When you witness the launch of a powerful new boat from a quality builder, it is easy to get excited – but sometimes, the real value of a craft is as much a consequence of the venue in which you use it as of the product itself (for our full boat-buying guide, read Powerboat buying: which powerboat is right for me?). Take my recent trip to Barcelona, where two spectacular new boats were unveiled to an expectant press...

Searay 350 SLX - Boston Whaler 350 outrage

Too big for Britain; Searay 350 SLX (foreground); Boston Whaler 350 Outrage in background.



From Searay (pictured in the foreground), we had the 350 SLX, a huge 10.5-metre party platform with a 3.2-metre beam, open-air seating for 18 people, an aft-facing sun bench, armchairs in the bow and a capacious corner-cockpit dining station. There was even a double berth and heads compartment down below, plus a hardtop with retracting sunroof and elevated shades over the forward space.

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Plainly, on the lakes of America or the marinas of the Med, it would be every bit as enjoyable as it was on our sunny day in Barcelona. But in Britain, with its imperfect summers, expensive marina berths and seven-day work culture, a six-tonne entertainment station seems radically excessive.

We were also treated to the immense new Boston Whaler 350 Outrage (pictured in the background) – a profoundly robust offshore fishing platform with a triple rig of 300hp outboards, plus joystick control and the option of a fly position. Out in the lumps, it was superb, offering a remarkably dry low-speed ride and the kind of high-speed comfort that could easily see you enjoying a 12-hour fishing trip in remote and exposed waters.

However, in Britain, where fuel bills are becoming prohibitive, the smaller, cheaper, more manageable twin-rig 270 Dauntless (or better still, the single-rig 210) would make much more sense.

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Don’t get me wrong. It’s great that builders are still creating these thrillingly ambitious boats and it’s even better that there are parts of the world in which they make genuine sense. But if you want to enjoy a sustainable and entertaining boat life here in Britain, you would do well to reign in your excitement, engage your brain and buy a boat that works.

Dream boats still abound on boats.com: Try Top 10 Fantasy Boats and Galeon and Brioni: the dreamboats of Dusseldorf.

Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is an ex-Naval officer, with extensive experience as a marine journalist, boat tester and magazine editor. Having raced as a Pilot in the National Thundercat Series and as a Navigator in the inaugural Red Sea RIB Rally, he has now settled in the West Country, where he lives and works as a specialist marine writer and photographer from his narrowboat in Bath.
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