Strolling down the docks of the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show with the warm Florida sun on my back, my head pivots back and forth like a sunburned bobblehead. One second I’m admiring the megayacht helicopter on my left, and then I’m staring down a glistening superyacht to my right. Next I walk past a massive fleet of sportfishermen and the flotilla of new offerings from the Ferretti Group.
By the day’s end, my head is spinning from new-boat overload. I meet with my colleagues and the question comes up: What was the coolest thing you saw at the show? Where do I start!?
After much internal deliberation, I have whittled my list down to the following three boats:
The Arcadia 85: With a steel-gray hull topped by a dark, angular house topped with hundreds of small, square solar panels, I wasn’t sure if I loved or hated the 85 at first glance. Then I climbed up into the spacious afterdeck, which boasted three couches, an aft sunpad and a table that seats six guests. I estimate that 16 people could mingle in this massive cockpit and it wouldn’t feel crowded. Step into the saloon and you’ll see where this boat’s magic really happens. In the angled glass overhead, a grid of square solar panels, which power the 85’s many entertainment appliances, gives the yacht a futuristic-feeling décor and full-height glass walls provide a feeling of spaciousness throughout the vessel. Another smart feature is the wall between the galley and the saloon, which rises and falls at the push of the button. This allows the onboard chef to prepare meals in privacy or have their cooking be on display. By the time my tour of the 85 ended, my love-hate relationship had blossomed into a love-love relationship. arcadiayachts.it
The natural-gas powered Intrepid 327 CC: With a bright-green and blue color scheme and the words: powered by natural gas emblazoned on the hull, it was hard to miss the Intrepid 327 CC. But what’s most impressive about this boat is what you don’t see: built-in natural gas tanks below the deck and standing vertically inside the console itself, provided by a company called Bluegas.
The Bluegas president and CEO, Miguel Guerreiro, explained that using natural gas won’t affect the performance of the twin 275-horsepower Mercury outboard powered Intrepid, it will only reduce the cost of running it. “Instead of paying four to five dollars per gallon of gasoline, you’re paying about a buck fifty,” says Guerrerio. “We can build our fueling system into boats straight at the factory [the case with the Intrepid] or we can retrofit a boat of any brand with it.” For the foreseeable future, Bluegas will work best for trailerable boat owners that can have the fuel delivered to their homes. When the natural gas runs out, simply pushing a button will shift the 327 to traditional gasoline power. bluegasmarine.com
The Prestige 750: Sunshades are becoming commonplace aboard yachts, allowing boaters to spend time in their cockpit without getting scorched by the sun or rained on. The Prestige 750 is the first yacht I saw with an aft sunshade covering the entire aft section of the cockpit. I liked it immediately. It doesn’t just shield guests from the elements, it allows for a quieter, more intimate alfresco dining experience. Another smart choice is having the galley aft, allowing the chef to be part of the party in either the saloon or cockpit. prestige-yachts.com
2014 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show Special ▶