If you’re a local, last February’s Strictly Sail Miami boat show is a welcome respite from the powerboat-dominated regional shows of the deep South, and if you’re a Northerner hankering after some warmth, it’s a great opportunity to leave the snow and ice behind and check out some brand-new cruising boats being shown in the United States for the first time.
Turkish company Sirena Marine has been building sailboats for less than five years, but its partnership with Italy’s Azimut Yachts means it’s no stranger to high-end boatbuilding. The Azuree 46 which was on display at Miami is a well built and beautifully detailed Rob Humphreys design aimed at the burgeoning fast-cruiser market: a head-turning boat that can win races under IRC and ORC handicaps yet lacks nothing in terms of cruising comforts.
Humphreys, himself a versatile designer who’s drawn everything from small motorboats through Open-class racers and Volvo 70s to luxurious Oysters, describes the boat as a genuine all-rounder, equally at home crossing oceans, racing around the cans or coastal-cruising with the family. “Sailing is also about the simple joys of just enjoying life onboard,” he says.
That sentiment is no doubt echoed by the creators of the Bali 4.5, the first of an interesting and innovative new line of cruising-slash-charter cats from respected French yard Catana. Don’t be fooled by the chunky appearance—the closer you look at this boat, the greater its appeal. From the large forward cockpit with its sun beds and dining area through the open-plan bridgedeck to an inventory that includes such luxuries as a watermaker, dishwasher, trash compactor and washing machine, this is a cat with a difference.
What’s a boat show without a new Oceanis? Beneteau’s long-lived cruising line has a new flagship in the Oceanis 60, which made its U.S. debut in Miami. The bigger these boats are, the better they look, and the 60’s low-profile cabintop, curved portlights and expansive cockpit make for an attractive package. Various layout options, including one with crew quarters, should provide something for every sailing style.
Robertson & Caine’s latest boat, the Leopard 40, also debuted in Miami. The South African-built Simonis/Voogd design mirrors its large siblings in looks and user-friendliness. The design team took a new tack with the saloon layout—the galley is set forward, adjacent to a door opening onto the foredeck, and the dinette is aft, opening onto the cockpit.
Another new 40-foot cat, the Nautitech Open 40, carries the open-plan concept a little further. Both the three- and four-cabin versions of this handsome starter cat will be on show. It features an unconventional layout, with a large semi-protected, enclosable cockpit serving as the main living/socializing space, while the galley and a compact dinette occupy the small enclosed bridgedeck.
Bali Catamarans bali-catamarans.com