By Andy Adams and Allegra Smith-Herriot
A family onboard a Sea Ray 370 Sundancer anchors out for the day. Credit: Sea Ray Boats
From cottage boats to luxury cruisers, there have been a host of major design changes over the past decade and the latest boats for 2022 are significantly different from the new models we saw back in 2012. To better understand what is driving these design changes, we contacted the designers, product specialists and marketing experts at several of the top boat builders.
More than anything else, we learned that people’s lifestyles are changing, and boats are changing to serve those new priorities. Maybe you will see your own boating plans reflected in their comments.
Overall, we see new boats moving “upmarket” with many remarkable new features, especially in performance and driver convenience. The advent of joystick docking has been a game-changer, especially for larger boats and where it was once a major seamanship challenge to dock a 50-footer, joystick docking can now make it a precise one-person exercise.
The new-generation four-stroke outboard engines have also been a major force for change. With engines up to the Mercury V12 Verado (making 600-hp!) many with electronic controls, joystick docking, and ever-increasing levels of connectivity and system integration, outboards bring new convenience to piloting your boatload of family or guests. As the big yachts pioneer the latest technologies, they migrate down to smaller and more affordable boats every year.
Clearly, the social distancing and stress we all experienced when COVID-19 hit, forced us to stay in our own (mostly family) groups, but that was already a boating trend anyway. More and more families were buying a boat to enjoy those special vacations and social occasions together. COVID accelerated the trend – it just made good sense.
Some might say that the most powerful driving force behind family boating is grandchildren!
Also, spending the day cruising on your boat with friends and family has become more popular than overnight cruising. That in turn, has driven layout and interior design away from sleeping accommodations to above-deck living areas featuring more seating space, adjustable or convertible seating, outdoor galleys and amenities like extra refrigeration or cooler space, movable tables and a wide range of sunroof and adjustable shade options.
TOP DESIGN FEATURES AVAILABLE IN SMALLER BOATS
The overhead view of the new Four Winns H4 sterndrive version showing the seating and big continuous living space from the bow to the swim platform. Credit: Four Winns
As an example of accessibility to new features, well-established brand Four Winns is leading the industry with some great designs and innovative features in cottage size and trailerable boats with their new H1, H2 and H4 bowrider models.
These are especially handsome designs and Nick Harvey, Brand Director at Four Winns, spent time with Canadian Yachting magazine at both the Fort Lauderdale and Miami Boat Shows in the last six months, including a boat review in Miami (coming up in the June issue of Canadian Yachting). Nick describes these new models as “Tradition meets Innovation” and the new Four Winns models have timeless classic lines wrapped around the latest features. You could call these “dayboats” because some are available with a private head for all-day comfort, and they are available with a wide range of accessory options. You can also personalize your Four Winns H series with a choice of power options; sterndrive, forward-facing wake surf drive from either Volvo Penta and Mercury, or outboard power from Mercury or Yamaha.
In the outboard version, the Four Winns H4 is available with a privacy enclosure and a head for all-day comfort when cruising. Pretty great for a 23-footer! Credit: Four Winns
FLOATING LUXURY RESORT
The big boat can take you to the special place where your SUP or kayak lets you quietly explore the shoreline. Credit: Cruisers Yachts
Cruisers Yachts was early to discover the attraction of the floating luxury resort when they premiered their GLS line.
Matt VanGrunsven, Director of Marketing at Cruisers told Canadian Yachting that designer Patrizio Facheris who did their break-through 48 Cantius has also designed their latest model, the 34 GLS.
The Cruisers Yachts line is all new in the last few years to address the changing tastes in boating. The 34 GLS takes perfect aim at these new consumer preferences with a huge bow living area that includes mounts to fly a sunshade over the space, comfortable armrests, a remote for the sound system, removable cooler and eight drink holders in the bow alone!
The 34 GLS also features a big private head with mirrors, an opening porthole, good lighting and a home-sized Dometic MSD for all-day comfort. (See the full34 GLS review in Canadian Yachting February 2022)
Even aboard a dayboat, some of the most memorable moments can be in the evening with elegant interior and underwater lighting systems like those on the Cruisers Yachts 42 GLS. Credit: Cruisers Yachts
SPACE DEFINES LUXURIOUS LIVING
At the Miami Boat Show in February, Canadian Yachting sat down with Erwin Bamps, CEO of Prestige Yachts and Rosalie Le Gall, Product Marketing Manager who described the design process and research behind the upcoming launch of their new M-Line power cruisers. These are to be catamaran yachts and more specifically, power cats.
There have been other builders who have used their sailing catamaran models and converted those into powered versions, but Erwin emphasized that a power cat should be a different hull design for best performance and accommodations.
From the big dining area on the flying bridge to the generous swim platform and storage accommodations for water toys, the new M48 from Prestige Yachts brings the luxury of space onboard. Credit: Prestige Yachts M-Line
Rosalie explained that sailing cats need to keep a low profile and have their twin hulls spread widely to perform well under sail, but a power cat can be higher because there is no mast and sail, and because there are engines mounted down low in the hulls.
This allows a higher cabin and flying bridge for greater headroom and the hulls can be closer together and still give great stability. This makes it easier to dock and find slip accommodations.
Rosalie explained that the big attraction of a dedicated power catamaran design is the luxury of space. Their new Prestige M48 model is 48-feet long but achieves comparable space to a 60-footer because of the twin hulls and the wider beam – approximately 22-feet for the M48.
The M48 reveals generous, brightly lit, and refined living spaces, affording the ultimate in comfort.
CREATIVE INNOVATION IN SEA RAY DESIGN
Sea Ray’s SLX 400 model includes an impressive fold-out hull side to expand the cockpit space and a locker big enough for an SUP. Credit: Sea Ray Boats
With the resources of marine industry giant Brunswick Corporation, Sea Ray pioneers the luxury side of their many boat lines. Canadian Yachting interviewed Carrie Fodor, Sea Ray’s Design Manager and Sara Moore, Sea Ray’s Marketing Manager to ask about their product development.
Carrie explained that before they begin the design process, they go to consumer research. Representatives from Sea Ray actually visit customers at their homes or on their boats, to ask how they use their boats, how that might be different from how they thought they would use their boats, asking what their day on the boat looks like, and how to judge the experience.
Sea Ray’s whole design philosophy is that the boat is “the tool for the experience”. This is part of the Sea Ray brand and they believe that richer moments on the water lead to a richer life. Carrie said, “Being able to give our customers an experience that they can’t get anywhere else is really something pretty special I believe.”
So, what have they learned about their customers? A lot of really fun things. A full day to some is to anchor or raft out with others while some prefer seclusion. Another attraction is waterfront activities like visiting restaurants and overnighting on larger boats. Boating is a great escape and includes activities like entertaining or watersports, or perhaps an intimate day with your partner. Carrie emphasized their goal is to optimize space on Sea Rays; making sure there’s a place for everything including your SUP, tower space for wakeboard racks and features like a 12v power point to inflate an SUP.
A very interesting point that Sara and Carrie made was that with the latest dayboat designs, there is more emphasis on exterior space than on cabins; you can use more of the boat, all of the time.
Sea Ray’s SLX 400 is all about food and entertaining and is available with these twin cockpit grills and dual refrigerators too. Credit: Sea Ray Boats
ELEGANCE AND EXCITEMENT AS ONLY THE FRENCH CAN DO IT
With an extensive selection of the latest designs, the team at Beneteau understands elegance and the way to make boating a pleasure. As an example, the Gran Turismo 41 features comfortable forward-facing seating at the helm and open-air boating thanks to a huge opening sunroof.
The Beneteau Gran Turismo 41 helm with sunroof. Credit Beneteau
Bring your own beach! The Beneteau Gran Turismo 41 offers a hydraulic swim platform for the convenience of swimmers. Credit: Beneteau
SAILORS LOVE HOSTING ONBOARD TOO!
The new designs from innovators like Jeanneau include many of the same features as we see on powerboats. Their exciting new Sun Odyssey 380 (reviewed in Canadian Yachting April 2022) is from their Walk-around series with features like broad walk-around decks to please all sailors; ageing sailors, active navigators and kids alike. The 380 also features a large aft swim platform that makes getting together on the water even better.
The spacious and open cockpit and swim platform invite you to jump in! Credit: Beneteau
FOOD AND FUN
Can sailors also be fishermen? Absolutely! This is the new Beneteau Oceanis 30.1. How would you prepare the “catch of the day”? Credit: Beneteau
Some of the best onboard entertainment is laying out a spread of goodies for your guests. Here are two of our favourite fun recipes. We invite our Canadian Yachting readers to make these recipes and send us pictures of your finished dishes. We want to display them in the Canadian Yachting Onboard newsletters. Email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selected entries may be featured in the Canadian Yachting Onboard newsletters.
Zesty Lemon & Herb Pearl Couscous Salad
1 package dry pearled couscous (Israeli couscous)
1 package chicken or vegetable broth
Salt & pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, juiced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp grated lemon zest
½ tsp honey or maple syrup
Salt & pepper
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup fresh herbs, coarsely chopped (use any combination of parsley, mint, basil, dill, cilantro)
¼ cup roasted, salted nuts, chopped (can use almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, pecans)
¼ cup golden raisins
Cook couscous according to package. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Combine the rest of the toppings with the couscous and dressing. Serve cold or at room temp.
This simple, premade, gourmet salad is the perfect addition to any summer meal!
Tropical Summer Shrimp Dinner with Mango Slaw
Salt & pepper
Marinate/coat shrimp in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper prior to grilling.
2 ripe mangoes, julienned
1 lb cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, julienned
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 limes, juiced (about 6 tbsp)
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey or maple syrup
Salt & pepper
¼ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
¼ roasted and salted nuts (cashews or almonds recommended)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. This salad lends itself to sitting for a couple of hours to let the flavours soak in. Toss before serving and top with mint and nuts.
Serve with your choice of additional sides.
And of course, pair this with a tropical Rum Punch for the perfect meal out on the water. What makes your punch unique? Send us your photos and recipes!
SUMMER’S BEST CRUISING TUNES
The music sets the mood. Credit: Sea Ray Boats
What’s on your playlist? Rock? Jazz? Classical?
We would love to know what Canadian Yachting readers play when they are on the boat. It’s a “Battle of the Boating Tunes”- Share your playlist and we will share it in the Canadian Yachting Onboard newsletters. Email your playlist to email@example.com.
SOME SAY YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU…
Have peace of mind when taking your toys with you wherever you go with secure rack systems from Manta Racks. Simply slide the systems into your flush-mounted rod holders and you’re off! Credit: Manta Racks
As the boating industry has seen an influx in boaters, naturally there has been a demand for water toys by water sport enthusiasts of all kinds. Canadian Yachting spoke to Tim Wilhelm, President of Manta Racks, to discuss the latest on all things water sports.
Tim commented on the explosion Manta Racks has seen during COVID and the desire for boaters to explore their boating destinations more intimately, whether that be on paddle-boards, kayaks, or with other personal watercraft.
Their most popular items, the S2 and FM Rack Systems, safely and securely transport paddle-boards and floating mats; two of the most common activities the company has noticed within their customers. Generating fun and maintaining convenience is of the utmost importance, and Manta Racks make it easy to bring your accessories to explore destinations and have fun in the sun without any worry.
ACCESSORIES TO MAKE LIFE BETTER
Does anyone ever have enough refrigerator space? Especially for summertime entertaining onboard, ice and cold drinks are essential. So is keeping food fresh. A smart solution is getting a powered portable cooler with a built-in ice-maker like one of the Dometic models.
The Dometic CFX3 is billed as the ultimate powered cooler. It produces impressive cooling/freezing, allowing you to bring more of the food and drinks you love wherever you go. And, thanks to a mobile app that puts the control of your Dometic CFX3 at your fingertips, you can go further, stay longer, and experience more. Credit: Dometic
No matter what your boat may be, think about the Sea Ray idea that the boat is “the tool for the experience”. With some effort and planning, we hope you will enjoy those richer moments on the water that lead to a richer life with your family and friends.