From the mast­head in­tro­duc­ing: boats of dis­tinc­tion

Yachts International - - Contents -

Who among us doesn’t ap­pre­ci­ate the art and sci­ence of the su­pery­acht? Not­with­stand­ing the idio­syn­cratic tastes of their own­ers, these ves­sels— 160, 170, 180 feet and above— rep­re­sent the pin­na­cle of yacht de­sign, en­gi­neer­ing, in­no­va­tion, crafts­man­ship and lux­ury.

But such el­e­ments can be equally present in smaller pack­ages. Wit­ness Dud­ley Daw­son’s Stern­lines col­umn in the Septem­ber/Oc­to­ber is­sue: “Drag­on­flies and Bald Ea­gles.” Daw­son, a naval ar­chi­tect and large-yacht ex­pert, ex­tolls the unique plea­sures of mess­ing about in small boats. He makes the point that even if you do own a large yacht, it pays to have a smaller boat (or two or three) on hand for more in­ti­mate ad­ven­tures. “Small boats can ful­fill big dreams and make big mem­o­ries,” he wrote. In that spirit, we’ve de­cided to ex­tend the range of our cov­er­age to in­clude Boats of Dis­tinc­tion of any size.

What is a Boat of Dis­tinc­tion? Well, that’s a sub­jec­tive call. The el­e­ments men­tioned above will in­form and di­rect us. Suf­fice to say, we like to think that we—and you—know one when we see one.

To me, lines and pro­por­tion are para­mount. I used to take the unini­ti­ated to a park over­look­ing the har­bor in my for­mer home of Mar­ble­head, Mas­sachusetts, so they could scan the 2,500-plus boats moored be­low and flag the ones they thought were the pret­ti­est. In­vari­ably, they’d choose the clas­sic sail­ing yachts. My fa­vorites were two 28-foot, ca­noe-stern Roz­i­nante yawls de­signed by L. Fran­cis Her­reshoff, whose home over­looked the scene.

The ’60s, ’70s and ’80s were not kind to those of us who love look­ing at boats as much as play­ing on them. Power­boats de­signed and built to fa­vor func­tion over form heav­ily pop­u­lated the mari­nas and moor­ing fields across Amer­ica. Bloated, white blobs that sac­ri­ficed pro­por­tion and beauty (at least to my eyes) for in­te­rior space were the rule. That’s not to say that count­less peo­ple, my­self in­cluded, didn’t en­joy great days on the wa­ter in those boats, but hell, I just hated look­ing at them.

Then, along came The Hinck­ley Com­pany’s lob­ster-boat-in­spired Pic­nic Boat in 1994, and the tide started to turn. Pro­duc­tion builders around the globe tapped that vibe, em­brac­ing the no­tion that not ev­ery­one wanted a boat that had a ton of space for its length and blew around like a Sty­ro­foam cup on the wa­ter when ap­proach­ing a slip.

But a smaller Boat of Dis­tinc­tion doesn’t have to look like a Down East de­sign to be note­wor­thy. A spate of mold-break­ing, in­no­va­tive con­tem­po­rary de­signs are re­defin­ing cool and, dare I say, beau­ti­ful. Many take ad­van­tage of propul­sion and hull-de­sign ad­vances. They show cre­ative use of space with­out blobs and bulges. More and more take into ac­count the rea­son most of us en­joy spend­ing time on boats: in­ter­ac­tion with the marine en­vi­ron­ment.

No boat suits ev­ery taste or ev­ery owner’s use, but I’m happy that de­sign­ers and builders are step­ping out. As al­ways, we’ll con­tinue to present the finest large yachts on the planet, but you’ll be see­ing some of these smaller Boats of Dis­tinc­tion in com­ing is­sues, too. We hope you like what you see and, bet­ter still, that these boats in­spire you to spend more time on the wa­ter.

Kenny Wooton Ed­i­tor-In-Chief

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