Tested: Numarine 22XP

A cruise in an ancient city aboard the Numarine 22XP proves this yacht is equally at ease on pleasure cruises or bluewater voyages.

Tested: Numarine 22XP

A cruise in an ancient city aboard the Numarine 22XP proves this yacht is equally at ease on pleasure cruises or bluewater voyages.

Spring in Istanbul casts a spell. Before the tourists and heat fall upon the city’s medieval alleyways and pinpoint minarets like a down blanket in July, Constantinople sings. People sleep with the windows flung open, tables at sidewalk cafes are easy to come by, and even the notorious Istanbul traffic lets up ever so slightly. One truly gets to appreciate the cacophony of cultures that overlay to form a symphony at this ancient crossroads unlike anywhere else. And it’s even more enchanting by boat.

As I lazed on a settee on the foredeck lounge of the Turkish-built Numarine 22XP this past May, while we chugged toward lunch at 8 knots, I stuck my nose into the breeze and deemed the weather to be absolutely perfect. A plump sun hung overhead like a ripe orange bending its branch, heating the gentle breezes that ghosted across the quicksilver surface of the Sea of Marmara. My skin tingled, warmed and cooled all at once, the way it feels when you step inside an ice-cream store on a warm summer day. In that moment, I heard splashing at the bow. I walked forward with a hand on the guardrail that lines the yacht’s thick, thigh-high bulwarks and knelt on the forepeak lounge to look overboard. A trio of dolphins sluiced the water ahead of us, jumping and diving just beyond the reach of the 22XP’s wave-piercing bulb. They’d escort us all the way to Seref, a resort island that’s a madhouse in the summertime, but sat empty and serene ahead of us, its lounge chairs vacant, its seaside bars fully stocked but empty.

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I, along with Numarine CEO Omer Malaz and some other guests, stepped off the yacht’s hydraulic swim platform and made our way down the floating dock and up a set of rickety wooden stairs to a table set with a feast. Icy bottles of crisp Sancerre gleamed next to a bright menagerie of antipasti juxtaposed against a white tablecloth. On a rolling cart next to it sat a school of whole fishes: blue-gray sea bass, silvery branzino, and a hulking, pink, doormat of flesh that looked like halibut, its pale belly dotted with fishhook-like appendages. It was quite a sight. The fish were soon filleted, and conversation bubbled up and rolled. Becoming immersed, I lost track of what was being served, and then I looked down on a plate in front of me and there was a massive, glistening fish tail just lying there. Suffice to say, the Turks do things their own way.

Take for example, the 22XP. Like its sister ship, the slightly larger 26XP, the 22 has a highly unusual design trait. That is, the same boat above the waterline can have a completely different hull below. The model comes in both full-displacement and semi-displacement iterations. The former has twin 425-horsepower Cummins engines that burn just 8 gallons per hour at a cruise speed of 8 knots for a 1,500-nautical-mile range. The latter has burly twin 1,200-horsepower MAN 1200s that offer an 18-knot cruise speed and a 20-knot top end. No matter the engine choice, the boat was designed with easy maintenance in mind. My test boat offered excellent 360-degree access to the engines and gensets, as well as ample headroom for my 6-foot frame, and a pristine white gelcoat sole excellent for spotting spills.

Each version has a place in Malaz’s heart. “I drive fast cars and I have a 94-mph tender. I love speed and I understand why some customers might prefer this model in the fast version,” he says. “But I’m a true believer in slow boats as well. They are better for the environment, they’re quieter, it almost feels like a sailboat. But my 26 has the smallest engines available, and it has solar panels that produce 37 kW a day to subsidize the generator. It really is the yin and the yang, with boats, for me.”

Although achieving challenging goals often requires imbalance, one area where Malaz refused to compromise was in sound attenuation. “When I boat, I’m with my family, and my daughters are older now and overseas much of the time,” he says, “so when I am with them, I want to be able to hear what they are saying.” To that end, at no point when I ran the 22XP through her RPM range did the sounds levels breach 65-dBa, which, as any close reader of this publication knows, is the level of normal conversation. This quiet is thanks to extra sound-insulation installed during the construction process.

The 22XP starts at a base price just shy of $4.3 million, which is on the low end for its size. This is by design. Malaz believes that soon it will be difficult to build boats in the traditional European yacht-producing countries because of rising wages. “I think the world will soon turn to places like Turkey, Poland and the Middle East for boatbuilding,” he says. “In Turkey we have hardworking people and skilled laborers, but our wages are one-third what they are in the rest of Europe,” he says. Those cost savings are then transferred to the customer. With more than 70-percent of Numarines being exported to Europe and America, Malaz believes that his company has proven itself capable of competing with any builder anywhere in the world in terms of quality, and certainly in terms of price. Turkish boatbuilding seems to be entering into exciting times and it will be interesting to see how it progresses in the near future, with Numarine an able flag-bearer.

Regardless of the hull choice, the 22XP has plenty of truly enviable onboard features. One of my favorites was the layout on the accommodations level. The yacht comes in a three- or four-stateroom setup, but importantly, each configuration has an amidships master, and another massive forepeak VIP that could actually function as a second master. In fact, when I stepped foot inside the VIP, I thought it was the master stateroom and wondered aloud what Numarine did with the space at amidships.

On the main deck, near sole-to-ceiling windows provided unfettered views of the awe-inducing Istanbul skyline on our cruise, with its sprawling castles and bustling mosques, all reverberating with the eerily beautiful sounds of a mid-day call to prayer.

The main deck had another feature nearly as exotic as the locale of our cruise—a galley on a European-built boat that’s actually large enough for real use. The space was forward and to port, with enough counter space for easy meal prep, a Siemens three-burner cooktop, and two head-high fridges, one in the galley proper, and another just outside, elegantly hidden behind the wooden veneer of a bulwark.

Forward of the galley is the helm station, which seems to have gotten the short end of the wishbone from the galley in regard to space. Nevertheless, I found it highly functional, if not luxurious, with a Raymarine electronics package and a sturdy, confidence-inducing, RINA-class door leading to the starboard side decks. The windshield has a reverse rake, a design choice I’ve always been partial to. Not only were the lines of sight unimpeded, but green water sloughs off much faster from these types of windshields than traditionally raked windshields, adding to this yacht’s resume as a serious cruiser.

The windshield has the added effect of letting those ashore know that this boat is a serious machine. Longtime Numarine collaborator Can Yalman imbued the vessel with sleek yet muscular lines that called to mind the head and neck of my pit bull mix Nina. Like my dog, the 22XP looks like it would take on all comers and do it with the stoic grace of a thing fulfilling its purpose.

After relinquishing the wheel, I decided to get some fresh air and climbed up to the boat’s empty flybridge. From there, I spotted a famous landmark known as the Maiden’s Tower, a small islet at the southern mouth of the Bosporus Strait, which forms Istanbul’s border between Europe and Asia. I kicked back on the large settee at the after end of the deck. It was then that the combination of that indulgent lunch, aching jetlag and the rumbling of the Cummins below took their toll. I laid my head back and basked in the sun just as the afternoon call to prayer surged to a throaty and dolorous wail. It washed over me with its strange beauty, as I closed my eyes in a place lost to time.

Test Report

Numarine 22XP Specifications:

LOA: 74’2″
Beam: 21’6″
Draft: 6’0″
Displ.: 119,300 lbs.
Fuel: 1,585 gal.
Water: 290 gal.
Power: 2/425-hp Cummins, 2/1,200-hp Man
Base Price: $4.3 million

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This article originally appeared in the January 2023 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

Source: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/boats/numarine-22xp-sea-trial-and-review