Getting Better

Happy New Year, everyone! We made it through another orbit around the sun, and with any luck, you filled your captain’s log and your memory bank with boating adventures sure to warm the heart — and incite jealousy in others. We certainly enjoyed putting together 12 issues filled with yacht sea trials, cruising stories, gear reviews, how-to advice, DIY projects and much more. We hope you enjoyed reading it all. Look for 2017 to have more of the same and some new types of content.

If our time at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show and the previews of the upcoming boat shows are any indication, 2017 promises to be an innovative year for boat manufacturers and equipment makers. Builders are not hesitating to put the latest technology to use in the building process and in the fi nished design of their boats, and the nimblest among them are anxious to implement suggestions from boat owners.

One thing boat buyers must be asking for is more usable outdoor space, as we are seeing outdoor social areas flourishing, especially on the bow, where manufacturers have moved from simple sunpads to entire covered seating areas with settees, tables and sunpads. It’s the kind of space previously seen only on superyachts. Flybridges are another area of social improvement. Helm stations are being worked into the overall social space, and wet bars and grills are finding their way onto smaller boats without sacrificing too much in the way of seating, especially as more swim platforms get the hydraulic treatment and become the launch point for tenders, and much more. (See the Evo 43 on page 10.)

Another feature we’re seeing on more boats is tied to pod propulsion. Volvo Penta introduced IPS pods just more than a decade ago, and the joystick that operated the drives at slow speed revolutionized slow-speed operation and docking. Now, the joystick can be used to steer the boat at top speed, too, so builders are incorporating it into the right arm of the captain’s chair. While the driver still needs to use the throttles to control speed, steering can be accomplished with a flick of the wrist. I tested a 70-footer with this feature, and it really was amazing to control such a big yacht so simply and so precisely with my fingers. It’s a good bet the joysticks will only get more functional in the very near future.

Boat shows in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Vancouver and other spots are coming soon, so I’m sure more trends will reveal themselves, which we’ll bring to you in the pages of Sea. Have a great 2017.


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