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A visit to the 2013 New England Boat Show

Written by  Tim Plouff Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm

BOSTON — This year’s edition of New England’s largest indoor boat show runs through Saturday, Feb. 23. Shoppers will find a wealth of powered craft from heavy cruisers to personal watercraft as well as the latest in affordable mass-produced sailboats.

Featured at this year’s show are several Maine boatbuilders, as well as several Maine-based retailers and marina operators.

Near the entrance is a prominent display for Southport Boats, built in Augusta. These center console boats feature twin and triple outboard Yamaha power and come in lengths varying from 27 to 34 feet. The 29-CC uses twin 300-hp engines and carries 10 feet, 6 inches of beam while holding over 230 gallons of fuel and 45 gallons of live-well space for a heavy day of deep-sea fishing. Handsome boats, these Southport CCs are appearing more and more off the coast of Maine.

Tucked into the corner of the show is the Mitchell Cove 20, another center console model with 9 feet of beam plus outboard power. Built in Rockland, the Mitchell Cove is available from Journey’s End Marina next to O’Hara Corp. on the waterfront.

Also from Rockland is the Back Cove 30-footer, a heavy cruiser in the Downeast tradition. The smallest cruiser from a family of three, the Back Cove uses Yanmar diesel power complemented by a handsome interior and a host of overnight amenities. Situated with a larger Sabre Cruiser (built in Casco, Maine) as well as an MJM cruiser (built in Boston) these three impressive boats had one of the largest waiting crowds to board of the whole show.

As is common, SeaRay has an oversize display this year featuring its new Venture 370. The Venture is unique among larger overnighters; it uses twin Mercury 300-hp Verado outboard engines hidden under stern covers just ahead of the extended swim platform. Instead of two in-board motors under the deck, the Venture’s rear-mounted outboard motors give more deck space, plus provide ample room below for a true second sleeping area amid-ship. The Venture 370 (37 feet long) starts at $379,900 and weighs 15,432 pounds.

Not everybody wants or needs this much boat and for those boaters, Zodiac has its largest display ever at the Boston Show.

From boat-in-a-bag roll-up inflatables to rigid-inflatables and rigid bottom models, Zodiac covers the whole spectrum. My favorite is the Yachtline 380. It is a 12-foot-6-inch RIB that can carry five passengers or 1,620 pounds of gear powered by up to a 50-hp outboard engine. As shown, the Yachtline lists for $21,300 with a Yamaha 40-hp four-stroke engine.

Both Grady White and Boston Whaler have almost their full lineup of center and dual console boats on display at Boston. The most inviting sample was the sleek new GW Canyon 271. This center console wore attractive sky-blue paint and packed twin Yamaha V-6 engines outback. A show special at $195,900, this new Grady White was $17,000 off suggested list price.

If you are looking for a new pontoon boat — there are dozens on display, some large enough to spend all weekend on the water — or the latest in small trailerable sailboats, the New England Boat Show should be your destination.

The Boat Show is at the Boston Convention Center on Summer Street. Take Exit 20 from I-93 to access parking.

For more maritime news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

Tim Plouff

Tim Plouff

Tim Plouff has been reviewing automobiles in the pages of The Ellsworth American weekly for nearly two decades.

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