Singer-songwriter Billy Joel is known the world over as “The Piano Man,” but he’s just as passionate about his boats as he is about his music. The Shelter Island 38 Runabout, which he conceived 20 years ago, stands out as a modern classic.
Dollar for dollar and joy for joy, my most satisfying boat has been a 14-foot fiberglass peapod. Named for a double-ended garden vegetable and likely descended through the proud lineage of Viking ships, this humble little boat continually reminds me that for the pure pleasure of getting out on the water, keeping it simple is the way to go.
Yacht designs don’t usually come out of nowhere. One boat is often a refinement of another. The Hinckley Pilot 35 is a good example. Here’s a design that evolved over two decades to become one of the more successful boats of its day.
Thor Heyerdahl had it all wrong. A Hawaiian ocean voyaging canoe is proving it by sailing around the world to demonstrate the art, science and genius of traditional Polynesian navigation — something Heyerdahl never accepted — and its significance in the Pacific.
There aren’t many small and midsize boats that have more seating or a better deck design for dayboating than the dual console. A center console sports an open layout, but the console structures on some models have gotten so big that they tend to separate the bow area from the cockpit. With a dual console, a walkthrough windshield connects the open bow and stern, and the helm does not interfere with the flow between these areas.
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