Arvor 810 Diesel Boat Test

Originally designed to handle the rough conditions of the North Sea, the Arvor 810D features a fully enclosed pilothouse, a spacious gamefishing cockpit, and comes with an economical diesel engine and shaft drive, all in an 8m rig. It is sure to impress those who like weather protection and plenty of room for their gamefishing, as John Ford discovered on a bleak, rainy day off Sydney.

Arvor 810 Diesel Boat Test

Author and photography: John Ford

This boat test ran in ISSUE 115 of BlueWater magazine – FEB-MARCH 2016

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

Arvor may not yet be a familiar name to Australia’s bluewater anglers, but among the boat owners who enjoy the simplicity and practicality of a shaft-drive diesel and a roomy enclosed cabin, the brand already has a strong following.

The Arvor story began in Australia in 1998 when local Nanni diesel importer Peter Collins got wind of the new brand at the Paris boat show and was so impressed he secured a licence to build the innovative vessel locally. Over time the Arvor range expanded and these days all boats in the range are imported from Europe.

The latest release takes design elements from later models, but also harks back to earlier versions and retains the distinctive Arvor look. While the cabin features the vertical windshield of newer boats, the asymmetrical positioning of the cabin represents a return to the original design. It gives the boat a lopsided image when seen from either end, but creates a wide starboard walkway for easy access to the bow.

The Arvor’s styling owes much to traditional North Sea fishing boats whereconditions favour an enclosed cabin and a hull capable of handling the rough stuff. A pronounced flare in the bow and deep chines that run well forward help keep the boat dry, while a self-draining deck gets rid of any water that finds its way on board.

According to Peter Collins, it’s unusual to get a shaft-drive diesel in a boat of this size. The benefits for a boat living in the water include lower costs of a shaft in comparison to a sterndrive, which requires regular and often expensive maintenance.

To overcome any impressions that a shaft-driven boat can be difficult to manoeuvre, the 810D comes standard with a bow thruster, making docking simple and safe.

Functionality First

An unusually high bow and the boxy cabin profile seem to ignore aerodynamic styling, but they certainly offer practical solutions to increase usable space. While the result may not suit all tastes, those who appreciate function over style are sure to be impressed.

What other 8m boat gives you a wide walkway down one side, even though there is only scrambling room over a narrow deck on the other side? If you agree that’s a better solution for creating maximum cabin size, then you’ll appreciate the Arvor concept.

Boasting the sort of amenities that are normally the preserve of larger cruisers, the 8m Arvor’s generously sized cabin is insulated from the elements and ensures a dry and leisurely 20kt voyage to the fishing grounds. Then, as you wait for another strike on your spread of lures, why not settle down in the dinette below to feast on fresh-caught dolphinfish fillets cooked on the gas hotplate, while sipping a cold beverage straight from the fridge?

A wide swim platform enables easy boarding through a transom door, and when you get lucky it’s also great for hauling big fish aboard. The uncluttered deck has lots of space and, considering its self-draining nature, plenty of freeboard.

The cockpit offers small corner seats and longer lounges with removable cushions. These convert the cockpit into an outside entertaining area, and then fold up against the sides on super-strong stainless-steel fittings when not required.

Standout Features

Large hatches in the floor open to a huge amount of storage space and allow access to the fuel and holding tanks, as well as to the rear of the engine. A monster plumbed livebait tank in the transom sports a large inspection window so you can monitor your baits. Although not on the options list, I am told that the holds can be converted locally to fish boxes without too much fuss.

A second helm station, fitted outside on the starboard side cabin moulding, provides a clear view forward and over the main helm instruments. Again, this isn’t something you’d normally find on a boat of this size, but it makes communications and involvement with the cockpit team much easier when fighting a fish, and is really nice for those times you’d prefer to drive your boat out in the open air.

Rocket-launcher rod racks built onto the cabin roof are designed to hold four outfits at any angle. There are also two rodholders on each side deck and more rod storage built into the interior-cabin sides.

Side and grab rails on the roof improve safety for anyone going forward. The passageway is wide enough for fishing and once at the bow there’s a nice open space with easy access to the anchor locker and electric windlass.

However, the feature that really sets the Arvor range apart is the enclosed pilothouse. The 810 sports a roomy version that has been well utilised, boasting comforts unusual on a boat of this size.

Room To Move

The large, lockable cabin has been set towards the bow to provide maximum space in the cockpit while still retaining ample interior room. A substantial entrance door slides wide for easy access and can seal the cabin from the elements or be left open for a good flow of air.

There’s a skipper’s chair to starboard and a mate’s seat opposite, with a central walkway and an infill for a third position between the two fixed seats.

The simple galley to starboard includes a moulded bench with a sink connected to the 80L freshwater tank and a single gas burner stove. It’s also worth noting that a metho stove will be supplied on future models for ease of compliance. There’s a cover over the sink that doubles as a cutting board and adds to the preparation space, and a 12v upright fridge/freezer is conveniently placed under the mate’s chair.

Supplies for a few days on board can either be stored under the galley bench, in a shelf along the side or in hatches in the cabin sole. Adding to the liveaboard amenity is an enclosed head forward of the helm station with a sea toilet connected to a 28L holding tank.

Up to four crew can comfortably sit at the dinette in the bow, and by dropping the table and adding the supplied inserts the whole bow section converts into a wide double berth. A big roof hatch and sliding widows help to retain good light and air flow throughout the cabin.

Wrap-around windows provide uninterrupted vision for the skipper, and seating is comfortable and within easy reach of the controls. The 22cm (9-inch) Evo2 Simrad GPS/sounder and Mercury Smartcraft gauges are well positioned on the sharply sloping grey dash, with the switches for trim tabs, bow thruster and anchor winch all conveniently at hand.

Easy To Manoeuvre

At low speeds the boat has a bow-down feel, but is easily manoeuvrable, especially with the bow thrusters easing us into tight situations. As throttle is engaged and the hull moves up onto the plane, the bow lifts to its running stance, allowing the gull-wing chines to lift the boat from the water and deflect spray away from the hull.

Power is from a latest-generation common-rail Mercury diesel delivering 220hp and loads of low-down torque. While sound insulation around the engine box is very effective, there’s no mistaking the familiar acoustics and feel of a diesel.

We were out of the hole at a credible 13 knots and 2500rpm, and acceleration was progressive to a maximum of 24 knots at a wide-open throttle of 4000rpm. However, the rig felt much happier backed off to a mid-3000rpm range, which gave us the feeling it could run forever in the lumpy 1.5m swell and short wind chop of our boat test.

Comfortable Ride

Ride at this speed was comfortable, with minimal banging over the steeper water. Noise levels, especially with the door closed, were modest and allowed normal conversation. Stability at rest was impressive, aided by the deep chines and flatter running surface at the transom.

Even into sharp turns the Arvor has the feel of a catamaran with an upright stance. The buoyancy of the oversize chines helps keep the hull from leaning, while handling is predictable and safe with effortless response from hydraulic steering.

A cruising speed of 21 knots may not seem exciting to those who like a rocketing run to the grounds, but let’s be realistic –it’s not often that sea conditions allow you to run faster than that, no matter what boat you’re in.

If an enclosed cabin and an affordable fuel bill are more important to you, then this latest semi-displacement 810 Diesel could suit you perfectly.

Base pricing is $154,500, including trim tabs, bow thruster, lockup cabin and electric windlass. Additional options like the enclosed toilet and outside helm station and electronics will see the package come in around $170,000. This is a reasonable outlay, especially considering its versatility and low-maintenance costs, as well as its very favourable resale price.


  • People: 8
  • Rec. HP: 220hp
  • Fuel: 300L
  • Water: 80L


  • Type: Pilothouse monohull
  • Material: GRP
  • Length: 8.3m LOA
  • Beam: 2.93m
  • Weight: 2775kg


  • Make/model: Mercury QSD2.8-220
  • Type: In-line, four-cylinder, turbo-charged diesel
  • Weight: 360kg
  • Displacement: 2800cc
  • Propeller: 4-blade 52cm (20.5”) x 45cm (18”)
Arvor 810 Diesel Boat Test

Author and photography: John Ford
Supplied by: Arvor Australia

This boat test ran in ISSUE 115 of BlueWater magazine – FEB-MARCH 2016

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

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