With the advantage that you can see many boats afloat and you don't need to spend your whole day cooped up in an exhibition hall, the Southampton Boat Show continues to thrive. Here is my pick of the outstanding powerboats worthy of closer inspection.
Alfastreet Marine 23 (M008)
If you haven’t heard of Slovenian boat builder, Alfastreet, you really ought to visit their stand in Southampton. There will be a pair of contemporary day cruisers in attendance - a cabin-equipped 23 and an open model of the same length.
Both aim to combine modern and classic design elements of the Baltic, Adriatic and Mediterranean and the results are unlike anything you have seen. Part inland launch, part inshore cruiser, these boats display a blend of traditional lines and detailing oddity that seems at once fresh and fussy. Whether you love it or hate it, you will certainly remember it.
Fleming 78 (M488)
The 78 is the flagship of the current Fleming fleet. Developed on the basis of the old 75, she offers three ensuite staterooms with separate crew quarters aft and a standard rig of twin MAN V12-1550hp engines.
With a transatlantic range of more than 3,000 nautical miles and the potential for speeds in excess of 20 knots, her credentials as an expedition workhorse look very sound. She is also equipped with Aquadrive vibration isolation systems, twin 27KW Onan generators and twin Maxwell windlasses. A central monitoring system with three 15-inch colour touchscreens displays all on board systems, including tank levels, bilge and fire alarms, as well as a fully controllable CCTV system. For those in search of a globetrotting companion, this American stalwart is a must-see exhibit.
De Antonio 23 Cruiser (E092)
Founded in Barcelona in 2012, De Antonio Yachts are all about simple designs with very pure, elegant lines. However, these things are by no means unusable monuments to form, as ably illustrated by the versatile and attractive D23.
Despite being the smallest boat in the three-strong fleet, the D23 is available in three configurations, enabling you to put it to use as a fast open day boat, a tender or a weekend cruiser. In all cases, this 23-footer echoes the aesthetics of the other two hull lengths in the range, with one of the most distinctive profiles around.
Quicksilver Captur 905 Pilothouse (F020)
The Captur 905 Pilothouse is first and foremost a sports fisher, but in common with its type, it is likely to be a very versatile platform, with plenty of comfort, decent performance and the ability to take you cruising with just as much acumen as it might take you fishing.
In fact, the use of convertible furniture, a broad beam and some clever space management means you get space to seat ten and sleep six. You even get the option of a second helm position, plus a fully featured galley with sink and LPG stove, and a separate heads with enclosed toilet and shower. As do-it-all 28-footers go, it looks like a very serious contender.
See also: Quicksilver Captur Pilothouse 755 review: flagship fisher
Ribeye Prime Eight 21 (E058)
Devon-based RIB builder, Ribeye, first launched its Prime line at the London Boat Show in January 2015. The style and fit-out of that original 19-footer made it plain that the company wanted the new line to be its range-topping luxury offering and it is to continue that quest for the ‘ultimate leisure RIB’ with this new 21-footer in Southampton.
The hull is again designed by Adam Younger and the features list is likely to follow the smaller boat, with impact mitigation seats, high-end trim and all kinds of life-affirming goodies like hull lights, sculpted steelwork and a tube-mounted ladder.
English Harbour 29 Offshore (M222)
Founded in 2013 at the hands of a pair of ex-Fairline professionals (Andrew Wolstenholme and Adam Greenwood), English Harbour Yachts is to add to its 16-foot launch and 27-foot cruiser with this semi-displacement offshore cruiser.
At nearly 30 feet in length, it is the largest boat yet produced and it is likely to continue the established theme with a blend of modern design, classical style and high-end British fit-out. While few other details have emerged, the price of around £135,000 looks impressively accessible.
Draco 22RS (M115)
Following on from the alarmingly successful rebirth of the Draco brand at the hands of Windy with the multi-award-winning 27RS, we have the second installment in the developing story.
Naturally enough, the 22RS revisits the DNA of the 27RS, with a deep, safe cockpit, a bow rider section ahead of the helm and a central, fold-down bench seat that can be converted into a sunpad. She also offers a fold-up canopy system for cockpit shelter, plus the option of a 12V fridge near the helm. Of course, she is likely to be quite expensive for an open boat of this size, but then Nordic quality always seems to attract a premium, even when it’s built in Poland.
Fairline Targa 53GT (H024)
Fairline has been a bit quiet over the last couple of years but it’s due to launch a new craft at the Southampton Boat Show in the form of the Targa 53GT.
This sports cruiser will come with a choice of shaft-driven engine options from Volvo or Cummins, as well as an optional crew cabin with its own window. It will also feature a full-beam master suite amidships, a guest double in the bow, a twin cabin to port and a galley to starboard. If you like the layout but you fancy a flybridge, the Squadron 53 will also be making its debut toward the start of 2016.
See also: Fairline Targa 62 review: GT looks and performance.
Bayliner Element CC6 (E092)
The affordable, user-friendly, entry-level Bayliner Element is back, but this time it will enjoy a different configuration.
The simple ‘M-hull’ cathedral-style underpinnings remain unchanged, as do the modest outboard options. But gone are the shallow, moulded, sideways-facing jet boat internals and in comes a proper Centre Console layout. That means a more practical and protective screen, a better helm position, extra deck space, greater versatility of application and more centralised weight distribution, particularly when operating singlehanded.
Princess V58 Open (E055)
The V58 Open is being lauded as the first in the next generation of high-performance V Class sports yachts from Plymouth-based Princess.
In addition to upping the style quotient over the award-winning V48, the new boat will provide space for six people in three staterooms, two of which are en suite. Up top, the new V58 will feature a wetbar with coolbox, plus a sink, an optional barbecue, an icemaker and a drawer fridge, enabling you to turn the entire space into an alfresco saloon. And for those who really enjoy bespoke-feeling extras, a 40-inch waterproof TV on a lifting mechanism can also be installed behind the starboard furniture to create a pop-up cinema.
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