Powerboats & Motoryachts
While the sunshine patriots and people trying to show off their new-found wealth have pretty much deserted the boating market, veteran yachtsmen and people who embrace boating as a way of life are still there. Proof of that was at the fall boat shows this year from Newport, RI to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. While about half of the new boats seen previously on display were in evidence this year, and crowds were cut nearly in half, sales were generally better than many had expected. That is because the bedrock of boating which is made up of the die-hards, the enthusiasts, the people who eat-sleep-and-breath boats, are still out there doing their research, their due diligence, trying to decide which boat is really better for them. For these boaters – this year about 135,000 people in America bought a new boat --
it is not a matter of will they buy a boat, but which one will they buy. Brand A or Brand B. There are still some large boats in stock, boats commissioned by dealers in the days of froth, or produced by builders trying to make their accrual books look better at year end.
Given the recent up-tick in sales, we’d say those boats won’t last much longer, and then it will be a matter of having to build a boat to order – and waiting. To help you coalesce your new-boat thinking and move toward a decision we are presenting a “Special Edition” of Offshore Motoryacht this week. We have selected over 20 boats that we have featured over the past year over 30' that, in our opinion, have some distinguishing features or characteristics. Take a good look at the boats that strike your fancy. Remember the lessons you have learned over the last year about
the finer points of large boat connoisseurship. Now more than ever, buying the right boat and not making a mistake is an imperative.
Hargrave 84 Mar Azul
“Disappearing Raised Pilothouse” Design
Hargrave Custom Yachts has long sought to drive home to the motoryacht-buying public how far customers can go to “personalize” the boats they build. Nothing dramatizes the point better than this innovative new design concept which looks like a raised
pilothouse motoryacht on the outside, but on the inside does not waste valuable main deck real estate as do conventional pilothouse configurations. According to Hargrave owner Mike Joyce, “This boat was designed to be handled by a husband and wife,” and is equipped with everything a cruising couple will need. This video
is a "must see" if you are in the market for a motoryacht. Take a look at the Mar Azul from Hargrave.
Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe
Cruisers Yachts have some new kids on the block and the 420 Sports Coupe is one of them. This model addresses one of the age-old issues some of us have with a hardtop. Some express hardtops have a foot or so of islinglass between the top of the windshield
and the hardtop. Other boats bring the hardtop down so low to meet the windshield
that you can't stand up at the helm with the sunroof closed. The folks at
Cruisers Yachts obviously use the boats they build so they know how to design them.
Note that the Cruisers 420 has a windshield that reaches the hardtop AND the skipper
can stand with the sunroof closed. She is
a big, rugged 42-footer that we think is very tough to beat in her class.
FYI -- "factory-direct" pricing is still in effect when you order through a dealer.
Take a look at the Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe --
Your First Motoryacht
The Hatteras 60 Motor Yacht:
A Good Place to Start
There comes a time in some fortunate peoples’ lives when they are ready for a motoryacht. But there are dozens of them on the market at all sorts of price points with all manner of features and attributes. All of their salesmen say pretty much the same thing, and all of their ads explain the mission of their boats with pictures of very slim women who look like high-maintenance -- so what is a first-time motoryacht buyer to do? If you are one of those lucky souls who can afford a motoryacht, consider this article a starting point in your quest for the perfect vessel. If you are like most people we know that own them, you are in for serial monogamy – in love with one lady at time – and you’ll be moving up to ever more exhilarating and seductive sirens as time goes by. We think the Hatteras 60 Motor Yacht – which is the smallest one the company builds – is a good place to start. By the time you have owned one for a year or two, you’ll know both motor yachts and yourself a lot better, and where you want to go from there.
Bon voyage --
Is Better Than Ever
In the 1990s Azimut broke away from the pack and became the largest selling brand of large motoryachts in the world. For over 15 years it has held that distinction and as time goes on not only do Azimut’s boats continue to be the most exciting spectacles in fiberglass production motoryachts, but more recently their quality and reliability has improved markedly, as well. The Azimut 85 is their most popular large yacht and more of these 85’ models have been sold than any other brand. Not surprisingly, each year it simply keeps getting better and better as Azimut designers
install their latest ideas for the Romantic yachtsmen and the lucky ladies in their
lives. The 2010 model has still more innovations, but more importantly to us, what goes on in the belly of the beast is as impressive as the topsides are chic. Reliability
is now a major focus of Azimut. Join us as we take an in-depth look at what has become an iconic motoryacht in the 80 something class.
She’s more than bella figura --
Formula 353 FASTech:
Are You Man Enough?
Speed is basically a simple combination of thrust, weight and bottom shape. Add a lot of horses, throw in just the right amount of lightness-- stir, and serve. But Formula Boats chose not to follow that standard recipe. They wanted a boat that maintained the Formula performance, but also one that was wrapped in luxury and class. Along the way Formula president, Scott Porter, became a two-time national
and world champion in his own creations that led to a new line. That new line
was called FASTech. The first model of the new FASTechs was the 353. Subtle changes followed but the FASTech line endured and has now grown into four classic models. This current 353 is the newest version of the Formula line of go-fast boats, but it still follows in the deep-v tradition pioneered by the founder of Formula,
Don Aronow, years ago.
Find out the thrill Don discovered --
Meridian 580 Pilothouse
Is for Serious Cruising
Since first running our test on the Meridian 580 nearly a year ago she has become
a sterling sales success in a year when other new boats her size were wall flowers.
The reason for her tremendous market acceptance is her attractive design and the fact that
she is a an impressive value no matter how you want to look at it. Capt. Steve put the 580 through her paces and he was taken both with the boat’s handling and with the execution of her interior joiner work. She has a surprising list of standard equipment that is usually optional on many boats. Moreover, a lot of good, solid design planning went into the 580 which shows us that this is the builder to watch during the next several years. The Meridian 580 is an outstanding contender in her class – and a million dollars less than some of her competition! Alaska or the Bahamas,
Don’t miss Capt. Steve’s full report --
Larson Cabrio 370:
A Joystick Pioneer
The latest Larson 370 builds on the success of the past models while adding new enhancements. The big difference is the Volvo Penta IPS/Joystick gas engines. Why buy a gas-powered
30-something express cruiser without it? Say you don't want a Volvo Penta?
No problem -- Larson would be glad to install a MerCruiser with an Axius joystick.
The folks at Larson aim to please. Larson has a 5-year stem to stern warranty program on all of their boats. When it comes to price,
Larson has sharpened its pencil, so put the 370 on your short list. Take a look at the Cabrio 370 from Larson --
The Bertram 360:
Mickey Takes a Holiday
Capt. Steve looks at a boat the way a working professional captain looks at a boat. That’s because he is one. And if you’ve ever known a professional captain you know that they don’t have much patience for Mickey Mouse stuff. (Sorry, Mickey, but your
name has become synonymous with cheap imitations in many parts of the world.
Back off, Disney lawyers.) Cheap stuff breaks and poorly designed boats make the captain’s job even harder. Capt. Steve doesn’t put up with much marketing hype either, and is sort of like Dragnet’s Detective Friday -- “Just the facts, Mam.”
All of this is to say that the Bertram 360 Express is a Bertram yacht -- and they
have never been built better than they are today.
There are a number of express fishboats on the market in this size range, so let’s hear what Capt. Steve has to say about the Bertram 360 --
If you are ready to move up into a 30-something express cruiser but are underwhelmed
by the me-too designs of many mass-market builders, then you need to look at the
32' Doral Prestancia.
With more than 30 years of boat building under their belts, Doral has never strayed
from their dedication to bringing quality boats to the water. The Prestancia is
another example of how well Doral also manages to combine comfortable features with
sleek, and smooth flowing lines to create a nice looking, and very classy weekender.
With a long list of color and fabric choices, as well as seventeen different engine
packages, a Doral Prestancia can truly be a personalized cruiser. Doral is a boutique production builder in Quebec, Canada, near the Ontario
border. These boats are a refreshing combination of French sex-appeal and English
practicality, in our opinion. Join us as
Capt. Rob takes us on a video tour of the Doral Prestancia. Would you like some Grey Poupon while you’re aboard?
Viking Yachts 76 Convertible
Has 5 Staterooms/River View
Last year Viking Yachts introduced its new 82 convertible and hull #14 is now in
progress. Buyers liked her full-beam master stateroom, but for some people 82’ was
just a bit more boat than they needed. Since Viking could not convert its existing
74-footer to a full beam master, it did the next best thing – it built an all-new
76! This new battlewagon has five staterooms with four heads, a day head by the
cockpit door, and Viking’s patented VIPER steering system. With a 20’3”/6.17 m beam
and a displacement of 136,200 lbs./61,779 kg she is much more than just a sportfisherman
on steroids, she is also a go-anywhere motoryacht that can comfortably accommodate
To find out all about her, see interior drawings, and discover her price --
The New Kadey-Krogen 64 Expedition:
You Could Be Her First Owner!
If you have ever wanted to be the first at something in yachting, now is your chance.
Kadey-Krogen is looking for the first owner of the exciting 64' Expedition design
shown above. Both Capt. Steve and veteran BoatTEST.com editor, Jeff Hammond,
have thoroughly studied her plans and both think she is an ideal size -- not too
big and not too small -- to be a very comfortable world cruiser for a couple and
friends, or a couple and a mate. What sets Kadey-Krogen designs apart from other long range cruising builders is its uncompromising approach to building a true
displacement vessel with a bottom shape that is sea-kindly and has the constitution
fit for a commercial vessel. It is not generally known, but the way most large
"production" fiberglass boats get started is when a yachtsman goes to a builder,
finds a design he likes, and opens his check book. By signing a contract with progress payments,
the builder uses the first owner's money (along with his own
cash) to build the tooling, then the boat. Usually, if all goes well, the
owner gets a very customized boat at a price much less than the boat will sell for
Well let's just see what Capt. Steve has to say --
Four Winns News
Four Winns New V408:
Largest 40 on the Market
When Capt. Steve saw the Four Winns V408, it was virtually “love at first sight”. Capt. Steve is probably our grumpiest captain, but he was actually smitten with the V408. In fact, the more he toured the clever innovations that this boat had to offer, the harder he fell for her. But being Capt. Steve, he still managed to find one thing he didn’t care for! How did this guy ever manage to find a girl he wanted to marry?
So what’s wrong with this beautiful-looking boat?
Sunseeker Predator 64:
Designed with Attitude
At the London Boat Show last January Sunseeker introduced its new Predator 64, a boat that the builder calls a “performance motoryacht” and says is capable of 35 knots, with the big diesels. She has three staterooms, a bunk for a crewman aft and décor that is as chic as anything the Italians could dream up, in fact it is Italian. Last winter BoatTEST’s COO visited the London Show and made a video of the new Predator 64, so if you have never been aboard a Sunseeker, here’s your chance. But be forewarned that this boat is not for everyone, nor does Sunseeker want to sell it to just anyone. Only people with a fat checkbook, or a Goldman-Sachs bonus
coming, need apply. Take off your Topsiders, please -- (Gucci loafers are okay.)
See Sunseeker Predator 64 video --
Still Going Strong
Its long overhangs, both fore and aft, stretch the boat to its 52-foot length, and she weighs only 34,000 lbs., nevertheless she packs more into her footprint than most express cruisers under 54' and much more displacement manage these days. The Regal 52 Sport Coupe (formerly called the 5260) has a mid cabin with full standing head room, a roomy salon below with electric lounge seats and Star Trek-like controls, a large bridge deck with a helm seat that is electric, large windshields that allow you to stand at the helm with the sky light closed, and a garage aft for a small dinghy. Those are just a few things that 52 Sport Coupe has.
Charity Hughes takes us through the interior--
Come along as Capt. Steve checks out the helm--
Watch detailed video about the garage--
Arrange a test drive --
Sea Ray News
Sea Ray 44 Sedan Bridge:
Two Staterooms and a Bridge
Sea Rays typically bring to mind thoughts of express cruisers and low profile Sundancers.
However, once in a while you need to get higher for better visibility such as when
operating in the pot-infested waters of New England, or perhaps when navigating
around coral reefs of the southern latitudes. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your beloved Sea Rays
behind to get a cruiser with a flying bridge – just take a look at the Sea Ray 44
Sedan Bridge. The 44 Sedan Bridge is a perfect size for a pair of cruising couples
or a family, while even leaving additional room for the occasional overnight guests.
We sent Capt. Steve to give a close inspection of the Sea Ray 44 Sedan Bridge and
report back to us. Check out Capt. Steve’s report here --
Jeanneau is Coming
Prestige 38 Express to U.S.
Jeanneau is France's largest boat builder and has long been world-famous for their full line of sailboats. In the 1980s this innovative company broke tradition and created a line of sleek, user-friendly sailboats that captured sailors’ imagination and won their hearts and their wallets. Jeanneau now is the largest builder of fiberglass production
sailboats in the world. If the past is prelude, will they do the same thing in the powerboat field? For the last eight years Jeanneau has been building powerboats and now has ten 30' to 50' express and flying bridge models in their line. Jeanneau calls its powerboat line “Prestige.” They are modern and innovative and because the company is trying to break into the U.S. they are comparatively low-priced. If you are interested in something a little different with a European flare you should check out Jeanneau's Prestige line.
See video review of the Prestige 38 S --
Sign up for a special viewing of the Prestige 38 S --
Ocean Yachts 37 Billfish:
Back to the Future
It is not often that a new design concept comes along in boating, and when one does, we often find that it is a throwback to something done years ago that got lost. Such an example is the Ocean Yachts 37 Billfish. She is actually better set-up in many ways for sportfishing than the traditional convertible. That, together with the fact that there is a downsizing trend going on among offshore sportsmen, means that she is the right boat for the times for many blue water anglers. We like her utility, her cockpit and her economical operation.
Join Capt. Steve as he takes a video look at a boat offshore fishermen should consider.
Down East Express
Grand Banks Eastbay 55SX
Grand Banks has built in more room for entertainment and cruising with the 55SX,
making the cabin 3' longer than it was in their old 54. For the single handlers, there is now a starboard side door for the helmsman. There are additional changes at the helm which make it more comfortable for long cruises, such as the plush captain’s chair and powered sunroof. The 55SX features two cabins and two heads as the standard layout, but she is also available with three cabins.
Take a look at Eastbay 55SX.
Fairline Targa 44 Gran Turismo
The Targa 44 Gran Turismo is purpose-built to take advantage of the IPS system and now with the Electronic Vessel Control (EVC) functionality, Volvo makes life a lot easier at the helm.
Topside accommodations are matched with a large saloon and two staterooms so you can chose to stay out overnight whenever the mood strikes. Conveniences like electric stern bench seat back and cockpit bar will be popular choices to enhance that pampered feeling you want. The electric retractable roof means you can stand up and feel the wind in your face as you pilot the 44 to your favorite destinations.
aboard the Targa 44 --
Mainship Pilot 45:
Affordable Coastal Cruising
Mainship’s Pilot 45 is an affordable way to go coastal cruising for two couples or a small family. This 38,000 lb. displacement boat has a 15’6” beam and is powered by twin 440-hp Yanmar 6LY3-STP diesels which give her a WOT of 29.3 mph at 3380 rpm. We found best cruise to be at 2750 rpm where the boat goes 22 mph and has a fantastic range of 632 miles. If you are looking for low-cost operating expenses and twin diesels, you need to know more about the Mainship Pilot 45.
We asked Capt. Rob to give us an in-depth, detailed video look at this boat --
Windy 44 Sports Cruiser
“European Boat of the Year”
We know the editors of Boote Magazine in Hamburg, Germany and they are no wussies.
They named the Windy 44 Chinook hardtop sports cruiser “European Powerboat of the Year” in the under 50 ft. category at the Dusseldorf Boat Show in January.
The three double-stateroom, two full-head express cruiser has a deep-V hull and is powered by twin IPS600 diesels. It can get rough off the Norwegian coast,
and the Vikings that build Windy boats make them ready for most anything. If
all you need is a bay boat, save your money and look elsewhere.
BoatTEST.com COO Christopher Hughes was in Europe last winter and has a full video report on the exciting Windy 44 Chinook -- watch video.
'Tis the Season
BoatTEST's Boating Course Makes
a Great Present
BoatTEST.com has joined with Capt. Steve to present you with an 8 CD-ROM boating course that comes in a handsome plastic box. This course covers everything your
spouse, children, or friends need to know to be competent, safe boaters. It costs
only $69.95, plus shipping and handling. If that is over your budget, then why not
choose from one of five individual subject-area courses for only $19.95, plus shipping
and handling. And, if you were really smart, you’d simply order a bunch of these
courses and give them out to every boater on your gift list, and make it one-stop
shopping and be done with it. Order here --
Are You Looking
For a New Boat?
We have helped dozens of BoatTEST.com members this fall, and we'd be glad to help
you, too. We know how daunting it can be to find exactly the right boat for one's specific
application because so many boats look like they fit the bill. If you are
in the market for a NEW boat 18' or larger, our veteran staff will be glad to help
you, one-on-one, by email or phone. It is part of our "Member Services" program
and it is free to you. We receive no fee from builders or dealers -- so we
can be objective, and we can leverage our contacts
in the industry to help you get
what you want. To use this service you must be in the market to buy within
the next 6 months.
Sign in here --
Last Boat Show
Sea Ray Founder
Dies at 84
Cornelius Nathaniel "Connie" Ray III, founder of Sea Ray Boats, died Nov. 12 after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 84 years old. Ray founded Sea Ray in 1959 in Oxford, Mich., and built it into the world's largest boat company at the time
with 40 models from 17 feet to 60 feet. He sold the company in December 1986 to Brunswick Corp. for $350 million dollars. At the time the company had 4,500 employees and built 28,000 boats a year. More --
Drugs, Sex &
Last Friday a new movie opened around the U.S. titled “Pirate Radio” which dramatizes a period in British history during the 1960s when the U.K. government owned and monopolized the air waves -- and banned rock and roll! (Do you think Vlad Putin was taking notes?) Hard to believe, but true. Ironically, it wasn’t Tories or Labor or some off-the-wall libertarians who threw themselves on the barbed wire of government control, but rather it has a bunch of hopped-up DJs. It all takes place on boats anchored off the east coast of England in the North Sea which is why we're are telling the tale...and we enjoyed the movie. Read the real story --
See the official trailer for Pirate Radio--
Ducky Award Winner
"Look, the ferry costs $50. Take it or leave it, bub. And don't forget to tip the
- R. Rother
"O.K., lets see if they're still buds when the owl starts pooping on his head."
- R. Davis
Honorable (almost) Mentions
"Don't mind us ladies...we're just cruisin' for 'chics'." - M. Murphy
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