Boat Tests

Azimut 86S

I like stories about individuals who through determination and fortitude not only pursue a vision but also achieve it. Take Paolo Vitelli, the president of Azimut-Benetti. In 1969, with little more than a vision, the young university student started a yacht-chartering business that eventually evolved into the Azimut brand of yachts. Thirty-six years later, after acquiring the Fratelli Benetti

Hatteras 64

First impressions are often the standard by which we measure things. While we may change our minds, it's usually our gut reaction that endures. The initial reaction I had upon stepping through the transom door of the Hatteras 64 Motor Yacht on to the teak aft deck and into the saloon was that this was a boat that would impress me for a long time to come.

The 64 is a revamped version of

Albin 40 North Sea Cutter

What a gorgeous, New England day it was and what a pretty blue-hulled, China-built 40-footer docked there behind Eastern Yacht Sales, Albin Marine's dealership in Hingham, Massachusetts. For a moment I stopped to study her profile from afar—boxy perhaps, particularly minus the bimini top most owners will opt for, but muscularly built and undeniably salty-looking. Thick, welded-stainless

Egg Harbor 50

I drove over the two-lane bridge to Somers Point, New Jersey, a quaint, 16-square-mile waterfront town just seven miles south of Atlantic City, and thought that I'd gone back in time. I cruised along the narrow streets and listened to waking gulls warble, breathed in the sea air that envelops this intoxicating place, and watched the harbor-side tackle shop and restaurant workers flip the

Aicon 72

Truthfully, I was a tad amazed by the formal introduction of Aicon's 72 in Taormina, Sicily. While the big, muscular performance cruiser's exterior was pretty much finished, her interior was only about 90 percent done. Not that I'm a stranger to this sort of thing. I've tested plenty of yachts that were officially a couple days away from completion, mostly because the test had to accommodate a

Jannace 430C

The convertible market is brutal—ask any of the established builders who compete in it. It's tough enough to succeed when you're a recognized name, but when you're an unknown with a new boat—well, just having a good boat isn't enough. You need a hook, something that'll get people to give you a look.

The folks at Heart Marine think they've got a hook—two actually. One is

ACY 72

Recently, I’ve had a string of bad luck with South Florida weather. The past few times I’ve been on the water there, the skies have opened up, the seas turned snotty, and I’ve been subsequently drenched by quarter-size raindrops. Although this doesn’t bother me so much—moderate chop’s good for a sea trial—I prefer not to be in a constant state of panic about keeping our plethora of

Cruisers 477 Sport Sedan

When someone calls to tell me he wants me to see a new boat that’s really different, it’s hard not to be skeptical. "Different" is a continuum; a change in nomenclature or even color may be all that’s necessary to justify it. "Really new"? To earn that description, someone’s got to come up with a whole new take on an existing concept. Well, Cruisers has. Its 477 Sport Sedan represents a

Cavileer 44 Convertible

Cavileer Boatworks is named after 18th-century boatbuilder John Cavileer, whose boats—built in Lower Bank, New Jersey, the current home of Cavileer Boatworks—were integral players in America’s fight for independence. George Washington, then a young general, was purportedly so impressed with the stout construction and seafaring abilities of Cavileer’s boats that he used them to send

Fairline Targa 47

Once in a while, I forget what boating’s really about. I get all tangled up in a particular vessel’s construction, say, or her engineering. I crawl around on all fours for hours, exploring engine rooms, examining the wonders of electrical systems or hull-to-deck joints. Or I spend hours checking out the latest laminating techniques on plant tours. And although most of this stuff is interesting

Birchwood 350

It’s hard for a newcomer to make a mark in an arena dominated by key players who have been around for years. This is particularly true in boatbuilding, where some of the most successful players are often veterans who continuously refine an established product, as opposed to creating something really new and different. While a formula for success, that can rob buyers of the chance to try something

Silverton 43 Sport Bridge

Over the course of 35 years, Silverton has established a reputation for offering extraordinary spaciousness and livability per foot of boat length. Occasionally, however, it's been opined that maximum interior volume has been achieved at the expense of exterior styling and proportion. In other words, Silvertons have been accused of looking top-heavy.

That said, I am impressed by Silverton's

Tiara 3900 Convertible

It's all in the details.

After testing boats for more than five years, I've found it's that philosophy that makes the difference between okay, good, and exceptional vessels. And one builder I've noticed that is consistent in its attention to detail is Tiara. I've always been impressed with its helm layouts, clean wiring, and good performing, solid-fiberglass, modified-V hulls. But what

Mochi Maxidolphin 74

When Norberto Ferretti unveiled the Mochi 51 Dolphin at the 2003 Cannes Boat Show, he mockingly referred to her as a "langoustine boat" —in other words, a lobster boat with a Mediterranean twist. She was beautiful and performed well, but at 51 feet she was bigger than any lobster boat I had ever seen.

I had no idea then what Ferretti had in mind for the future, namely the Mochi 74.

Kit Cats PowerCat 40

"Would that all boat tests were thus," I marveled to myself as the Comp Air 7 Turboprop swung a pirouette in front of me and then stopped on the tarmac of Flightline's terminal on the private side of Tallahassee's Regional Airport. The Air 7 was a beaut, alright—a kit-type airplane of the sort typically sold to do-it-yourselfers with the assurance of professional assistance during

Grand Banks 70 Aleutian CP

Grand Banks dealer Jay Bettis is a tall, lean fellow. And, although he's one of Seabrook, Texas' tried-and-true old-timers, with a waterfront operation that's been going strong since 1973, he's about as agile as a cat once he steps aboard a boat. Maybe his Marine Corps training has something to do with this. Or maybe it's just that he loves boats so darn much he forgets how old he is when he's

Post 53 Convertible

Entering Black Pearl Marine's Marco Island, Florida, office, I knew straight away I was dealing with serious anglers. Although he's a salesman, Capt. Steve Sprigg was simultaneously tinkering with a half-dozen grapefruit-size Shimano Tiagra 80-pound reels and poring over the contents of a morning shipment of fishing miscellany. Marc Brunsvold, company president and founder, answered e-mails and

Cabo 32 Express

If there's such a thing as an old hippie hideout, it's Santa Cruz, California. A port town surfing the edge of Monterey Bay, a few miles south of 'Frisco, Santa Cruz seems loaded with folks of a certain age—my age, actually—sporting hairstyles, clothes, and vocabularies that hark back, sometimes subtly, sometimes strikingly, to the Bad Old Days. Or at least that was my take as I

Grady White 360 Express

In the spring of 2001, I spent two days fishing and testing the Grady-White 330 Express on a tempestuous ocean off Ocracoke, North Carolina. Grady's then-flagship boat ran impressively in the slop, and I was even more impressed that we were able to comfortably fish in the six- to eight-foot-plus seas. Shortly after I returned, a PMY reader wrote and asked me what I thought about the 330. I

Apreamare 16m

At the 2002 Genoa Boat Show, I walked up to the foredeck of the first of the new Apreamare 16ms and found a sofa. So I sat down. I imagined a pretty girl lying on one of the sunpads there, pictured something long and cool to drink, and marveled at the inspired idea of providing a bimini top to keep the sun off. A bimini on the foredeck—sheer genius.

Even though the boat was inside a

Jefferson 52 Pilothouse SE

It was breezy. Here and there, I could see wind gusts ruffling what little open water there was at Fort Lauderdale's boat-chocked Billfish Marina. On the plus side of the close-quarters maneuvering equation, there wasn't much current. As Alan Schmitz, dealer support guy for Jefferson Yachts' Billfish-based facility, began casting lines off our 52-foot Pilothouse SE (Jefferson's using SE, or

Buccaneer 95

Get there from anywhere.

That's the mission of the stout-looking, passagemaking Buccaneer 95. To prove its point, the builder took this full-displacement, steel-hull vessel from the Inace yard in Brazil, where she was constructed, to last year's Miami International Boat Show on her own bottom. That's a 3,000-mile-plus haul. The crew told me that during the delivery there were several days

Viking Sport Cruisers V70 Express

About ten years ago, I received a call from Tom Carroll, then executive vice president of Viking Yachts, telling me the builder partnered with U.K. builder Princess Yachts to import a line of motoryachts to the United States. He wanted to know if I was interested in shaking down the first two models, a flying-bridge 48 and a 52-foot open, on a run from Miami to Marathon. I said yes, but I was

Marlow Marine Prowler 375

I was sitting in David Marlow's pine-paneled office a year ago, looking out the window. It's a beautiful, park-like place, Marlow Marine, with royal palms, one of the oldest buttonwood trees on Florida's west coast, cracker-style tin roofs, and an ambiance of calm assurance. The shady, spring-fed lagoon at its center, which opens into the Manatee River, Terra Ceia Bay, and ultimately Tampa Bay,

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