Sweet Sixteen: The Boats of 2015 – Quimby's Cruising Guide

Sweet Sixteen: The Boats of 2015

Axis T23
The biggest model in the Axis lineup, coming in a full foot and a half longer than its closest sibling, the T23 is built for those who want more interior elbowroom but don’t want to lose the wave-maximizing performance attributes of a traditional towboat. It has a hard-tank ballast system, and with upgrades like the Auto-Wedge and Surf Gate, riders of all levels can expect a customizable, world-class wake. Other features include an expansive cockpit lounge area and precision Livorsi throttle and steering. Base price: TBD. www.axiswake.com

Baja 23 Islander Outboard

Outboards continue to get more powerful and efficient, and as a result people are asking for more of their favorite boats rigged with these motors. Baja heard its customers’ pleas and answered with the 23 Islander Outboard, available with a Suzuki 250-hp or 300-hp four-stroke or a Mercury 300-hp Verado four-stroke. The boat offers better fuel economy while still delivering 50-mph speeds, and seating has been increased with a big rear cockpit bench in the place of the original sterndrive engine compartment. Base price: $81,995. www.bajamarine.com

Boston Whaler 320 Vantage

This 32-foot dual console crossover won an Innovation Award in the Deck Boats category at the Miami International Boat Show based on standout elements like its portside companion area. Multi-functional benches here face forward or aft, can be combined to make a huge sun pad, have bolsters for sitting high or low — there’s even an ottoman. The consoles house a berth on one side and a head on the other. For entertaining, the cockpit utility center has a grill, fridge and sink, or can be optioned as a fish prep station. Base price: $270,351. www.bostonwhaler.com

Carolina Skiff 22 HFC Sea Chaser

The HFC in its name stands for Hybrid Fish & Cruise, a new and more versatile approach from the industry’s highest volume fiberglass boat builder. The rear bench has an insulated cooler compartment within, and there are matching U-shaped bow seats with removable cushions and side bolster pads. An available flip-up console features a changing room and head. Other options include a ski tow bar and forward bow table. For the angling set, the 22 HFC has an in-floor fish box, rear bait well and rod storage. Base price: $33,923 (without motors). www.carolinaskiff.com

Donzi 22 Classic

Renowned performance boat builder Donzi Marine “goes gold” this year, and to celebrate it has launched a 50th Anniversary Donzi Classic series with limited-edition 22, 18 and 16 models. The 22 is the first to hit the water, outfitted with special hull, deck and boot stripe colors (white, black, red, yellow or blue); commemorative engine hatch logo; and options including removable carpet, digital depth finder, stereo with iPod dock and cockpit cover. Choose a MerCruiser 380-hp or 430-hp sterndrive. Base price: $66,000. www.donzimarine.com

Four Winns Horizon 440 Bow Cruiser

This truly inventive hybrid of an open-bow boat and a hardtop cruiser left the Miami Boat Show with an Innovation Award in the Cuddy Cabin & Bowrider category. At 43 feet in length, it has both a large bow seating area with built-in cooler, hydraulic table, fill-in sun pad cushion and optional sun shade, as well as a stylish cabin with galley, convertible sofa, 40-inch TV, forward berth, aft berth, and full head and enclosed shower. The cockpit area of the boat is like an outdoor patio, with a grill, sun lounge and large swim platform. Base price: $728,769. www.fourwinns.com

Lowe Infinity 250RFL

Part of a new line intended to raise the bar for luxury, this pontoon showcases plush upholstery and premium finishes, and is ergonomically designed to encourage social interaction and comfort. Twin facing lounges border a big swim platform with heavy-duty boarding ladder. Amenities for entertaining include a convenience center with built-in ice bucket and storage; Plexiglas table with cup holders; Polk stereo system; and pop-up privacy enclosure. Faux wood decking and sea-grass woven flooring are stylish options. Base price: $47,645. www.loweboats.com

Monterey 268SSC

Ideal for family fun and overnight stays on the water, the well-rounded 268SSC doesn’t scrimp on active pursuits or hospitality. A large stern locker accommodates wakeboards, kneeboards and accessories right where they belong at the integral swim platform. In the cockpit, a “sun island” is available with an optional chaise lounge on the port side, and there’s convenient access to a full-size head. A convertible dinette/V-berth completes the package, allowing you to turn your day trip into a weekend adventure. Base price: $90,019. www.montereyboats.com

Pursuit OS 325

If you’re a cruiser who likes to fish, or a fisherman who likes to cruise, then this might just be your next, next boat. The cabin is finished with hardwoods, solid-stock trim and designer fabrics for an elegant overnight stay or weekend trip down the coast. When it’s time to wet a line, the cockpit with folding transom seat and built-in tackle center lets you move around freely. After reeling in your catch, prepare it on board using the optional electric grill and outdoor entertainment center. Base price: $306,395. www.pursuitboats.com

Regal 22 FasDeck

While it may be the smallest model in this builder’s deckboat line, the 22 FasDeck promises the same combination of performance, panache and functionality. A multi-position backrest on the port seat allows it to quickly convert to an “arena seat” to maximize cockpit room. A full-width bench overlooking the swim platform provides great views of the water and, with the flip of a cushion, doubles as a transom walk-through. The boat is offered in an ESX package with three striking color combinations and edgy graphics. Base price: TBD. www.regalboats.com

Rinker Captiva 170 OB

The 170 OB is the first in a new series of outboard offerings from Rinker built for the entry-level buyer. A totally new running surface allows the sport boat to perform efficiently and effectively with either a 70-hp or 90-hp package. It’s available in either a full windshield version or a dual console windscreen configuration, and at a weight of 1,750 pounds, it can be easily trailered behind just about any vehicle. Base price: $29,617. www.rinkerboats.com

Scout 300 LXF

This is the fourth model introduced into the LXF series, known for its upscale fishing and family features. The center console showcases the builder’s patented T-top/hardtop as well as its performance NuV3 hull. One interesting innovation is an electronic hub wiring system that enables you to control the electronics from a remote key fob. There are also dual swim platforms, on either side of the outboards, and a cushioned berth in the console that folds up to provide additional storage space. Base price: $233,994. www.scoutboats.com

Sea Ray 270 Sundeck OB

Initially launched with a sterndrive engine, this big and well-appointed deck boat is back with Mercury Verado power. What remains the same are its loads of usable space and impressive passenger capacity (15 person, for the record). Highlights include an aft lounger with articulating leg rest, console seating with adjustable backrests to face fore or aft, cockpit wet bar and enclosed head compartment. And, of course, Sea Ray offers plenty of upgrades such as soft SeaDek swim platform matting and a watersports tower. Base price: $94,915. www.searay.com

Skeeter ZX250

Don’t be fooled by the ZX250 model designation. While the name is old, the boat is completely new for 2015. It comes loaded with standard features like an eight-foot Power Pole and two flush-mounted Lowrance touch-screen displays that are networked together at the bow and console. Up front, there’s a 112-pound-thrust Minn Kota trolling motor and capacity for 24 rod tubes. The rear deck hosts a massive live well with standard Oxygenator system to keep the fish frisky, along with two large storage boxes. Base price: $51,495. www.skeeterboats.com

True North 34 Outboard Express

Billed as a go-anywhere, do-everything boat, this new pilothouse cruiser provides excellent protection from the elements, promises great efficiency, speed, maneuverability and shallow draft with twin 250-hp Yamaha four-stroke outboards — and looks good doing it. “Adventure Options” let you equip the boat for your activity of choice: Scuba Package with tank rack and dive compressor locker; Kayak & Paddleboard Configuration with extra large wet locker for paddles and a side door; Fishing Configuration with rod holder, outriggers and live wells; and Grill Option for, well, grilling and chilling. Base price: TBD. www.tnyachts.com

Yamaha VXR

This three-person watercraft runs on a redesigned hull with modified strakes, softer bow chines and a new keel designed for enhanced stability. There’s also a larger stern platform and refined ergonomics. But the standout feature is the new RiDE dual-throttle control system (a Miami Innovation Award winner in the Personal Watercrafts category). Pull the right-hand throttle lever to go forward, and pull the left-hand throttle lever to slow down and go in reverse. Let go of both levers to be in neutral, or use the right and left together at speed for maximum ride control. Base price: $11,799. www.yamahawaverunners.com

Author: Brad Kovach is the editor of HeartLand Boating

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