The seeds of the Picnic Boat were sown at the Atlantic Yacht Basin in Great Bridge, Virginia, in the 1950s. There, my father worked as an engine mechanic, and there, as a teenager, I roamed among the Huckins, Matthews and Ryboviches. Those covered sheds were cathedrals where I could worship the beauty and grace of these elegant craft. The seeds would take forty years to germinate.
Illustration by Jim Ewing
He was a young naval architect back in 1910, joining the Mathis Yacht Building Co. in Camden, New Jersey, and intending to build yachts and tenders for America’s rich and famous. His first effort was a 70-foot “houseboat,” a graceful wooden cruiser with all the amenities of a home. The business plan certainly worked out.
The express sedan has arrived
A new breed of express boat has emerged: the express sedan. Also known as express coupes, these cruisers deliver the speed of an express, the style of a sport yacht and the protection of a full deckhouse, which typically houses the saloon, galley and helm areas.
Essentially, the express cruiser and express coupe serve the same purpose: delivering the crew and guests to their destination in fast, comfortable fashion.
Your destination is on the right, the automated voice confidently announces. It is my third circle in the rental car, and my destination is on the right only if I am planning to drive through a ditch, past a patch of vine-covered trees and across a cove. But I can see a fleet of masts above the treetops, so I power off the useless GPS and wing it.
Hybrid center consoles nicely combine inshore and offshore traits, as well as fishing and dayboating features
There’s an emerging subcategory of center consoles that function well inshore and offshore and as fishing or family boats. These hybrid center consoles of about 25 feet are powered with a single outboard and have the low freeboard and shallow draft of a bay boat but enough deadrise to venture offshore without beating you up.
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