After countless inquiries from readers, friends and family, our editor-in-chief answers the burning question: What is the best boat?
Friends and Yachting readers often ask me, “Whatboatshould I get?” I always answer, but I never answer that question. (Not even for family.) Instead, I suggest that people make a list of how they will use their boat and what features they’d like to have on board. A boat is a personal choice. It’s an emotional choice. It’s your choice, not mine. ¶ I was reminded of this while walking the quay at the Cannes Yachting Festival, where I saw two commercial fishermen mending a net behind their modest, mid-20-foot fish boat. They were oblivious to the billion-plus-dollar spectacle surrounding their home port. They talked, they hummed, they worked. All with a smile while they prepared for their next day on the water. They had their perfect boat. ¶ Soon after, I stepped aboard a 55-foot power catamaran that a couple from the United States was touring. The wife said she was not concerned about top-end speed but wanted range and the ability to cruise at a joglike pace for extended periods. The prospect of being able to power most of the cat via solar panels was an attractive selling point. She went on to say it was just the type of boat they wanted. ¶ Then I saw a 115-foot mega-yacht from a distance. Her silver metallic paint gleamed in the late-afternoon sun, and her styling was sleek. I toured the yacht, which was built in collaboration with Porsche, one of seven such yachts to be produced. The auto company’s influence could be seen in the transom garage door, which resembled the back of a Porsche 911. The bar top and radar arch were formed to look like spoilers. It worked. The silver hull paint was a Porsche color too. Her interior was uber-chic, much like an upscale Manhattan loft, with high-gloss woods, rich and dark marble, and contemporary furnishings. Several sea trials were scheduled with potential owners, and she may have turned out to be the best boat for one of them. ¶ A few years ago, I asked my son if he wanted to take our boat out for a ride. He said, “No, I want to take that one,” as he pointed to the inflatable. We left our boat in her slip and spent a couple of hours cruising our local canals on the rubber boat, having a blast. My son had an ear-to-ear grin the entire time. As soon as we returned, he asked when we could do it again. It was his preferred ride. ¶ So, ask me all you want, but my answer will always be the same: The best boat is the one that gets you on the water.
We left our boat in her slip and spent a couple of hours cruising our local canals on the rubber boat, having a blast.