Here’s the thing: The Galeon 385 HTS is a yacht so well-built that some U.S. builders might be well-advised to use it as a benchmark. MarineMax is importing it not just because the exchange rate makes it attractive in U.S. dollars, but also because the Galeons are built to high standards and thoughtfully designed.
The 385 HTS is a Euro-styled hardtop express cruiser from English mega-yacht designer Tony Castro, whose designs for Galeon have consistently earned European Powerboat of the Year awards, including in 2016.
First take: This boat has amazing natural light. There are big windows around the cabin house, a huge sunroof that glides open quietly, an atrium effect in the lower salon from several skylights, and more skylights over the owner’s stateroom forward.
Second take: Wow! Look at the details. Every drawer, locker and cabinet is fully lined with real walnut, some of it impeccably inlaid with maple. The stainless-steel rail welds and even the port lights (made in-house) are like fine jewelry. The fiberglass molding work, also done completely in-house, rivals the best we’ve seen.
The basic layout of the master stateroom forward and the guest cabin aft under the cockpit isn’t unusual, but Galeon accomplished it with style (and full headroom). The master has a queen-size berth with a head en suite and a shower for the 3X sizes among us, and the aft cabin has twin berths that glide smoothly on tracks to become another queen for connubial couples. This also has its own head en suite with another 3X shower with a teak seat.
Spend time ferreting around the 385 HTS and you’ll discover all manner of cleverness. Every nook and cranny has useful and accessible stowage, from the Transformer-like shelving under the galley that unfolds to fully utilize space that would otherwise be lost, to the fold-down vanity for m’lady with a lighted mirror and storage for cosmetics in another lost space in the owner’s stateroom.
The skipper gets a wonderfully ergonomic helm with the throttle/shifters and joystick cantilevered on a base that is exactly where the hand falls naturally. We noted 360-degree visibility with a huge one-piece windshield with pantograph wipers that sweep in formation. Slick trick: A teak “deck” folds down so the skipper can stand behind the tilt wheel with his head through the open sunroof.
The layout of the 385 might be called schizophrenic; the main deck (Galeon calls it a “skydeck” with good reason) is about entertaining, with a settee-cum-chaise opposite the helm and an oversize dinette around a folding high-low table, plus an outdoor galley with a grill, sink and refrigerator. Do you want to party with a dozen close friends? No problem. But the 385 HTS is also a getaway for two couples at night, with lots of privacy (i.e., separation between cabins) and two heads. Yep, definitely schizo.
Those couples can dine at the lower dinette with its gorgeous inlaid table, served from the compact galley with a two-burner cooktop and Isotherm refrigerator/freezer.
The Galeon 385 HTS has been upgraded and Americanized specifically for MarineMax, starting with the larger 370 hp Volvo Penta D6 diesels with Aquamatic sterndrives and joystick controls. An 8 kW Fischer Panda genset provides power, a Dometic Marine Air chilled-water air conditioner keeps everything cool (including the helm), and the usual options are standard, from the Cablemaster shore power to a full Raymarine electronics package of radar, chart plotter, GPS and autopilot.
We have to call out the huge garage with its transom door. It can hold a 9-foot tender easily, and the floor rises on lifts to reveal — and we mean reveal — the entire engine room. It needs a ladder, but you can really get to everything easily. It scores big points for engine access.
MarineMax also adds a humongous teak-planked swim platform that is sure to become the family beach. Going toward the pointy end, we give Galeon gold stars for wide side decks with handrails every inch of the way, plus double lifelines that are solid.
If you’re looking at the Galeon 385 HTS, you should consider the Prestige 420S, which is about the same size with its big swim platform and two cabins, priced about $542,600 for the base boat with twin Volvo IPS-500s. Galeon is priced below similar Sea Ray and Azimut models.
Underway, we ran the 385 HTS in a lumpy Gulf Stream with slop like a washing machine, and the V-bottom (22-degree deadrise midship, 16 degrees at the transom) took it all in stride. Spin the wheel at full throttle, throw the 385 off waves at weird angles, and it seemed to say, “Bring it on!” In between the lumpy bits, we topped out at a solid 35-plus-knot average, which is plenty quick. And, to the delight of the dock crew waiting to hose our 385 down, we didn’t get a single drop of salt spray on deck.
MarineMax imported a half-dozen Galeons and sold two before ever announcing they’d arrived. So let’s see; it’s well-built with a beautiful layout, lots of cleverness and a low price. The Galeon 385 HTS is a great boat — no joke.