Boat manufacturers were on schedule to show off their latest models at the fall boat shows. Here's a sampling of what you would've seen at some shows.
Zippy Good Fun
There's a reason why 95% of registered boats in America are 26 feet or smaller. They're more affordable, easy for a solo skipper to handle, and are trailerable. That may be why smaller boats are selling like hotcakes. Thankfully, 2021 brings a fresh batch of well-designed runabouts.
Scout 235 Dorado
It may be a center-console world, but the dual console design is making a comeback. Think of the Scout 235 Dorado as a versatile luxury runabout. Designed to handle fishing, towing, or just playing around, this 23-foot 8-inch boat that seats seven packs a compact punch. A streamlined wraparound fiberglass windshield frame has a distinctive center windshield section that is completely removable (instead of folding back onto the windshield) to access the open bow seating. A transom walk-through door accesses a full transom Esthec swim platform with ladder. The proprietary NuV3 fuel-efficient hull should deliver 3.1 mpg at 25 mph with a Verado V8 AMS 300-hp outboard. Standard features include a Garmin 942 XS display, a 12-volt plug with five USB outlets, a Fusion Bluetooth stereo, a Corian cutting board and sink with a 35-quart YETI slide-out cooler, and transom rope lighting. Optional bimini or fiberglass hardtop is also available, along with an electric head upgrade and a recirculating bait well. Base MSRP with Mercury 250XXL 4-stroke V8 DTS $119,414 | scoutboats.com
Draco 22 and 27
You've probably never heard of the Draco Boats brand, because the venerable Norwegian builder, known for its innovative designs, build quality, handling, and seaworthiness since the 1960s, is finally entering the U.S. market. The retro-styled dual-console boats (pictured above) feature a sleek, ergonomic Scandinavian design. Highlights include a deep, secure cockpit with bench seating that folds-down to a napping sun-pad, and open bow seating that easily converts from a bow-lounge to sun pad. The standard real teak cockpit table amidships is great for socializing, as the pilot and co-pilot can swivel around to face a two-person bench seat. On the 27-foot model, a back-to-back bench seat also folds flat to create an aft sun pad. And a clever camper canopy transforms the open dual-console boat into an overnight campsite. The 22 features a fold-down canvas bimini (both models have a very clever stowage solution for it). Power options range from 115 to 200 hp on the 22, and up to 400 hp outboard on the 27, for speeds in the 50-plus mph range at the highest horsepower. $131,900 for the 27 and $79,900 for the 22 | dracoboats.com
Cutwater C-24 Center Walkaround
The sister company to trailerable trawler builder Ranger Tugs, Cutwater Boats are the choice for those in need of speed. The C-24 Center Walkaround is the builder's first open boat configuration. This versatile dayboat is equipped for fishing, cruising, or watersports. For fishing, the large open cockpit has toe rails, tackle, and fish storage, a built-in bait cutting/rigging station, two sinks, flush-mounted rod holders (as well as rocket launchers on the optional hard top). An easy clear walkway from transom to bow, smooth gunwale surfaces, and fold-down cleats keep the action going and prevent lines from snagging. A retractable ski pylon coupled with standard Yamaha 250 power makes tow sports a blast. For creature comforts, the interior boasts 6-feet, 2-inches of headroom in a private head with marine toilet! Standard features include Garmin GPSMAP942xs MFD/fishfinder. Options include bow thruster, refrigerator, livewell, bimini or hard top, and electric grill. $99,937 | cutwaterboats.com
More than any other boat type, fish boats come in the broadest array of styles and sizes from simple aluminum jon boats to rocket-powered fiberglass center-consoles to 50-foot-plus luxury sportfishermen. Let's call it "Anglers' Delight" because there's something for every taste.
Grady-White Canyon 326
Customer loyalty is pretty much a standard feature for Grady-White owners. The once pure fish boats have evolved to incorporate more creature comforts for day cruising. The Canyon 326 is a perfect example — a center-console that pairs fishing functionality with comfort for family cruising. Grady's exclusive SeaV² hull delivers a soft, stable ride with excellent tracking.
An expansive beam (10 feet, 9 inches amidships) that sits the helm on center and features three deluxe contoured captains chairs with flip-up bolsters, armrests, and footrests. The large console on the 326 includes an ample flush-mount electronics area, compass, prerigged Yamaha engine with Helm Master EX controls, hydraulic tilt with power-assist steering, and windlass remote switches. The fiberglass T-top with painted aluminum frame includes a radio box, storage net, LED recessed lights, fore/aft spreader lights, four rod holders, radar flat, and outrigger plates. A 32-gallon full column, recirculating, lighted raw water livewell and three insulated, overboard-draining fishboxes, two 180-quart boxes forward, and one 318-quart box in the transom area make this a 32-foot fishing machine. The roomy head compartment with sink/shower combo makes it family-friendly. $297,865 with twin Yamaha 300s | gradywhite.com
Pursuit S 268
Another venerable fishing boat that grew more family-friendly is Pursuit, which stays focused on saltwater boats up to 32 feet. The new S 268 is a fish boat first, but a fold-down transom bench seat and table insert turns the cockpit into a social area (after the fish blood is washed away, of course). A porcelain head with vanity, mirror, and stainless-steel sink can be found in the console. When in fish mode, port and starboard fishboxes, a lighted 28-gallon recirculating transom livewell, six stainless steel rod holders, a bait prep cutting board, and plenty of room for gear set the stage for landing fish. With twin Yamaha F200XCA outboards, the sweet spot for this 27-foot 4-inch boat is around 3,500 rpm, which propels the boat at nearly 27 mph while burning 11 gph. $152,300 with twin Yamaha F150s | pursuitboats.com
Bayliner Trophy Series T22CC
Bayliner has revived the Trophy name with the launch of its new six-model Trophy Series of center-consoles. These are back-to-basics fishing boats great for salt- or freshwater fishing. The T22CC's deep-V hull and broad bow keep the ride dry, while a spacious layout with fore and aft casting decks maximizes the angling platform. An aerated livewell between the flip-up aft seats on the CC package and gunwale rod storage are standard, but the T-top with four rail-mounted rod holders is an option. A self-bailing cockpit keeps the deck dry and makes cleanup easier. The T22CC can also transform into a solid fun-day-on-the-water boat with optional pop-up ski tow pylon and fill-in bow cushion seats for an instant sun pad. Starts at $42,399 with 150-hp Mercury outboard and galvanized tandem-axle trailer | bayliner.com
Whether you call them ski boats, wakeboats, or sportboats, boats designed to pull or make surfable wakes have been hot for several years now. Despite the challenges of 2020, "ski/wakeboat" registrations through June were up 24% than at the same point in 2019. Some people just can't seem to get enough fun.
Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV
Wakesurf and tow boats are all Malibu Boats does, and they do it well. Now they've tweaked their Wakesetter 23 LSV, the best-selling towboat of all time. New design features include an optional transom walk-over (one seat folds down to create a step for easier transition between swim platform and interior), a completely reconfigured interior to create expanded interior width, and a custom-tuned Wet Sounds sound system. Depending on your passion, you can purchase the 23 LSV with one of two hull choices: the Diamond Multi-Sport Hull produces a smaller wake and a running surface that favors water skiing; or the Wake Plus Hull for big-wake hard-core board surfing. These boats are loaded with technology, including Malibu's patented Multi-View Wake Bench, which changes from wraparound lounge to wake-facing seating in seconds (and one seat converts into a table). When a rider falls, Malibu's proprietary Stern Turn rear thruster, controlled at the throttle, boosts the back of the boat in either direction for quicker pickups and tricky docking situations. The MaxBallast L-Shaped Tanks with eMLS High Flo Pumps are designed to fill and empty fast. $121,890 with standard Malibu Monsoon M5Di direct injection inboard | malibuboats.com
Dayboating on a little runabout is a blast, but some prefer the creature comforts of a stout, roomy, air-conditioned cruiser. The best are like floating condos, with everything you need to escape for a weekend — or longer.
Formula 380 Super Sport Crossover
What's not to like about cruising in a well-appointed enclosed sedan? But nothing beats the thrill of a hair-blowing, smile-inducing run in a bow rider. Formula Boats has everyone covered with its 380 Super Sport Crossover. The 380 SSC continues Formula's open-bow, full-cabin dayboat legacy with full-width deck space and belowdecks accommodation that sleeps four with a cabin galley and sink plus stand-up enclosed head. The hardtop has a top-to-bottom windshield, an exclusive sliding bow window to port allows for an open cockpit experience, and a motorized glass sunroof. The cockpit environment is yours to control with an optional 18,000 BTU reverse-cycle air conditioner. For relaxing at the sandbar, a spacious, rear-facing sun lounge features individual backrests that adjust fore and aft. A SureShade retractable power canvas awning is an option. Further aft is a roomy swim platform with undermount swim ladder. The 380 SSC comes with either twin sterndrive or outboard power: twin 430 HP MerCruiser 8.2 MAG HOs Mercury Racing 520 sterndrives; triple Mercury 350 or 400 Verado; Mercury Racing 400R or 450R outboards. Mercury Joystick Piloting with Active Trim makes docking easy. $866,900 | formulaboats.com
Beneteau Gran Turismo 36
The Beneteau brand was synonymous with sailboats for decades until the French builder launched its Swift Trawler 42 into the U.S. market in 2004. It still makes sailboats (see the Oceanis 46.1 at right), but in America, power reigns, and the new Gran Turismo 36 is built in America for the American market. The fast, sports-car-nimble sedan cruiser (a wider version of the GT 35) comes rigged with twin 350-hp MerCruiser or Volvo inboards, or twin Mercury 300 outboards that produce a top speed of 40 mph. An electric sunroof fills the helm station with light and air, which extends to a spacious cockpit lounge area with room for up to seven passengers. Midship is a cozy lounge to port with a functional galley outside just forward of the aft swim platform, which makes the cockpit a socializing hive. Below is a forward owner cabin with full-sized bed while the aft cabin provides two extra berths separated by a door for onboard guests. $360,900 | beneteau.com
Sailors are a loyal and dedicated tribe — because a sailboat delivers a visceral experience that can't be matched by a powerboat. Sailboats may now be a niche part of the overall recreational boating market, but don't tell that to a sailor.
Beneteau Oceanis 46.1
European Yacht of the Year
The new Oceanis 46.1 is an updated version of Beneteau's most popular model. Designed to be accessible and an easy-to-sail performance cruising monohull, this new Oceanis 46.1 boasts a full-chined ("stepped") hull and the addition of twin rudders for added control. The beaminess (14 feet, 9 inches) allows for a spacious cockpit with twin wheels aft of twin comfortable lounging benches. In between is a grill, making the cockpit a social lounge at anchor. The large cockpit table is designed for up to eight people and also cleverly houses the life raft. The center section of the transom is actually a hydraulic swim step that folds down to inches from the water. Below, large hull portholes bathe the interior with natural light. The owner space features a separate shower and head. In the three-cabin version, the guest rooms aft of the companionway are the same size and equally bright with generous ceiling height. $324,200 | beneteau.com