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Efficiency is the model with these new boats

The Monomoy First Light 26 is designed for coastal dayboating.As fuel prices continue to rise and potential new-boat buyers watch every penny, it's no surprise that savvy boatbuilders have come up with designs that offer fuel efficiency and comfort in packages that likely will succeed in today's marketplace.

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A buyer's guide to intelligent design

All boats involve trade-offs - knowing what they are will help you make an informed decision

A heavier, deep-deadrise boat will be less reactive to wave action, but a lighter boat will be more efficient.During more than 20 years spent testing and evaluating boats, a number of observations consistently emerge as I conduct dockside inspections and sea trials. Let's have a look at what I've observed in three key areas: ride vs. efficiency, seaworthiness vs. space and visibility at the helm.

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A fond return to bright Maine waters

Here's a look at four projects that were in various stages of completion when we first wrote about them

Peter Kass built this plank-on-frame John's Bay 24 for himself, and he uses it with his wife and daughter to tend lobster traps.Spending a week last October on Peaks Island, Maine, proved eventful on two counts. First, I was there with my family for some quality time. Big mistake. We got there on Sunday, and by Monday morning my wife, Sarah, was asking when could we move to this charming but isolated and breathtakingly priced Eden - and we're going back next summer. So much for the wisdom of combining business and pleasure.

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Back Cove: a study in resin infusion

The Maine builder produces boats with excellent structural integrity and a finish that looks hand-laid

North End Composites builds Back Cove's three models - a 30 (shown here), a 33 and a 37.In 1994, the owner of Maine-based Sabre Yachts acquired North End Marine, a big player in making marine molds and fiberglass parts at its plant in Rockland, Maine. Now called North End Composites, the company produces hulls and decks for Sabre's larger sail- and powerboats in its 240,000-square-foot facility. It also builds powerboats from 30 to 37 feet for its Back Cove Yachts division.

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Columbia: the gem of Rock Harbor

Rebuilt after a half-century of hard fishing in Cape Cod Bay, the 43-footer is ready for the next 50 years

When I was a young man in the 1960s growing up on Cape Cod, Mass., a focal point of my life each summer was the charter fishing fleet down at Rock Harbor in Orleans.

Considering that the harbor is on a little tidal creek with only enough water to float most boats for about two to three hours on either side of an 8- to 11-foot high tide, the fact that it hosts one of the biggest charter fleets on the East Coast seems improbable, to say the least.

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