For many of us, the whole purpose of being on a boat is the pleasure of feeling the wind and sea. And the boat type that maximizes that sensation is the flybridge, which offers a big, open space up top where the views are as sensational as the salt air in your lungs. If you’re a fan of this style, we have good news: a number of new models have just debuted at the Miami International Boat Show.
From Zeelander comes the Z68. This builder based in the Netherlands is a relatively new player on the powerboat scene, but it’s making waves with this high-end semi-custom model that has some of the curviest lines on the water. The builder, it seems, created this boat around the idea that the captain enjoys the company of his guests and wants to engage with them whenever possible. On the flybridge, for instance, the helm is located aft rather than in the more conventional forward position, so the skipper can talk with his friends on the adjacent lounges without having to turn his head and take his eyes of the water. And at the lower helm station in the salon, the captain’s seat is integrated into a circular seating arrangement that accommodates up to ten people.
The Princess 98 made its U.S. debut this week. This big and essentially traditional flybridge model was launched in Europe about a year ago and has proven itself a solid, long-distance cruising machine in waters around the globe. The massive bridge is large enough to carry a tender with crane, so an owner with a thing for boat toys can tuck a jet ski or two into the transom garage. An electro-hydraulic swim platform makes it easy to launch those mini cruising machines.
Another hot feature is the superyacht-style wheelhouse. It’s equipped with a very serious navigation station, plus a nice dinette so guests can take breakfast while enjoying the process of getting under way.
Sea Ray, one of the world’s largest boat builders, launched a brand-new 65 foot flagship at Miami, topped by a flybridge. The L650 Fly is the next generation Sea Ray as it showcases the lines and styling that the builder will embrace in future models. The emphasis here is on open spaces and light; there’s plenty of both as windows on the main deck and accommodations level are oversized.
In true Sea Ray style, the boat is built to be a great entertainer with a number of what the company calls “social zones.” Our favorite? The curved lounge and table set into a recessed section of the foredeck. It’s a cozy space for intimate conversations, with great views and access to those salty ocean breezes that we leave the dock for in the first place.