Sunday, April 21

Miami Shows Open Soon: Here Are Some New Boats, and New Trends, To See There

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With the huge Miami boat shows rapidly approaching, they start on Feb. 14, I’ve put three brand-new cruising boats, and two brand-new artificial intelligence docking systems, at the top of my must-see list. The three boats are all quite different from each other, but each one in its own way illustrates particular trends that spill over to many of the other 2,000 boats on display in Miami.

(There are actually two separate shows going on at the same time in Miami. One is on Virginia Key, and the other has one location downtown between the MacArthur Causeway and the Venetian Causeway and a second spot at the Sea Isle Marina on the north side of the Venetian Causeway. For a preview of the shows, plus our reviews of 39 new cruising boats there, go to:

The Palm Beach 50GT Open is making its world-wide debut at the foot of B Dock at Sea Isle Marina, showing off its sleek, long, low lines and elegant tumblehome. What’s remarkable about this newest Palm Beach is its ability to combine high performance (a 42-knot top speed from twin 600-hp Volvo IPS drives) with enviable fuel efficiency (a range of 862 nm at 10 knots). Mark Richards, the Palm Beach founder, uses high-tech materials, a low center of gravity and a warped hull so the new 50GT slices through the water easily at any speed. The hull is laid up with fully infused vinylester cored e-glass construction with a carbon-fiber deck and superstructure. Many other boat companies are building high-tech hulls, but Richards, employing his race-winning sailing background, seems to be leading the pack here.

The Ocean Alexander 45 Divergence is also making its world-wide debut in Miami, at Ramp B of the downtown show. A major departure for Ocean Alexander, which makes premium yachts from 70 to 155 feet, the 45-foot Divergence illustrates the rapidly-growing trend to outboard power; it has four 350-Mercury Verados. You can see another trend in Divergence’s innovative expansion of its hull to create more usable space on board. Indeed, the bulwarks fold down more than four feet on each side to expand the cockpit to a full 19 feet across. And the area is built for entertaining, with a 49-inch pop-up TV, an outdoor galley and a coffee table that converts for dining.

The Jeanneau NC 37 is making its U.S. debut at the Virginia Key show; it was already nominated for a European Powerboat of the Year award at the Düsseldorf show. Built as a one-level family cruiser, the NC 37, powered to twin Volvo diesels, exemplifies the trend toward making life on board easy, bright and fun. It has panoramic side windows and a large sunroof to fill the salon with natural light; a glass door aft opens fully to the cockpit, while the aft window raises so the interior and exterior of the boat all connect in one big social area. And the cockpit features a large L-shaped settee that converts into a comfortable sunpad.

Then there’s the growing trend of employing super-high technology, even artificial intelligence, to make boating easier, particularly the docking part of boating. Raymarine has just introduced its new DockSense assisted-docking technology that uses AI, with FLIR machine vision camera technology and video analytics, to dock your boat. You can see this in action on a Prestige 460 with Volvo IPS drives and on a Boston Whaler 330 Outrage with twin Mercury Verado outboards. Both are at Virginia Key; the Prestige at Pier 6, the Whaler at Pier 2. Read more:





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