The eyes of the boating world shift to Florida this week as the 2021 Palm Beach Boat Show gets underway, and there is a very impressive line-up of motorboats due to go on display...
The Palm Beach Boat Show is a big event in any year, but the 2021 edition (March 25-28) takes on additional significance as the first major boat show in a year that has been beset by COVID-related delays and cancellations.
With no Dusseldorf or Miami shows, this is the first chance boat manufacturers have to show off their new models on a big stage. So without further ado, let’s dive right into our preview of the the best boats on display at the 2021 Palm Beach Boat Show.
Absolute 64 Navetta
The latest addition to Absolute’s quirky Navetta family possesses all the qualities we admire in the range but with a notable trick up its sleeve – if you’re willing to part with an extra €74,000 (approx $88,000), the Absolute Navetta 64’s beach club doubles as a cabin.
It doesn’t have the space of the master nor the aesthetic charm but picture waking up here in that crystal clear bay, the hydraulic bathing platform left deployed from the day before so you can go from bed to a morning dip within a few strides.
There had to have been some head scratching when the Axopar team decided to create the 37 2.0. To say the original was successful is quite the understatement; it sold in its thousands, scooped up armfuls of awards and delighted pretty much every journo who had a go behind the wheel. How on earth do you improve on that?
The first and most obvious addition on the 2020 version of the Axopar 37 are the gull wing doors, which were designed to solve the issues with access and natural light in the cabin.
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Azimut Magellano 25 Metri
It’s all change both outside and inside for the new flagship of the Azimut Magellano range which is making its public debut at the Palm Beach Boat Show.
Superyacht designer Ken Freivokh has been brought in to handle the exterior styling and interior designer Vincenzo De Cotiis, in his first interior for a boat, has produced something truly unique.
It’s an enticing combination, Freivokh’s purposeful, shimmering raised pilothouse silhouette and the fluid shapes, contrasting palette and ‘floating’ furniture of De Cotiis’ interior lend the Azimut Magellano 25 Metri serious impact.
Our review of the Azimut Magellano 25 Metri will feature in the May issue of MBY (out April 1) accompanied by a full test-drive video here on MBY.com
Beneteau Flyer 10
Is it a day boat? Is it a cruiser? Is it even a Flyer at all? It might sound perverse but, with four-berth accommodation, an LOA of almost 33ft and 700hp on the transom, the Beneteau Flyer 10 is unlike anything the modern Flyer fleet has seen before.
The fact that it also comes with a three-man bow lounger, a four-man helm and a separate heads and shower compartment makes it all the more singular.
Buddy Davis Design by Pininfarina
As the name suggests, this new 46ft sportsfishing boat from Buddy Davis was designed by Pininfarina and will be unveiled at the 2021 Palm Beach Boat Show.
As well as those eye-catching lines, the new centre console model features fold-out bulwarks and a sliding fold-up outdoor television.
No word on price or top speed yet, but with four outboards on the back, you can expect both to be punchy.
It still looks as striking as its innovative sibling but its larger dimensions mean it doesn’t need to rely on so many folding bits to create deck space.
That’s not to say the Galeon 680 doesn’t have a few tricks of its own to fall back on; all four windows in the saloon drop down and the sunroof over the helm slides back to open up the main deck to the elements.
Greenline 45 Fly
There is so much going on in the Greenline 45 Fly’s engineroom that it’s easy to be distracted from the boat itself.
With shaftdrive, IPS and hybrid electric propulsion options, performance stretches from an all-electric 6 knots to over 30 knots with 440hp IPS600s but there’s a lot to appreciate away from the machinery too.
It’s a handsome thing for a start but its attractive lines are draped over a practical main deck with wide, well protected side decks that make it feel very safe to move around on.
The extraordinary thing about Horizon’s FD range is how much bigger they feel than their length overall suggests.
Nowhere will this be more apparent than on the Horizon FD75, which may be the smallest boat in the range but thanks to its enormous flybridge, pilothouse and four cabins is still likely to feel bigger than most of its 75ft competitors.
At 22.86m it drops well below the 24m threshold, meaning the skipper doesn’t require a commercial licence to run the boat. In fact, Horizon sees the FD75 as an owner-operated craft, despite there being a decent crew space aft with twin beds and a bathroom.
Hunt Yachts Ocean 76
Hunt Yachts, as a brand, may be unfamiliar but you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll recognise its lineage. The man responsible for Hunt Yachts’ hull design is C. Raymond Hunt himself, a man credited as a pioneer of the deep-vee hull form and responsible for hulls from iconic brands such as Bertram Yachts and Boston Whaler as well as myriad offshore racers. Hunt’s boats are renowned for their flawless high-speed seakeeping and ability to maintain those speeds in challenging conditions.
Owned by the same group as Hinckley (of Picnic Boat fame), Hunt Yachts builds its largest Ocean range in Taiwan while commissioning and sea trials take place as its base in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
The Hunt Yachts Ocean 76 resonates upscale Americana, particularly inside where it’s festooned with varnished cherry timber, pillowy cream upholstery and furniture that could have been plucked straight from the country club. Cutting-edge cool it is not but it’s proper and loaded with Down East charm.
Of all the W, T, C range of Nimbus sportsboats, the new T8 is the one we were most looking forward to testing. It may be the smallest of the bunch at 26ft 9in (8.15m) long but with up to 300hp hanging off the transom and a very tidy-looking twin step hull, it should also be the fastest and most agile.
Two other factors make the Nimbus T8 of particular interest to sportsboat fans visiting the Palm Beach Boat Show; it’s considerably more affordable than the other models, with a starting price of £87,142 (approx $120,000), and it’s trailable. Just.
Ocean Alexander Divergence 45
Divergence is right. Ocean Alexander is striking out in a new direction with the Divergence 45, the smallest boat in its range and the first to be powered by outboards.
We shouldn’t be surprised given the rate that big outboard-powered craft are coming to market at the moment and this one will be a direct competitor for the Boston Whaler 420 Outrage.
Ocean Alexander traditionally occupies a grander space than this (the flagship is a 155), but if it can distill the quality of its superyachts into this versatile day boat then it could be on to something.
Within the context of the current boom in T-top deck boats Pardo was ahead of the curve. It had already launched the Pardo 43 and current flagship 50, and the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival saw the debut of the smallest boat in the range, the Pardo 38, which is heading to the 2021 Palm Beach Boat Show.
With 740hp on tap from a pair of D6 370s the boat reacts obediently, and with such an open deck and great view from the helm it’s a dream to guide through traffic.
We’ve tested the middle of three diesel options, starting with twin 300hp Volvo Penta D4s and topped by twin 440hp D6s for a top speed of 45 knots – but the array of propulsion options is dizzying.
The Pearl 80 shares its Bill Dixon exterior, Kelly Hoppen interior and accommodation layout with the 75 but it is built using entirely new tooling and, crucially, specifically for shafts on V-drives and not the ZF pod drive system that the Pearl 75 had.
The yard’s hand was slightly forced on this matter as ZF stopped producing the pods but feedback suggested that buyers in this market, who generally have a skipper, feel more comfortable with shaftdrives anyway. There are a host of Caterpillar, MTU and MAN engine options but our test boat has a thumping great pair of MAN V12 1,800s within its tidy engineroom.
A tour of the Prestige X70 is punctuated with “wow” moments but there is one that stands out. It’s when, free of the confines of the marina, the hydraulic platform drops, its integrated steps creating a gently sloping access point down into the water, and the brilliance of the beach club and cockpit combination becomes apparent.
The drop-down bench set into the transom is a simple design but it’s well proportioned, just the right size to flop on to and recline, gazing out over the water. Inset above it is a Fusion water-resistant speaker with built-in controls, allowing music to be fed through to guests in the water.
A stainless steel overhead shower slots into the deck, a classier solution than the usual pull-out deck shower and one that creates the most invigorating spot on board to wash the salt off after a day messing about in the sea.
Launched at the 2019 Dusseldorf boat show, the F45 is an important boat for Princess Yachts as it is the gateway to the flybridge range, replacing the 43 which was – essentially – a face lifted 42, albeit a very successful one.
The Princess F45 is new from the keel up though, and only the second Princess flybridge model to sport IPS (IPS600 in this case, good for a top speed of 31 knots). Keep an eye out for our full test in an upcoming issue of MBY.
The emphasis was on embracing the spaces close to the waterline, enhancing the ‘beach club’ effect and creating a main deck that stretched almost the entire length of the boat thanks to the addition of a separate raised helm station above it.
The flagship of the SX range takes this concept to the extreme. On the lower deck, a sunken living area surrounded by glass leads directly to an oversized aft platform via a set of steeply raked sliding doors with folding balconies on either side significantly extending the space. Sun pads are scattered around the deck, allowing guests to make the most of this spectacular water-level living area.
Sunseeker Manhattan 68
Sunseeker has committed to the beach club concept as enthusiastically as any manufacturer out there. It started with benches and cooking facilities on the transom but has extrapolated to such an extent that, in the case of the 90 Ocean, new models appear to be designed from the beach club forward.
The Sunseeker Manhattan 68, which replaces the popular 66, doesn’t go quite this far but at the push of a button in the cockpit the transom panel swings up to reveal an impressive toy chest with various storage solutions to hold everything from oxygen bottles to fenders and towels.
It even includes a storage locker for a pair of Seabobs with charge points in close proximity so you don’t have to lug them into the boat to juice them up.
Vicem’s range is broad and rather eclectic but this new 50, which sits towards the bottom of the shipyard’s handsome classic range, is a solid 50ft infused GRP wheelhouse cruiser available with a great deal of customisation that is set to take the fight to the likes of Grand Banks and Palm Beach.
Its timeless exterior gives way to an interior with an impressive variety of layout options. Standard is a galley-up, three-cabin arrangement with a master ensuite in the bow and a twin and bunk guest cabin sharing the day heads. Two hulls have been built already with two more on order and Hull #1 will be making its public debut at the 2021 Palm Beach Boat Show.
The Wheeler 38 started out as a replica of Ernest Hemingway’s legendary sportsfishing boat Pilar, repowered with modern engines to deliver a top speed of 34.5 knots.
It took Brooklyn Boat Yard over 17,000 man hours to build hull number one of what they hope will become a new limited-edition series. That level of heritage and craftsmanship comes at a price. Wheeler expects to sell just two or three of these craft a year at a cost of around $1.5million each, depending on the exact specification of each vessel.