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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

Lindell 42

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 42 running at 40-plus knots.

The Lindell 42 is capable of 42 knots with Volvo IPS power; slower speeds work well, too.

Lindell Yachts  /

Waypoint 36

Rendering of Tomco Marine's Waypoint 36 profile.

Profile rendering of Tomco Marine's spring 2018 debut, the Waypoint 36

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.

Saloon and pilothouse sketch for the Waypoint 36

Saloon/Galley configuration of the Waypoint 36

American Tugs & Trawlers  /

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' 23 Surf Scoter

Surf Scoter 23 at 32 knots. 

Banjo 20 by Devlin Designing Boat Builders

Banjo 20 profile.

Devlin Designing Boat Builders  /

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. 

Targa 30 profile

Profile view of the Targa 30.1

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.

Sargo 36 View from the Saloon

View from inside the saloon of the Sargo 36

Targa  /  In the United States: Cardinal Yacht Sales 

Sargo Boats  /  North America (East Coast):  Skarne Marine   /   North America (West Coast):  Inside Passage Yacht Sales

Northwest 63

Rendering of the Northwest 63

3D rendering of Steve Seaton-designed Northwest 63 

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  /

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 700 Motoryacht

Profile of the 700 Motoryacht photographed in sunnier climes than Seattle.

Outer Reef Yachts  /

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. 

Kasten Cruising Tug

This Michael Kasten tug design stole our hearts on Lake Union.

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).

Kasten Cruising Tug Saloon

Looking aft to the twin berths on the Kasten Tug

Sound Yacht Sales  /