Boat Tests

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

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

tiara-3900-open

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,

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

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

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

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

Pershing 64

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

Donzi R-80

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,

Marquis 70 Tri-Deck

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

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

Ferretti 592

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

Hatteras 72

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,

Maritimo C60 Sports Cabriolet

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

Uniesse 65 Motoryacht

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

Grand Banks 65 Aleutian

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

Viking Sport Cruisers 63 Motor Yacht

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

Azimut 58 Flying Bridge

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

Cranchi Zaffiro 36

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

Bluewater Yachts Legacy 65

I heard an industry spokesperson say something the other day at a press event that seemed a little strange, at least at first. "The competitors for the products we build are not the manufacturers of other boats and engines," the guy said earnestly, "it's everything else—by which I mean golf courses, condominiums, RVs, motorcycles."

A couple of heads nodded. But otherwise the

Symbol 75

Sometimes a boat is built around the engines. At least that was the case with the Symbol 75 Flushdeck Motoryacht I recently tested out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Bahia Mar marina. A little more than 15 months ago, this boat's owner was seeking a vessel that could cruise in the low- to mid-20-knot range. She also needed to have four to five staterooms to accommodate his large family while

Apreamare Maestro 65

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

San Juan 40 FB

While casting about for a way to convey my overall impression of San Juan Yachts' new 40 FB (Fly Bridge), I kept coming back to my good buddy Don. Some years ago he and I had dinner in a waterfront eatery in Panacea, Florida, and our conversation eventually got 'round, as it usually does, to a favorite topic, my beloved trawler Betty Jane. "She's quite simply a work of art, that little

Marlow Explorer 86 CMY

In David Marlow's hands are two coffee stirrers buttressed at either end with the lids from our large Styrofoam cups. "You see," he explains as he leans his elbows on the granite countertop in the galley of the Marlow 86, "these lids represent the Kevlar skins..." As the owner and founder of Marlow Yachts begins his explanation, I sip on my coffee and pay careful attention, knowing that he and

Fjord 40 Open

Alongside the dictionary definition of the word unconventional, one might rightly expect to find an image of the Fjord 40. Quite simply, she looks like no other 40-footer around. Her styling is about the boldest I've ever seen in a waterborne craft, rivaling the over-the-top Wally Tender for imaginative pizzazz. And for good reason, it turns out: Both projects were developed by Patrick Banfield

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