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The Golden Age is now

Perhaps no other period has seen as many advances in boating as the past two decades. Experts give us their top picks

3-D computer-aided design of the Pandion 25 runaboutWhen Michael Peters began designing boats in the 1970s, he thought he had missed boating’s Golden Age. “If only I was old enough to be a designer in 1959 or 1960 when you had fiberglass replacing wood boats, the deep-vee coming on, the invention of the sterndrive,” says Peters, president of Michael Peters Yacht Design in Sarasota, Fla. “I always thought that must have been an incredible time to be developing boats.”

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No more rock ‘n’ roll

Seakeeper says its gyro stabilizer technology virtually eliminates boat roll at low speeds and at anchor.Some designers and boatbuilders say gyroscope stabilization will be part of most boats’ standard equipment in the coming decade.

“I see in boats from 45 feet and up a continued growth of gyro stabilization technology,” says Bill Blount, CEO of Donald L. Blount and Associates, a Chesapeake, Va., design firm.

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Advances in innovation over the last 20 years

Here is our list of the top 10 and honorable mention innovations in recreational boating during the past two decades, compiled through interviews with leading designers and engineers:

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A peek into the future

Volvo Penta's Glass Cockpit collects navigation, engine and other system data and feeds it to Garmin multifunction displays.What innovations and technologies are on the horizon? Boatbuilders and designers say the focus will be on the helm station. Engineers are dabbling with simplifying electrical and electronic control systems with more intuitive controls for propulsion, electronics and accessories. “We should see major advances in the coming years, with cleaner helm stations and less clutter,” says Doug Zurn, president of Zurn Yachts in Marblehead, Mass.
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The Smart Buyer - Buying tips from a marine surveyor

Surveyor George Gallup, here inspecting an engine compartment, recommends using a bright light in hard-to-see places.There’s a saying that life’s too short to own an ugly boat. That may be true, but a boat with beautiful lines can lead to a potential owner ignoring its flaws and purchasing a nightmare.

“When looking at a boat that you may want to buy, always think with your head and not your heart,” says marine surveyor George Gallup (www.gallupyachtsurveying.com).

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