Boat Tests

Sea Ray 330 Sundancer

The Sea Ray 330 Sundancer replaces the Sea Ray 320 Sundancer, a six-year veteran to which it bears striking similarities in both design and appearance. Both boats can be ordered with stern drives or V-drives, in either case yielding a roomy interior comprised of forward and midcabin staterooms (the latter under the

Bertram 410 Convertible

When I was a kid, I always heard the name Bertram mentioned among boaters. The conversation usually involved someone wanting to buy the now-legendary 31-footer or someone else who had just purchased one. That vessel was—and to many diehards still is—the ultimate in solid-fiberglass, deep-V fishing boats. Aside from the dock talk, I remember the picture of Moppie, the first 31 that was

Viking Sport Cruisers 58 Flybridge

While the larger world grapples with thorny issues like disappearing polar ice caps and nuclear proliferation, the boating industry wrestles with its own conundrums, one of which rivals those in thorniness if not scale: Galley Up Versus Galley Down. Pretty much since the day someone first put a lid on a hull, designers and owners have debated which is the better location for the food-preparation

Azimut 47

Ah, the Mediterranean in early June, when every yachtsman feels he has a right to decent weather. And sure enough, when I got there it was warm, with low humidity and calm seas. Perfect conditions—except for boat testing.

In the new marina at Varazze, 15 miles west of Genoa on the Ligurian coast, Azimut's new service and delivery center was abuzz with activity. The shops all looked

Astondoa 53 Open

Aficionados of large custom yachts may be familiar with the Astondoa marque; founded in 1916, the Spanish yard has been building custom pleasurecraft through three generations of family ownership. Steeped in tradition, the builder is known in the United States for its line of motoryachts ranging in length from 66 to 138 feet. But during the past few years, the company has also been building a

Rampage 41 Express

From the driver's seat of my rental car, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, glimmered like the Emerald City as I neared the drawbridge that connects the barrier island with the mainland. With its well-manicured, cedar-shingle homes and gorgeous beach, the island is indeed a jewel, but as I reached the bridge’s apex, I realized the radiance was the sun's reflection off tuna towers and outriggers

Vicem 85 Classic

Sometimes I wonder how I find my way out of bed in the morning. Here I was looking for Turkish builder Vicem Yachts' latest offering targeted to the American market, the 85 Classic, maybe the largest lobster yacht afloat, and I couldn't find the darn thing. Huh! After giving me the address of a canal-side residence in Fort Lauderdale, Michael Landsberg, president of Vicem's stateside distributor

Hatteras 60GT Convertible

The twin-engine Embraer turboprop I was aboard slid and skipped along the flag-stiffening breeze like a boat that was being beaten by breaking seas. The approach to the Bahamas' Marsh Harbour—and the end of this interesting voyage across from West Palm Beach, Florida—was in sight, but it wouldn't be my last tangle with this blowhard of a wind. However, the next time we'd meet, the

Albemarle 330 XF

Singer Island, Florida's Sailfish Marina restaurant was in aprs-fish mode when I arrived around 6 p.m. At its outdoor tables and bar, salty types—mixed among snowbirds and coeds—sported Guy Harvey T-shirts and deep tans as they unwound after a day of chasing a reported hot sailfish bite. From a dock hard by the restaurant's entrance, a father and son tossed bread to a school of jacks

Molokai Strait 75

One of our V-drive inboard diesels conked out shortly after we had dropped off our passengers at Pier 66's fuel dock in Fort Lauderdale. The couple, potential owners of our test boat, a Molokai Strait 75 prototype called Hercules, waved gaily from afar as Molokai director/co-owner Jeff Druek belabored the Glendinning electronic engine control on the starboard bridge wing and then

Sessa C35

Can a thousand-boat-per-year builder be considered a startup business? The answer is yes and no. Milan, Italy-based and family-owned Sessa Marine has been a household name in the European boating scene since the late 1950's, but it decided to take on the highly competitive American boating market only in the last year or so.

A couple of factors have played a part in that decision.

VG Shipyard PC 62

All things happen for a reason, right? After a recent sea trial—actually two sea trials, as I will explain—aboard the PC 62 (previously known as the VG 60), an Italian-built catamaran from Ancona's V.G. Shipyard, I was beginning to see the light behind this oft-used and seldom-understood adage.

My first test started uneventfully. BRB Yachts, the 62's U.S. distributor, had the

Grand Banks 45 Eastbay SX

There's nothing like a boat-show breakdown: big guys swinging giant hammers knocking out the massive pins that connect the floating docks and staffers in single-outboard-powered skiffs with bow-mounted cow catchers pushing those docks around so fast it looks like they're backing down on a marlin. Boats are everywhere, heading for home, the next show, and to new owners. This controlled chaos makes

Riviera 56 Open

Okay, I'm gonna brazenly reveal my vintage here—I sea trialed the very first Riviera Yacht to arrive in the United States from the Gold Coast of Australia in 1988, back when Supertramp, Billy Ocean, and The Miami Sound Machine were big. The boat was a 38-foot convertible, a sportfishing cruiser with a roomy and comfortable flying bridge, gutsy fiberglass construction, savvy engineering in

Palm Beach / Avalon 32

Thirty-two feet is a perfect size for a lot of boaters, and with good reason. There is enough length to fit an enclosed head, a comfortable master cabin, a reasonable galley, and a cockpit big enough to relax in. Modest power can yield good performance and fuel economy, and single diesel power even more so. I own a 32-footer, and after having shopped for a lot of bigger vessels, I've concluded

Viking 54 Convertible

More than likely, the color of the hull had something to do with my reaction the morning I stood on the dock admiring Viking's 54 Convertible—if there's anything kickin' around the marine scene today that looks better on a hull side or a transom than Viking's seafoam green, I'll be danged if I know what the heck it is. Add a glossy, snow-white superstructure, a teaky pair of Murray Products

Riva 63 Vertigo

You don’t get to ride in a Riva every day. It’s not that they’re scarce, exactly. In the six years since the first of the “new” Rivas, the Aquariva runabout, came out, the company has launched no fewer than eight other new models. But demand appears to be outstripping supply to such a degree that few boats hang around long enough for mere journalists to get a hold of them.

So to turn up at

Azimut 43S

The slick exteriors and restrained yet contemporary interiors of Azimut’s flying-bridge models, courtesy of the dynamic design duo of Carlo Galeazzi and Stefano Righini, have succeeded where others have failed: executing striking design across a line of flying-bridge cruisers. And while they are now available in sizes ranging from 39 to 116 feet, the builder felt it needed to offer more than just

Spencer 43 Express

I was rigging baits in the cockpit of a 43-foot express sportfisherman at the 2005 White Marlin Open when a man who was fishing the boat next to my team’s came walking over. He asked if he could come aboard and take a look, and we happily invited him on. After about a half hour of going through the boat, he asked us what we liked and didn’t like about her. We shared some ideas, and then he

Stealth 540

t’s not surprising that the waters just outside Miami right after a boat show are chockablock with gorgeous high-performance yachts doing wide-open-throttle, loop-d-loop demos, photo shoots, or just blasting off for home. And what better place to experience the Stealth 540’s oh-so-surprising top end? Time after time—it’s addictive—we slipped this 54-foot luxury cruiser into a

Sea Ray 55 Sundancer

When I drew the assignment to test the Sea Ray 55 Sundancer, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I’ve tested I don’t know how many Sundancers over the years, and I know they can be hard to write about. The basic Sundancer concept—a midcabin, V-drive, express cruiser—is long established, well-proven, highly successful, and essentially unchanging. Differences from year to year tend to be

Cranchi Atlantique 50

During the wintertime in Manhattan, I often forget that I'm on an island. Sure, I'm aware the Hudson and East Rivers are chockablock with ferries, tugs, Coast Guard vessels, and myriad commercial boat traffic, but walking along the skyscraper-walled canyon of Madison Avenue tends to skew one's perspective.

Spring can't arrive soon enough. In late May the PMY crew starts spending

Jeanneau Prestige 42

“But don’t they build sailboats?” That was my first thought as I caught a glimpse of Jeanneau’s Prestige 42 cruiser sitting in her berth at Harbour Towne Marina in Dania Beach, Florida. I knew the company’s name by way of its wind-powered craft, but it turns out the French yard started building powerboats 50 years ago. The 42 is one of three models the builder is bringing to America (the others

Sessa C52

They weren’t in a hurry or anything, but as I trundled my bag along the concrete quay toward the boat, I could tell not only that had I been spotted, but also that the engines were already running. Fresh from the airport, I was returning to Cannes, France, the day after the boat show closed, to join Sessa’s C52 for part of her return trip to Italy. However, I would only be riding along on part of

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