Boat Tests

Hunt Surfhunter 33

Pedigree is important in animate objects such as racehorses, show dogs, and maybe NASCAR drivers, but does it mean anything for boats—or, more specific, hull forms? Is there such a thing as nautical DNA that predisposes a certain boat to greatness based upon other successful boats from the same builder or naval architect?

According to the folks at Hunt Yachts, the answer is yes, and

Ocean 73 Super Sport

"My friends from the Bahamas, they say that the devil lives here, man," says Jose, also known around the docks of San Juan, Puerto Rico, as Vanilla due to his light skin color. He's one of two mates aboard the Ramon family's 73 Ocean Super Sport, the company's largest convertible to date, and is gesturing out past the tranquil waters of the inner harbor to the not-so-calm ocean. Angel, the other

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,

Rinker Fiesta Vee 360

There was virtually no wind on test day, so rather than make the trip out to the open Atlantic to wring out our Rinker Fiesta Vee 360, I went with a stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway not far from Davey Marine Center, Rinker's dealership in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Why waste fuel goin' offshore when conditions right next door are virtually the same?

All went well at first. The part

Sculley 64

You may not believe this, but testing a fully custom, $2.65-million sportfisherman was hard work. Not so much the part where I walked around the Sculley 64 and took notes. Nor the part where I measured speed, fuel burn, acceleration, and all that other stuff. And certainly not the part where I took her wheel. No, the tough part was the evaluation. What can you find wrong with a boat that costs

Hampton 540 Sedan

Like so many industries these days, yacht building in China has entered a new era. While cheap labor and beneficial exchange rates have kept prices low, quality has improved markedly over the past decade as experienced Taiwanese builders have shifted many of their operations to the mainland. Typical of this trend is Hampton Yachts, established along the outskirts of Shanghai in 1992 and built on

Sunseeker Predator 108

The day began plainly enough. I met for coffee with Sunseeker's Hannah Braithwaite-Smith at the British builder's Pompano Beach outpost, Sunseeker USA. We started with the usual pleasantries, and soon transitioned into some generalities about the Sunseeker Predator 108, the big, Arneson drive-powered, performance-type motoryacht I'd soon be sea trialing in the nearby Atlantic. We talked about how

Jarrett Bay 32

A shift has taken place. Perhaps it's due to saturation of the big-convertible market, or maybe there's a growing need for midsize sportfishermen, but a lot of builders have taken to constructing mid-30-footers aimed at getting you to blue water and big fish. Take the Cabo 32, Albermarle 36, and Bertram 36, all production boats. Now a custom builder has entered this market with a semicustom

Aicon 64

What the heck is a "Euro-style" yacht? Oh, I've seen the term used in an endless array of boat tests and reviews (I've used it myself here and there). I think if a craft has some soft, sweeping lines, elliptical side windows, and shapely soft-leather furnishings, the boat automatically gets dubbed Euro. But is it fair to lump a builder's vision of a particular vessel into a genre just for the

Sea Ray 48 Sundancer

Success often breeds repetition. When something works well, it's human nature not to reinvent it. Arguably, the Sea Ray Sundancer series is the most successful franchise in boating, so when it came time to replace one of the most successful Dancers, the 460, Sea Ray engineers didn't reinvent the wheel. They just trued it up a little.

Dropping the zero from the model designation was step

Horizon 78

It was a grand feeling, standing in the sky lounge of Horizon's 78 Motor Yacht. I could faintly hear the big, 1,500-hp MAN diesels I'd just cranked, idling in the engine room, seemingly miles away. Below on the dock I could see the 78's master, Capt. Heinz Bonde, working his way up the starboard side, casting off mooring lines and tossing them aboard with an old hand's confidence. To compensate

Pursuit 3480

Power & Motoryacht's Boat Test of the Pursuit 3480

Damn. Would you look at that?" PMY senior editor Capt. Patrick Sciacca was on his haunches, head between the props, and pointing at the Pursuit 3480's angular hull shape. I took note of the sharp, 241?2-degree transom deadrise—impressive and looking as if it could chew up just about any chop thrown at it, but the weight of his expletive was still beyond me.

Pershing 115

Some years ago I wrote a piece for a British magazine about a Royal Navy frigate. A state-of-the-art anti-submarine warship, she displaced around 4,800 tons and carried me from the naval base at Portland down the coast to Plymouth, England, at 30 knots, thanks to two Rolls-Royce Olympus gas turbines. Mischievously, as we anchored in the sound in the gathering dusk, I asked the engineering officer

Formula 48

We were getting ready to record our first acceleration run when Formula’s executive vice president Grant Porter, who was seated at the helm, exclaimed, “Bill, look!” I knew why he was so excited because I was already squinting into the Florida sun myself, my OceanPC laptop forgotten, my mouth half open, and the hair on the back of my neck standing up like I was seeing the ghost of ol’ Eddy Teach

Hatteras 68C

If you're a regular reader of PMY boat tests, you're familiar with a disclaimer we too often use that goes something like, "Since the conditions were dead-calm on test day, I couldn't evaluate her seakeeping abilities." Well, you won't read anything like those words in this test. The early-December day I was aboard the Hatteras 68C produced some of the snottiest, nastiest, most all-around

Riviera 33

What do you do if you're no longer an entry-level boater and are now looking for a small convertible? Or if you're an express-cruiser owner ready for something different? Or maybe you're an offshore fisherman with a center console who wants a better ride and more creature comforts? If you happen to fit into any of these categories, what you might do is have a look at the Riviera

SJ Violator 54

I'd just returned from fishing the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland, when I got a call to test a new 54-foot, custom cold-molded sportfisherman. After having spent a week looking at almost every conceivable custom battlewagon on the planet (370-plus boats fished this tourney), I was feeling jaded. I doubted I would find anything truly special about the S&J Violator 54 that would help the

Paul Mann 68

Paul Mann and I were just finishing up with a helicopter photo shoot when the Icom IC-602 VHF on the flying bridge crackled to life. "Just hooked up a bigeye...200 pounds or more!" enthused a drawly, disembodied voice, most likely belonging to one of the skippers working out of the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, a neighboring enclave of charter boats. The accent was typical of those who scour the

Black Pearl 46

She didn't look like a cat, but I quickly concluded that her ability to jump, run, and land on her feet were signs of a nimble and acrobatic feline. No, I didn't come across a predatory panther on the African plains, but I did take a ride on Black Pearl Marine's 46 sportfish catamaran that made this monohull diehard reconsider his position on fishing platforms.

I spooled up the 46's

Pacific Mariner 85 Pilothouse

Okay. Let’s get a couple of things out of the way right off the bat. First, you’re likely to wonder a little when you check the specifications for the Pacific Mariner 85 Pilothouse Motoryacht shown here. I kid you not: The standards list is so extraordinarily lengthy and replete with aristocratic brand names that it reads like a Russian novel. Second, if you’re the type to read fine print, you’re

Nordhavn 43

For me, stepping aboard a Nordhavn is like going to school—I always learn a few things. Maybe that’s because, due to the constraints of this job, I’m not a bluewater cruiser. But the people who design and build Nordhavns are, and you see it in their boats. These little ships are full of neat systems and solutions that could only have been conceived by people who’ve actually made long,

Meridian 341 Sedan Bridge

Docking’s a big deal to me, mostly because back when my wife and I were living in Connecticut and I was struggling to learn how to dock midrange cruisers, parking the darn things scared the livin’ daylights out of me. Not that merely driving out of a slip engendered fear—I seldom experienced difficulties going straight ahead. It was close-quarters maneuvering that gave me fits. I can still

Silverton 38 Sport Bridge

Some boatbuilders concentrate on perfecting a boat’s performance, while others are all about creating an eye-catching interior design. There are those that focus on giving a smooth ride, and even more are fixed on striking exterior lines. To me, it’s a combination of all these elements that helps give one builder an edge over its peers. However, there are also the intangibles that can put one

Azimut 75

If you ask ten boaters to write a list of what makes up a great boat, chances are you will get ten lists with few common factors. Moreover, those shared elements will likely differ in importance. For instance, I enjoy bare-bones sportfishermen, but my friend Tom D’Angelo craves home-like accommodations aboard his boat. However, every once in a while, a vessel that blends an artful design with a

Mainship 34 Trawler

Automotively speaking, I’m just a tad different. My way of getting to a specific address in a town or city in a car, for example, continues to hew closely to one I glommed onto years ago in Tokyo, where addresses are not sequential—I simply go to the general area and drive around until I find what I’m looking for. Not the most efficient way to get places, of course, but enjoyable. And sometimes

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