Salpa Laver 23xl: the affordable cruise

With a MerCruiser inboard, Salpa Laver 23xl is an excellent boat to start boating in the best way.

After our test with the outboard Evinrude engine (here’s our test on BoatMag International), it’s now time for the 23xl with inboard and sterndrive. The powertrain is more suitable to a boat which makes cruising her main mission. The 23xl is an excellent entry level for who wants to start boating and have the thrill of spending a night at sea with no surprises.  The package in our case features a V6, 250 HP MerCruiser 4.5L,  last-gen inboard by Mercury coupled here to a Bravo III sterndrive.


All the pros of Salpa Laver 23xl

You immediately realize how Salpa Laver 23xl is designed for cruising. Even more so, as this model is the first boat from the Italian builder to sport a wide hull, to give more stability while cruising and at anchor. A solution which allowed to offer more inner room, exploited in the best way to grant a belowdeck livability normally unseen on a 7.60 meter boat.
First pro of an inboard engine is to leave enough space for a full-beam swim platform, perfect for diving and staying in touch with the water. Just abow, a solarium faces back and is well protected by a low handrail and by the fender holders. The size is not that large but can be enhanced by tilting the backseat of the sofa. A passage to port leads to the cockpit, where a dinette is developed around a U settee to starboard and a center, removable table. On the port side, a chaise longue hides the kitchenette with sink and stove. To complete the amenities, there’s a refrigerator and the fresh water shower.

The essential dashboard can be faced while sitting or standing, looking at the digital gauges of the Lowrance display and the analogue ones by Mercury. I would have gone for a fully-digital solution, maybe including the advanced and rational VesselView by Mercury.

As on the outboard version, the only limit I can find is the look, which is quite impersonal, not proper of a brand new model. The roll-bar stands above the cockpit and hinders the lines, but is very useful to support the two awnings that give shade from the hottest sun.
The sides look sleek despite tall, and some more portholes would have helped. The construction is flawless: the resin is vacuum-infused, while the finish is cured and the color patterns are chosen with flair.
When moving belowdecks I must confess that the light is enough, despite the limited portholes. The companion door is transparent yet opaque, so sun and privacy both play their part. Two steps down lead me to four berths: two amidships under the cockpit, with enough headroom and a relatively good access, another two to the fore but in alternative to the V-shaped dinette. There’s no galley, which would have been a pointless repetition of the one outside, while the head offers plenty of space and supports the feeling of being on a larger boat.


The test of Salpa Laver 23xl

I tested the 23xl with inboard engine some minutes after the 23x with 2-stroke Evinrude outboard. The sea is choppy, and the heavier power unit should be less agile in crossing the waves. First positive impression comes from the (low) noise figures, which I read in the cabin with the companionway open. Sure with calmer sea they would have been even lower, to grant a really quiet cruise.
The 4.5 liter, V6 Mercruiser delivers 250 HP and seems responsive enough: 4.9 seconds to plane, and a top speed of 36 knots at 5000 rpm. I believe the preferred pace with Laver 23xl will be around 25 knots, where the engine revs at 3500 and sips 35 liters per hour. Trying the minimum planing speed bring us down to 2500 rpm, for 13 knots and around 22 lph.


Despite a heavier displacement, our navigation proves this Salpa Laver 23xl to be a good boat in any condition. Even when pushing too hard on the throttle or turning suddenly the wheel, the response is always sincere and the boat feels safe, while impact on the waves is smooth enough.
If I had to cast my vote, I believe I would go for the version with inboard engine, also taking into consideration the depreciation (although not the maintenance costs, due to a higher purchase price). If you’re looking for the real champion in low running costs, then you can also evaluate the diesel engine.

The numbers of Salpa Laver 23xl

Length overall 7.60 m (24ft 11)
Length hull LH 7.33 (24 ft)
Beam 2.53 (8ft 3in)
Displacement 2250 Kg
Engine MerCruiser 4.5L V6 250 HP
Fuel reserve 195 (51 US gal)
Fresh water reserve 70 (18 US gal)
Passengers 7
CE design category  C


Standard equipment

White hull – stainless steel pulpit – 4 S/S cleats – steel bow fitting  – S/S fuel tank – blower for tank bay – engine bay blower – automatic fire-extinguishing system, CE compliant – fuel gauge – water pump – automatic bilge pump – manual bilge pump – self-draining cockpit – 12V electric system – thermal switchers – battery cutoff – navigation lights – anchor light – USB port – compass – horn – S/S and black leather wheel – steel pad eye on stem – 2 transom pad eyes – skylight – cabin port light – head port light – windshield – fiberglass roll-bar – fuel filter – transom shower – cockpit shower – cockpit table – LED cockpit light – adjustable pilot seat – cockpit bench – adjustable cockpit backseat – aft sunpad – cockpit kitchenette (optional propane stove) with sink and tap – sliding companion door – cabin lockers – inner LED lights – head door – manual potty – head lights – head mirror – cabin mirror – stowage lockers – 94/25/CE safety equipment – owner’s manual.
500W winch, 30m chain and 7.5 Kg anchor – bow sun cushion – propane stove – cockpit refrigerator – electric potty – double battery system – copies of CE certification and compliance certificate.



Test conditions
Moderate sea, temperature 24° C (75° F), clean hull, fuel 140 l (36 US gal), water 35 lt (9 US gal), passengers 3
Price (VAT not included)
MerCruiser gas, 4,3 l 220 HP € 54.500
MerCruiser gas, 4,5 l V6 250 HP € 59.700
Volvo Penta D3 Diesel 170 HP € 68.700


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