Imagine twenty football fields of carpeted floor space covering two floors of a convention center. Now throw in two separate in-the-water venues with miles of docks. That is the sheer size of the Miami International Boat Show in February. I arrived this year with a very clear purpose — to find the products that YOU, our readers, want to learn more about. After four days of walking and talking, here are snippets of what I found to whet your appetite.
There was no shortage of boat debuts. Contender unveiled their 24 Sport with standard family-friendly features including forward seating and step-down head. For the all out fisherman, the new Regulator 23 has a flush liner for enhanced fishability and loads of storage. Grady-White showed off their new CE Coastal Explorer with the exclusive SeaV2™ hull while Carolina Skiff highlighted their new “Tunnel Series” which allows the boat to run in three inches of water.
During Boston Whaler’s annual press briefing, they unveiled a perfectly replicated model of the new 420 Outrage coming at the end of the year. Their largest model yet is specifically designed to encourage entertaining. You can trust we will have all the details later this year.
A brand new company introduced a boat that addresses the “where to keep it” issue. Island Boats unveiled the only retractable and expandable pontoon boat that can be towed behind a car and stored in a standard garage. The float on and off trailer makes it a breeze to launch. While Dad parks the trailer, Mom pushes a button to expand the boat from 7’4” to 10’. No wonder they received the NMMA Innovation Award.
I also had the opportunity to do some test rides on boats featuring Yamaha products. The Scout 195 had the new F115 outboard with Yamaha’s exclusive Shift Dampener System. No longer will you hear “clunk” when shifting or in gear. The four-stroke is the lightest 115 available and with the all new exhaust system and reduced vibration it is also the quietest. On the Everglades 325 CC I had the joy of testing Yamaha’s Helm Master™. This boat control system allows someone like myself to easily maneuver a boat with a light touch on a joystick.
LEHR, maker of the world’s first propane-powered outboard engine, introduced its “bigger, faster and stronger” 15 hp model. Equipped with an internal battery, a feature now available on the 9.9 hp engine, a simple flip of the switch starts the purr of their signature environmentally friendly engines.
The eco-friendly theme continued with Elco Motor Yachts and their all-electric inboard motors which we featured in the March issue. Drawing upon Elco’s rich history, they currently offer six models with diesel equivalency ranging from 6 to 100 horsepower. Performance without the diesel smell.
Another brand-new company and product was the Dungaroo — an odorless, waterless, and powerless head which uses a unique bagging system that seals, treats and converts bio-hazardous waste into normal disposable trash. This head is simple to install, eliminates the need for a holding tank and requires no messy clean-up.
At Strictly Sail, I immediately gravitated towards Beneteau who featured their new Oceanis 38. This singular boat can be configured as a Daysailor, a Weekender or a Cruiser — you pick. The loft-inspired design gives the cabin an openness I’ve never experienced in a monohull. Almost everything becomes an option when designing the perfect boat to suit your needs. Best of all, they are made in Marion, S.C.
Hobie Cat and American Sailing Association (ASA) have taken the excitement generated by ORACLE TEAM USAs come-from-behind America’s Cup victory to create a targeted sailing education program. The new concept boat, with its distinctive black hulls and logoed sails, is the first in a series of special edition ASA/Hobie catamarans designed to make it easy to learn. The boats will be offered by Hobie Cat sailboat dealers worldwide later this year, concurrent with ASA’s rollout of this exciting program in or as a part of their 300+ sailing schools.
Harry Horgan, Founder and CEO of Shake-a-leg Miami, South Florida’s premier, adaptive watersports community serving people of all abilities, showed off the latest boat in his fleet, a catamaran meticulously designed by a wheel-chaired gentleman to cross the Atlantic Ocean on his own. The completely accessible boat has wheelchair elevators to access the hulls, a track system at the helm for greater maneuverability and an extra-wide catwalk around the boat for sail handling. In June, Harry and his team will begin their tour down the east coast promoting sailing for physically challenged individuals. You can bet we will be following.
Stay tuned to All At Sea Southeast for in-depth product reviews and more features from the great companies exhibiting at this year’s show.