As you might imagine, the highlight on the Bayliner stand at the recent Cannes Boat Show was the debut of the Ciera 8 – a 26-foot sports cruiser that looks set to be the start of a new three-strong product line. And yet it was also interesting to note that the Bayliner Element (and the slightly larger Bayliner Element XL) have also changed for the better.
Not only have they now been equipped with an elevated screen section on top of the helm console to help improve driver protection, but they have also been provided with a small cushion section, which thickens the backrest of the helm seat so you can reach the wheel and throttle without having to crane forward and lose your back support.
Now, when we tested the original Bayliner Element last year (and the Bayliner XL earlier this season), these were two of the very things we were keen to highlight. After all, on quite a small, shallow, hard-riding, cathedral-style hull, back support and helm protection are two of the most important priorities - so well done to Bayliner for sorting them out. However, it does beg a question or two...
Why is it, for instance, that even one of the biggest, most industrially sophisticated boat builders in the world only makes changes like these after a year or so of production? And more to the point, why is it that the people who test these craft during the research and development stages don’t highlight these issues before the boats are finalised and rolled out?
Now plainly, Bayliner is no worse in this regard than anyone else - and in many ways, it is actually better than most. I am also well aware that the often limited funding of a niche market or a niche builder may see ergonomic peculiarities and impractical or unresolved design issues ironed out over a period of use rather than rigorously rectified pre-production. But seriously, it only took us about three minutes at the helm to identify these problems on the initial test day, so can it really have escaped the attention of the builders?
With any luck, a day will come when every new boat is based on the lessons learned by R&D professionals rather than paying punters. But I wouldn’t lay money on it...
Search all Bayliner boats for sale in UK - www.boats.com.
More Bayliner powerboat news and reviews from www.boats.com: Bayliner 642: A Light-Footed Driving Package, Bayliner Element review: Bold and Simple.
5 of the best new powerboats for £20K