Seattle is home to two large boat shows hosted by two organizations - the Northwest Marine Trade Association and the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association - one in September, and one in January. This year's show is even nuttier, with three distinct locations around town.
Seattle's usual traffic bottlenecks aside, NMTA and NYBA have done an excellent job to create a manageable shuttle system, and have even created a free parking lot for the downtown in-water show (weekends only) at Bell Harbor Marina. The new Bell Harbor location is a great option for manufacturers who don't want to hassle with the locks on either side. Still going strong is the other in-water show, located on the south end of Lake Union, while the indoor Events Center at Century Link Field is the third - some would say, primary - location.
After making the trek to all three - we'd be lying to say we had time to see everything - so this is what we took away (not including 20 pounds of slick brochures):
Things We Love - Seattle Boat Show
Now 73, Jim Lindell has been building boats for over 40 years, but despite his experience he's not necessarily wed to old boatbuilding traditions. His newest creation opened people's eyes at last year's Seattle Boat Show, and he's already piled up orders in the double digits of his prized Lindell 42 - with more on the way. Some call this the "sport utility vessel" and I suppose it is difficult to pin this boat to any one style. The Lindell is equal parts cruiser, speedster, fisher, and luxury yacht. You see? Impossible to pin down. What you can pin down is the ultra-high attention to detail, flawless fit and finish, and tireless attempts to modernize to the latest build technologies. Company spokesman Brian Kott tells us that 2018 will also see the debut of a new 35-foot model.
Lindell Yachts / www.lindellyachts.com
Another Pacific Northwest boatbuilder, Tomco Marine (better known as the builders of American Tugs) also has plans for a new 2018 launch. Set to splash later this spring (April or May, we are told by Tomco's Steve Scruggs), the Waypoint 36 will carry a slightly stripped-down feature set to her established cousin, the American Tugs 365. This boat will feature a nicely arranged saloon/galley combination, with steps up to the pilothouse. From the renderings, excellent visibility will surround the helm and seating areas. A larger-than-you-would-imagine electronics console with dual MFDs and twin staterooms is offered in a package starting at $350,000.
American Tugs & Trawlers / www.americantugsandtrawlers.com
Devlin's Newest Launches: Surf Scoter 23 & Banjo 20
Two new builds from the mind of Sam Devlin comes this handsome little 23-footer, and the Banjo 20. The Surf Scoter is the first 23 in the series and the first to feature outboard power. Her lightweight-but-sturdy frame and trademark styling is all you'd need for short jaunts up the coast - or, just about the sweetest commuter boat going. Powered by a 150 horsepower Mercury outboard, the Scoter can get up and move, too, clocking in at 32 knots during sea trials.
Devlin Designing Boat Builders / www.devlinboat.com
Finnish Imports: Sargo & Targa
I have a particular affection for working boats. With their square, ruggedly practical lines, and do-anything, go-anywhere DNA, what's not to love? These are often the same boats that are built and sold the world over as search-and-rescue craft as well as police and other water-bound service vessels. They are the ones trusted by professional mariners for their seakeeping in just about any gauge of gale. With Finnish imports, Targa and Sargo, you'd be forgiven for seeing similarities of concept and application. Though the Sargo tends to be slightly more contemporary in its house structure, and the Targa a bit more of the square and traditional, they are both supremely weather-independent cruisers, capable of handling equally well at high and low speeds.
Due to the windows, I find the visibility from the Targa slightly better, though helm stations on either vessel lack very little. Take some time to get to know some of the Finn boatbuilders who have found a strong foothold in the United States. There's probably a few good reasons why.
The newest design from legendary naval architect, Steve Seaton, is the Northwest 63 trawler. The 63 features a commodious two- or three-stateroom layout, with three heads. Additional sleeping quarters include a pilot berth for overnight passages (or, just extra bunk space), and an optional saloon sofa that converts, bringing the total of comfortable overnight guests to nine. For those of you who like get your hands dirty, there is enough headroom in the engine room for most people to stand comfortably. Powered by twin John Deere diesels, the 63 will have a cruise speed around 8-12 knots, but speeds in the upper teens will be in reach when desired. Scheduled for delivery in 2018/19, the yacht is being imported by Seattle Yacht Sales.
Seattle Yacht Sales / www.seattleyachts.com
Outer Reef 700 Motoryacht
She wasn't the newest model on display in Seattle, but she is a former award-winner, and Outer Reef does very little to not make people notice. Her on-water performance is matched by the fit-and-finish of Outer Reef's meticulous team of craftspeople. This classic motoryacht features what all of the vessels in the series feature: enormous, panoramic views, huge entertainment spaces inside and out, plus enough space to store all varieties of tender, kayaks, and other cruising-lifestyle accoutrements.
Outer Reef Yachts / www.outerreefyachts.com
Kasten Cruising Tug
She may not be new, but this Kasten Cruising tug definitely wins style points. On display at the Seattle Show's Lake Union event, this 38-footer represented by Sound Yacht Sales, stood out from the crowd based on her looks, alone. In addition to her salty good looks, a little investigative power revealed that she was designed by Michael Kasten, to a commercial vessel standard, but as a pleasure craft from the get-go.
Inside, the salty craft is all business but doesn't skimp on cruising comforts, with forced air heating, a very useful U-shape galley, as well as fore-and-aft berths for owner and guests (or, captain and crew, if you prefer to keep the metaphor alive).
Sound Yacht Sales / www.soundyachtsales.com