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Breaking the Mold

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s best efforts to put the pleasure cruising world on the hard, builders and manufacturers instead rose to the challenge, yielding a substantial list of new makes and models that are set to roll out this fall and early next year. 

Perhaps what excites us most about the Class of 2020-21 is how each of these builders brings something fresh and remarkable to the table, at a time when we could all use a little inspiration and innovation.

Marlow Explorer 58E

Marlow Explorer 58E

Marlow Explorer 58E

While some builders churn out new model after new model each year, David Marlow chooses to evolve the ideas that work best. “The concept of each one better than the one before produces long shelf life of a given model with ever-­increasing performance and satisfaction of the customer, along with superior resale value,” he says. “It is this philosophy, commitment and investment in tomorrow that has propelled Marlow Yachts to the premier class of serious offshore capable yachts.”

The three-stateroom Marlow Explorer 58E Hull No. 16 is the latest testament to that philosophy, incorporating lessons learned from approximately 50 Marlow 57s built since 2002 (and a total of more than 300 Marlow yachts built overall). This 58E sports a new beach club feature and modern interior design, and has top and cruising speeds almost 3 knots faster than her predecessors, using similar-output engines.

“The constant search for improvement may involve reduced propeller shaft angle for greater efficiency made possible by advanced hydrodynamic study of tunnel and Strut Keel architecture, or a complete rethink on how an evolving market uses areas of the yacht,” Marlow says.

Born out of user habits requiring the need for additional equipment stowage (water toys, PWC and the like) with full-height headroom for cruisers, the Marlow 58E beach club makes an already spacious area feel even larger. The extended lazarette has an option to include a berth and head. The redesign enlarged the aft stowage while providing an inviting “club” atmosphere with a hydraulically opening transom door that, when fully opened, acts as an awning over the swim platform. In lieu of the pumps, appliances and equipment typically located in a lazarette, the 58E has finished, labeled compartments that turn the space into a true multifunction area.

To achieve the vista-style open arrangement, the entire section abaft the engine room was redesigned to allow an open floor plan, with placement of the day lounges fully outboard to port and starboard. The central section has a full head and shower, with the head module utilized as sound and heat insulation.

Exhaust piping, mufflers and bypass systems were moved outboard near hull side and at reduced discharge angle to capture and take advantage of the small but valuable thrust of the underwater exhaust Marlow developed and pioneered in 1997.

With the transom door lowered, the beach club’s air conditioning provides ample cooling for the space when it’s being used as stateroom. A private head and shower, refrigeration with an icemaker, and an entertainment system are all in this space as well.

Forward of the beach club, the 58E’s stand-up engine room provides 360-­degree access and is equipped with twin 1,150-hp Caterpillar C18 Acert engines. The yacht is capable of top speeds of 26 to 27 knots, and cruising speeds of 21 to 22 knots. Efficiently, she cruises at 9 to 10 knots.

The 58E also has a semi-enclosed bridge with a fold-down radar mast and satellite domes, making her suitable for the Great Loop. Her lower helm is to starboard of the country kitchen-style galley. Hull No. 16 also has a more contemporary interior, including an Ultraleather glacier white settee, walls and headliner. 

LOA: 59ft. 1in.
Beam: 18ft. 6in.
Draft: 4ft. 10in.
Displacement: 69,000 lbs.
Engines: 2 x 1,150-hp Caterpillar C18 Acert
Fuel: 1,500 gal.
Water: 300 gal.

Northern Marine 57

Northern Marine 57

Northern Marine 57

Last year, Seattle Yachts acquired Northern Marine, an American builder of luxury expedition yachts. Northern Marine has since brought back its experienced crew of technicians and craftsmen. Construction resumed on a new 57-footer with a two-stateroom layout and a walnut interior.

Northern Marine uses resin-infusion technology to manufacture its fiberglass parts, which include the hull, superstructure, flybridge, boat deck, mast, hardtop and hatches. The process is efficient and consistent, and reduces emissions and environmental impact, according to the builder, which says the result is a hull that meets the demands of serious passagemaking.

Maneuvered via an articulating rudder, the Northern Marine 57 Raised Pilothouse is designed to cruise on a single diesel engine that sips from a 2,500-­gallon fuel supply. High bulwarks help to provide a drier ride, while the bulbous bow, keel and stabilizers enhance performance, stability and seakeeping.

The flybridge has an upper helm station with a settee and seating under the hardtop for alfresco entertaining. Tender stowage and additional lounging space are aft. The cockpit below, covered by the deck, has an entertainment center, seating and stairs to the transom platform. Wide side decks provide access to the bow for docking and anchoring.

The interior includes a salon with a settee that converts to a dining area adjacent to the galley. The pilothouse allows sweeping forward views from an observation lounge overlooking the lower helm.

The 57 is scheduled to arrive in January. 

LOA: 57ft.
Beam: 17ft. 6in.
Draft: 5ft. 10in.
Displacement: 135,000 lbs.
Engines: 1 x 325-hp John Deere 6090 (continuous rated)
Fuel: 2,500 gal.
Water: 440 gal.

Nordhavn 41

Nordhavn 41

Nordhavn 41

Boats have a natural life cycle, and builders retire and replace models all the time. But that task is especially difficult when replacing a stalwart model that contributed so much to a builder’s success. Take the Nordhavn 40, for example—known for being not only the smallest model of the builder’s fleet, but also the one that holds the record for the fastest circumnavigation by a production boat.

Enter the N41. The most obvious difference between the 40 and 41 might just be where the 41 is built: Turkey. For a brand that traditionally built boats in Taiwan and China, the change of scenery marks the start of an initiative that should simplify delivery to European and East Coast buyers.

Nordhavn Vice President Jim Leishman says another noticeable difference is that the N41 reduces displacement, from the 40’s 52,000 pounds down to the 41’s 43,300 pounds.

“The N41 hull has been modified based upon a complete computational fluid dynamics analysis performed by Vripack Yacht Design,” Leishman says. “This will be a more easily driven hull than the N40.”

The N41 has better propeller efficiency due to clean water flow into the propellers, has a lower profile and reduced wind resistance than the N40, and has a much longer waterline, Leishman says. What should remain constant is the ocean-crossing range that made the 40 famous. The 41 is CE certified to Category A (able to withstand 40-plus-knot winds and 13-plus-foot seas).

Single- or double-stateroom layouts are available, with room for overnight guests on settees in the salon. Buyers should be able to get aboard Hull No. 1, which is scheduled to arrive in California this fall.

“I’m really excited about this new model,” Leishman says. “I think when people see this boat in person for the first time, they are really going to be wowed.” 

LOA: 41ft. 4in.
Beam: 13ft. 11in.
Draft: 4ft. 6in.
Displacement: 43,300 lbs.
Engines: 2 x Betamarine 85T Kubota
Fuel: 900 gal.
Water: 300 gal.

Highfield Sport Collection

Highfield Sport Collection

Highfield Sport Collection

Highfield Boats is set to launch its Sport collection of aluminum-hull RIBs, which combine comfort features with durability and light weight. Replacing and expanding on the Highfield Deluxe and Classic Deluxe series, the new line includes 11 outboard-powered models from 10 feet to 26 feet length overall.

Standard features include EVA foam faux-teak decking, LED lighting, diamond-stitched upholstery and electric bilge pumps. The larger models also have swim platforms with telescoping ladders. Options include water-sports tow posts and Bimini tops. Sunpads, sport arches and built-in freshwater showers also are available on the larger models. Owners can choose among six color options.

Life Proof 35

Life Proof 35 Full Cabin

Life Proof 35 Full Cabin

“What does our trawler do that yours can’t? Fifty miles an hour.”

That’s the catchphrase from Life Proof Boats CEO Micah Bowers, whose Bremerton, Washington-based brand has launched a fleet of aluminum performance cruisers. Built for inland waterways and coastal cruising, Life Proof Boats have stabilized buoyancy collar systems, shock mitigation and self-­bailing decks. With polyethylene foam under those decks, Bowers says, the boats are virtually unsinkable and indestructible.

The new 35 line includes two models—the GT Coupe and Full Cabin—built on the same 35-foot-long, 11-foot-wide hull. They also share bow, cuddy and dash layouts, but that’s about all.

The GT Coupe has a traditional rear sloped windscreen and curved rear cabin. A removable canvas bulkhead in the main cabin transforms its layout into an open plan, which lets owners choose from several interior arrangements.

The Full Cabin is like an off-road vehicle. A tactical forward-sloping windscreen helps to eliminate nighttime glare, and the interior has a galley with a table that converts to a twin-size daybed. A stand-up head is in the lower cuddy.

The aft deck arrangement on both models comes in a cruising or fishing layout. Options include an electric SureShade and a dingy stowage rack.

Performance comes by way of a deep-V hull and optional twin 300- to 450-hp outboards. Typical fuel economy is 1.1 to 1.3 mpg, according to the builder.

“The hull employs a heavy strake technology, which provides excellent seakeeping,” Bowers says. “At 50 mph, these boats track true and feel just like a high-end luxury car on the Autobahn.”

On building livable space into what is essentially a RIB-style platform, Bowers says: “It’s easy to forget that the foam collar system accounts for almost 3 feet of the boat’s beam, so it’s challenging to incorporate more traditional elements. We had to get creative to maximize space. … We listened to our clients who love cruising but who were also looking for more speed while holding onto efficiency and not sacrificing safety or comfort.”

A Life Proof 41 Full Cabin is also expected to hit the water this fall. 

LOA: 35ft.
Beam: 11ft. (with collar)
Draft: 2ft.
Displacement: 11,600 lbs. (no motors)
Engines: 2 x 300-450 hp outboard, or 3 x 350s
Fuel: 275 gal.
Water: 60 gal.

North Pacific 49 Euro

North Pacific 49 Euro

North Pacific 49 Euro

The newest North Pacific is a Euro version of the NP49 Pilothouse, adding a more modern exterior and interior style. The original layouts with two or three staterooms are available, or owners can choose a new amidships master design with large hull windows and a forward VIP stateroom with a queen berth.

The Euro version also has a contemporary salon with an aft galley, larger opening glass doors, larger windows throughout the boat, and a larger cockpit with integrated seating.

“We noticed that demographics are changing, and we wanted to try something different to appeal to discerning buyers looking for a more modern look and feel,” says North Pacific Yachts President Trevor Brice. “We now feel the time is right to offer something more of a drastic change with contemporary styling, but with the materials and quality of a traditional trawler.”

Styling is courtesy of North Pacific Yachts’ Italian naval architect Andrea Viacava, who for years has helped modernize NPY vessels within the boundaries of a traditional trawler. The interior of the Euro is nearly all ash wood. Two other types of wood and the occasional fabric panel are accents.

The Euro version includes the same standard equipment as the NP49, and is customizable. A new twin-engine option delivers up to 21 knots, though the original engine package is still available, providing efficiency with a 7- to 10-knot cruise and a 12-knot top end, according to the company.

“The NP49 emphasizes usable interior space and comfort,” Brice says. “With its plumb bow, full-beam salon and other design features, the NP49 has interior space comparable to many vessels over 55 feet, but without the extra costs and hassles associated with owning a larger vessel.”

Owners of a traditional NP49 ordered the first NP49 Euro, and Brice says he has seen interest from tech executives in their 30s as well as people he would have expected to be more interested in a traditional look and finish.

North Pacific also plans to introduce a wide-body version of its NP44 Sedan. 

LOA: 51ft. 4in.
Beam: 15ft. 4in.
Draft: 4ft. 10in.
Displacement: 28.5 tons
Engines: 1 x 355-hp Cummins QSB6.7L
Fuel: 500 gal.
Water: 250 gal.

Aquila 54 Powercat

Aquila 54

Aquila 54

Aquila Power Catamarans is preparing to introduce its largest family-oriented cruising boat, the Aquila 54.

Amenities include full-size refrigeration, an outdoor serving and entertaining bar, architectural stairs, a watermaker, and a washer and dryer. Layouts include three-, four- and five-stateroom options, as well as a galley-down configuration, plus skipper’s quarters. The boat is available with an open flybridge with a tempered-glass windscreen, or with an enclosed, climate-controlled space. A walkaround Portuguese bridge should provide visibility and easy access to the foredeck.

“This vessel offers sensible working decks, plentiful storage and spacious interiors,” says Dave Bigge, Aquila’s vice president of international sales.

The galley-down option converts the space from the fifth stateroom, allowing the salon to take on a formal dining layout with a seating lounge. The transit windows in the full-beam master stateroom provide panoramic views. In the salon, panoramic tempered-glass side windows add to the relaxation ambience. In the cockpit, the dining area is adjacent to an indoor/outdoor bar. The space includes a table with chairs.

Beyond the gated transom openings is a swim platform that will support a tender with a concealed davit system. A passerelle is optional. Standard propulsion is a pair of 480-hp Volvo Penta D6 diesels. According to the builder, top speed should be in the high-20-knot range.

The 54 is expected to arrive in the United States in October. Aquila has a semi-custom 70 teed up for launch soon as well, with delivery to the United States planned for later this year. 

LOA: 54ft. 2in.
Beam: 25ft. 2in.
Draft: 4ft. 6in. (half load)
Displacement: 52,367 lbs. (light ship)
Engines: 2 x 480-hp Volvo Penta D6
Fuel: 581 gal.
Water: 238 gal.

Burger 50 Cruiser

Burger 50 Cruiser

Burger 50 Cruiser

Wisconsin’s Burger Boat Company is going to lengths (a foot, to be precise) to evolve its 48 Cruiser. The new model has a hydraulic swim platform to ease boarding while a tender is in place.

The aluminum yacht has an owner’s stateroom aft and a guest stateroom forward. The queen-size berth in the guest stateroom converts to twins. The 50 shares the same slippery hull and propulsion package as the 48, with an interior by DeBasto Designs of Miami that owners can customize.

“It’s a superyacht interior on a 50-foot boat,” says Ron Cleveringa, Burger’s vice president of sales and marketing. The design is inspired by high-end automotive interiors, he adds.

The 48 and 50 share a patented hull form that Vripack, in the Netherlands, developed for use on offshore crew boats in Europe. Called the Slide Hull, the shape reduces resistance for improved fuel economy, employs interceptors to reduce bow rise when transitioning onto plane, and minimizes pounding in waves.

Propulsion is a pair of 600-hp Volvo Penta D8-IPS800s. The system includes joystick control and Volvo Penta’s Dynamic Positioning System. The glass bridge and interceptor system are from Volvo Penta as well. According to Burger, the 50 has a top speed of 32 knots, a 27-knot cruise and a range of 300 miles.

Cleveringa says the 50 is suited for a couple, a pair of couples or family of four cruising for a week or more. “You could do the Great Loop,” he says, adding that the 50 could make a good second boat for large-yacht owners who want time on the water without crew. Hull No. 1 of the Cruiser 50 is scheduled to launch in spring 2021. 

LOA: 49ft. 8in.
Beam: 15ft. 2in.
Draft: 4ft. 3in. (half load)
Displacement: 23 tons
Engines: 2 x 600-hp Volvo Penta D8-IPS800s
Fuel: 565 gal.
Water: 135 gal.

Beneteau Antares 11

Beneteau Antares 11

Beneteau Antares 11

Beneteau America Powerboat Manager Justin Joyner says that in our Covid-19 world of social distancing, day boating and excursion boating are rapidly emerging trends. Hence the need for boats with more flexibility, from weekend getaways to longer cruises including the Great Loop.

The Antares 11 fits that description. It’s a coastal cruiser for those who appreciate the practicality of a trawler, but who aren’t ready to commit to a trawler-type design.

“It handles more like a sportboat than a displacement vessel, especially with the outboards,” Joyner says. “We see a clear shift in aging couples leaving express cruisers for our more practical Swift Trawlers, but the shift can be too radical for some. The Antares line is well suited to handle that crossover in terms of capability, style and price.”

Sporting modern lines and a bright interior, the flagship of the Antares fleet is a family cruiser. Accommodations include a master stateroom forward with a double berth and shower room. There’s also a full-beam stateroom aft with three berths. The convertible salon seats seven, and there’s room to spread out on the sun bench aft or on the side swim platform.

High freeboards, wide companionways, a flush deck and solid seakeeping ability should help to ensure guest safety.

The Antares 11 is available as a flybridge or a coupe version. Joyner says preorders have already exceeded the number of Swift Trawlers imported into the United States last year.

“Our trawler-profile buyers are seeing it and liking what they see, even with the outboards,” Joyner says. “I can easily see these on the Great Loop. It’s an opportunity for a Looper to have a very practical boat at a used-boat price.”

LOA: 36ft. 7in.
Beam: 11ft. 2in.
Draft: 4ft. 3in. (engines down)
Displacement: 13,451 lbs.
Engines: 2 x 300-hp outboards
Fuel: 212 gal.
Water: 53 gal.

Back Cove 39O

Back Cove 39O

Back Cove 39O

Take a pretty Down East design, bolt a trio of outboards on the transom, fit it out as you’d expect from a high-quality Maine builder, and you have the Back Cove 39O.

The 39O joins its little sister, the 34O, in the company’s model lineup. “The new 39O has the same beautiful lines, timeless good looks, and nautical sensibility found in our Down East-style traditional inboard models while offering the expanded performance envelope, shallow draft and ease of maintenance that the current generation of boaters appreciates,” says Jamie Bloomquist, Back Cove’s national sales manager.

The 39O’s cockpit has transom gates to port and starboard, a U-shaped settee across from an aft-facing seat, and a central table for alfresco dining and entertaining. Stowage below the cockpit is accessed through an actuated hatch.

The enclosed helm deck allows for air conditioning and all-season protection from the elements. The social spaces and galley-up design make for lounging in comfort. Belowdecks, owners and guests will find a lounge with a TV. The owner’s stateroom forward has a queen-size island berth and private access to the head. The guest stateroom has twin berths.

According to Back Cove, the 39O will have a range of more than 300 miles with standard Suzuki power, and a top speed of 37 knots. With optional, higher-horsepower engines, the boat is expected to top 40 knots. Engineering trials are expected to start in October, followed by a trip down the East Coast for by-appointment viewings and sea trials. The 39O is expected to make its boat show debut in the spring.

LOA: 41ft. 8in.
Beam: 13ft. 6in.
Draft: 3ft. (half load)
Engines: 3 x 350-hp Suzuki outboard
Fuel: 550 gal.
Water: 97 gal.

Grand Banks 54

Grand Banks 54

Grand Banks 54

In many ways, Grand Banks popularized the concept of the trawler yacht, both in form and function. Ripples spread through the boating world anew in 2018 with the introduction of the Asian builder’s 60, which has updated styling and a slippery, softer-riding hull.

Now comes another new Grand Banks—the 54—with similar features and styling in a package more likely to hit the sweet spot for families and cruising couples.

Like her big sister, the 54 is available in open flybridge or climate-controlled skylounge versions, in either two- or three-stateroom configurations. The two-stateroom version is galley-down, and the three-stateroom version is galley-up. In both versions, the interior is finished in what the builder calls golden blended teak from sustainable sources.

The 54 runs on a hull that Grand Banks says has a “warped semi-displacement” shape. First seen on the 60, the shape was inspired by ocean-racing sailboats. The company says the hull has more in common with a naval destroyer than a full-displacement deep-V. The fine entry of the stem splits the waves, and then the soft shoulder of the midsection rolls the water away and eliminates hull slapping.

Above the water, the hull shows some tumblehome and then continues to warp beneath the waterline into a relatively flat after section with 8 degrees of deadrise. Grand Banks says the shape results in form stability at all speeds and at rest.

To reduce weight, vacuum infusion is used in the lamination process, and carbon fiber is employed in the deck and superstructure (the carbon fiber also adds stiffness and lowers the center of gravity). Fuel tanks are amidships.

Standard power is a pair of 725-hp Volvo Penta D11 diesels with straight shafts. Grand Banks says the boat will reach a top speed of 30 knots with a high cruise speed of 27. At 20 knots, the boat is expected to see a range of about 460 miles. Volvo Penta IPS800s are available as an option.

LOA: 59ft. 5in.
Beam: 17ft. 6in.
Draft: 4ft. (half load)
Displacement: 47,400 lbs. (dry)
Engines: 2 x 725-hp Volvo Penta D11s
Fuel: 898 gal.
Water: 290 gal.

Summit 54

Summit 54

Summit 54

The Summit 54 is the answer to Kadey-Krogen owners’ requests for an all-weather motoryacht with the admired features and safety elements of the 42-year old brand, but this time around with more speed. 

The company created the Summit Motoryachts brand—and the flagship 54 planing-hull design—in collaboration with other respected experts. The 54 is built by the same team of shipwrights at Asia Harbor Yacht Builders in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, who have produced Krogens for 25 years. The hull is by Florida-based designer Michael Peters, whose expertise in speed has earned numerous accolades since his firm opened in 1981.

A look around the Summit 54 proves that they all brought serious knowledge to bear. 

Focal gathering points take the place of a traditional salon. A sliding, stainless-steel-framed door with multiple stops brings the outside into what Summit calls the galley lounge. Ample counter space in the L-shape galley conceals an appliance package, and a lift out bulkhead window provides pass through service to a two-seat bar counter with a blender (of course) on the aft deck. A lounge with a folding teak table adds more seating room. The Amtico vinyl sole wipes clean with a damp mop and the horizontal walnut joinery and white Ultraleather appointments is a smart, fresh look you will enjoy. 

On the helm deck, the scenery changes. A U-shaped settee and foldout table are on a raised platform, opposite a flat-screen television abaft the two-person Stidd helm seat. Electronics, the CZone digital touchscreen and engine instrumentation are never more than a glance away and there’s a clear view to the port stern corner for backing into a slip. 

The bridge, also with superb visibility is another blend of sociability with an L-shaped settee, a refrigerator and sunpad ahead of the helm, and seagoing functionality with a wraparound windscreen, fiberglass hardtop, ample stainless-steel railing and grippy, molded nonslip underfoot.

Overnight accommodations include a VIP forward with queen berth and ensuite head. Midship is a second stateroom, which also houses a washer and dryer. This stateroom shares the forward head and is set up with a pocket door for privacy. The stateroom also can be set up as an office. The master stateroom is two steps down with a walkaround athwartship queen berth with a hullside window above the headboard, flanking night tables, hanging lockers, and another CZone touchscreen. 

Access to the engine room is down six ladder rungs from a hatch on the aft deck. Each through-hull fitting, hose and wire run is labeled. There is 4 feet, 8 inches of headroom and easy access around the Cummins diesels. 

Underway, the twin 542-hp Cummins QSB 6.7 engines hustled the Summit 54 to a top speed of 25 knots in the calm waters of the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. At 2570 rpm, we loafed along at 17 knots and sipped 26.2 gph. Bumping up another 200 rpm produced 19 knots and burned 32.5 gph with 71 decibels at the lower helm.

LOA: 58ft. 5in.
Beam: 15ft. 10in.
Draft: 3ft. 7in.
Construction: frp
Fuel: 750 gal.
Water: 215 gal.
Displacement: 55,400 lbs.
Engines: (standard) 2 x 542-hp Cummins QSB 6.7
Engines: (optional) Volvo Penta D8-IPS