Martini 7-Meter By Andy Adams

A gentleman’s boat.

Few people really need to get around as fast as the Martini 7-Meter 's top speed of 53 mph. For its size it doesn’t carry much weight. There are no swivelling drink-holders or drink-coolers, no lounge chairs or sun-decks, and you can easily afford a more comfortable place to sleep.

The only type of attitude that justifies owning one of these Martinis on the water is this: "I 'm here to have a good time and so is the boat." Additionally, you should adopt the attitude that money's no object, because you'll be forking out about $25,000 for this boat.

Then I'd recommend a second boat, preferably a large vessel with hydraulic davits to fish the Martini out of the drink when you're finished playing around in the surf.

Having digested these qualifications, you may now go ahead and study this boat in earnest. It is, firstly, a gentleman’s boat and there is no need to be a yahoo to enjoy it. Secondly, you should be an extrovert gentleman because the Martini tends to gather a crowd.

The test boat was 25 feet of tasteful earth-tone graphics in fibreglass and vinyl. There are far more colour lines and outline options for this boat than for any other I can recall. The lines were in beige, orange, red, and russet brown over a beige deck, burgundy hull sides and a beige bottom. The lines and stripes were carried on in the interior with the same colours stitched into the tuck-and-roll upholstery. The Martini is an attention getter in any crowd but not like most metal-flake plastic racers. There's no mistaking that this is the real thing.

The racing bolster seats reinforce the image, and the lines of the Martini suggest a Levy design from Italy or Great Britain, but alas, it's from exotic Florida. No shame there, really, since Florida is home to the Ocean Racer; it just seems more suitable to call it Italian. I think the manufacturers saw that too - hence the name - but that's only speculation.

In terms of equipment, the boat’s all there. A Mercruiser 330-TRS is standard with power- steering and hydraulic tilt, hydraulic trim-tabs, lots of lighted instruments, a tiny thick-rim steering wheel, wild-looking deck hatches with tinted glass, a bit of teak trim for flavour, and a tinted -plexiglass windshield that integrates beautifully with the design.

It even has a teak strip up the deck with sturdy chrome stanchions supporting the life-lines, although you’d have to be pretty careless to need them. The Martini has what I call manners.

You would never tell an admiring lady that it's easy to drive, but you could be ham-fisted and still not get into trouble with the Martini. Performance is so out-stripped by the hull's capabilities that almost any stunt is a cakewalk.

Martini 7-Meter - Instrument PanelWith a true 24 ° dead rise this boat will slice through almost anything wide open, throw a bit of spray, cavitate for a second and then continue as if nothing happened. Launching off a wave at an angle and running the bow into the next one will give a slight turning effect as the boat responds to its hull curvature, but the steep V and functional lift-strakes keep that all under control.

The only potential embarrassment takes place at the dock. The boat draws about three feet of water while
idling, so you simply do not walk the stern in for a dramatic entrance. Reverse is not all that great, and the boat will not slide sideways. Especially when docking in rough weather, several gear changes and a lot of wheel-spinning are important if you really want to get it right. It would be a shame to scratch up the colourful sides, and this boat does not look right with dirty old bumpers.

Running in the open is another matter. Only two things take any effort at all. The trim should be right or it won 't run well. You need the bow up a bit and the lower unit level with the direction of travel to avoid cavitation and slight snaking. It is very sensitive to loading; even the driver's weight makes it list to one side.

The Martini will lay on its side at a dramatic angle if you aren't trimmed properly and when cornering. Tight cornering with the Martini means a turn with radius less than 300 ft. It was never intended to race down river at high speed, and it won’t. It's an Ocean Racer, and there are no sharp turns in the ocean.

Try this; it won 't shame you: hammer the gas-pedal in the middle of a low-speed turn. It just accelerates. Slow down suddenly from full speed and throw the wheel over. It just slips back into the water and carves a gentle turn. Straighten it out and open the throttle full. It picks up and goes. No hesitation, no planing off, just more speed.

From a standing start the Martini immediately gains speed and revs. The bow never comes up much but simply rises with the increase in speed. Watch what you do in shallows, though: it draws enough depth for grounding in many smaller lakes.

Driving the Martini is a joy if you do it right. You should stand up to drive this boat. The racing bolster seats give a secure feel, and the standing position helps to absorb shock. You could change the seats to allow a sitting position by bringing the seat cushions up and securing them with the locking pins, but as true seats they leave a lot to be desired. The seat surface is quite flat and not heavily padded. When using the standing position, simply pull the pins and the seat bottom drops out and off to the side, out of the way.

From a standing position all instruments and controls are easy to see and use. The throttle and gears are single lever, quite familiar to power-boaters. and mounted on the dash-top. This is not too convenient for sitting. Throttle action is very smooth and linear, and the 330 horsepower TRS Mercruiser is easy to handle.

The steering is excellent. Not only is the Martini easy to steer at all times thanks to the power assist, but the actual wheel-mount is a Mere-tilt system. A sturdy lever pulls down to release the lock and the wheel then will tilt through several degrees with locking positions. It is a great idea that's well-suited to this type of boat.

All instruments are in a pod that can be mounted to port or starboard. Once fixed it is permanent; everything is in plain view at all times and unaffected by glare despite having no hoods. Also, a compass is standard.

Standing up and ripping along in the Martini is a real thrill. It has a thoroughbred feel and a commanding driving position that encourage fast dashes through rough stuff. But be prepared to get blown around, because the windshield doesn't do much beyond look nice. For wind in the face, this is your kind of boat, but forget the creature comforts: there is no top nor any provision for adding one. If it rains, you soak.

The upholster y and finish of the interior are quite good with teak accents, beautiful upholstery, and a louvered teak door to the under-deck cabin. Sadly, there was no catch for the door, which is hinged at the edge and in the middle. Not securely closed, it opens and swings around looking for good hits.

The cabin itself was nicely finished but very shallow and not that accommodating. You could sleep there but it's too small to sit up straight. The twin hatches have tinted glass with heavy chrome bars overhead. They look great outside, work well and let in a surprising amount of light. The liner and ceiling have a fuzzy material covering the fibreglass. The test boat had it in a very odd gold colour that left me cold, but it was the only slack colour-matching in the boat.

At the stern a large, padded cover carries on the colour scheme of the interior and makes the full-width engine cover a good spot for sunning, but only when docked or moored, because there aren't any grab-rails or hand-holds. The hatch definitely needs brute strength to lift, and doesn't lift high, but two stout springs snap into place to hold it up. Just bend the spring and the cover drops, but be careful: it's heavy enough to relieve you of a few fingers with no effort at all.

Except for the low opening, the engine bay is cavernous. The big 454 Chevy looks lost in all the space; working on it would be a breeze. Everything is accessible and the bilge was always dry and clear during the tests. Dual batteries and a master switch are standard, helping to balance the boat and giving a nice measure of security as well.

The 330 TRS starts easily, was without temperament, and always responded with a healthy growl and a free-revving spirit. It's a fuel-eater, but the TRS might give fair mileage figures if the throttle were not hammered open too often. However, they build boats like the Martini for fun, not austerity.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s February 1979 issue.

Length: 25 ft
Beam: 7 ft
Deadrise: 24 degrees
Height: 5 ft 2 in (Keel to coaming)
Weight: 3600 lbs

Engine: Chevy 454 cu in., 330hp.
Drive: Mercruiser 330 TRS
Power Steering (cable)
Power tilt
Prop: 23x21 two-blade SS
Fuel Capacity: 72 gallons

Speeds (actual):
53 mph @ 4,450 rpm (max.)
35 mph @ 3,000
27 mph @ 2,500
12 mph @ 2,000
9 mph @ 1,000
0-min. plane: 4.58 sec.
0-max. speed (trimmed): 12:44 sec
Noise: 62 dBA @ idle
82 dBA @ 3,000 rpm (cruise)
95 dBA max @ full throttle (accelerating)

Photo Captions:
Photo 1 - If sheer speed and fun are your thing, the Martini 7-Meter may be the boat for you.
Photo 2- The boat is easy to steer, and all instruments are in plain view at all times.