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 reading lights, including the elegant flexible-stem lights on the Beneteau First 45. There were Raymarine ST70 displays, which have the potential to use the new NMEA 2000 plug-n-play navigation bus, on the Jeanneaus, but no builder has taken full advantage of the NMEA 2000 approach. The Jeanneau and Beneteau boats have distribution panels in the navigation stations in which a single switch triggers a relay behind the panel that activates a cluster of hidden circuit breakers. This simplifies the user interface and represents a small step toward making use of the much more sophisticated distributed-power (multiplex) systems now available.
The systems we looked at covered a broad range from bare bones to highly sophisticated, with several of the latter designed for long-term liveaboard cruisers who expect a high standard of living. Almost all boatbuilders now do clean installations that comply with ABYC and ISO standards and that meet the intended boat use. And all of the larger boats had systems designed and installed to especially high standards. This made selecting a winner a tough choice. In the end, we chose the Tartan 5300 on the basis of its dedicated “systems room,” which makes all the core connections, circuitry, batteries, and equipment readily accessible to the user. Congratulations to Tartan for having the courage to steal the necessary volume from the accommodation space. For more information, visit Tartan
LOA: 53 ft
LWL: 46.5 ft
Beam: 16.1 ft