New Boats Under 20 Feet

By Michael Vatalaro

More power, control, and boat in less space. Motors shed weight while boosting power, plus smart builders pack more features into 20 feet.

Beneteau First 20

Beneteau designed the fourth generation of this 20-foot, trailerable sailboat with a sleeker look, along with larger genoa, a square-top mainsail, and bow sprit for greater performance. The self-supporting mast has no forestay, clearing valuable deck space forward. Down below there is a V-berth forward, and a small galley, with plenty of storage spaces built in. With an outboard bracket on the transom, the First 20 is rated to handle up to 10 hp.

Photo of a Beneteau First 20 LOA: 20'12" | Beam: 8'2" | Draft: 2'4"/5'11" | Air Draft: 31'2" | Weight: 2,744 Lbs.

Volvo V8-380

Volvo debuted a new powerplant at the fall shows, which was lauded with an Innovation Award for a number of smart features, but largely for its class-leading power-to-weight ratio. Based on GM's 6-liter truck engine, but built with aluminum exhaust components, oil pan, and cylinder heads, the new engine is more than 270 pounds lighter than similar 380-hp models, and boasts better fuel economy as well. Volvo says you can expect to see 15-20 percent improvement in fuel economy compared with an 8-liter block producing the same horsepower.

In addition, thanks to Variable-Valve Timing (VVT), the engine has plenty of torque at the low end, and is less weight sensitive at wide-open throttle, improving overall performance. The V8-380 comes standard with closed-loop cooling, and is available with electronic throttle and shift, which allows for joystick control in twin-engine setups.

Scout 195 SF

Scout Designed the 195 SF as a platform for serious anglers or the weekend warrior with fishermen-friendly features such as ample rod and tackle storage, a leaning-post with aerated bait well, and a removable 94-quart cooler that doubles as the forward seating. The optional T-top comes with rocket launchers as well.

Photo of a Scout 195 SF LOA: 19'5" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft: 13" (Motor Up) | Weight: 2,150 Lbs. (Dry) | Fuel: 50 gal.

But jump seats at the stern, an optional ski pylon, and a swim platform on the portside help make the 195 family friendly as well, as does a removable bow cushion on the casting platform.

Yamaha F200 And Helm Master Control System

Photo of the Yamaha F200 and Helm Master Control System

Building on what seems to be a growing trend of more horsepower from less displacement, Yamaha unveiled their F200, a four-stroke, 200-hp outboard with four cylinders rather than the six typical in that horsepower range. By using the smaller displacement block, Yamaha saved nearly 120 pounds compared with their prior, V6-powered F200 models. The 16-valve, 2.8-liter block features a dual-overhead cam design controlled by Yamaha's Variable Camshaft Timing system, which allows the engine to accelerate more quickly and respond better to throttle changes. This new model is available with either electronic or mechanical controls.

Photo of the Yamaha F200 and Helm Master Control System

Yamaha also introduced Helm Master, which is at its heart a joystick controller, but also integrates convenience features such as automatic trim control and speed control. Designed to work in twin or triple engine configurations with either their Offshore V6 series, or the V8 350-hp models, Helm Master combines the best features of digital throttle and shift, such as single-lever operation, with a joystick controller that makes docking simple and intuitive. 

— Published: February/March 2013

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