Boat Tests

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


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

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

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.

Huckins Linwood 56

I was prepared to not like the Hamilton waterjet-propelled Huckins Linwood 56 all that much, primarily because some of the waterjet vessels I've driven over the years have evinced a few dicey handling characteristics. You know, stuff like wandering off course at low (and sometimes high) speeds and turning simple docking situations into unwholesomely entertaining events, complete with spectators.

Outer Reef 63

Putting pen to paper, I've often found myself mentioning horizons, the ones I've seen and the ones I hope to. Experiencing endless stretches of sky and water, fireball sunsets that melt into the sea, and graylight sunrises that seem to appear from the deepest bluewater depths are a few of the things that comprise the moments boaters can never get enough of.

Such smile-inducing thoughts

Sessa C46

Design and practicality are often at odds. A feature may look pretty but that doesn't mean it will serve its purpose. The design team at Sessa, headed by Christian Grande, worked hard not to fall prey to this age-old binary, trying throughout the creation process of the new C46 to brace function with form. And although at first glance, it seemed that some styling may have superceded pragmatism,

The Way Forward: Island Pilot DSe 12M Hybrid

Imagine spending a whole string of sunny summer days cruising along like Huckleberry Finn, leapfrogging from anchorage to anchorage on solar-generated electric power alone, without ever having to crank an engine or spend a dime on fuel. Or better yet, imagine being able to cruise along in full-electric mode as circumstances permit, while reserving the option of cranking up an onboard diesel

The Way Forward: Sea Ray Goes Electric

The first thing I noticed about Sea Ray's so-called "Green Boat" was her conventional appearance. Sure, there was something atop the bimini—a Sharp solar collector—but the gizmo was inconspicuous. And the hull sides were a perky willow green, with racy, black waterline stripes proclaiming: HYBRID. But otherwise, our test boat du jour looked like a regular ol' off-the-shelf 240 Sundancer.

Mochi 23M Hybrid

Of all the boats I've ever tested, only a few were really new. That's not surprising. Boatbuilders are, after all, a cautious lot, and for many reasons—mostly financial—they're often unwilling to risk doing anything really different. But the Mochi Craft Long Range 23 I tested in Italy can fairly be called not just new but revolutionary. It's the first of a line of long-range, expedition-style

Grand Banks Heritage 41EU

When a boatbuilder replaces its best-selling model, it must ensure that her replacement not only incorporates all of the positive features of her predecessor, but surpasses them. Grand Banks has worked for three years to make sure it did just that when the newest boat in its Heritage Series, the 41EU, replaced the 42. The improvements were based on a worldwide effort, with plans, parts, and

Lazzara 92

Dick Lazzara loves pods—pod drives that is. As I crank his new 92-foot LSX into a high-bank turn at 31 knots, he looks at me, extracts his cigar from his mouth, and announces, "This is the future. I don't want to build another boat without pods." Sitting at the flying-bridge helm on a crisp, clear fall morning, I couldn't agree more. I never want to drive another boat without


The mold for the 3900 sat on the far side of the plant, a rust-colored shell wrapped in a scaffold, and in it was Hull No. 3 with its balsa core already enshrined in AME 6000 vinylester resin. A few hundred feet away, a group of female workers in Tyvec suits stood on the upturned deck of No. 3, spraying the flowcoat beneath florescent lighting.

I crossed the shop floor with Dave Walsh,

Jeanneau Prestige 42S

Back in 2007, we tested the Jeanneau Prestige 42 ("The French Connection," April 2007). You might assume that the new Prestige 42S ("S" stands for "Sport Top") would simply be a slightly upgraded version of the original, but the changes are much more dramatic. The most obvious difference between the two boats is that the 42 was a flying-bridge vessel while the 42S is

Island Packet PY 41

Marine propulsion is undergoing a paradigm shift these days, mostly due to fuel costs and the need to address the problem with improved efficiencies. Diesel-hybrid systems, fuel-cells, injector technologies, even wind-powered, computerized kites—while the ways the shift is manifesting are diverse, many new developments are technical, often futuristic.

But there's one approach bucking the

Fairline Targa 64

Once our test-boat's captain deftly maneuvered the Fairline Targa 64 Gran Turismo around the crewless and sinking sportfisherman, I knew things had to get better. One of the reasons our 64's crew, which also consisted of Fairline rep Steve Leeson and me, easily spotted the low-in-the-water vessel while cruising by at 36 mph was the 64's running angle. Many express-style cruisers tend to run bow

Mochi Craft Dolphin 54

There’s one more model squeezing into Mochi Craft’s Dolphin line of lobsterboat-style cruisers. But why add a 54 when the Italian builder already offers a 51? Because, according to Mochi, it’s time for an upgrade. Launched in 2004, the 51 was the first Dolphin, but the company has built three other versions since then-the 44, 64, and 74-learning much with each build. The question in my mind as I

Sea Ray 350 Sundancer

When I learned that I was going to test the newest Sea Ray Sundancer, the 350, I wasn’t exactly ecstatic. Nothing against the boat, mind you. Sundancers are fine craft. But they can be journalistically challenging, as changes from year to year often appear to be--at least at first glance--more incremental than revolutionary. Such is the case with the 350, which replaces the similar 340 and joins

Mainship 45

If you want to get a real feel for what’s going on in the economy these days, try testing boats. One of the less glamorous but more enlightening aspects of this job is meeting with the folks on the front lines who sell boats and marine gear and services, many of whom own their own businesses. While bureaucrats and academics debate whether the current economic milieu is a downturn, a recession, or

Viking 50 Convertible

A lot can change in seven years. Heck, I went from being a college student to a working professional (yes, this is actually a job) to a daddy in that amount of time, and from having near-black hair to a more refined salt-and-pepper duotone. Man, the time flies. As fast as life moves ahead, so does boat design and technology. I found proof of this during my latest testing adventure onboard Viking

Riviera 38 Open Flybridge

It was a spectacular morning. The sun was sparkling like diamonds on the Pacific, and a cobalt sky vaulted over the Gold Coast of Australia. Denby Browning, marketing honcho for Riviera Yachts, sat beside me on the flying bridge of our 38 Open Flybridge as she purred along quietly in slow-mo mode (70 dB-A at 1500 rpm and a speed of 10.5 knots).

"All the varnish you saw below decks is