Monday, June 21

Annapolis Powerboat Show: More New Boats than Ever, in Same Terrific Spot

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The United States Powerboat Show Annapolis is always a popular show – for a whole lot reasons. It’s fun, it’s easy to get to, and it’s easy to enjoy. And it’s in Annapolis, the hub of the Chesapeake, a cruising mecca with boatyards and marinas – and waterfront restaurants and bars – all around.

Centered around City Dock in the middle town, this year the show, the 46th annual, runs from Thursday, Oct. 12 through Sunday, Oct. 15, and has more new boats than ever before – 450 of them, in fact, ranging from 8 to 80 feet LOA. And this year many new boats will be introduced at the show, including the Hinckley Talaria 43 Flybridge, Helmsman Trawler 38E, and the Great Harbour TT 35. Other new boats include the Sabre 45 SE, Grand Banks 60, MJM 35z, Ranger Tugs 27, Nordhavn 59 CP, and Beneteau Swift Trawler 35.

There’s lots to do at the show itself, with dock after dock of new boats, plus tents full of displays of everything from new electronics to knife sharpeners. The show offers seminars from the Annapolis School of Seamanship, and has a Demo Dock, where show-goers can try out new boats, engines and stabilizing systems. And Pusser’s Painkiller Party Barge is always a popular destination throughout the show.

In conjunction with the show, there’s also the Brokerage Cove with used boats in St. Mary’s Cove on Spa Creek, just a five-minute walk from the show; if you want to relax, you can take a water taxi from the main show to the brokerage docks.

For me, the Annapolis show is a place to see new boats and accessories, to bask in history, and to take in some crab cakes at McGarvey’s or the Boatyard. I also try to work in my annual boat show breakfast at Chick & Ruth’s Delly on Main Street, just a few blocks up from the show, where everyone stands up and recites the Pledge of Allegiance at 8:30. For more.

And see our reviews of 23 new cruising boats you can see at the show here:


Although American Tugs are made in LaConner, Washington, about half are now sold on the East Coast as owners recognize the boats’ many advantages, including a sturdy hull, raised-pilothouse design, and ease of living on board. The new American Tugs 395 offers all that (including a ten-year hull warranty) plus a two-stateroom, one-head layout, a large salon and a pilothouse that can seat four, in addition to the captain. The pilothouse also has six opening windows, visibility all around, and side doors that give immediate access to the side decks.

The 395 has a cruising speed in the 15-knot range and, with a single 380-hp Cummins diesel, a range of about 1,000 nm if you dial back to 8 knots. The cockpit is protected by an overhang from the boat deck, while the side decks are wide and the rails are high. The master stateroom in the bow has a walkaround queen bed, lots of storage and a large head with stall shower. A guest stateroom has a single upper and double lower berth. The American Tugs 395 has Sapele mahogany paneling all around for an upscale look. Specs.: LOA: 41’6”; Beam: 13’3”; Draft: 3’5”; Disp.: 25,000 lbs. Fuel: 400 gals.; Water: 150 gals.; Power: 1×380-hp Cummins diesel. 



With its 21’6” draft carried all the way forward, the Aquila 44 catamaran has space – and more space – just about everywhere. The three-stateroom, three-head boat also has a lot of privacy. The master stateroom is forward with a king-sized bed, a small settee in a separate seating area and a large head and shower. The two separate hulls, meanwhile, mean the two more staterooms, one on the port side and one to starboard, are totally private, a major advantage during cruise with family or friends.

In the salon, the galley is aft, with a dining/sitting area forward; it’s bright and light, with windows all around. Up top, the bridge deck can hold a crowd. The upper helm seat can hold four, there are settees on each side and a wet bar and grill, with more seating, is aft. If you need to reach the bow for, say, anchoring or line handling, built-in stairs lead from the bridge down to the foredeck. For power, the Aquila 44 has two 225-hp Volvo diesels, which produce a cruising speed of 14 knots and a top speed of 19 knots. MarineMax Vacations uses the Aquila 44 in its charter fleet.

Specs.: LOA: 43’8”; Beam: 21’6”; Draft: 2’8”; Disp.: 35,053 lbs.; Fuel: 290 gals.; Water: 206 gals.; Power: 2×225-hp Volvo D4 diesels.



The Back Cove 32 was just named Best Powerboat Under 35 Feet at the Newport International Boat Show, a major honor for the Maine-built classic couple’s cruiser. I’ve been a fan of Back Coves since I tested the very first one they made, a 26, ten years ago, and I’ve tested every model since then. The single-diesel, fuel-efficient, user-friendly themes of the brand, combined with their iconic Downeast lines, make them very appealing, and the new 32 lives up to the company’s reputation.
You walk on the boat through a centerline door in the transom, and then the deck is level all the way forward to the companionway. The cockpit has matching L-shaped settees in both corners, and can be partially protected by an optional Sure-Shade awning. Forward, there’s a convertible U-shaped settee to port, with a cruising galley to starboard, all under hardtop.
Below, the head compartment is to port, while a separate shower stall is to starboard. A generous island berth is forward. Interior highlights are all in American cherry, but there is no wood on the exterior of the boat in keeping with Back Cove’s low-maintenance tradition.
The Back Cove fleet now stretches from 30 to 41 feet.
Specs: LOA: 37′; Beam: 11’10”; Draft: 3′; Disp.: 15,000 lbs. Fuel: 185 gals.; Water: 80 gals. Power: 1×370-hp Volvo diesel or 370-hp Yanmar diesel. Base Price: $320,000.


The Beneteau Swift Trawler 35, an update of the popular Swift Trawler 34, just made its debut at the Newport show. The new 35 has all the features of the 34, plus upgrades inside and out, the most obvious being new twin transom doors that open out to create a massive open space from the swim platform through the cockpit into the salon.

I have a very warm spot in my heart for the Beneteau Swift Trawler 34. Five years ago, I spent more than a week on one with George Sass Sr., the photographer, as we cruised 700 miles of the Great Loop from the top of Lake Michigan down to Chicago and then down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to Hoppie’s Marine Service, 20 miles below St. Louis. We found that living aboard was easy, with a large master and smaller guest cabin, a single head with shower, a bright open salon and a large cockpit where we relaxed each morning with coffee and each evening with something else.

The 34 was particularly easy to drive; visibility from the helm was great, and the door next to the helm opened to the starboard side deck, making line handling easy. Best of all, the single 425-hp Cummins diesel produced an all-day-long comfortable cruising speed of 16 knots, consuming just under 16 gph. The 34 was a solid-running, fuel-efficient, long-range cruiser on a semi-planing flared hull, and its modern French looks drew second- and third-looks everywhere we went.

The new Swift Trawler 35 has the same engine, so the performance should be the same, but it seems to have more windows to let in lots of natural light. The U-shaped galley on the port side opposite the helm has been redesigned a bit, there’s a new awning that extends from the flybridge out over the cockpit, and the flybridge itself comes with either a soft top or a Bimini, both with built-in LED lights.

Specs.: LOA: 37’0”; Beam: 13’0”; Draft; 3’8”; Disp.: 18,187 lbs.; Water: 80 gals.; Fuel: 211 gals.; Power: 1×425-hp Cummins diesel. For more:



Coastal Craft, founded in 1996 by Jeff Rhodes in Gibsons, B.C., about 25 miles north of Vancouver, is something else in the recreational boating market. Originally catering to the fishing and work boat industry, Coastal Craft are all built with commercial-quality welded aluminum hulls, with an emphasis on reliability, safety and seaworthiness. Gibsons is about 25 miles north of Vancouver on Georgia Strait, where the waters can be unpredictable at best.

The new Coastal Craft 45, the company’s flagship, is built with a planing hull (topping out at 32 knots), an upscale interior, two staterooms and two heads, and a large flybridge with boat deck. Inside, the large helm station has a doublewide seat, good visibility and joystick controls for the Volvo IPS 600 pod drives; there are also joystick controls in the cockpit to help with docking or fishing, and the flybridge. The interior is filled with cherry accents and has a teak and holly sole. The forward master has a queen and separate head and shower, as does the guest stateroom. A settee in the salon converts to a queen bed. Safety is a priority, with high side rails, solid handholds inside and out, safe passageways between decks, high quality hatches and doors, and watertight compartments and bulkheads.

Designed for serious cruising, the Coastal Craft 45 has a range of 400 nm at 27 knots, or about 1,500 nm at 8 knots. I tested a smaller Coastal Craft a few years ago in Vancouver with Rhodes, and I was impressed by the quality of the build and the interior, by the boat’s performance, and by the emphasis on cruising safety.

Specs.: LOA: 48’6”; Beam: 15’3”; Draft: 7’4”; Disp.: 38,500 lbs.; Fuel: 470 gals.; Water: 100 gals.; Power: 2×435-hp Volvo diesels with IPS 600 pod drives.



Cutwaters are made in Washington State by Fluid Motion, LLC, the same company that makes Ranger Tugs, and that was founded by the father-son team of David and John Livingston. They know how to build boats; David was president of Bayliner when the company was making 56,000 boats a year. And they know how to create value for their owners. Indeed, the new Cutwater 28, fully equipped with a 260-hp Volvo diesel, Garmin electronics, bow and stern thrusters and ready to cruise, carries a base price of $194,937. With an 8’6” beam, the 28 is trailerable, user-friendly and packed with lots of space-saving innovations that make cruising easy.

I have to admit a warm spot in my heart for the Cutwater 28, since two years ago I cruised one from New York Harbor up to Quebec City, spending six days on board with my colleague, George Sass, Sr., the photographer. The boat has a master in the bow, with a full head, and then a second small cabin tucked under the dinette. We cruised easily at 16 knots or so up the Hudson, Lake Champlain, the French canals and then down the St. Lawrence to Quebec. (I took the picture above in the charming French village of Chambly.) With two of us on the boat 24-hours a day, we never seemed to run out of space, or enjoyment.

Specs.: LOA: 28’4”; Beam: 8’6”; Draft: 2’4”; Disp.: 8,000 lbs.; Fuel: 100 gals.; Water: 40 gals. Power: 1×260-hp Volvo D4 diesel.



The quintessential serious cruising boat, the Fleming 55 has become a classic since it was first launched in 1986. Some 235 Fleming 55s have been built since then, reflecting hundreds of refinements and tweaks to reflect changing technologies and lessons learned on the water. Most of these refinements, of course, come from Tony Fleming himself, the founder of the company who cruises around the world on his Fleming 65 Venture, which he uses as a test bed to make sure the boats are constantly updated.

A pilothouse motoryacht, the Fleming 55 has three staterooms and two heads, a large, 130-square-feet cockpit, a flying bridge that can seat 11 plus an aft boat deck. The comfortable salon, with galley forward, and the pilothouse, with an L-shaped settee and interior access to the flybridge, all are filled with rich teak; fit and finish are exquisite throughout the boat.

The 55 has a moderate deadrise semi-displacement hull, with a deep keel to protect the running gear. Powered by twin 500-hp Cummins diesels, the 55 tops out at about 18 knots, but if you dial back to 8 knots the boat has a range of 2,000 nm. And Flemings are safe at any speed. I rode out a night of 60-knot winds off California’s Channel Islands on Venture three years ago with Tony Fleming, and the boat was solid as a rock.

Specs.: LOA: 55’9”; Beam: 16’0”; Draft: 5’0”; Disp,: 67,801 lbs.; Fuel: 1,000 gals., Water: 300 gals.; Power: 2×500-hp Cummins diesels.


The all-new, light-weight, high-performing Grand Banks 60 just made its U.S. debut at the Newport Show. The three-stateroom, two-head classic cruiser will be the flagship of the Grand Banks Heritage fleet, which had topped out at 54 feet. Built under the leadership of Grand Banks (and Palm Beach) CEO Mark Richards, the new 60 is stronger and lighter and made with more sophisticated materials than any previous Grand Banks, reflecting Richards’ decades of experience as one of the leading sailboat racers in the world.

A totally reimagined Grand Banks, the new 60 has a low center of gravity and impressive balance for a comfortable and fuel-efficient ride throughout the speed range.  We just tested it on Long Island Sound and registered a top speed of 31.1 knots. It has a warped hull shape with a fine entry and only 8 degrees of deadrise at the transom. The deck and flybridge are carbon infused, while all vinylester resins and a cross-linked Corecell foam core all make for a highly efficient power-to-weight ratio. Monocoque construction bonds all the bulkheads and interior furniture directly to the hull and deck for extra strength and extra quiet.

Designed to be operated by an owner/couple, the owner’s stateroom is full-beam, midships, and separated from the engine room by a full-beam utility room. The new beauty has a large, protected flybridge, and an extended boat deck provides weather protection over the aft deck below. For cruising safety, the side decks are wide and the bulkwarks are high. The new 60 carries a CE Category A rating.

Inside, the salon, galley and  helm are all on the main deck, and the salon is unusually bright, with light from the wraparound effect of huge windshield panels, side windows and the rear window and door. The galley has Silestone solid surface countertops.

The boat has the flowing, contemporary looks to become a modern classic. The lines and proportions all seem just right. And the new 60 has all the world-class fit and finish that have marked Grand Banks for decades.

Standard power comes from two 725-hp Volvo D-11 diesels; the boat we tested had twin 1,000-hp Cat diesels. Dialed back to 7.3 knots, the boat had a range, with a 10-percent reserve, of an incredible 5,026 nm.

Specs.: LOA: 65’4”; Beam: 19’2”; Draft: 4’7”; Disp.: 63,900 lbs.; Fuel: 1,530 gals.; Water: 300 gals; Power: Standard: 2×725-hp Volvo Penta D-11 diesels; Optional: 2×1,000 hp-Cat diesels. Base price: $3,280,000.


The new Great Harbour TT35, which will be launched at the Annapolis show, combines two growing trends: Outboard power, and trailerability. It’s designed to pack in all the comforts of a single-stateroom, liveaboard trawler with the ease, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of an outboard-powered boat that can be launched and retrieved and then trailered to cruising grounds all around the U.S. and Canada.

The new Great Harbour has home-like amenities, including a queen island berth in the master stateroom, a full-featured galley and a large head with a separate shower. The salon can hold extra guests for overnights, while the cockpit is covered for protection from the weather; it also can be fitted with a full weather enclosure. And the drop-down “tailgate” extends the cockpit and serves as a swim platform. The boat’s shallow draft – only 15 inches – opens up gunkholing possibilities on the Great Loop or elsewhere.

The hull form provides a combination of speed and efficiency. Powered by two 60-hp Suzuki four-stroke outboards with heavy-duty lower units, the Great Harbour tops out at 25 mph; the company says that at its cruising speed of 15 mph, the TT35 burns less than 4 gph.

The boat has its own custom aluminum trailer and it can be towed by a standard, full-size pickup. And its power generation and climate control are designed to function on land as well as at sea, so the boat can function as a “boater home” during long land trips.

Specs.: LOA: 35’8”; Beam: 10’4”; Draft: 15”; Disp.: 6,500 lbs.; Fuel: 135 gals. Water: NA; Power: 2×60-hp Suzuki outboards. For more:


Helmsman Trawlers, single-engine cruisers built in China and popular on the West Coast, now have a demo boat for sale in the Chesapeake area. The new Helmsman Trawlers 38E will be at Bay Bridge Marina on Kent Island, across the bay from Annapolis, and it will be displayed at the Annapolis show.

Built in Fuzhou, China, Helmsman Trawlers are designed for owners who want a quality cruising boat but don’t want to overpay for one. They are sold factory direct, to reduce costs to consumers. The Helmsman line runs from 31 to 43 feet.

The 38E has a unique “low rise” pilothouse, with great visibility; it’s open to the full-beam salon. A convertible settee in the pilothouse doubles as a pilot berth; an L-shaped settee in the salon converts to a bed. In the pilothouse, sliding doors port and starboard open to the side decks for easy docking or access to the bow. An appealing feature of the Helmsman 38E is that the dinette and day head can be enclosed to create a private suite; an optional layout includes a dedicated second stateroom for guests.

The master stateroom is in the bow, down a few centerline steps from the pilothouse. It has an elevated island berth, two hanging lockers and lots of light coming from an overhead hatch and two opening portholes. The head is split; a toilet and vanity are to port; the shower is to starboard. Throughout, the Helmsman’s  interior is filled with warm teak, and there’s a teak and holly sole, although there is no exterior teak in order to reduce maintenance.

Up top, the flybridge is set back on the boat a bit to maintain a lower profile and reduce windage. The cockpit aft is protected by the overhang from the boat deck. Wide stairs leading to the flybridge from both sides of the cockpit are practical and safe.

The boat is powered by a single 250-hp Cummins QSB 6.7 electronically controlled common rail diesel. Other engine options go up to 480-hp. A Vetus bow thruster is standard.

Specs.: LOA: 40’10”; Beam: 13’9”; Draft: 3’6”; Disp.: 32,000 lbs.; Fuel: 400 gals.; Water: 145 gals.; Power: 1x 250-hp Cummins QSB 6.7 diesel; Base Price: $409,000. For more: 


A newer of the iconic Picnic Boat, the new Hinckley 37 MK111 is larger, faster and more comfortable than its predecessors.  The new 37 has all the gorgeous lines of the original, but it now offers a cruise speed of 32 knots and, powered by twin 370-hp Yanmar diesels and Hamilton jet drives, it tops out at 35 knots.

Hinckley launched its first Picnic Boat, Dasher, in its yard in Southwest Harbor, Maine, in 1994. It was 36 feet long, driven by a single diesel and it had water jet drives, so that you wouldn’t snag a prop 0n Maine’s many lobster pots, while you could take the boat up to a beach or sandbar for a picnic outing. The boat set a new standard for aesthetics; the lines, drawing from its Maine lobster boat heritage, were flowing and beautiful, with a sweeping sheer and an eye-catching tumblehome. And there was teak everywhere, glistening from up to ten coats of varnish. (My wife and then-young daughter were with me when I tested Dasher, and they’ve wanted a Hinckley ever since.)

The new MK111 has all that, plus. Michael Peters designed a new hull, at 37 feet, and added enough beam to hold the twin engines. He also deepened the deadrise from 15 degrees at the transom to 19 degrees, to make the boat more comfortable in a seaway. And the boat has Hinckley’s patented JetStick 11, for fingertip control and easy docking.

Visibility from the helm is excellent all around, and you can push a button to open the large side windows and the overhead hatch for more ventilation, if you want. The captain and mate have Stidd helm seats. The engines are completely below deck; the entire deck lifts for access.

The Picnic Boat has always been a social boat. The 37 has a bench seat across the transom plus two rear-facing seats forward, leaving the large cockpit open. Forward, down two steps, the cabin has standing headroom, a surprise given the boat’s low profile, a V-berth in the bow, a large head with shower to starboard, and a galley to port. The new 37 has a SCRIMP Carbon E-glass composite hull with Corecell foam core and vinylester resin.

Specs.: LOA: 36’11”; Beam: 11’3”; Draft: 2’1”; Disp.: 16,100 lbs.; Fuel: 220 gals.; Water: 40 gals.; Power: 2×370-hp Yanmar diesels and Hamilton Jet drives. 



More and more boat owners are turning to outboard power, as the engines become more powerful, more fuel-efficient and so quiet that you often have to look at the tach to see if they’re running. In its new Surfhunter 32, Hunt has embraced that trend by hanging two 250-hp Yamahas off an Armstrong bracket on the transom, producing a top speed of 44 knots and opening up the cockpit with more space for fishing or relaxing. The new Hunt 32, of course, has the iconic deep-V hull that was started by C. Raymond Hunt on the original Bertram 31 in 1960.

The new 32 is a stretched version of the popular Surfhunter 29, with a redesigned interior and bridge deck. Visibility from the helm is excellent all around. Varnished teak companionway doors lead to the cabin below, with a full-sized V-berth, enclosed head with shower, and a galley with a single-burner stove, fridge and microwave. The best thing about a Hunt, however, aside from its classic good looks, is the ride. Over the years, I’ve driven Hunts in all kinds of weather up the ICW from Florida to Rhode Island, and up the Reversing Falls at the top of the Bay of Fundy; these are great boats.

Specs.: LOA: 31’1”; Beam: 10’6”; Draft: 3’0”; Disp.; 9,000 lbs.; Fuel: 235 gals.; Water: 28 gals.; Power: 2×250-hp Yamaha outboards.



Even with a flying bridge and raised pilothouse, the Krogen Express 52 manages to carry a classic low profile, enhanced by a long, flowing sheer line that emphasizes the boat’s distinctive profile. And the “Express” part of its name is not a misnomer: With twin 480-hp Yanmars the Krogen Express tops out at about 22 knots. Dial back to 8 knots and the boat has a range of 1,680 nm. With a semi-displacement hull, this express offers the best of a get-home-fast speed and a go-anywhere-without-refueling range.

Inside, the Krogen Express exudes fine craftsmanship and cherry finishing everywhere. A raised bench seat aft of the helm in the pilothouse converts to a double berth; Dutch doors open to the wide side decks. Below, the master in the bow is bright, with six portholes and hatches, and massive, with 7’4” standing headroom; an en suite head has a separate shower stall with a seat. A guest stateroom can be configured as an owner desires, including an L-shaped settee that converts to a bed plus a desk. The engine room is one of the best in the business; you can stand up and walk around. Specs.: LOA: 57’6”; Beam: 15’11”; Draft: 4’0”; Disp.: 43,000 lbs.; Fuel: 700 gals.; Water: 370 gals.; Power: 2×480-hp Yanmar diesels. Price: $1.6 million.



The flagship of the Leader fleet, the new 46 has lots of innovative touches, French lines, and Volvo performance (either with sterndrives or IPS), which all combine to make it an appealing contemporary cruiser. No wonder the Leader 46 by Jeanneau has been nominated for the European Boat of the Year award.

When I was on the boat, I particularly liked the cockpit galley with the grill opening aft; you stand on the wide teak swim platform, facing your guests, and fire up the barbeque. (There’s also a traditional galley below.) Another appealing touch: The forward-facing mate’s bench seat to port, opposite the helm to starboard, converts into an interior sunpad (or semi-exterior, if you open the large sunroof).

The Leader 46 comes in a two- or three-stateroom layout. The large full-width master is midships, with its own large head and shower; the VIP is forward, with a scissor-type berth that can be either a large single or split into two twins; the VIP also has a large head and shower. A third smaller cabin is also available. The Leader 46 is powered by twin Volvo sterndrive or IPS pod drive systems; all come with joystick controls to make docking easy.

Specs.: LOA 46’10”; Beam: 13’5”; Draft: 3’7”; Disp.: 23,369; Fuel: 238 gals.; Water: 106 gals.; Power: 2×370-hp Volvo sterndrives; 2x 400-hp Volvo sterndrives; 2xVolvo IPS 600 pod drives.

MJM 35z

Just launched in June, the MJM 35Z made its debut at the Newport show. The latest in the collaboration between Doug Zurn, the designer, and Bob Johnstone, the founder of MJM Yachts, the new 35z is powered by two 300-hp Mercury Verado outboards, giving it both speed and power, while keeping the fuel-efficiency for which the brand is famous.

It’s no surprise that the new boat has all the classic Down East lines of earlier MJMs, with its low profile, gentle tumblehome and long sheerline. Or that it’s a serious offshore boat, with a 20-degree deadrise at the transom and an ISO Certified B “Offshore” rating for stability and seaworthiness.

The boat is a typical long, low, slender Zurn design, with a 3.5-1 waterline length to beam ratio. MJM’s wet, pre-preg, post-cure, epoxy composite construction makes for a stronger and lighter hull. And the MJM 35Z performs. On a recent test ride on Narragansett Bay with Johnstone and George Day, our publisher, we registered just over 39 knots as a top speed, and the boat gave a remarkably soft ride throughout the speed range. With its Seakeeper gyro stabilizer, it also was comfortable, even when we put it beam-to the waves.

A former sailor himself (and the co-founder of J/Boats), Johnstone knows what sailors are looking for in a powerboat. The bridgedeck is protected by sliding glass or roll-up Strataglass sides; side boarding doors make stepping on board easy from a floating dock. The transom is open, and it’s all one level from the swim platform to the companionway. The two windshields open for ventilation. At night, the bridgedeck doubles as a cabin with settees converting to two full-length berths surrounded by a privacy curtain. Matching Stidd Admiral helm seats on swivel bases can be turned to face aft for socializing at the dock or at anchor.

The 35z is meant to be used as a day boat or weekend cruiser. The interior is in the classic Herreshoff style with cherry-trimmed, off-white panels, and a teak and holly sole. The galley is to port, with Corian countertops. The Ultraleather V-berth lounge is forward, with an optional filler. And the head with shower is to starboard.

Specs.: LOA: 35’8”; Beam: 11’0”; Draft: 2’8”; Disp.: 12,614 lbs.; Fuel: 250 gals.; Water: 58 gals. Power: 2×300-hp Mercury Verado outboards. Base price: $595,000.



The newest power cat from the worldwide charter giant, The Moorings 433PC, with three staterooms and two heads, is designed as a mid-sized cruising boat for families or groups of up to eight guests. A well-mannered cat built by Robertson & Caine in South Africa (and also sold under the Leopard brand), The Moorings 433PC offers a comfortable, safe, relaxed cruising vacation with more than enough room, inside and out, for everyone onboard.

The large, air-conditioned salon has windows for visibility all around, a galley forward, a convertible settee that can sleep two, and big glass doors that open to the cockpit, which has a large seating area and dining table. But what’s unusual is that another door opens from the salon to the foredeck, a signature feature of The Moorings’ new cats; if you open this door forward and the cockpit doors aft, you can have a continuous indoor-outdoor living space on board.

A large owners’ suite occupies the entire starboard sponson, with the berth aft and the head with shower forward; the two guest staterooms are on the port side and share a head with shower. Up top, the flybridge affords great views all around; it has the helm station, another settee with a dining table, an electric grill and bar.

Initially, the new Moorings 433PC will operate out of the company’s large base in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. If you buy the boat to charter, you have access to your own boat, or one like it, for up to 12 weeks a year at one of The Moorings 20 charter locations around the world. Specs.: LOA: 42’7”; Beam: 22’1”; Draft.: 3’1”; Disp.: 25,794 lbs.; Fuel: 264 gals.; Water: 206 gals.; Power: 2/260-hp Yanmar diesels. Base price: $615,000.


Hull number one of the 20-knot Nordhavn 59 Coastal Pilot just made its East Coast debut at the Newport show in September. This three-stateroom, two-head Nordhavn, which tops out at twice the speed of previous Nordhavns, is the first to be built for coastal cruising, as opposed to the open-ocean, blue-water boats that have made the company famous. “This is a boat for people who don’t need ocean-crossing capabilities,” says Jim Leishman, vice president of PAE, Nordhavn’s parent company.

Designed for owners moving down from larger blue-water boats, or others just getting into coastal cruising, the 59 Coastal Pilot was launched at Nordhavn’s Dana Point, California, headquarters last summer and then displayed in Seattle. Earlier this summer a Nordhavn crew brought it back south, where it was loaded on a freighter for delivery to the East Coast. After the Newport show, the 59 Coastal Pilot also will be displayed at the Annapolis power show in October.

Powered by twin 715-hp Cummins QSM 11 diesels, the 59 has a fuel efficient, semi-displacement hull that tops out in the 18-20 knot area; if you dial back to 8.5 knots, the range is about 1,000 nm. Although it’s a coastal cruiser, the new 59 is still built like a little battleship, per Nordhavn’s tradition. The boat has a CE – Category A unlimited offshore rating for its sea-keeping abilities and strength.

In the new 59, the main deck consists of a salon, large galley and dinette with a lower helm (not a separate, raised pilothouse). The helm has a double-wide seat, with an L-shaped settee, seating four, to port. The dinette table is aft of the helm. The raised aft deck is protected by an overhang from the flybridge, and can be enclosed with canvas or Isinglass. The flybridge has seating for up to 12 people, with twin settees on each side of the helm. The boat deck aft has a Steelhead 800-pound davit and can hold a 14-foot tender.

Access to the engine room is from a door on the port side of the cockpit. The engine room is separated by two structural and insulated bulkheads, and has Nordhavn’s usual standing headroom and walk-around space on the inboard and outboard sides of the engines.

On the accommodation deck, the 59 Coastal Pilot is designed for either two or three staterooms, with two heads. This boat has the three-stateroom arrangement, with the owner’s stateroom full-beam amidships, with two comfortable chairs, an en suite head with dual sinks, a large shower and an equally large linen locker. A separate laundry is forward. A large VIP cabin is forward, and the third cabin, with three berths, is between the VIP and the master. The VIP and the third cabin share a head with shower.

Specs.: LOA 58’9”; Beam: 17’0”; Draft: 4’2”; Disp.: 82,000 lbs., Water: 444 gals.; Fuel: 1,100 gals. Power: 2x 715-hp Cummins QSM 11 diesel engines.


Nordic Tug Nordic Explorer in Palm Beach FL

There’s no mistaking a Nordic Tug. The iconic salty tugboat lines, even down to the faux smokestack, have identified the brand ever since the first one, a 26-footer, was introduced at the Seattle boat show in 1980. The new Nordic Tugs 44, which replaces the popular 42, has all the personality, performance and solid sea-keep abilities of its predecessors.

Nordic Tugs are built in Burlington, Washington, for serious cruisers, people who will go up the Inside Passage to Alaska or from Maine to Miami and the Bahamas as a matter of course. The 44 has a two-stateroom, two head layout with a large salon and U-shaped galley, a raised pilothouse (with doors leading directly to the side decks), and an optional flybridge. There’s inside access to the bridge from the pilothouse, for safe and comfortable cruising. The master stateroom in the bow is exceptionally large and comfortable, with more than 7-foot headroom. And almost as an extra surprise, an office/nav station is opposite the guest stateroom with a desk, leather chair and plenty of room for electronics and charts.

I drove a new 44 recently on the Connecticut River off Essex, home of Wilde Yacht Sales, Nordic Tugs’ largest dealer. With a full keel and large rudder, the boat tracked well, handled easily and was a solid, fuel-efficient performer. Top speed, with a single 510-hp Volvo diesel, was 17 knots. At 7.5 knots, the boat has a range of 1,400 nm.

Specs.: LOA: 44’8”; Beam: 13’10”; Draft: 4’6”; Disp.: 31,400 lbs.; Fuel: 600 gals.; Water: 175 gals.; Power: 1×510 Volvo diesel. Base price: $844,688.



The smallest entry in the Palm Beach line, which stretches up to 65 feet, the new Palm Beach 42 is the first model to be launched since Grand Banks bought the Australian builder two years ago. And it’s hard to argue with Mark Richards, the Palm Beach founder and now president of Grand Banks who says, “This is the most gorgeous and feature-rich yacht of its size out there.”

With its low profile, long sheerline, gentle tumblehome and virtually acres of teak, the Palm Beach 42 will turn heads everywhere. Owners have a choice of one stateroom and a large galley down, or two staterooms and a galley up. In either version, the master forward has a tapered island berth and a large head and shower. The salon has two large facing settees, and the helm offers 360-degree views from windows all around. The interior is simply luxurious, with Burmese teak, lots of Ultraleather, Silestone countertops, and exquisite fit and finish.

Richards, a champion sailor, insists on strong but lightweight hulls and a low CG for a stable, safe ride. Palm Beach hulls are built with total epoxy vinylester core; foam monocoque construction ties bulkheads and interior furniture into the deck for additional strength.

Twin Volvo IPS 400 pod drives with fingertip controls add to performance, maneuverability and fuel economy, producing a top speed of about 36 knots.

Specs.: LOA: 47’0”; Beam: 14’6”; Draft: 3’0”; Disp.: 23,350 lbs.; Fuel: 317 gals.; Water: 172 gals. Power: 2xVolvo IPS 400.


As more evidence of the increasing move to outboard power, Ranger Tugs just introduced its 2018 R-27 with a single Yamaha F300 outboard, opening up the cockpit a bit, adding to the boat’s overall length, and certainly producing a bump up in speed. We don’t have any performance details yet, but we do know that the shift to an outboard will appeal to a portion of Ranger’s potential market that wanted some more juice. The Kent, Washington-based company will still offer the popular R-27 with a standard 200-hp Volvo D3 diesel.

Over the years, I’ve cruised on Ranger Tugs in the San Juans and the Canadian Gulf Islands and have always enjoyed their comfort, creative use of space and easy living on board. With a standard bow thruster, and remote, the 27 is easy to handle around a dock, while the two-cabin, one-head layout makes cruising comfortable for a family or a small group of friends.

The forward cabin has a V-berth that sleeps two adults comfortably; the bed is more than 6’5” long, and the cabin has a head with shower. The salon includes a midship office space with a desk and a chair; it converts to a berth that sleeps two, while the dinette table is on a hydraulic piston and converts to a berth or lounge area. The signature Ranger Tugs curved windshield and overhead glass provide a lot of light for the salon. The standard galley includes a sink, fridge, inverter, microwave and combination propane stove/oven.

All Ranger Tugs come fully equipped and ready to cruise. The standard 27 includes a Garmin 7612 chartplotter and autopilot and AIS 300. With its 8’6” beam, the Ranger 27 can be trailered easily from one cruising destination to another. The boat comes in two versions: The Northwest Edition, with a diesel forced-air furnace and downrigger plugs and pads, for $184,937, and the Luxury Edition, with a generator and air conditioning, for $199,937.

Specs.: LOA 27’0”; Beam: 8’6”; Draft (motor down): 2’9”; Disp.: 7,000 lbs.; Fuel: 150 gals;. Water: 40 gals.; Power: 1xYamaha F300 outboard.




Newport was the first show for the new Sabre 45 Salon Express, which was launched in Florida this spring. The new Down East classic had its first sea trials off Jupiter Inlet, where the Sabre engineers said the waves were stacked, as is often the case there. But the new Sabre came through with flying colors, running 27.5 knots at a continuous cruise speed, burning just 35 gph. It topped out at 32 knots, burning 44 gph. Like many of its predecessors, this new Sabre is a quiet boat, registering just 72 dB(A) at cruise and 75 dB(A) at wide open throttle.

The 45, fitting between the company’s existing 42- and 48-foot models, is an all-new design with two staterooms, two full heads, and the built-in-Maine lines and craftsmanship that help define all Sabres. The master stateroom is forward, with an island bed and several lockers and drawers for storage (this is a cruising boat, after all); the master head has a separate stall shower and ceramic tile on the sole. The guest cabin is on the starboard side, under the helm. It has twin beds on tracks so you can slide them together to form a single island bed if you want.

Aft the guest stateroom is a new storage room with space for a gyro-stabilizer, a washer/dryer, freezer or even a wine cellar. All the way aft, the cockpit is protected a bit by the overhang from the cockpit; an optional SureShade would provide full protection over the cockpit. A large bench seat is aft, against the transom, with a folding inlaid table for drinks or sandwiches.

Power comes from two 435-hp Volvo diesels, paired to IPS drives for fingertip control over slow-speed maneuvering and docking. The Sabre fleet now runs from 38 feet to 66 feet.

Specs: LOA: 49’0″; Beam: 14’8″; Draft: 3’9″; Disp.: 37,000 lbs.; Fuel: 450 gals.; Water: 150 gals.; Power: 2/435-hp Volvo D6 engines with IPS pod drives. 


Vicem Yachts, the Turkish builder that’s been specializing in using marine mahogany in the cold-molded construction process since 1991, just introduced its first fiberglass/epoxy model, the Vicem Classic 46IPS, at the Palm Beach International Boat Show. And, no surprise, it’s a beauty, both outside and in. The joinerwork is simply elegant.

Designed by Vicem’s in-house team, the boat carries classic Downeast lines that just as easily could have been drawn in Southwest Harbor, Maine. The Classic 46IPS is powered by two 435-hp Volvo IPS 600s, offering joystick control and pod drives for easy maneuvering around the docks and greater fuel efficiency at higher speeds. The boat has a hard-chine hull and cruises at 26 knots and tops out at about 30 knots.

As with all Vicems, the new Classic 46IPS can be highly customized, with either two or three cabins below, accommodating either four or six people. The galley is down, with Corian countertops, two electric burners and a microwave. The owner’s cabin has a queen-sized bed and a head, also with Corian countertops, and a shower. The guest cabin comes with two single berths that can be joined to make a single queen; its head also serves as the day head.

The cockpit has a teak sole and a custom table with a hydraulic lift. A sliding glass door separates the cockpit from the salon, which has large side and front windows that provide a lot of natural light. The salon also has a bar area and a comfortable L-shaped settee. A side door gives easy access to the starboard deck to make docking easy. For keeping the air conditioning running underway, the new Vicem comes with a 13.5kW Onan genset. On its first sea trial, the new Vicem was a very quiet boat, registering only 62 dB(A) at 25 knots.

Specs.: LOA: 46’0″; Beam: 14’9″; Draft: 2’4″; Disp.: 39,683 lbs.; Fuel: 500 gals.; Water: 200 gals.; Power: 2×435-hp Volvo IPS 600s.


The Dutch-made Zeelander 55, an upgrade from the company’s popular 44, is a head-turning, luxurious express-type cruiser with hints of both a Down East lobster boat and a Gold Coast commuter boat while announcing a style all its own. From its fine bow to its torpedo stern, the Zeelander 55 is as contemporary as it can be. It’s all curves; there doesn’t seem to be a straight line anywhere. The boat’s appearance and high quality are so striking that it was named Best Powerboat at the Newport International Boat Show in September.

One of the most striking aspects of the Zeelander 55 is the 360-degree view from the helm; actually, from anywhere in the salon. The wraparound windows have narrow frames and double-curved glass and they stretch aft to a fully opening glass wall that, when closed, separates the salon from the aft deck.

In the salon, a raised L-shaped lounge behind the helm can seat eight, all under more light coming in from the sunroof. On the aft deck, one social area includes a wet bar with four stools, while all the way aft is another relaxing area for outdoor dining or sunbathing. There’s a side door for easy entry to the boat on each side of the cockpit, while the transom folds down to create a huge swim platform.

Below, the master stateroom is midships, with a walkaround bed running athwartships. The master head with shower is on the port side. A large VIP stateroom is forward, also with a walkaround bed and lots of storage. A guest cabin with over-and-under berths is between the two. The guest and VIP cabin share a head with shower.

Two Volvo IPS 1200 pod drives power the boat to a top speed of 40 knots.

Specs.: LOA: 55’7”; Beam: 16’4”; Draft: 4’5”; Disp.: 48,000 lbs. Fuel: 700 gals.; Water: 200 gals.; Power: 2×800-hp Volvo Penta IPS diesels with pod drives.




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