2011 Best Boats Cruising Monohull Under 50ft: Presto 30

One thing we particularly like about this boat is that it reminds us there are many different ways to go cruising. A shoal-draft sharpie based loosely on a boat designed in 1885, the Presto 30 is a very modern reinterpretation of a very traditional archetype. A simple, trailerable, beachable boat that is fast, fun and easy to sail, it also has an enclosed head, a dedicated galley and enough berth space for a family of four.

The boat’s construction is impeccable. Both hull and deck are composed of vinylester resin-infused biaxial glass fabric laid over Corecell foam and vacuum-bagged. The easy-to-handle rig, by Hall Spars, is thoroughly contemporary—a pair of sexy freestanding carbon masts flying square-headed full-batten sails set on carbon wishbone booms. Auxiliary power is provided by a retractable outboard in a clever midship well that seals tight and eliminates drag when the engine is lifted.

We sailed the Presto twice before inspecting it again at the Annapolis show and were impressed by its speed and agility. Capable of planing at speeds up to 12 knots, this little centerboard cruiser is also remarkably stable. Over 1,000 pounds of lead-shot ballast set in resin at the bottom of the hull core and hollow sealed spars combine to give the Presto a very impressive AVS of 145 degrees. Though designed for gunkholing in thin coastal water, we reckon this boat is plenty seaworthy enough to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. We also won’t be surprised if someone sails one across an ocean someday, though we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. For more information, visit ryderboats.com


LOA: 30ft 0in

LWL: 28ft 9in

Beam: 8ft 6in

Draft: 1ft 1in (board up) 5ft 6in (board down)

Displacement: 3,915lb

Sail Area: 320 sq ft

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