2009

Large center-cockpit monohulls are quite common these days, so we were curious to see how Phil Lambert of Outbound Yachts, whose Outbound 44 and 46 bluewater cruisers have gained such a strong reputation over the past decade, might interpret the breed with the introduction of his new Outbound 52 center-cockpit cruiser. We were impressed enough to give the Outbound 52 the nod in this category. The
The boatbuilding industry is benefiting from a series of mini-revolutions. Real strides are being made with hybrid propulsion systems. Designers are working on automatic systems that will trim sails as easily and as effectively as an autopilot steers. Radically modern designs are redefining boat aesthetics. NMEA 2000 promises to expand electronic options, and distributed power systems offer a
The concept of a lightweight, open-bridgedeck, high-performance cruising catamaran isn’t a new one, but we found that the new Moxie 37 Island Hopper, designed and built in South Africa by Uwe Jaspersen, takes the game up a notch. The boat has a unique appearance, with distinctive triangular windows in a full-width deck bulkhead that supports a hard-top bridgedeck enclosure. To maximize sailing
In addition to the Santa Cruz 37, several performance/racing designs (King 40, A35 and A40 from Archambault, Andrews 28, and the Melges 20) debuted this year, and a case can be made for each design in this category. But the Santa Cruz 37 ended up narrowly edging out the others because it’s hit the sweet spot between racing performance, accommodations, and trailerability. For starters, the boat is
The Optimist may be the most successful class in history. Thousands of kids around the world have cut their teeth sailing and racing Optis since the boat first appeared in 1952, but is that it? Must young sailors start out in a square boat that’s not too durable, not self-bailing, and needs fixed buoyancy bags? Yes, the Opti has earned its place by sheer force of numbers, and it’s going to take a
Without doubt, the cruising-boat interior that inspired the most comment from showgoers this past fall was that of the newly introduced Hunter 50. We overheard several people proclaiming it “decadent”; several others termed it “amazing.” If the goal of an accommodation plan is to incorporate as many shoreside amenities as possible into a boat, the Hunter 50 surely has raised the bar for cruising
Over the past several years, a slew of new systems technologies have been introduced to the marine marketplace. These have the potential to bring more change to both AC and DC systems on boats than we have seen at any time in the past three decades, but few of these technologies have found their way onto this year’s new-boat fleet. There were a few more LED lights than last year, especially
One of the things we liked most about the Outbound 52, which also wins the Best Flagship award this year, is its no-nonsense center-cockpit layout. Where most center-cockpit boats have wide, shallow cockpits that promote a nagging sense of vulnerability, the Outbound 52’s cockpit is deep, narrow, and secure. Relative to the helmsman, the primary winches are installed at waist height on the
With foreclosures, credit woes, and skyrocketing oil prices painting a gloomy economic picture recently, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see so many new boats being introduced this year. And it makes perfect sense that boatbuilders should compete that much harder for our business. As they say on TV, “when [builders] compete, you win”—in this case you get better, more innovative, more

2009 Best Boats

by Nigel Calder, Posted August 16, 2011
October’s Annapolis Boat Show opened as Wall Street experienced one of the biggest sell-offs in history. With the scary economic news, it was easy to think that many people would put off investing in a new boat. That idea went out the window as VIP Thursday appeared to be more crowded than ever. Instead of panicking, sailors seemed to be turning to sailing, much as they did after 9/11—as a
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