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Picnic Boats: The Runabout Refined

Call them what you like — day boat, picnic boat, or cocktail cruiser — these elegant vessels embody the essence of the idiom, "Time on the water is time well-spent".

Duffy 16 Back Bay

LOA: 16' 5" | Beam: 7' 4" | Draft: 25" | Weight: 2,100 lbs.

Duffy 16 Back Bay

When the only place you want to be is on the water, why rush? Electric boats like the Duffy 16 Back Bay, or their new Lake Cruiser model, offer stress-free boating on protected waters. Silent and highly maneuverable, thanks to their patented Power Rudder, Duffy electric boats will cruise at around 5 mph for more than three hours, and double that with an optional extra battery pack. The Back Bay model has room for eight adults, plenty of places to stash food and drinks, and a Surrey top to keep the sun off your guests. The Lake Cruiser model features an "M" hull design, making it more efficient than a traditional catamaran, but it still offers the space of a pontoon boat.

Hunt Harrier 25

LOA: 25' | Beam: 9 |' Draft: 3' (drive down) | Weight: 7,000 lbs. | Fuel: 100 gal.

Hunt Harrier 25

Hunt set out to build a yacht-quality runabout and the result is the Harrier 25, a semi-custom day boat that combines the sea-keeping ability of a Hunt hull and classic "Down East" styling. With a single Volvo gas or diesel engine mounted ahead of the cockpit and connected by a jack-shaft to the stern drive for better weight distribution, the Harrier offers a dry, stable ride and flexible seating arrangements. A removable rear-bench seat lets you open up the cockpit for fishing or to store more water toys. Teak is an option on almost every horizontal surface so you can have as much or as little brightwork as you'd like. Hunt recently celebrated the delivery of their 1,000th hull and is now offering outboard power on the Harrier as well.

757 St. Tropez

LOA 24' 10" (757 cm) | Beam: 7' 5" | Draft: 28" | Weight: 3,960 lbs. | Fuel: 50 gal.

Frauscher 757 St. Tropez

This Austrian boatbuilder made a splash a few years ago with a hybrid version of this flashy 24-footer, and it's now available with a Volvo Penta big-block gas engine. A similar pure-electric launch, designated the 750, is also available. Contemporary styling that would look at home on an alpine lake and meticulous craftsmanship from this 85-year-old company set this boat apart from the crowd. Imported by Forum Marine.

Hinckley T34

LOA: 34' 3" | Beam: 11' | Draft: 22" | Weight: 14,000 lbs. | Fuel: 160 gal.

Hinckley T34

It might be hard to think of a 34-footer as a runabout, but with twin Yanmar diesels driving Hamilton water jets, the new T34 is projected to cruise at 29 knots, and top out in the low 30s, far livelier than her lobster-boat forbearers. Her exterior, of course, is far more dramatic as well. A spoon bow, tumblehome aft, and distinctive shear line set Hinckleys apart from many boats on the water. But on the inside, Hinckley designed the T34 with a simpler level of detail than previous models, leaving off some features such as power sliding side-windows and power hatches that customer feedback told them often went unutilized. The first T34 should debut in July.

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Michael Vatalaro

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine

Michael Vatalaro is the former executive editor of BoatUS Magazine. He has a Pursuit center console, which he uses in the Chesapeake Bay.