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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
I'm not sure exactly when it was—maybe the summer of 2002—but I do remember the conversation as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. Bob Van Grunsven, president of Carver Yachts, was telling me how he needed to build something bigger than the then-flagship Carver 56 Voyager and had decided to do so by creating an entirely new brand, separate from Carver. In implementing that
If you plan on building an 80-foot sportfisherman that's capable of more than 40 mph, you'd better build her strong. Donzi Yachts believes it's done just that. Bob Roscioli founded the company 22 years ago, purchasing the rights to the Donzi name from the legendary Dick Genth. Although Donzi Yachts by Roscioli remains a separate company from Donzi Marine—its boats are all over 50 feet,
The fuel berth in Palma, Mallorca, seemed unusually popular considering the recent rocketing price of oil. Sailboats drifted about, patiently awaiting their turn. Three or four motoryachts circled warily, their captains tweaking the throttles and burning out their bow thrusters in an effort to keep station in the afternoon breeze—alert to the imagined danger of some impertinent fishing boat
Not your average boat test. Not by a long shot. Way back in 2001, off the coast of California, I'd sea trialed a raised-pilothouse motoryacht that would set a new course for Grand Banks. Called the 64 Aleutian Class, the boat sported a complicated and decidedly untrawlerly Tom Fexas hull form designed to optimize
The flags stood at attention. I directed my eyes toward the horizon and gazed at the "buffalo" (big swells) running across the Gulf Stream. It was about this time that I began to appreciate the nearly two-inch-thick, solid-fiberglass core sample I'd seen earlier. Uniesse Marine USA vice president Ralph Barca had pointed to it, as well as an image of the 65 Motoryacht's beefy grid-type stringer
The only other time I can remember getting myself into something that sounded this stark-raving mad was a dozen years ago. I'd just finished wringing out a high-performance screamer, and the photographer who was prepping for a follow-up helicopter shoot suggested I come along, not only "just for the livin' hell of it," but also to experience (after the shoot was "in the can," as they say) a
During a boat test, it's always a pleasure to speak with the owners and to hear about the yacht from their point of view. When those opportunities arise, one of my main goals is to understand why the owners chose a particular yacht; what features were the deciding factors? When I put this query to the owners of a new 72-foot Hatteras I recently tested, their reply was precise. Without hesitation,
Italy is renowned for setting the high-water mark in style. From the right slacks to the right hair to the right yacht, it's all got to be impeccable. It was in this atmosphere that I approached the quay in Ancona, Italy, to preview the Ferretti 592. She's a boat in two parts. Studio Zuccon International Project designed the superstructure and interior, while Ferretti Yachts' engineering
Zaffiro is Italian for sapphire, a gem known for its strength; sapphire ranks 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness (diamond is a 10). The jewel's strength owes much to its density—there's a lot of material in a compact space. Much like its namesake, the new launch from Cranchi is a tightly packed jewel. But the real feat of the builder is making the boat feel so
Italy has hundreds of little museums, most with something worth looking at behind their engraved doors. Sometimes the art is inspiring, sometimes just surprising, but usually adding up to something fine and enjoyable. Moreover, it helps you understand what style and craftsmanship are supposed to be about.
You could say the same thing about Azimut's 58 Flying Bridge, specifically the
Robert Moss really likes boats. He enjoys them so much that he's owned nine new ones since 2004. I met Moss because he kindly let me test his most recent addition, a Viking Sport Cruisers 63 Motor Yacht. I arrived at the vessel's home at the Brewer Yacht Sales yard on Long Island's north shore, and this avid boater soon gave me the skinny on why he digs the 63.
"When I took delivery
Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe defined the minimalist art movement of the mid-1900's with the oft-quoted statement "Less is more." Both the quote and the movement have been reworked in numerous ways since then, but the key aesthetic remains unchanged: reduce a design to its basic elements. The result is a creation that is inherently simpler, and it's been my experience that this simplicity is