Boat Tests

CNM Continental 80

There are lots of ways to arrive at the Monaco Yacht Show, some more stylish than others. The airport bus is quick, efficient, and air conditioned, but perhaps a little humdrum for a man who wishes to be taken seriously on the quayside at Port Hercule. People often overlook the train, but the views are spectacular, and it's by far the fastest way if you're staying in a pretty coastal resort like

Tiara 3900 Sovran

Tiara Yachts is gutsy when it comes to technology. The successful, family-owned company was the first in the United States to seriously venture into pod-type propulsion systems some years back, partnering with Volvo Penta to launch the first American-built powerboat with Volvo's revolutionary Inboard Performance System (IPS). And now Tiara's upping the ante yet again with the intro of a sleek,

Oceanus Voyager 45

The midsize express-cruiser segment is a tough nut to crack, mainly because a plethora of stateside and European builders already offer so many choices. So while flying to Charleston, South Carolina, I asked myself why would someone—facing a nearly saturated marketplace—launch a new brand of express cruiser? I assumed the answer was because there's always room for a new

Buzzards Bay 33

Just about any boatbuilder will claim its vessel has the "latest(!), innovative(!) technologies" and "represents an entirely new direction." Yet, once you get onboard, you often discover that while the boat may be nice, she's not necessarily the "next big thing" in boating.

But the Buzzards Bay 33, which I recently tested out of Plymouth, Massachusetts, is different. She's a no-frills

Rinker 350 Express Cruiser

As I peered down from my motel window into the sloshy, early-morning darkness, noting how deeply the palm trees in the parking lot were bowing to the whims of the wind-driven deluge, it seemed pretty obvious: testing Rinker's new 350 Express Cruiser before nightfall was gonna be challenging, if it was doable at all.

"We'll call 'er off this morning," I told photographer Jeffery Salter, who

Doral Mediterra

I'm almost there. My route to Jacques Cartier Park's marina, Rue Wellington Street, avoids Ottawa's business district and allows me to skirt traffic snarls while taking in stunning views of the midnight-blue Ottawa River. Lined along the banks of the waterway that the explorer Cartier once sailed en route from Canada's Maritime Provinces to Montreal are the capital city's Gothic Revival

Hustler 49 EDS

Grumman Aerospace was once Long Island, New York's largest employer. Indeed, it was once said that everyone on the island either worked there or knew someone who did. After the huge facility near the junction of the island's North and South Forks closed nearly two decades ago, it sat vacant until being purchased by the town of Calverton for $1. Thus began the story of Hustler

Cruisers 390 Sports Coupe

Americans are notorious for buying more than they need. Whether it's cars, houses, or food, we can't resist the urge to supersize. Which is fine as long as we don't confuse desire and necessity. It's okay to want a Hummer, but don't fool yourself into believing you actually need one.

It's the same with boats. A lot of us buy more boat than we need. For example, we convince ourselves

Mikelson 59/63 LRSF

If there's one rule of boatbuilding that's been proven time and again, it's stick with what you know. Even if you really do have the best designers and engineers in the world, don't try to build fishing boats if your forte is aft-cabin cruisers.

Based on that premise, the guys from Mikelson must have rocks in their heads. Over the past 23 years they've created a tidy little franchise

CW Hood 50

Napkins. They can catch mustard falling off your hot dog in a single swipe and clean a child's ice cream-covered face in no time. But they can also be the backbone of modern boatbuilding design (damn the CAD drawings!). At least in one case: an innovative, Downeast-inspired, 50-footer called Sea Blitz I recently tested, whose life began as a napkin drawing (in a bar, of

Viking 64 Convertible

Usually the design of a new sportfishing yacht evolves around the cockpit. Fishing, above all else, is what the yacht is built for. But the design of Viking's new 64 Convertible was motivated by another equally significant factor: the imminent availability of the new, highly anticipated MTU 16V 2000 M93 diesel engine. Rated at 2,400 hp, the muscular MTU offers promise of substantially higher

Atlantis 39

Things have become a lot more competitive in Piacenza, Italy, since the Azimut-Benetti Group took over the family-run Gobbi shipyard a couple of years ago. Not that they weren't already in pretty good shape: Azimut always said that in addition to Gobbi's sports cruiser know-how, one of the yard's main attractions was its professionalism. It's just that while Gobbi was content to be successful in

Cranchi Mediterranee 47 HT

As I write this, a commuter heading down I-80 in Kearney, Nebraska, may be getting an early-morning eyeful as 47 feet of Italian yacht passes him port to port. The yacht is a Cranchi Mediterranee 47 HT whose odyssey started in a lamination room back at the builder's Lake Como, Italy, headquarters several months ago and will end with Warren and Gail Dent taking possession of her in Seattle. And

Kadey-Krogen Krogen 44

As luck would have it, I beheld an unlikely but well-timed prospect while scanning the mouth of Spa Creek from an old dock in Eastport, Maryland, on a recent morning that was suffused with warm summer light. Off to the west my test boat, a Krogen 44 Classic named Travellers, floated dreamily in a mooring field, with the waterfront of Annapolis behind her. To the east another Krogen,

Sea Ray 60 Sundancer

So when the second-largest-ever boat in the line, the 60 Sundancer, premiered earlier this year at the Miami International Boat Show, I expected a near riot on the quays. Fortunately there was plenty of room for a dozen at a time to tour a vessel that's the essence of a successful three-decade run.

Take the 41/2-foot-wide standard hydraulic swim platform, well-suited for a PWC or RIB. "We

Mochi Craft 44 Dolphin

I believe in love at first sight. But why are the Italians always involved? To be fair, it's Italian design that holds a special place in my heart, from the sculpted sheet metal of fire-breathing Ferraris and Lamborghinis to the hip home furnishings of Cassina that would transform my apartment into the ideal set for a Stanley Kubrick film. And I admire the bold lines and gorgeous accommodations

Ferretti 630

It's often the little things that make a difference. I'm not suggesting that your decision to buy a $3 million yacht might rest on a particularly cool design of a door handle or whether the flecks of color in a granite worktop happen to match your socks, but it never ceases to surprise me how something seemingly unimportant can color my entire impression of a boat.

With Ferretti's new 630,

Carver 55 Marquis

What made a believer of me was the thunk I heard when a sizable wave from someplace—maybe from one of the big, slab-sided Great Lakes ore carriers that constantly ply the cold, grayish waters of Wisconsin’s Green Bay—slammed the port bow like a sledgehammer.

I mean: Thunk!

“Jeeze,” I exclaimed, directing a speculative grin at Randy Peterson, who was sitting next to me in

Viking Sport Cruisers V65 Express

If the Viking Sport Cruisers' V65 were human, I would say that she welcomed me with open arms. From the moment that I stepped aboard, that she seemed the consummate hostess, a perfect venue for socializing with family, friends, or business associates. With her versatile open layout and stylish, understated, but elegant decor, she's suited to any occasion, be it a casual day of fun in the sun or a

Pershing 56

On Saturday afternoon at last February's Miami International Boat Show, amid the dozens of launches and parties I was obligated to attend, I was having lunch at an oceanside bistro when a commotion erupted nearby. Two couples were standing, bickering, and pointing towards the ocean. It seemed they couldn't agree on what kind of boat was racing across the horizon. My curiosity was piqued, but

Jefferson 82 Starship Pilothouse

The day got off to a rousing start, nutritionally speaking. Photographer Jim Raycroft picked me up at Fort Lauderdale International, and we headed for Billfish Marina by way of Lester's Diner on State Road 84, a decent place to grab a fast breakfast and talk over your plans for the day.

"What we're lookin' at," I said, once I'd ordered two eggs scrambled, pancakes, bacon, sausage, home

Uniesse 58

Uniesse is a brand on the move. Though widely known in Europe, this Italian builder hasn’t achieved the same level of recognition on our shores. But that may be about to change. Adopting a fundamentally different marketing strategy, Uniesse has eliminated its network of broker/dealer representatives in favor of factory-direct sales. This is designed not only to make pricing more competitive by

Elling E3

There's no doubt about it. Europeans place a high premium on efficiency, vastly more so than consumers on this side of the pond. And not just with regard to fuel economy, but in relation to space utilization as well. But with fuel prices on the rise and little prospect for relief any time soon, it's time to take a closer look at the European approach to yachting. A case in point is the new Elling

Hampton 740 Pilothouse

She’s part long-range cruiser, part yacht, and part sportfisherman. And although the Hampton 740 is part of the Shanghai, China-based boatbuilder’s Pilothouse line, she’s a true yachtfisherman.

I recently sea trialed the 740 off Marina Del Ray, California, and the first evidence I saw of this was in her teak-sole cockpit, a six-foot extension Hampton added to its popular

Sea Ray 36 Sedan Bridge

It had been just about a year since I'd tested my last gasoline-powered boat when I stepped aboard the Sea Ray 36 Sedan Bridge, and boy, had things changed. Not so much with boats, but rather with gasoline. See, that very day, oil had hit $70 a barrel for the first time, causing ripples in financial markets and, more relevant to my endeavor, making three- and maybe four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline

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