Sailboats are fighting off a hard leeward marketing shore, these days. In any given year, something like ten motor-powered craft are sold for every one sailboat. Powerboats have become such a powerful marketplace force in the boating industry, that many of the world’s best boatbuilders no longer bother with sailboats. The Hinckley Company, which essentially pioneered the high-end production sailing yacht with classics like the Pilot 35 and Bermuda 40, still advertises its lovely Bermuda 50. But that doesn’t mean there’s one ready for a customer to buy. Read the fine print: This boat is a custom-built boat, just like what we design in this shop. It’s only powered picnic boats and runabouts that are built ready to buy.
Power yachts kick up a wake of style and mission challenges. Today’s powered yacht market is cluttered with overwhelming choices and lackluster designs. There are far too many gel-coated bath toys. So, a while back, we sat down and sharpened our design pencils to sort through the motorboat market. We sifted out new trends. Tried out some ideas. We actively chose to keep these designs recognizable. Yet we filled them with the right features to start the conversation about where the power lies in powerboats.
Let’s pull up a chair and chat about Citronella and Paradigm.
Our research in power boats startled us: We were surprised by how much design and engineering development room for improvement there was in the most basic premise of motorboats: Cruising in style. We started with the Downeast-inspired picnic yacht, but found it easy to widen the design idiom by weaving in distinct visual elements from the 1920’s and 30’s. Everybody seemed to feel the Art Deco movement. But only a few feel the lobster-boat movement.
It was a snap to dramatically improve performance in Citronella: modern, light composite construction and the well-tested, yet innovative Volvo IPS propulsion plant drove something on the order of 30 percent less fuel consumption, half the vibration and 40 percent longer range. This is a serious performance gain for a boat that can touch 35 knots. We also noticed how hard traditional motor yachts are to get on and off. So, we opened this boat up to older folks or younger kids with easy-to-manage side-boarding. We’ve worked out several of these systems in mega-yachts. Simplified versions are surprisingly affordable for a smaller boat like Citronella. We also amped the creature-comfort factor with details for cocktail cruises and some live-aboard comforts for overnighting. Couples will stay couples in a harbor-hopping tour.
Citronella is a fast, efficient, painlessly easy boat that enjoys the water. She’s also strikingly different from the other cookie-cutter boats in the marketplace. Why aren’t there more like her? You tell us.
Here’s the design stunner for motor yachts: The all powerful automotive narrative of the Sport Utility Vehicle is almost entirely unexplored in motorized boats. What’s even more amazing, is the core idea of utility and durability over the oceans was a deep part of the American commercial narrative starting all the back in the 1940’s. Not one, but two Humphrey Bogart hit movies, Key Largo and To Have and Have Not feature a classic motorboat: The Matthews 38-footer. Bogie dove, fished, ran booze — and eluded the law — in this fast, easily-driven design. How does a boat this bad-ass, drop from the mainstream design conversation? Too many boat shows, we guess.
What’s more, there are wonderful ideas to weave into a “sport utility vessel:” Serious ease-of-access for diving, shore exploration, water-approach surfing, deep-water paddle sports — or just hanging out looking oh-so-awesome hauling the kids to the restaurant breakwater. Which is what the sport utility vehicle does, to be honest.
Speaking of the kids, the internal volumes on Paradigm make for an absurdly great family yacht. How glorious is to consider the open deck space for the kids to live their own boating dreams. Think water toys– that wide-open afterdeck works like a pickup-truck bed. Their junk is over their. Yours is over here. The grown ups enjoy a party and their books. There’s enough space and features to handle a reasonable light cruise or weekend stays as a second floating home down in your harbor of choice. The layout uncluttered and spacious. There aren’t the ergonomics to finesse with working the lines that work sails. We revel in that. There’s room to carry gear or a set of arm chairs. Flexible space is the solution for a motor-driven cockpit and salon. So let’s be flexible.
We baked in some performance upgrades with modern construction and a single stern-drive Yanmar or twin-powered Steyr propulsion package and finally we are where the conversation for motorboats should start: A clean, modern, and practical floating spaces engineered to offer range and flexibility.
Isn’t that what should power your dreams?