. A guest cabin to starboard had an athwartship queen-size berth, while a fourth cabin to port had a single. Notable for the American market, all of the heads had sizable showers with enough space to apply conditioner without banging your elbows. Crew quarters are aft, with access to the mains and other mechanicals.
Another place where space was impressive was in the engine room. Headroom was 7 feet, and access to the Cummins powerplants was excellent with all key parts within an arm’s reach, and the twin Cummins generators—rated at 22.5 kW and 13.5 kW, respectively—were easily serviceable as well. The engine room sole was done in white gelcoat to easily identify splatters.
This was not the typical engine room you might expect to find on a European boat. But then again, Numarine and Malaz are not building in a typical European style. Much the same way its home country biscects Europe and Asia, the builder is spanning the gap between European build practices and the American penchant for spending long amounts of time on board. And they’re doing so quite laudably. The 22XP is a yacht that offers comfort, style, and seaworthy assurances no matter which direction you decide to take her.
LOA: 74ft. 2in.
Beam; 21ft. 6in.
Displacement: 119,300 lbs.
Fuel: 1,585 gal.
Water: 290 gal.
Engine: 2x 425-hp Cummins
This article was originally published in the October 2022 issue.