Clearly designed by Darth Vader’s naval architect, the Galeon 430 HTC (Hardtop Coupe) is a delight. Swoopy black-and-white exterior styling is matched on the interior by a helm evidently nicked directly from Vader’s flagship, complete with a mezzanine-style raised platform. Surrounded by a stainless-steel rail, it provides the skipper with not only superb all-around visibility but also the chance to growl, “I will show you the true nature of the Force!”
Most galleys are either up (in the salon) or down (out of sight below), but the Galeon has a sort-of-up galley. It’s actually in a sunny atrium under the huge windshield, so it doesn’t take up salon space because, really, you probably don’t spend enough time cooking to waste a big chunk of salon. On the Galeon, the semidown galley lets the cook stay in the conversation and makes it easy to pass munchies to Darth at the helm or to the Wookies at the salon dinette. Points for big hull windows, large counter space, including a cover over the double stainless-steel sink, and clever stowage in every nook. Cook-friendly goodies include a two-burner Kenyon cooktop, undercounter microwave/convection oven, and full-height fridge.
The master stateroom has a king-size berth (actually 2 inches wider than a king in the middle), and Galeon thoughtfully provides a full-height hanging locker that doesn’t rumple the bottom half of your clothing. Big windows on each side of the cabin have opening ports for fresh air, plus an overhead hatch. The spacious en-suite head features a vessel sink as well as a full-size stall shower — ahh, luxury — with an intricate Euro-style control panel that probably comes with its own manual.
Tucked aft, the guest cabin with twins that easily convert into a queen-size berth will prove suitable for either a family with kids or a weekending couple. This cabin boasts full-standing headroom and a full-height bureau for stowage. Find the day-head with shower just forward to serve the guest cabin. An optional third-cabin version is available but, frankly, this is cavelike and low.
The salon basks in brightness with an oversize opening sunroof and tinted moonroof, and even the cockpit overhang has a moonroof. The settee is to port with a large dinette opposite, and the three-piece sliding cockpit doors disappear behind the dinette. Galeon gets points for a high standard of finish from the diamond-pattern upholstery to the suede-covered walls.
The raised helm, which has full-standing headroom, is arranged to suit the captain of Darth’s Star Destroyer and is in nonglare black (of course) with a pair of Raymarine 22-inch screens up top, then a layer for the Volvo Penta engine monitor and the Galeon-proprietary monitor that shows lights on an outline of the 430 for every system in use. A row of well-labeled rocker switches and a Side-Power bow-thruster lever complete the dash package.
The double-wide helm seat has flip-up bolsters and armrests, as well as a properly positioned footrest for longer running, and looking forward, the huge one-piece windshield is unmarred by mullions and cleaned by a pair of long pantographic wipers. Besides the ergonomic dash, what I like about the helm is the opening window next to the skipper, who can lean out for a full side view when docking.
Galeon also gets points for putting sea rails on nearly every countertop, unlike some builders who apparently don’t realize that boats can roll, causing everything from sunglasses to chart books to slide off.
The L-shaped cockpit lounge is more flexible than a Transformer toy, shape-shifting from dinette to settee to sun pad. Galeon importer MarineMax completes the 430 with an extra-wide (5-plus feet) hydraulic transom platform highlighted by clever automatic stairs that unfold as the hydraulic platform is lowered, making it safe and easy to descend from cockpit level.
Impeccably welded stainless-steel chocks recessed in each side of the cockpit gunwale lead to equally impressive cleats, but the clever touch is the opening bin with a fiberglass lid just behind each cleat to stow the tail of your dock lines. No more spaghetti all over the deck.
Standard power aboard the 430 HTC is a pair of Volvo Penta D6 conventional shaft diesels of 435 hp each, and our test boat sported a Fischer-Panda 12 kW genset tucked under the cockpit. We topped out at over 35 mph (30.3 knots).
If you’re shopping, the Tiara 44 Sport Coupe ($903,704) is 2 feet longer, uses Volvo Penta IPS pod drives for similar speeds, and also offers a two-stateroom/two-head layout.
The Galeon 430 HTC proves a most impressive import, with a number of touches that are both thoughtful and seamanlike. Put this one on your short list.
“Hey, Leia, it’s me, Luke. Grab the kids and check out this Starfighter!”
- Bright and airy interior.
- High level of fit and finish in both the interior and exterior.
- Large galley with clever stowage and lots of counter space.
- Engine-room access is complicated and small.
- Exterior styling “beam” bisects the salon windows at eye height.
- Knee-level electrical panel.
Price: $879,000 (base)
Available Power: Inboard
How We Tested
Engine: Twin volvo Penta 435 D6
Drive/Prop: 23″ x 24″ 4-blade
Gear Ratio: 1.90:1
Fuel Load: 260 gal.
Crew Weight: 600 lb.
MarineMax – Clearwater, Florida; 888-705-7835; marinemax.com