Best Boats 2012 Winner: The Passport Vista 545 CC (Flagship: Monohull)
Passport has been creating strong, beautifully detailed cruising boats at its yard in Xiamen, China, for 20 years and each new model evolves slightly from the previous one. Looking at the new Passport Vista 545 CC at Annapolis made us wonder if the factory locks a man inside the boat each night and gives him breakfast only after he has come up with some small improvement.
Whatever their management technique, the result is a sailboat that is built the way it should be. The Solent rig (overlapping genoa/working jib on separate furlers) is strong and adaptable to a wide range of wind velocities, and the deck layout is uncluttered and workable with grab points at all the right places. The fittings are sculptures of stainless steel that do their jobs elegantly and efficiently. The cockpit is similarly both efficient and pleasant. Even the fixed windshield is a beautiful structure.
Belowdecks, everything is traditional Passport quality with perfectly fitted joinery, a carefully planned layout and exhaustive details. The locker interiors are as precisely made as the visible parts, the twin fridges open from both top and front, a cabinet swings aside to reveal a small door to the engine oil filter, sliding cabinet doors drop into grooved latches, and so on...and on.
The engine, wiring and plumbing systems are elegant, with control points installed neatly, properly labelled and easily accessible in the pleasant engine room.
These are custom-built boats on a semi-production hull, which makes it possible to have exactly the layout and rig you want without the cost of designing the entire vessel from the keel up. Cost savings are substantial and you can be assured of typically fine Passport sailing qualities as well as looks. wagnerstevens.com
|Draft||6ft 6in (deep); 5ft 7in (shoal)|
|Sail Area||974 ft2 (working jib)|