Boat Tests

Viking Sport Cruisers 50 Flybridge Yacht

I felt slightly flummoxed after boarding Viking Sport Cruiser’s new 50 Flybridge in the storied old harbor of Plymouth, England. Certainly, the source of my perplexity had nothing to do with the vessel’s appearance. While shapes and style lines were indeed bold and agressive, the overall profile was attractive yet undeniably mainstream. And I experienced no confusion concerning the

Newport 71 SS4

Waiting for the bridge to Hillsboro Inlet off Pompano Beach, Florida, required about ten minutes of jockeying in a determined cross current. There was little wind, but the approach to this bridge is short, and it doesn’t leave a lot of room for error—a situation that could’ve quickly become “interesting.” I felt the current catch my sleek, low-profile, Euro-style test boat, the Newport 71 SS4,

Hatteras 77 Enclosed Bridge Convertible

What’s old is new again.

How many times have you heard that phrase when news-channel talking heads are referring to music, art, and clothes? (Like when bell bottoms made a comeback? Ugh.) But unlike with fashion, it sometimes makes sense to revisit the past with boats. At least Hatteras Yachts thought so shortly after it launched its 77 Enclosed Bridge Convertible a few years

Altura 840

The Ferretti Group’s Privilege Days event for owners, high-rollers, and other promising prospects has become an annual fixture in the Italian seaside resort of Cattolica, on the Adriatic coast. At the quayside the company assembles a complete and fully crewed range of boats from the Ferretti, Custom Line, and Mochi shipyards, reserves the local restaurant, and waits for nature to take its

Eastport 32

Fine dining tables are airily spaced throughout The Boatyard Bar and Grill, which is coated in the endemic red-and-white dcor of a Maryland crab house. Manila lines and painted pastel models of local vessels sit on long shelves, displayed as gentle beacons of Annapolis’ maritime heritage. “This is where we drew the first boat,” explains Eastport Yachts cofounder and sales manager Tom Weaver in

Pacific Mariner 85

One of the most interesting sea trials I’ve ever done took place about five years ago on Skagit Bay, not far from LaConner, Washington. The subject, a prototype Pacific Mariner 85 (see “Dream Machine,” February 2005), was so new and untried that she wasn’t even completely finished. In

Viking 57 Convertible

When I first got into the boat-testing biz some 21 years ago, European styling was thought by most American experts of the day to be the greatest import to cross the pond since sliced gelato. Even now, the phenomenon continues to haunt the world of marine design, although its influences seem to be fading, especially in light of the styling we’re seeing in today’s sportfishing battlewagons, and

Sea Spirit 60 Passagemaker

the Lauderdale Yacht Club’s a lovely little facility, just a stone’s throw from the ICW. Going in, the channel narrows considerably after you pivot to starboard at the last day mark, and the darn thing gets narrower still once you start sneaking past the pulpits and swim platforms protruding from the east dock. “Keep her as close to that stuff as possible,” advised Andrea Gaines, captain of our

Regulator 34 SS

The Mid-Atlantic states tend to get a little frosty in late December. In fact, when I pulled into Bluewater Yachting Center in Hampton, Virginia, and parked my car behind the prototype Regulator 34 SS (Side Seating) I was gonna sea trial that morning, the dashboard readout on the ol’ rental car marked the ambience outside at 39˚F. And what’s more, the tops of the trees ‘round about were swaying

Altima 45 Euro Sedan

It wasn’t until I piloted the Altima 45 Euro Sedan up Fort Lauderdale’s New River that I began to appreciate this vessel’s close-quarter-handling characteristics.

For those not familiar with the New River, it’s a heavily trafficked waterway—both by commercial and recreational vessels—about the width of my thumb and as deep as a pothole, with several blind turns, bridges, and other nautical

Ocean Alexander 60

I’m a reasonably social guy, meaning I either host or attend my fair share of civic events, dinner parties, and other lubberly hoorahs. But when it comes to long-distance cruising, I prefer traveling with a single companion: either my wife, a friend, or a relative. Elbowroom’s part of the deal—even sixty-footers can feel a tad cramped after a week or so, particularly with a passel of yakety-yaks

American Tug 49

It’s up to the Army Corps of Engineers,” explained Kurt Dilworth, vice president of engineering at Tomco Marine in La Conner, Washington, which is about an hour north of Seattle. “They need to dredge this channel. The silt just eddies in.”

We were returning against an outbound tide after my sea trial of the 49-foot American Tug, a coastal cruiser and Tomco Marine’s largest vessel to date.

Nordhavn 75

There are two ways to explain the Nordhavn 75 Expedition Yachtfisher (EYF). One is that if you want to not only go after really big fish but find them in abundance, you have to venture beyond coastal waters. You must journey to places that never see a sportfishing boat and are visited only rarely by commercial vessels. The other is that if you’re going to do bluewater voyaging, as in being at sea

Riva 92 Duchessa

When you live in a relatively northern European latitude, as I do in the U.K., it’s often tempting to assume that the grass is browner on the shores of the Mediterranean. But while that might be true in summer, winter is another matter. Italy’s Riviera di Levante is not Florida. The marble peaks that stand sentinel just inland can be thick with ice and snow, lending a dramatic backdrop to Riva’s

Azimut 82

If you’re a boatbuilder, one of your most difficult challenges is knowing when to replace a model. After all, designing a new boat is a costly endeavor, to say the least. Way before fiberglass meets resin, you’ll have spent at least a million dollars in design, tooling, and testing. To make sure you get that money back, plus a nice profit, you need to build and sell as many of each model as you

Tiara 4800 Convertible

I turned my back to the optional teak helm, and with an unobstructed view of the cockpit, I pictured my angler—complete with his gold Penn VSX16 loaded up with green high-vis line—reeling for his life as I backed the Tiara 4800 Convertible down after an imaginary hot white marlin. I pushed the Glendinning controls into reverse until there was a full-on ocean-meets-transom moment. The standard

Jeanneau Prestige 50

Having sea trialed a fair share of European boats with highly styled but outrageously impractical steering stations, I was a little surprised at the savvy design and comfort of the Prestige 50’s upper helm. The benchseat was firm and suitably elevated, with ample room between my knees and the pod-type steering console. The console itself was laid out simply and logically, with an easy-to-see

Sunseeker Manhattan 70

The border between a boat you’re comfortable handling yourself and one that requires a captain is a delicate one. The Manhattan 70 sits right on the cusp, filling a gap between the Manhattan 60 and the 86 Yacht. As the largest of the Manhattans, the 70 bridges the void by incorporating accommodation elements from the 86 while attempting to keep the at-sea agility of a boat that’s ten feet

Platinum

Similar, but different; familiar, yet unique. Platinum may be the latest in Benetti’s Golden Bay series (Hull No. 8) but she is, of course, a totally custom build. It is only from the basic elements of her plan and profile that you can tell she is a member of the family. In every other respect she is absolutely her own mistress.

Launched last fall, she made her first public

Rampage 34

It was an iffy spot. There was no sign proclaiming “Live Bait For Sale” and no structure I’d rightfully call a dock. Just an old guy in a big straw hat, a blue work shirt, and jeans (with a red bandana hanging out) standing on a patch of dirt and waving me in off the ICW. “Okay to tie up?” I yelled from the upper station of our Rampage 34 IPS prototype. Considering the buff little beauty’s

Cheoy Lee 68 Serenity

Six-thousand-two-hundred-sixty-two miles.

Man, that’s a long time between fill-ups. But that’s the maximum statute-mile range I computed for Cheoy Lee’s new 68 Serenity, a 116,000-pound full-displacement trawler that dares you to single up all lines and chase that sunset. I computed her range based on the boat’s standard 2,350 gallons of diesel and a 1000-rpm speed of 7.7 mph (2.96 mpg).

Sea Ray 540 Sundancer

n the bigger scheme of things, 2005 doesn’t seem like very long ago. But four years in the pleasure-boating industry brings lots of change: an influx of European styling, upgraded electronics, and most importantly, the introduction and meteoric rise of pod drives. With all the advances piling up, it’s not that big of a surprise that Sea Ray decided to replace its 52 Sundancer. After all, it had

Jarrett Bay 67

Having enough stowage space while maintaining a luxurious aesthetic was a major concern for everyone involved in the build of Jarrett Bay’s latest beauty Waste Knot. “The owners didn’t want to restock for months at a time, so we accommodated that,” explained project manager Gary Davis as we worked our way through the boat at her home port near Beaufort, North Carolina, opening every scuttle and

Viking Convertible 82

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about big sportfishing boats, it’s this: They’re not just about speed. Still, when I saw “38 kts” pop up on the center 19-inch KEP helm monitor, I was impressed. Maybe that’s because it felt more like 20 knots up on the Viking 82’s flying bridge, some 17 feet off the water. Or maybe it was the utter effortlessness with which the big convertible made that number.

Vicem 63 Sportfisherman

They make fishing boats, too?

That was the question I asked myself when I tested the first Vicem-built sportfisherman four years ago. (Based in Turkey, Vicem has 20-plus years experience in building custom cold-molded Downeast-style vessels.) At the time she was named the S&J Violator 54 ( see “Building a Contender,” March 2005). Now called the Vicem 54, she is a lightweight (44,000 pounds

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