Trade-a-Boat's 2010 Boats of the Year
The <I>Trade-a-Boat</I> crew nominate the 20 best boats, bits and bobs, and new boat businesses from 2010
You can speculate, ambulate, and listen to all the spin at a boat show. But at the end of the day or night there’s no substitute for spending time on a boat in the environment for which it was designed.
As the boat-buyer’s bible, we take boat testing very seriously at Trade-a-Boat. Our expert crew are all boat owners. We understand what works and what doesn’t. We know how to start the boat, press the buttons, cast the lines, leave the marina, and set sail or make ocean tracks. And return safely.
After a year of scrutinising an impressive raft of new boats — 68 all told — we’ve found the year’s best. They range from a $70,000 lifeboat that can gad about with glee to a Princess 85 costing $100,000 per foot of five-star British-built luxury. Clink.
But that’s the great thing about boating. It’s as diverse and divergent as the waterways we tackle and the weather old Huey tosses up. That’s why there’s a boat to suit all bents and budgets, all wants and whims, from wind-is-free yachts and the latest green machines to the who-gives-a-damn V8-powered German sportscruiser.
In addition to sorting through the contenders and picking our Best Boats for 2010 — in a broad range of categories — we’ve stuck our necks out and picked our best electronics, best gear and gadgets, and best new and established marine businesses.
To surmise. There were predictions of gloom in 2010 but we found otherwise. Pots of gold were waiting at the end of those rainbows. The ocean still called. Our waterways remain among the best in the world. And the year’s best boats promise the best-possible time afloat.
Thanks to our expert boat-testing team, photographers, videographers and management, Trade-a-Boat ensured 2010 was memorable. Now let 2011 begin with a bang. Enjoy the next year of our boating travels, tests, trials and at-times tribulations. — David Lockwood, Editor, Trade-a-Boat
BOATS OF THE YEAR 2010
BEST WEEKENDER – Back Cove 30
"The world is my lobster but you don’t have to shell out in a big way with the budget-busting Back Cove 30," says David Lockwood after the best part of a day lolling about with the importer’s family on this great family boat built in Maine with local lobster-boat tradition. About $300,000 loaded with everything but the lobsters.
BEST SPORTSCRUISER/PERFORMER – Bavaria 28
"Top speed was 36.4kts, whereupon the boy racer was fully unleashed within. Go sports cruising, or hightail it with the clan, take a look at a new port of call, or fang around your favourite waterway. While modest, this German-made 28 punches above its weight and ushers in a new class of sportscruiser." — our editor David Lockwood after a wind-in-your hair winter test on the BMW-designed sportscruiser. Yours for $175,000 with single Volvo Penta 320hp petrol inboard and bowthrurster.
BEST SPORTSYACHT, COUPE OR EXPRESS – New Ocean 640 Sport Yacht
There’s a gale warning for the Tasman Sea, where we are about to venture in the New Ocean 640 Sports Yacht. The horizon has that green-around-the gills lumpy look that would otherwise send your scurrying for cover or the gunwale. White horses spill down the face of towering swells generated many hundreds of miles to the south as the wind blows some more. But no worries. Keith Hanson is at the helm. Surely you have heard of the intrepid Queenslander? The around-Australia boater and industry stalwart has lent his expertise to the creation of new, near-faultless Sports Yacht destined for the wide blue yonder. And good value at $2.5 million with twin 1015hp Caterpillar C18s
BEST FLYBRIDGE 30-40FT – Caribbean 35 Mk III
The ‘new’ Caribbean 35 has (wet) track form, more sea miles under its hull than any other Australian-made cruiser, almost 40 years of continual production history. But unlike the 750-plus 35s before it, the new Mark III variant boasts a smarter fit and finish, a redesigned flying bridge with extra room, more modern mouldings and contemporary furniture, and the greater mod cons. All that’s left is to add the family and/or friends, fishing gear and fodder. Bundled for $500,000 with twin Cummins QSB330s and electronics.
BEST FLYBRIDGE 40-50FT – Riviera 43
A lot of thought has gone into the new 43 and that’s been duly rewarded. The boat sold like hot cakes at the Sanctuary Cove and Sydney boat shows. Evidently, some of the 43 buyers have been new blood to flybridge cruisers, attracted by the IPS joystick docking device, the design innovations, and the single-level living from transom to galley. Indeed, there’s a lot to like about the 43 not least being that she’s a fitting flag bearer in the age of pod drives. Priced around a cool $1 million dollars with IPS 600s, electronics and long-range fuel tank.
BEST FLYBRIDGE 40-60FT – Maritimo 53
"The Maritimo M53 is a conventional shaft-driven boat that’s very well engineered, performs reassuringly, and comes with a great liveaboard layout and luxurious accommodation. Add the proven heritage from an iconic boatbuilder and you have a compelling argument for downing tools and going cruising instead. In fact, she’s my favourite Maritimo from 2010!" — John Zammit after testing a wide range of new Maritimos from the 440 upwards for the year. The 53 was selling for about $1.65 million with 715hp Caterpillar C12 engines, Simrad electronics and more.
BEST CRUISER 60FT+ – Hampton Endurance 750
Purpose-built for exploring the Outer Reefs, the big Hampton has already proved her mettle during recent adventure trips to the Swains when we arrived. And on a day best spent rugged up inside, we braved the elements and discovered a boat that knows no bounds. One for the cruising buff and aficionado. From $3.85 million in semi-custom guise. See test this issue.
BEST KEEL YACHT – Moody Classic 41
"But the sceptics have certainly been silenced by the latest Classic releases from Moody. It’s almost as if to allay the fears of traditionalists that the Moody Classic models have been penned. Classic says it all: sweet lines, traditional accents, glowing, rich interior and an ocean-conquering rig and build. Welcome aboard the Moody Classic 41." – Allan Whiting waxing after a great retro sail in this new-age stunner. About $430,000 with the works.
BEST MULTIHULL SAIL – Seawind 1250
"It’s hard to see how the 1250 won’t be a good seller for Seawind, despite the 100 grand price premium over the 1160. Long-distance cruising couples can expect faster passage times, charterers get more space and all buyers have the choice of galley-up or galley-down configuration." – Allan Whiting sings the praises of the stunning new Seawind flagship. Selling for $750,000 with the works to cruise north.
BEST MULTIHULL POWER – PowerCat 3100 Sports Cruiser
"The PowerCat 3100 Sports Cruiser is a mid-range cat that not only has the modern lines and looks of the new age, but also serves as a fantastic multipurpose boat suited to cruising, fishing, diving and general outdoor entertainment. It has a fair price tag but you get what you pay for, like an impeccable finish, ergonomic design and build quality… And total fuel used for the day was under 100lt — affordable for a full day’s outing." – Kevin Smith, our cat tester, after finding his boat of the year. Bundles for $330,000 with twin 300hp four-stroke Suzuki outboards.
BEST BARGAIN – Coopersloop 745
"Although a lifeboat is usually the last thing you want to set foot aboard, the Coopersloop 745 promises salvation from something other than just a sinking ship. Based on a Dutch design but built by a Chinese factory that makes some 3000 lifeboats each year, this agreeable launch has been reconfigured to rescue your sanity in the fast-paced modern world." – Editor and tester David Lockwood on the $70,000 diesel-powered sloop.
BEST NEW CLASSIC – Palm Beach 50 Classic
"As I stepped onboard, they challenged me to find a fault, knowing how painfully fussy I am. It was an exercise in futility, although I was triumphant in finding a tiny rattle in a sliding door — if you stopped and pressed your ear to the bulkhead and had the hearing aid turned to full! Other than that, you would not bother looking. The crew at Palm Beach Yachts has tuned their quality control standards to Rolls-Royce levels." – Tester and classic-boat buff Tony Mackay. High style at $1.65 million with Volvo Penta IPS 600s.
BEST LIVEABOARD – Fleming 65
Unlike most designers and builders, Tony Fleming and his family have cruised more than 20,000nm in his eponymous boats. The modifications and enhancements therefore come from actual use and not from a "cunning plan that can’t fail". Purely and simply, they work magnificently. The owner paid $3.8 million for his home-away-from-home.
BEST WOW FACTOR - Fairline Targa 58 Gran Turismo
Not one to die wondering, Fairline pushes the design envelope and the "go" button on its stunning 58 with custom PILOT systems monitors and space-age styling. Wow! About $2.4 million with twin 900hp Volvo D13 electronic diesel engines.
BEST ALL-OUT LUXURY – Princess V85
We rolled out of bed at 5am on a testing day only to find fresh impetus to do it all again — given the chance — on the heavenly Princess V85. The epitome of luxury cruising and performance from the blueblood UK boatbuilder. Oh, and she cost about $8.5 million with twin 2450hp MTUs.
BEST GREEN CREDENTIALS – Greenline 33
You can run all day at 2.5kts on solar power, cruise with the electric engine at 5 to 6kts for four hours before recharging for nix or shorepower, or engage the diesel donk for up to 15kts top speed and full use of your onboard 240V gear. Either way, the Greenline 33 has green credentials and foreshadows a move to hybrid power in bigger cruisers. Yours for $333,000.
BEST ELECTRONICS – Navionics iPhone app
"Probably the best $14.99 I’ve spent in ages, as these are complete hydrographic charts and thanks to the easy interface of the iPhone are very easy to use. Five out of five stars." — Kevin Green
BEST GEAR/GADGET/GIZMO/WATER TOY – Comfort Seat from www.oceansolutions.com.au
You'll never be lost for somewhere to park yourself aboard with this handy ready-to-go seat. Plonk it on the boarding platform, the cockpit or foredeck and kick back. Smart design and tres comfy. Retail is $220 for the seat that has up to 14 positions.
BEST SECOND-HAND FIND – Mariner Pacer 26
Comes to life as our project boat. Now Ralfy V is paving the way for other Pacer projects. A classic deserving of a restoration, repower and relaunch. From $10,000 for a sinker to $55,000-plus restored and race ready. Read all about the launch this issue.
BEST BOATING BUSINESS – SBM Maritimo at The Spit
Has sold $20 million in cruisers since opening in March 2010. Congratulations to the pro-active movers and shakers in Sydney. On the sailing front, Windcraft never fails to impress with its new releases from Hanse, Moody, Dehler, Dragonfly, and more. After-sales service and support is a big part of their success, too.
Photos: Back Cove 30; Bavaria 28; New Ocean 640 Sport Yacht; Caribbean 35 Mk III; Riviera 43 IPS; Maritimo 53; Hampton Endurance 750; Moody Classic 41; Seawind 1250; PowerCat 3100 Sports Cruiser; Coopersloop 745; Palm Beach 50 Classic; Fairline Targa 58 Gran Turismo; Fleming 65; Princess V85; Greenline 33; Navionics iPhone app; Comfort Seat from Oceansolutions; Mariner Pacer 26; SBS Maritimo.
Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.