Three To Daydream AboutBy Michael Vatalaro
Published: December 2012
Browsing the fall boat shows leads us to three new models.
The Leopard 48 catamaran debuted at the Annapolis Sailboat Show carrying some of the same design concepts from their award-winning 44-footer, including a cockpit forward of the salon with direct access from the interior. These are cruising boats, set up to shrink the distances between islands by making life under sail more comfortable and safe. With a raised helm that provides 360-degree visibility under shade, and a fullwidth hard top that gives access to the mast and boom, or provides space for solar panels, to the uncluttered deck layout with recessed hatches, each feature makes it easier to be aboard underway.
The boat is offered with either three or four cabins. In the three-cabin layout, the entire starboard hull is dedicated to the owner's suite, including a small office, distinct from the nav station, which is forward to port in the salon. All cabins in either version have ensuite heads to enhance privacy. But the surest sign this boat was built for the Caribbean: 264 gallons of water capacity, nearly 50 percent greater than the fuel capacity.
Beneteau Barracuda 9
At just under 29 feet, the Barracuda 9 is the smallest powerboat from Beneteau to be brought to the U.S. market, but it's one of the first with their highly efficient AirStep hull design (see www.BoatUS.com/Magazine/ Innovators). Combining the open deck plan of a center console, with an enclosed cabin and outboard power, the Barracuda looks like little else on the water. It offers plenty of seating inside and out, a small cabin forward for overnight, and there's even a flybridge version. Look for it at the winter and spring shows.
Formula 350 CBR
Follow me here. It's a 35-foot bowrider, with a mid-ship cabin much as you'd find on an express cruiser. Formula calls it their Crossover Bowrider (CBR) and, unlike some larger dual-console models that feature a bunk tucked into one side of the boat, the berth lays athwartships (at right angles to the fore-and-aft line of the vessel) below deck. The cabin, with nearly six feet of headroom, also holds a centerline galley and head to starboard. On deck there's wraparound seating forward in the bow and behind the helm station. Add the sun pad, which faces the transom, and you've got tons of room to entertain your friends. Available with Mercruiser or Volvo sterndrives.
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The latest fishing boats try to offer it all — storage for the toys, pylons for tow sports, bow ladders to hit the beach more easily.
New options, from propulsion to stabilization, are popping up on midsize cruising and fishing boats.
It's boat-show time of the year at last. Don't miss these and other beautiful new models on display at the fall shows in the coming months.