It has taken months of testing, weeks of analysing and days of deliberating amongst our judges but the 2024 Motor Boat Awards winners can now be revealed....
As always we have chosen a winner in each of our nine boat categories based on how well it performed during our rigorous sea trials but also how well it meets the requirements of its target market in relation to its size, style and price.
In some categories we have also awarded a highly commended to boats which may not be as rounded as the winner but which have moved the game on in some significant way.
Last but not least we’d like to thank Sleipner for once again partnering with us as the headline sponsor of the 2024 Motor Boat Awards and our individual category award sponsors Garmin, CGI Finance and Lumishore.
2024 Motor Boat Awards winners revealed
Sportsboats up to 30ft
Winner – Saxdor 270 GTO
Buyers expect a lot of a sportsboat these days; building a decent hull that goes well and looks the part is no longer enough. Now it needs to be a jack of all trades with plenty of seating and sunbathing space, a wetbar to feed and water your guests, a table for dining, a T-Top to keep the sun off, a bed for overnighting and a heads for everyone’s comfort and convenience.
The Saxdor 270 GTO provides all these things and more. Thanks to a wide range of engine choices, including single or twin installations, and a vacuum-infused twin-step hull, buyers can fine tune the balance between performance and efficiency.
The options list is even more comprehensive, with prices starting from a very tempting £89,857 inc VAT. However you choose to specify it, the result will always be a very stylish craft that is small enough to tow on the road, large enough to spend the night on, fast enough to entertain the driver and capable enough to cover distance in a good degree of comfort and safety. The fact that it can do all this while undercutting many of its key rivals on price is the icing on the cake.
Highly commended – Cormate T28
Still one of the most exhilarating drivers’ boats around but now with an added dose of practicality to back up its timeless looks and classy detailing, the new T28 is a quality number that more than justifies its premium pricing.
Dayboats over 30ft
Winner – Flipper 900 DC
Even by Nordic standards, the Flipper 900 DC is a supremely accomplished weekender, and it achieves this by taking the best elements of the classical Scandinavian day cruiser and repackaging them in a fresh and dynamic package that brings this venerable genre bang up to date.
For starters, you get a really secure, deepset cockpit with a long elevated wraparound screen for outstanding protection from the elements. You also get nigh-on perfect helm ergonomics with everything you need to operate this boat singlehanded with tremendous confidence.
Storage is very well taken care of and, given the lovely Windy-esque lines of that raked foredeck, the sleeping facilities are pretty good too. They include a proper double berth forward and a more compact bed beneath the cockpit sole, plus a separate heads compartment to port.
But in spite of the sheer user-friendliness of the interior, it’s the looks and performance that are likely to live longest in the memory. If you’re a really keen driver, you can spec this boat with twin 300hp outboards for 50-knot performance. But even with the base 225s, you’ll find yourself flying past 30 knots in eight seconds and topping out at around 45 knots.
Winner – Sargo 45
As the largest boat ever to emerge from Sargo, the new 45 is covered in hardworking details. There’s the easy-access side-hinging engine hatch, the hidden fender baskets and the wide-diameter fuel fillers.
There’s the double-glazed pilothouse windows and the big internal dinette, which is slightly elevated to preserve your all-round views. And then there’s the sociable bow dinette with its table and bracket stowed in a rubber-lined locker directly next door.
These things all make the ownership experience that bit more pleasant but it’s the sheer ability of this platform as a year-round adventure companion that really makes the difference.
While a soft, dry ride and a wide range of flat, comfortable cruising speeds are ideal for long offshore passages, the two or three-cabin lower deck layout also enables you to tailor the boat specifically to your lifestyle. You can opt for IPS or sterndrives, as well as the dynamic-looking Explorer package. And the appeal of this mighty offshore pilothouse cruiser will only increase once the flybridge variant becomes available.
Highly commended – Quarken 27 Cabin
As the pilothouse version of the award-winning 27 T-Top, the latest Quarken does more with the space (and provides more for the money) than almost anything else out there.
Winner – Windy 34 Alizé
What purist fans want from Windy is very simple – a boat that can take them across rough seas at pace with agile handling and a smooth, soft ride, then accommodate them for a night or two when they reach their destination. The 34 Khamsin was such a boat until it was discontinued in 2013 but its long-awaited replacement, the Alize 34, is even better.
Sitting neatly between the 32 Grand Zonda and the 37 Shamal in terms of both size and price, the new 34 Alize is 2ft longer and 7in wider than the 32, and that’s crucial because it makes it the smallest boat in the fleet that can be specced with a pair of Volvo Penta D6 440s.
These are a wonderful match, combining fearsome acceleration and a 51-knot top speed with effortless all-day cruising at 40-knots. With its traditional step-free deep-vee hull, fine entry, aggressive spray rails and soft-riding 24°deadrise, this boat is hugely capable in a lumpy sea. The fact it also happens to offer a versatile day boating cockpit and comfortable overnighting for four people is a very happy bonus!
Highly commended – Viggo C10 Offshore
The most exciting boat we’ve driven all year, with searing 60-knot performance, superb sea-keeping and bullet-proof build quality, but a rather spartan, fit-for-purpose interior.
Sportscruisers up to 45ft
Winner – Marex 440
If Espen Aalrud, the Marex boss, is serious about building the best family boats in the world, the new 440 is the perfect place to begin. While it might look quite modest in a classical Nordic kind of way, the ingenuity behind the deck layouts is deeply impressive.
The aft cockpit is secure and contained, with a generous arrangement of peripheral bench seating providing no fewer than six corner seats. It can be cordoned off from the elements with quick-rig canvases and it can also be used as a private double berth, thanks to all-round blinds and a pair of handy pilothouse side doors.
There are plenty of high-spec features, including an anchor camera and floating lilo-style foredeck cushions, but it’s the options list that enables this boat to excel. You can go for IPS drives, sterndrives or shafts, or two or three cabins. And you can also opt for the “Gourmet Cruiser” layout, with a massive aft galley operating as the day boating hub. Clever, flexible and painstakingly resolved, very few new boat recommendations are as clear-cut and unqualified as this.
Highly commended – Aquador 300 HT
This next-generation Aquador is another fine family cruiser. High-spec but keenly priced, it comes with a beach club stern seat, a big cockpit, slick styling and sleeping for up to six.
Sportscruisers over 45ft – sponsored by Lumishore
Winner – Sunseeker Superhawk 55
Reinventing the Superhawk name as a big, sporty cruiser with comfortable overnighting facilities rather than a pure performance craft was always going to be a tricky task, but the new 55 has won over all but the most die-hard Superhawk fans.
With its long foredeck, swept-back screen and discreet (optional) hard top it still looks the part, while a pair of Volvo IPS950 engines matched to a suitably dynamic hull form ensure it also performs and handles better than most of its more ponderous rivals. But it’s the space and facilities it offers guests both above and below decks that really impresses.
Not only is there a hidden tender garage for a William’s Minijet but you can fit a jet-ski on the bathing platform and a pair of Seabobs in the sunbed locker. Then there’s a vast full-beam cockpit with moveable corner seats, a comprehensive wetbar and a well protected helm position.
Unlike some sportscruisers, the lower deck is also a genuinely enjoyable place to spend time, with masses of natural light, a large saloon, a decent galley and two comfortable ensuite cabins.
Highly commended – Azimut Verve 48
With its amazing bow space, its big aft party deck and its triple 600hp outboards, this infectiously feel-good American-style plaything will put a huge smile on your face, wherever you happen to go boating.
Flybridges up to 60ft
Winner – Fairline Squadron 58
The stern arrangement on the Squadron 58 is a true game-changer. It features a cockpit with a glazed transom, modular furniture, twin drop-down terraces and a fold-out bar with a pair of stools that can be relocated to the port side.
Further aft, a “Slide & Hide” submersible bathing platform enables you to extend the deck at the push of a button. There’s also a transom galley back here,
with an ice bucket and an optional slide-out barbecue. You can even spec the crew cabin as a day heads, which would enable this superyacht-style beach club to function as a self-contained social hub.
Things are equally enticing on the inside. The playful integration of angles transforms the ambience of the new 58, creating quietly diverting points of interest that its competitors simply don’t possess.
Highly commended – Jeanneau 1295 Merry Fisher
Good to look at, intelligently designed, full of space and brilliant to drive, the new 1295 Fly is a remarkably complete boat and a really rewarding way to spend £500,000.
Flybridges over 60ft
Winner – Pearl 72
Bill Dixon and Kelly Hoppen have been a fearsome duo over the years – Bill for his stylish exterior designs and clever interior space management and Kelly for her ability to make slick high-end environments feel homely and welcoming rather than niche or esoteric.
The new 72 is arguably their best work yet. On the outside, stratified ranks of glass and swept spears of fibreglass make it look like one of the most striking and distinctive boats around; and on the inside, though it’s not overtly flamboyant, things feel even more charismatic.
From the aft terraces and the space-saving V-drives to the galley placement, the light management and the two fabulous owner’s cabins, this second smallest of the Pearl fleet has masses of personality and practicality.
Highly commended – Prestige M8
The M8 is a fine boat. Well built and beautifully styled with huge reserves of space, good sea manners and a deliciously indulgent deck layout, it stands a very good chance of converting us all to the merits of cats.
Winner – Princess X80
Love or loathe the confrontational styling of the X Class range, you just can’t ignore it. That lofty elevation, fulsome superstructure and “super flybridge” layout have proved so effective at luring in customers that they are now being widely mimicked in “crossover” craft all over the world.
But if the original X95 proved a little too challenging for some, the X80’s more moderate walkaround take on the concept not only looks sweeter to our eyes but also performs better and brings bigger benefits to this size of craft, enabling the option of main-deck owner’s suite on an 80ft platform.
It also costs little more than half as much as the X95, while matching many of its big sister’s key selling points: sleeping for up to ten people in five ensuite cabins? Check. A super-sized main deck with dedicated day heads? No problem. A flybridge with a sheltered sky lounge and helm position? All part of the package.
Highly commended – Sunseeker 100 Yacht
A class-leading upper deck that stretches from bow to stern and a sensational main deck owner’s cabin are just two of the highlights of this seriously spacious new motor yacht.
Customer Service Award – sponsored by CGI Finance
Finalists: Approved boats, boats.co.uk, Horizon Boat Sales, Norfolk Yacht Agency, TBS Boats
Winner – Norfolk Yacht Agency
This is the only award based on nominations from the public and this year’s tally of votes was the biggest yet. Hundreds of people emailed in their suggestions, with judges basing their final decision not just on the quantity of votes recieved but also the anecdotal evidence of the outstanding customer service provided to them. With a track record stretching back over 50 years and an equally long list of very happy customers, this year’s award goes to Norfolk Yacht Agency.
Norfolk’s leading brokerage company consistently put their customers needs first, helping them through the often stressful process of buying or selling a boat and ensuring they feel looked after every step of the way. Here are a few of the comments from customers:
“I have bought and sold a number of boats through NYA over the years. They have always achieved close to the valuation, getting a better sale price for us than we thought.”
“When I bought my first boat I was inexperienced and very concerned about investing a large sum of money in a boat. At no time did I feel pressurised and I was fully supported throughout the process. I can honestly say that my very happy boating experience is due to the team at NYA.”
“Here is a company you can trust to deliver what it promises. The service they provided was efficient and good value for money. The bonus is that they are lovely people to deal with too.”
Judges’ Special Award – sponsored by Garmin
Winner – Jan-Erik Viitala
Serial entrepreneur Jan-Erik Viitala has fitted more into his 16-year boat industry career than most people fit into a lifetime. As one of the founding partners, and subsequently CEO, of both Paragon Yachts and XO Boats, he helped build the foundations of a new breed of all-purpose adventure boat.
Using this knowledge and his own hard-earned experience of growing up around boats in Finland, he then threw himself into a fresh project building an entirely new brand called Axopar – famously, an acronym of the three companies A(quador), XO and PAR(agon).
The first model, a 28ft outboard-powered walkaround adventure boat, was launched on an unsuspecting world at the Helsinki Boat Show in February 2014. With its aggressively modern looks, sea-kindly hull, punchy outboard power, walkaround decks and highly competitive pricing, it’s fair to say it proved quite popular!
Over 200 examples were sold in the first 18 months – an unheard of number for a brand new start-up – but a mere drop in the ocean compared to the current total of almost 3,000 units. Now approaching its 10th anniversary, Axopar has gone on to become a true boating phenomenon.
Much copied but rarely matched, Axopar is the defining brand for a whole new generation of boats and boaters. And while Jan-Erik would be the first to acknowledge the input of the team around him, it is his vision and relentless drive to keep improving its craft that has fuelled its stratospheric growth.