Plainly, any boat is capable of giving pleasure to a powerboating couple. At the bottom end, a simple open boat or compact day fisher can easily give you the elemental buzz of catching your own fish for a leisurely weekend breakfast – or provide you with a platform for a romantic coastal doze on a soft summer’s day. And at the other end of the spectrum, a large flybridge cruiser or long-distance motoryacht can buy you and your partner a very juicy slice of the good life. But as with any particular pursuit, the ability of a boat to cater for a couple can be maximised by means of a few more specific features...
For instance, the ideal couple’s platform will certainly benefit from a double berth and a separate heads compartment. It also needs a galley and an attractive lounge/dining area, plus a soft-riding sea hull, safe external decks and a space where you can sit and enjoy the sun. A covered cockpit section is also very useful – and so too is the kind of build quality, style and luxury that will make you feel cosy and pampered rather than bold and intrepid. However, for the sake of harmony and ease of use, the size of the boat remains central – and that means you need a relatively compact and manageable package that you can moor without excessive expense and use without logistical complication, secondary crew or marital stress. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but I reckon these five excellent boats are right on the money.
Of course, if you're single, then try our 'love advice' articles: Hello boys! 5 boats to impress the guys and Ladykillers: top yachts to get the girl.
(1) Yamarin Cabin 68 DS
Yamarin doesn’t yet offer a true cabin boat in its excellent Cross range, but happily, the largest of its conventional fibreglass cabin craft makes a great plaything for couples.
Designed for safe, mixed-use, family boating, you get a large, sheltered aft deck, a bright but well-insulated central cockpit and a forward double berth beneath the foredeck. These three key spaces are securely linked via an unbroken central walkway that takes you safely from the step-through pulpit all the way back to the anchor-equipped swim platform. You also get a covered dining area that can increase the sleeping capacity to four, plus a serviceable pantry and a toilet – and by specifying the optional ‘DS’ arrangement, you even get a secondary helm station, enabling you the luxury of an open air drive from the aft deck.
(2) Paragon 25
A small four-season boat is ideal for a couple – partly because it enables year-round use, partly because it tends to come with a practical, user-friendly features list and partly because it means plenty of versatility in application.
Nobody does boats of this kind better than the Scandinavians – and while Targa and Sargo no doubt spring to mind (and perhaps to a lesser extent, the Norwegian Askeladden yard), the smaller of the two craft from Swedish brand, Paragon, is also worth a very close look. The super-tough, soft-riding, category B offshore hull is matched by an equally practical Scandinavian-style walkaround layout, with an enclosed wheelhouse, a double berth, a separate heads and a mini pop-up galley. There is also a relatively new open version of this craft known as the 25 Ranger but for UK use, this more traditional boat remains the better option.
(3) Duchy 27
If you can afford to commission Cockwells to build you a bespoke couple’s runabout, good on you, but if you can’t stretch to a seven-figure sum, its semi-production Duchy is a fantastic compromise.
There is a delightful symmetry to the layout of this classically styled, semi-displacement dayboat/weekender, with a central step-through walkway leading from the swim platform to the aft C-shaped seating unit and the pleasantly raked hardtop over the helm. This covered area provides great visibility plus a pair of footrest-equipped seats that swivel aft to face the rest of the enormous, open, hardwood deck. You also get a V-berth down below, plus a galley to port and a starboard heads compartment - but it’s the finer details (the joinery, the stainless fixtures and the Wolstenholme hull) that really impress. Capable of a very serene and controllable 25 knots, its combination of traditional British workmanship and lusty artisan appeal is a big winner.
Cockwells 650 SR: handmade sport runabout
Cockwells 9.5 tender video
(4) Marex 320 ACC
The 320 Aft Cabin Cruiser has won ‘Best Boat’ at the Oslo Boat Show, as well as ‘Motorboat of the Year’, ‘Adriatic Boat of the Year’ and ‘European Yacht of the Year’ - and it’s not hard to see why.
In the bow, the double berth is set back and angled along the port side to minimise the impact of the tapering hull shape, while at the rear end, the aft cabin offers not just great breadth, headroom and privacy but also a wraparound window that enables you to see out on three sides for a vast, panoramic snapshot of the horizon. Up top, a large portside dining station shows the same calibre of style, materials and workmanship as the rest of the boat - and when you close up that concertina roof, it feels like the ultimate ‘glamping’ zone for high-end overnighters. In short, the 320ACC is the kind of boat that makes you feel very lucky to be on board – and that can only be a good thing for the marital vibe.
We reviewed the 'older sister' to the 320 back in 2011: Marex 370 Aft Cabin Cruiser review.
(5) Dale Classic 35
With aft structures that soar upwards toward a splendidly lofty foredeck, the Classic 35 not only enjoys a magnificently distinctive profile, but also a very reassuring bow shape for rough water, plus the kind of headroom down below that will swallow even rangy six-footers.
Up top, the helm section and forward deck furniture can be closed off from the rest of the aft deck by means of a zipped canvas section – and engine options from a single 200 turbo-diesel to a pair of 260s mean this boat also has the pace and pick-up for a variety of pursuits. With the single 400, Dale claims 0-20 knots in 11 seconds and a top end in excess of 33 knots - and with seakeeping credentials honed on the wild waters of West Wales, its innate aristocratic splendour looks well matched by some serious dynamic ability. At around £430,000 it’s certainly not cheap, but as a do-it-all boat for a couple on tour, it’s very tough to beat.