Newport Show Opens with More Great Looking – and More Powerful – Boats than Ever Before
By Peter A. Janssen
The Newport show, the first of the fall boat show season, just opened, with more boats than ever before and, to my mind, more great-looking and great-performing boats than ever before.
The brand-new Palm Beach 50GT, for example, just launched for the show, is boating eye-candy writ large, with a head-turning sapphire blue hull, low profile, drop-dead gorgeous tumblehome and curves everywhere. The fact that it tops out a 42 knots, driven by twin 600-hp Volvo IPS800s, is just icing on the nautical cake. “This boat does everything well,” Mark Richards, the CEO of Palm Beach Yachts and Grand Banks, told me. “It’s different, it’s beautiful and it’s fast. It’s like a Porsche 911.” Base price is $1.8 million.
One dock over, an ever-changing crowd climbed aboard the new Back Cove 34O, the first outboard-powered cruiser from the traditional Maine builder. Powered by twin 300-hp Yamahas, the new Back Cove tops out at 37.5 knots; with optional twin 350-hp Suzukis, it hits 40.5 knots. It’s built as a couple’s cruiser, and it has all the amenities for a long-weekend, or more, on the water. Stepping around the line of people waiting to get on the boat, Bentley Collins, the VP of marketing for Back Cove and its parent, Sabre, said, “People seem to love the boat. They love the idea of going 40 knots instead of 20 knots.”
Another new speedster, the Hinckley 40 sportboat, is also from Maine and is also the company’s first outboard boat. The new sportboat is a beauty, in the Hinckley tradition (Hinckley is the builder that invented the Picnic Boat genre, a worldwide success). The new 40, which has a cabin suitable for weekending or more (and enough headroom for me, and I’m about 6’2”), is powered by three 300-hp Mercury Verado outboards. With optional three 350-Mercs, top speed is 54 mph. Base price for the 300-hp version is $725,000; for the 350-hp upgrade, $844,000.
If you want to go faster, with even more outboards, Formula launched its new 400 SC at the show, a 60-mph big day boat or weekender powered by four 350-hp Mercury Verados. John Adams, Formula’s legendary designer, told me the boat is so quiet at 60-mph that people can talk at the helm without raising their voices. They’ll be protected from the weather by a well-designed hardtop and large glass windows at the helm. Boat show price for the new Formula is $836,000.
Read more about the show and our reviews of 29 new boats here: