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altSo how do you objectively review a powerboat galley? Well for starters – more or less the same way you would look at any galley or kitchen; counter space, storage, access to guests, lighting and overall functionality are key components. As with any galley, it also depends on the type of entertaining you will be using it for. Most buyers want a galley that affords easy access to everything needed for meal preparation and encourages interaction with on-board guests.

At the 2008 Toronto International Boat Show, I got to explore the different types of powerboats and their galleys. For those of you who have been to the show, you know that the power side of the show far outweighs the sail in numbers. So the inevitable questions arise, ‘where do I start?’ and ‘what do I limit the search to?’ With so many different types and sizes of boats, and after some consulting with the Canadian Yachting editorial team, the field was narrowed to production boats in the 34’ to 50’ range.

As with the sailboat galleys I reviewed in the last issue, there were a lot of great innovations on many of the boats that didn’t make it into my top-three list. Now to be fair – this exercise was not meant to deliver definitive insight into the future of galley design, but rather to be a snapshot of where the major manufacturers are going.

Function Dictates Form

One consistent surprise for me –the majority of powerboat galleys did not come with an oven as standard equipment. Convection microwave ovens are standard on most, as well as a two-burner stovetop. On most sailboats, though, there is a gimbaled stove and oven combination; microwaves are becoming ever-more standard equipment. On the powerboats that I was on, there wasn’t a gimbaled anything. Many of the stovetops were recessed, but there were rarely any significant barriers along the edge of the countertops to prevent pots, pans or cooking implements from sliding off and heading straight to the cabin sole. The most common explanation from manufacturers’ reps – ‘powerboat owners rarely prepare things in the galley while underway, where as sail boaters do.’ Right or wrong – this doesn’t adequately address the issue of how to prevent hot pots and pans from falling every which way if a surge comes into your anchorage or harbour.

After reviewing many, many galleys, one terrific feature that was standard on all the boats I was on, was a mini-galley in the cockpit and/or on the fly bridge. This is a definite bonus for convenience and entertaining! Many come with an optional grill as well as a mini bar-fridge that is fantastic in terms of convenience, but also for ensuring basic food safety!

So what about the individual boat models you ask? How do they compare to one another? Well there was one boat that really spoke to me on many levels, and is in a tie for 3rd place on my list of ultimate powerboat galleys...the Sabre 38 Hard Top Express.

To me, the Sabre 38 offers the single-most “welcoming” galley, in part because of the generous use of natural wood and the attention to detail in small things, like the finishing details in the over-head cabin liner. There is a prominent raised wooden lip that runs along the entire edge of the countertop that prevents anything from sliding right off the counter. In my opinion, this is a definite plus on a boat. The storage was well thought out with adjustable spacing, and the boat offers lots of natural lighting and easy access to your guests – whether they are on deck or below. Sabre is also a well known and successful sailboat designer and builder; this boat offers much of the proud heritage and attention to detail obviously inherited from its line of sailboats.

Tied for 3rd place is the Silverton 45 Convertible. This galley is designed in a U-shaped configuration that is great to work in whether underway or moored.

On the Silverton, you have easy access to plenty of counter space, storage and to your guests as well as a three-burner electric range. The overhead natural lighting could use improving.

Second place was a tough decision. So many of the boats I looked at had unique features that made them stand out. However, what made the Cruisers 520 Express stand out was the amount of counter space and the aesthetics – like the backlit bottle display and the overall accessibility to storage and guests. The Cruisers 520 indeed has an impressive galley. The dual, large sinks were a great touch, and you have the optional wine captain, trash compactor and/or dishwasher. The model at the show had the dishwasher that was a pull-out drawer. Nice touch! The opening port windows along the galley counter top were a great feature as well.

So what boat at the Toronto International Boat Show made it to the coveted number one spot? The 47 Sedan Bridge by Sea Ray. This galley was so wide open, bright with natural lighting and has the best feature I’ve seen yet on any boat – an optional swinging door and flip up window (optional instead of having the standard sliding entry doors). What a great feature! This flip-up window allows you direct access to any guests on the back deck, as well as fantastic lighting. There is a good-sized refrigerator and freezer on the opposite side of the boat along with more counter space. There is a lot of storage including cupboards designed specifically for cutlery, glass, plates and bottle storage. Your guests are immediately forward of the galley so you won’t miss a thing while entertaining!

Ok - once again though, there was an Ultimate Galley that I have yet to mention! The largest boat that was at the show was the Neptunus 62 Motor Yacht. You might assume that the largest boat will offer the best galley – just due to its size. Not necessarily! In this case, the galley was the absolute best of the show due to its layout, counter space, and most especially the features! This galley comes with a good-sized range and oven, microwave, SubZero refrigerator drawers (one of which can convert over to a freezer), a dishwasher, very large wine/bar fridge, more storage options than you’d know what to do with and amazing amount of countertop space. The lighting, both natural and artificial, was plentiful, and access to guests was great.

Comparing galleys was a great experience. It’s very interesting to consider the features of various boats, but also to compare the similarities and differences between the galleys of power and sailboats. It certainly adds a different dimension when you analyze and compare just one feature. The next time you’re at a boat show, do your own little “top three” comparison with one feature and see what you come up with; you never know what you’ll discover!

By Kathleen Mackay