It’s zero nine hundred at our rendezvous point of a nondescript pontoon in the depths of Poole Harbour. The skies are clear but the wind is building from the east, the tide streaming from the west. Our mission – which we have chosen to accept – is to take Brabus Shadow 500 Black Ops hull #00 from this location to an undisclosed one in Southampton.
This Black Ops version is a limited edition restricted to just 28 boats and sports the brooding hand-painted gunmetal grey paint scheme and vibrant, Brabus-branded red Sunbrella upholstery. Up close it looks the business and is covered in sharp detailing, carbon fibre, brushed stainless steel and various other accoutrements that justify the boosted price tag over a standard Axopar 28 on which it is based.
You sit low, hunkered beneath the tall wraparound windscreen, which is deep enough to protect those at the helm even if they decide to flip the seat bolster and stand. The wheel, trimmed in silky-smooth leather, is chunky without feeling cumbersome and the throttles are meaty but snick in and out of gear with damped precision. Two 12in Garmin plotters display the bulk of the navigation and boat data but there’s a run of attractive backlit switches on the mid dash that control the regularly used equipment like wipers and pumps. On the steering wheel boss, arranged around the Brabus ‘B’, are buttons for the bow thruster and trim on the left and audio controls on the right. Hard spins of the wheel can sometimes lead to catching your wrists on the enlarged boss, but it’s a small price to pay to have these major controls just beneath your thumbs.
Check out the full review in the September 2019 issue of Motor Boat & Yachting.
Watch a short video review of the same article at MBY's Youtube channel.