Big-Boat Trends & InnovationsBy Michael Vatalaro
Published: October/November 2013
New options, from propulsion to stabilization, are popping up on midsize cruising and fishing boats. Here are some features you might see at the fall boat shows.
Both Pursuit and Sea Ray introduced sport cruisers recently that make use of outboard power rather than the more traditional inboard or sterndrive configuration. But you can't tell that from looking at them. The outboards are concealed beneath a cowling on the Pursuit SC 365i, and a pair of sun pads on the Sea Ray 370 Venture.
There are a lot of advantages to outboard power for both the boatbuilder and the boater. For the builder, using outboards eliminates the need to engineer and build an exhaust system — not an insignificant undertaking. There can also be material expense advantages because outboards are often installed much later in the build process than inboards, or sometimes by dealers at the boat's final destination. For the boater, outboards free up space inside the boat. Both the Venture and the SC 365i offer large midships cabins, using space that would be dedicated to a pair of V8s if these models were running inboards. Outboards may also offer a slight advantage in fuel economy compared to inboard gas engines. Another notable difference is the noise, or lack of it. With outboards tucked beneath the cowling or sun pads, engine noise is minimized. Modern four-strokes are already quiet, and hiding them away just improves things that much more. Finally, outboards can improve long-term satisfaction with a boat, as replacing them doesn't entail cutting or disassembling large portions of the cockpit or interior.
More power, control, and boat in less space. Plus smart builders pack more features into 20 feet
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Buying from manufacturers can take some of the risk out of service contracts, but know the facts before you buy