Sunday, September 20

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Report from Fort Lauderdale: More Boats, More People and More Toys than Ever Before

By Peter A. Janssen

Put aside the super yachts with helicopters, or the 208-footer with six small boats (including a mahogany sloop) sitting as toys in the cockpit, or the 190-footer with the personal gym that slides out of its superstructure, or all the new Ferraris and Lambos parked along the face dock, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show actually has a lot going on the for the rest of us. In fact, the opening day, helped along with gorgeous weather and a lot of people looking to replace boats damaged or destroyed in the fall storms, was more crowded with people and more introductions of new cruising power boats than any other time I can remember.

For something entirely new, consider the Tiara 38 LS,  with three 350-hp Yamahas hanging off the transom. A Tiara, with outboards? Even more unusual, was the very cool U-shaped lounge in the cockpit that pivots 180-degrees at the push of a button so that instead of facing forward, it faces aft (pictured above). As even more evidence of the trend to outboard power, Tom Slikkers, the president of Tiara, acknowledged that “this is an entirely new direction for us,” but said that “it was time for us to rethink what Tiara means under 40 feet”- where buyers increasingly are looking for outboard performance. The new Tiara tops out at 55 mph and has a double berth below and a head with shower.

Also on the opening day, Fountaine Pajot unveiled its new MY 44, which is so big that it actually held 20 people on the bridge as Laurent Fabre, now the U.S. head of the company, talked about the “wow” factor of the enormous owner’s stateroom in the cat’s port hull. (He was right; you could hold a party down there.) Also new at the show was the beautiful cold-molded Vicem 58 Classic, with Down East lines, impeccable joinerwork and mahogany everywhere you looked. With twin 725-hp Volvos, the Vicem cruises at 24 knots, and costs $1,575,000.

Hinckley’s new 28.5-foot all-electric Dasher was in the water at this show, for the first time, while Lagoon held the U.S. premiere of its new Seventy 8 power cat that made it here on its own bottom from France; the gorgeous cat’s range is 5,400 nm at 7.3 knots. For its part, Chris-Craft launched a new Catalina 34, while in the engine tent, Volvo unveiled its new, massive D13 1,000 hp engine (equating to 1,350 in the IPS application), its largest yet, plus its new acquisition of Seven Marine’s 627-hp outboards. All that was just as the show was starting; stay tuned for more.

For our reviews of 34 new boats at the show, go to:…th-4-billion-2-3/

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