The London Boat show is not generally a hotbed of world firsts and product launches – the September events at Southampton and Cannes tend to steal that mantle – so this particular cherry-picking preview is not about prototypes and unveilings. It is simply about the individual powerboat highlights that deserve some special attention if you are planning to visit the Excel Exhibition Centre this January…
(1) Bayliner Element
As the name suggests, the Element represents Bayliner’s bold return to the simple basics of affordable powerboating. Based on a traditional cathedral hull with a jet boat style layout and loftier, more family-friendly topsides, its shallow planing contours are designed to make the very most of the limited power from that 60hp Mercury outboard. This 16-footer is also designed to feel very safe and approachable, with minimal bow lift from a standing start, plus good lateral stability, reliable directional tracking and minimal heel in the turn. Naturally as a small, lightweight boat, you still have to be conscious of where you position your passengers, particularly when you make that initial transition onto the plane – and even then, the experience is better defined by exposure to the wind, sun and water than by refinement or sophistication. However, there is no doubt that the Bayliner Element is exactly where a recovering industry needs the brand to be. For the moment, the UK price remains unconfirmed but if you visit stand E222, I’m willing to bet you can afford one.
Search for all Bayliner Element boats for sale in the UK on www.boats.com
(2) Cranchi Endurance 33
Designed to be one of the most desirable boats in the Cranchi range, the Endurance 33 combines lively performance with distinctive Italian styling, useful space and a practical, easy to use layout and features list. As the largest of the three Sport Line models, you also get a forward V-berth with a second double beneath the helm station and a separate heads and galley in the space between the two. Up top, the twin helm bench and single navigator seat leave plenty of space for cabin access, while the primary sunbathing unit is offset to starboard, enabling free movement from the aft platform up into the cockpit or forward via the external walkways to the foredeck. As regards the dynamics, a choice of twin Volvo Penta D4 diesel or 5.7-litre petrol engines promises a top end of up to 35-knots plus a range of around 220 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 27 knots. The price for this rather lovely range-topping Sport Line model is £239,994 and you can see it on stand G246.
Search all Cranchi Endurance models for sale in the UK on www.boats.com
(3) Interboat NEO 7.0 Sport Line
The remarkable new Neo 7.0 Sport Line from Dutch builder, Interboat, appears to be a very classically styled cross between a deck boat and a watersports platform. Designed to enable the use of a broad palette of layouts and options, the tapered bow is conspicuous by its absence. Instead, you get an entirely rectangular deck space with a central helm position to cater for just about any furniture layout you choose. Power options from 27 to 170hp (which is quite a lot on a seven-metre boat from a sloop and cruiser specialist) mean the Neo is also much more than just a gentlemanly lake boat. You can spec this same platform as a Lounge-Line craft (with the helm at the stern) or a Comfort-Line craft (with a bowrider layout) - but whichever way you go, the vast open deck space and a starting price of £32,700 makes the Neo 7.0 well worth a look. Check it out on stand G230 or visit www.valwyattmarine.com.
(4) Quicksilver Activ 705 Cruiser
I make no secret of my fondness for Quicksilver’s Activ range – and with some top international accolades already in its trophy cabinet, neither does the rest of the world’s marine press. As part of the Cruiser line, this 2013 Motorboat of the Year award winner offers room for eight people, including a private double berth, a permanent galley, a separate heads, a double helm and a spacious dining area that converts into twin berths. You can also spec this boat with either inboard engines (Mercury’s QSD 2.0-130 diesels or 4.3 MPI petrol) or outboard engines (Verado 175 or 200). In short, the 705 is a very well conceived do-it-all-powerboat and despite the merits of Quicksilver’s new fisherman-friendly Captur range, it remains ample proof that the more complete and versatile Activ line is a better bet for most leisure boaters. You can investigate further on stand C240 - and while you’re there, pick up a brochure and take a look at the even more impressive Activ 855 Cruiser.
Search all Quicksilver Activ range for sale in the UK on www.boats.com
(5) AMT 150R
The return of Honda to the London Boat Show for the first time since 2009 means we will also get to enjoy the return of its well-established boat partner, AMT. There will be eight models on display from this Finnish builder – and for me, the most remarkable of them is the 150R. It might look like just another drab and toothless dayboat but with the top-rated BF50 on the transom, this remarkably well built and dry riding 15-footer is a truly memorable driving machine. Its responses to helm input are extremely dexterous and intelligent – and while a slightly hard ride and a flighty bow mean you have to take a bit of care at the wheel, prices from just £14,000 make the AMT 150R genuinely good value for a boat from this part of the world. If the boat itself is not enough to tempt you into a visit, then you should be aware that Honda’s recently launched BF80 and BF100 engines will also be available to view on stand D260.
Search all AMT craft for sale in the UK on www.boats.com
Must-see Powerboats at the 2014 London Boat Show
I have spent a great deal of time poking fun at the continually evolving London Boat Show - but while it plainly boasts fewer standout marine-specific exhibits than some other major international events, it still offers a spread of quality craft alongside a hall of associated gear and gadgetry that is more relevant to your boat life than you might think. The show takes place from 04 to 12 January 2014 at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London. To book tickets or to find out more, visit www.londonboatshow.com or @LoveBoatShows on Facebook and Twitter.