The Vikings are Coming: Scandinavian and European Boat Design Trends Take Off

Anyone who attended the 2022 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show surely noticed a common theme among new boat designs: the sleek and futuristic yet somehow retro looks of European and particularly Nordic boats is becoming more and more popular. Near-plumb bows, wedge shapes, reverse-raked or rounded pilot houses, and sleek lines were on display from one dock to the next, from both European and American builders. Let’s take a look at a few of the hottest and newest boats with these traits which we saw at the show.

Astondoa 677 Coupe

astondoa 677 coupe
The Astondoa 677 turned plenty of heads at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. Photo via Rick Obey Yacht Sales.

Astondoa is a builder located in Santa Pola, Spain, which offers a line of yachts ranging from a 37’ day boat to a 197’ superyachts. As one might expect these all get a healthy dose of styling, and while most of the lineup has a modern look, it’s their Coupe range that incorporates the latest. The 677, which replaces the Astondoa 655, is the newest release.

The most striking feature of the 677 Coupe is the “inverted” bow, which is raked aft to the top before transitioning down just above the waterline. The boat also has a curvaceous and prominent windshield and hard top arching back over the helm, and the large black hullside panels incorporating ports and windows which have become prominent on larger cruisers in recent years. Inside there are options for two main and lower deck layouts, with either three or four staterooms and a full-beam master suite amidships.

See Astondoa 677 Coupe boats for sale on Boat Trader.

Axopar 45

axopar 45
The latest and greatest from Axopar is the 45, which comes in multiple versions. Photo via Jeff Brown Yachts.

Anyone who remembers the 2104 introduction of Axopar boats will recall the shock and awe these boats caused. A trailblazer in bringing new looks and design to boats in America, that first 28-footer was unlike any boat anyone had ever laid eyes on. Their range has grown steadily ever since, and at Fort Lauderdale for 2022 they showed off their largest boat yet, the Axopar 45.

Like other models in their lineup, the 45 has a nearly plumb bow, and from bow to stern the boat tapers back in an angular wedge shape. The cabin is similar in shape to a pilothouse with a full walkaround, and a windshield that’s both rounded at the corners and reverse-raked in front. It’s a striking visual presentation, which can be said of all the Axopar models. The 45 is actually being produced in five different versions: the XC Cross Cabin, Cross Top, Sun Top, T-Top, and Spyder. Each offers slightly different top, cabin, and deck designs but all run on a high-tech twin-stepped 20-degree deadrise hull. Powered by triple 300-hp outboards, the Axopar 45 is capable of 45-knot speeds.

See Axopar 45 boats for sale on Boat Trader.

Four Winns H6

four winns boats
Four Winns is headed in a new direction with their H boats (H4 pictured here). Photo via Four Winns.

Four Winns has been building boats in Cadillac, Michigan since 1975 — but you’d never know it by looking at their latest model, the H6. Their new lineup incorporates a near-plumb bow at the stem capped by a polished stainless-steel strike plate, a bowrider layout inside, and a large aft lounger that converts between forward- and aft-facing seating. The windshield is a standout styling feature, with curved glass and no hard angles.

As interesting as the H6 is, Four Winns made another surprise announcement at the show: they’ll soon have a 36’ power catamaran, the TH36. The bows on this boat are even more forward-looking, the windshield and hard top feature an extreme aft rake, and it will be powered by twin 300- or 350-hp outboards.

See Four Winns boats for sale on Boat Trader.

Wellcraft 355

wellcraft 355
The Wellcraft 355 most certainly doesn’t look like the Wellcraft boats of yesteryear. Photo via Cape Yachts.

Another classic American brand, Wellcraft, has also joined the Euro-styling fray with their new 355. This is a performance cruiser designed to carry triple outboards up to 1,050 hp total, and break the 60-mph barrier. The styling is eye-opening and a major departure for Wellcraft, to say the least. The bow is plumb, the wheelhouse has a reverse-raked windshield, and the sheerline is unbroken while a bootstripe angles up towards the stern.

More or less a pilothouse type of design, the cabin is a full walkaround with loungers forward on the bow cabin-top. Inside it features a galley and dinette aft of the helm, with an en-suite stateroom below. The cockpit is left open in a nod to Wellcraft’s fishing boat heritage, and is connected with the helmdeck via a huge top-hinged aft bulkhead window next to the glass door.

See Wellcraft 355 boats for sale on Boat Trader.

X Shore Eelex 8000

x shore eelex 8000
The X Shore Eelex 8000 made some serious waves at the Fort Lauderdale show. Photo via X Shore.

Not only does the X Shore Eelex have the plumb bow and wedge-like shape of modernistic designs, it also has a unique feature none of the other boats in this roundup can match: it’s powered purely by electricity. And it doesn’t just look Scandinavian, it actually is. Built in Nykoping, Sweden, the Eelex 8000 has a modular deck layout with over 10 variations catering to everything from fishing to watersports, all based around a straightforward center console design.

Power comes via a 170 kW inboard motor coupled to a 126 kWh battery, and performance reaches well beyond what we commonly see with all-electric boats of this size (26’) in this day and age. Top-end breaks 30 knots, and at a cruising speed of 20 knots the Eelex offers an eyebrow-raising 100 nautical miles of range. The boat’s controls and systems are thoroughly cutting edge, with an interface provided via a 24-inch touchscreen at the helm and remote monitoring with geofencing via an app. Added bonus: you can feel good about boating environmentally speaking, and according to X Shore for every 50 hours of run-time you save two metric tons of CO2 — the equivalent to planting 80 trees.

See X Shore Eelex 8000 boats for sale on Boat Trader.