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Best Boats 2016: Gunboat G4

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Performance Boat over 30ft

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Gunboat G4

When looking for a boat to take top honors in their Performance Boat over 30ft category, SAIL’s judges didn’t have to look very hard. Since she made her very public debut this year at the Les Voiles de St Barth regatta, Timbalero III, the first hull of the full-foiling, 40ft Gunboat G4, has been turning heads and sparking conversation from the Caribbean to New England.

Thanks to her light construction—pre-preg carbon with a Nomex honeycomb that is vacuum bagged and post cured—the G4 weighs in at just 2.7 tons, which means the resulting loads are relatively light. The boat employs powerful four-speed Pontos winches for the jib sheets and the foiling system, making getting the foils and the sails up and down quite easy. (There is talk that this is going to become even easier, as hydraulic systems may replace the lines on future hulls.) The mainsail is also controlled by a hydraulic foot-pedal system for sheeting and easing that is like nothing we’ve seen before and will surely make everyone want to drive.

This boat is designed so that two or three people can easily cruise her—yes, cruise her—allowing two couples to hop between islands at speeds previously reserved for powerboats. With this in mind, the G4 is no stripped-down, bare-bones racing machine, but has a saloon (albeit a small one), with a centerline dinette and settees to port and starboard easily seating four to six adults. Outboard of the settees, two queen berths also sit to port and starboard, with ample ventilation, a surprising amount of space and even a view of the outside world. (When you have guests or kids onboard, simply slide the curtains for privacy.) The cockpit has an island galley on centerline, with a two-burner stove, fridge and sink—everything you need to prepare victory snacks and cocktails while you wait for the rest of the fleet to finish.

The judges could recall few boats generating such a buzz as the G4, and when you sail the boat you realize the hype is more than justified. Breakneck speeds and sleek design make this boat a head-turner wherever she sails. Granted, with more and more builders getting into the foiling game, the Gunboat G4 may soon have lots of company speeding around places like the Caribbean and the Med. But for now, she makes a heck of a statement and remains a true industry standout. gunboat.com

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