Boating means different things to different people but we all have the love of water in common. And whether it’s a professionally crewed globetrotter or a couple’s weekend getaway cruiser (as you'll see both in last year's Top 10 Cruisers of 2016), chances are, we’ve tested them. Here’s a sampling of some of our favorites in the 10 Top Cruisers of 2017 (ordered by length) that our team had the privilege of stepping aboard this year.
Hatteras M90 Panacera
Built in North Carolina, Hatteras boats have traditionally been synonymous with fishing. But as the company turned its attention to larger projects, the vessels became cruiser/sportfisher hybrids that also perform like mini megayachts. The new M90 Panacera is an aspirational yacht that fits nicely between the Hatteras M75 Panacera and the 100 MY. This semi-custom vessel has a 22’6” beam that expands when the portside-balcony (located off the salon) is opened out. It’s an option, but really, who could resist?
With twin 1,600 HP Caterpillars, she’ll cruise at 22 knots but there are two larger power options available. The 90 Panacera also comes with Hatteras’ new ship management system call HattCON that integrates vessel monitoring and navigation on one touchscreen. The system will even brighten or dim the skylight over the forward galley/dinette so the light is just right any time of day. Oh yeah, we want that.
For more information, read YachtWorld's full review of the Hatteras M90 Panacera or visit Hatteras Yachts.
See Hatteras Yachts listings.
All you carbon buffs out there, take note of the new Azimut S7 that comes as a flybridge or coupe. With a fiberglass hull and a carbon fiber superstructure, this new 70-footer is much lighter than other vessels in her class and her center of gravity is lower to keep her stable in a messy seaway. The sleek speedster is the result of the collaboration between Pierluigi Ausonio (naval architect), Stefano Righini (exterior lines) and Francesco Guida (interior design). She’s powered with 800 HP Volvo Penta IPS1050s so she’s capable of zipping by you at 35 knots.
Accommodations are for eight guests in four cabins with three heads. The midships master has a bed on the diagonal and a funky half-wall with an embedded curved TV. A separate cabin and head are designated for two crew. The model fills the gap in Azimut’s line between the 55S and 77S.
For more information, visit Azimut Yachts.
See Azimut listings.
Monte Carlo Yachts MCY 70
French boatbuilder Groupe Beneteau joined Italian designers Nuvolari Lenard to create a line of contemporary yachts that live up to all the hype that surrounds Italian styling. Built in Monfalcone, Italy, the MCY 70 is the latest launch in the company’s Monte Carlo Yachts line (not to be confused with Beneteu’s Monte Carlo line—yes, it’s odd naming and too close to really make sense). Twin MAN V8 1200 HP engines with V-drives are standard but the best option is twin ZF 4000 pods with joystick control and a 32-knot speed at wide-open-throttle.
Two dozen different materials are used on the interior finishes and include walnut and grey oak wood veneers, various leathers, Travertine stone and a selection of luxe fabrics by European designers.The color palette inside is “greige” as it’s called in design circles, with walnut, grey, beige and taupe blending to a soft effect and an upscale appeal. Offered with three or four cabins with ensuite heads, the MCY 70 is the yacht you need when a superyacht seems like too much.
For more information, read our full review of the MCY 70 or visit Monte Carlo Yachts.
See Monte Carlo Yachts listings.
PRESTIGE 460 S
Although she shares the same hull with the previous PRESTIGE 450 (which she also replaces), the PRESTIGE 460 S has a new deck and interior that give this model a fresh appeal. Besides a changed-up profile with larger side windows, the 460 Fly has a reconfigured aft cockpit, and fun new cabana/sunpad/chaise lounge arrangement on the bow, and an outdoor aft galley where the chef stands on the hydraulic swim platform to cook.
Inside, the PRESTIGE’s signature separate staircase to the secluded owner’s cabin is now gone. Instead, the master stateroom and the VIP cabin share one forward staircase. The result is a master that is 30% larger but with little lost in terms of privacy. For professional crew or maybe the grandkids, one more cabin may be optioned in the transom that is large enough to hold a bed, a head and its own A/C. Engine options are twin 370-HP IPS 5 or 435-HP IPS 6 diesels with pod drives. The larger engine will get the 460 on plane in eight seconds and the model tops out at 32 knots.
For more information, read our full review of the PRESTIGE 460 Flybridge or visit PRESTIGE Yachts.
See PRESTIGE Yachts listings.
Catamaran Motor Yacht MY 44
No list would be complete without the fastest growing cruiser segment—the powercat. French builder, Fountaine Pajot, landed its first MY 44 on this side of the Atlantic at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and it’s one big kitty. The Pierangelo Andreani design is set on the hull plans of Daniel Andrieu and although the cat will eventually appear in charter, it’s like no utilitarian charter boat you’ve ever seen. The entire portside hull is dedicated to the master stateroom with an ensuite head in the bow. To starboard are two more guest cabins and together with the square footage of the main saloon/galley deck, this cat has the space of a 50-foot monohull.
A hydraulic swim platform makes a great teak beach and even helps those less mobile to get in and out of the water. And there’s a choice of outdoor social areas between the cockpit, the foredeck seats and the enormous flybridge with a sunpad and dinette. Here’s a twist—this cat’s powered by Volvo Penta IPS drives (350s or 600s) and joystick control. With the props nearly 20 feet apart, that should be a fun drive.
For more information, visit Fountaine Pajot.
See Fountaine Pajot MY 44 listings.
Cruisers 42 Cantius
Wisconsin-based Cruiser’s Yachts launched their seventh addition to the Cantius line – a 42-footer that’s packed with features. A transom barbeque will delight chefs while guests enjoy the foredeck sunpad that converts to table seating. Inside, a large opening sunroof tops the saloon and accommodations are in a commodious master and VIP cabin. Interior wood choices include charcoal oak or walnut cabinetry and a plethora of fabric options.
The Cantius now has models 42-60 feet and Cruisers was among the first to offer the aft galley arrangement that has since grown so popular. Twin 370-HP Volvo Penta IPS 500s provide lots of driving fun with easy close-quarters maneuvering thanks to pods commanded by a joystick. Not only does this take the angst out of docking, you may even fight your mate for who gets to do it and look like a rock star.
For more information, visit Cruisers Yachts.
See Cruisers Yachts listings.
Sea Ray SLX 400 Outboard
The SLX 400 seems to be Sea Ray’s Swiss Army Knife of boats. It’s designed to work on many levels as an open bow runabout or an outboard-driven cruiser. The origami aft end has a James Bond-esque appeal. The lounge can function as forward-facing dinette seating, or a sunpad in a couple different configurations. The starboard aft quarter gunwale even folds out to form additional deck space or a swim platform.
The outside is protected with a sunshade while the inside is airy due to the large opening sunroof. Oh, and the galley – that’s a work of art with two grills, two refrigerators and a sink so all the cooking can stay out of the cabin. Seating in the open bow wraps around a table and is protected with another fabric shade set up on forward poles. Despite this bow configuration, there is enough room below for two cabins and a full head for overnighting. You could hardly ask for a 40-footer to do more.
For more information, read our full review of the Sea Ray SLX 400 or visit Sea Ray.
See Sea Ray SLX 400 listings.
Beneteau Swift Trawler 35
Replacing the popular 34, the new Beneteau Swift Trawler 35 draws heavily on some of the innovations that first appeared on her smaller sibling, the Swift 30. The most notable feature is the unique opening transom that opens out, thereby creating space for fold-down seats and a nice open walkway to the swim platform with its easy access to the water or dinghy. It makes the cockpit seem much bigger and makes moving about a pleasure.
Although called trawlers, these French models are built on semi-planing hulls and will cruise in the mid-twenty-knot range so you can have the economy of a single engine but the speed of fast cruiser with one Cummins 425 HP engine. The flybridge will be the place for sundowners with its hard or soft top and U-shaped settee while sun worshipers will love the doublewide sunpad on the bow. Accommodations include a single head, a master stateroom in the bow and a second cabin with over/under bunks.
For more information, visit Beneteau.
See Beneteau listings.
Boston Whaler 350 Realm
Boston Whaler launched a new line of express models with the 350 Realm and it’s a nice amalgam of good ideas. First is the versatile outboard power pack of triple Mercury Verado engines with optional joystick control (and Mercury’s Skyhook Dynamic Position System). Add a 400-gallon fuel tank and you can bank on an impressive range no matter the conditions.
Now, consider the livability with seating for four under the hardtop and another four in the open bow that comes complete with a forward-facing console lounge. The cockpit galley includes a refrigerator, a sink and an electric grill for lots of entertaining and the portside hull door makes it easy to board from a dock or dinghy. For overnights, the convertible V-berth below sleeps two and there’s a full head as well. Finally, the fishing crowd will love the 15-gallon pressurized livewell, two insulated fish boxes and available outriggers.
For more information, visit Boston Whaler.
See Boston Whaler 350 Realm listings.
Already nicknamed the “Tesla of Boats”, the Hinckley Dasher is an uber-stylized carbon fiber, all-electric boat that no self-respecting superyacht owner can pass up when seeking a tender that makes a statement. Designed by Michael Peters, the Dasher is a minimalistic work of art with retro details like hand-cast engine throttles, joystick and other deck hardware. No line was wasted in its design and it’s a boat that says more with less.
Powered by twin 80 HP electric motors, the boat has two 40-kilowatt lithium-ion BMW i3 batteries. It has a range of 40 miles at 8.5 knots. Top speed is in the mid-twenties but your range will suffer. Charged in under four hours, the 28-footer was named for its great predecessor, the first Hinckley ever produced (Get it? The first electric Hinckley is named for the first Hinckley built). The boat wasn’t built so much as it was sculpted. Virtually nothing (and that includes switches and buttons) interrupts the smooth clean surfaces of gleaming teak because vessel monitoring is via a touchscreen that combines systems with navigation. Why, there isn’t even a transom!
For more information, visit Hinckley Yachts.
See Hinckley Yachts listings.