Like those who own them, not all gawk-worthy vessels are created equal. The fishing aficionado has very different needs from the speed demon or sailing yachtsman. But one thing they all seek is a ship that leaves a sea of envious onlookers in its wake, not to mention first rate amenities and world-class performance. This summer, we’re sure to see many new and exciting boats on the scene, particularly in the under 40-foot range. We sourced some very in-the-know captains on their favorites based on amenities, sea-worthiness and wow factor. This foursome came out on top…
Meet the little sister of world-girding superyachts—the 40-foot Ted Fontaine Friendship 40 sloop. Fontaine is a near-legendary name in the elite yachting community, having received accolades for innovative designs emphasizing speed and stability, the two most important qualities of any seafaring vessel. Fontaine achieves this through a classic design centered on a wooden hull that draws a shallow depth of water, has a wide center and deep centerboard.
Getting her ready to catch wind is no chore and definitely less dangerous than 100 percent manual sail rigging (no need for calls of “watch the boom!”). The main sail furls into the boom and the roller-furling genoa automatically goes to work with the touch of a button to bring the foresail in or out, allowing you to take in the ambiance while simultaneously getting the job done. Leveraging technology and mechanics to do the work is the brains behind the brawn of this ship, which can be handled by a one-man crew, but doesn’t sail like one.
Comfort and aesthetics don’t suffer in the face of performance either. Decks and appointments are traditionally crafted in teak though her hull is a sleek, modern and classy black. The galley will serve any gourmand’s night at sea and the full head is ample for scrubbing off the salt spray to get ready for a night on the town. fontainedesigngroup.com
One of the joys of in-season relaxation is gathering friends and family for a spin on the water. But why cram revelers onto yesterday’s tender when you can open Club Wally//47? Founder Luca Bassani Antivari is the only two-time winner of the Compasso d’Oro, the world’s most prestigious industrial design award. This carbon fiber hull is a marriage of style and design par excellence. And she’s got plenty of space. On deck there is generous lounging area forward and aft. Below, the interior design option offers a large lounge and galley to maximize chill room.
When it’s time to kick the stationary bobbing and take to the open water (who says you can’t take the party with you?), Wally//47 flexes considerable muscle, capable of over 35 knots and powered by two Volvo Penta engines, each peaking at 435hp. The glass pilothouse provides superior visibility, a unique feature that says “cool, top drawer, wide open pleasure.” wally.com
You want to commute to your seaside summer home as fast as possible and look totally badass doing it. The Fearless 28 by Porsche Design (yes, the same people that make the quintessential sports car) conjures both James Bond and the Batboat (seriously) and slices through the water like a hot knife through butter. Built for nothing else but zooming like its road-borne kin, the Fearless’ seamless carbon-reinforced twin step deep v hull is designed for ideal hydrodynamics. Under the hood, 550 horses send the craft into speeding ticket range at 80-plus mph—on the water! Jump on this quick, less than a hundred are produced per year. fearlessyachts.com
Chris-Craft invented the concept of pleasure motorboats and was the classic vessel of the ’50s and ’60s with many models skirting LI waters back in the day. The Chris-Craft Corsair 36 holds true to the maker’s timeless good looks, but with a modern build. The lines are vintage, ’57 Chevy-style stuff crafted in modern fiberglass with wood accents throughout. The amenities allow for that endless day or weekend on the water that makes for fond memories. Best features include a swim platform, generous foredeck for sunning and plenty of seating. As night falls, a deck of cards isn’t going to cut it (especially for the youngins). Ensconce the family in the cabin to enjoy the thoroughly 21st century tv and crank the a/c. chriscraft.com