BOAT TEST: Balt 818 Titanium
The Balt 818 Titanium is manufactured by the long-established Polish boatbuilding company Balt-Yacht. They have made a name for themseslves as a manufacturer of numerous well known international brands.
At 27'6" long and 8'10" wide the Balt 818 Titanium is a substantial cruiser, whose modern lines set her apart from the competition right away. Its standard cockpit hard-top design gives it a Starship Enterprise look and with its huge cabin windows, it certainly looks futuristic.
Although the dark tint windscreen follows this modern look, we prefer the alternative clear option as in poor weather (or cruising at dusk) it provides better visibility.
On our test boat the skipper had the optional - and extremely comfortable - upgraded helm seat and enjoyed an impeccable view. For added comfort, there was a footrest.
The dashboard is equipped with multifunctional Yamaha CL5 digital displays which is standard on 40hp engine options. There is still sufficient space for additional navigation instruments. The single level gear and throttle control felt positive, and the quality you would expect from Yamaha.
Surprisingly, hydraulic steering is standard equipment (normally a costly option on most boats) and makes light work out of maneuvering. On entering the cabin, you immediately notice how airy and light it is with an impressive 6'4" headroom. The large hull windows catch your eye, which gives you a great panoramic view of the water: One is located above the galley, the other in the dinette area.
The dinette can be transformed into an additional berth using the table. Our test model was fitted with the diesel-powered Webasto cabin heater which would provide some cosy warmth in colder months. Adjacent to the galley is the fully lined bathroom with pump-out toilet and wash hand basin. The two useful extras we would recommend for the toilet compartment would be the shower upgrade and the indispensable porthole blinds.
The bow berth measures an impressive 6'4" x 5'10" with storage below. Even though there is an option to have this separated with a bulkhead and door, we fell the open plan layout worked best. The smaller aft underfloor berth is 6'5"x 3'8", and has a privacy curtain.
The impressive cockpit has a practical layout and deep freeboard for younger crew members - with an extremely handy central XXL storage locker. With safety always at the forefront of a skipper's mind, the offset non-slip side decks are welcome, which are an amazing 17" wide on the starboard side and still a respectable 4" to port. The extended bathing platform make low level boarding a breeze with step-free access into the cockpit.
The Yamaha 40hp four-stroke outboard engne is barely audible at idle speed, and with the gear engaged we glide forward at 1.2 knots - ideal for navigating marinas and locks. At river speed of 4.0 knots fuel consumption is just over 2 l/h.
If your cruising will be non-tidal or inland, the 25hp engine option would be more than adequate. We would suggest the 40hp option for effortless cruising inland. Although perfect for inland waterways the Balt Yacht 818 has a CE Category C making it suitable for sheltered coastal cruising, where we would suggest 70hp would be the minimum with the largest 115hp option providing speeds in excess of 20knots.
In summary, the Balt 818 Titanium can be best described as the perfect family-friendly cruiser. Absolute plus points from our point of view are the superb light and airy cabin and ease of access and movement around the deck. In combination with the amazingly smooth Yamaha 40hp, you have a great low maintenance, low fuel consumption inland boating package. We look forward to trying the 115hp version.