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Sportboats Lead Wave of Imports

New Boats for 2003 (from SW's Oct. '02 issue)

September 17, 2002
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The boatbuilding industry, like its automotive counterpart, has become increasingly global. The number of domestic builders has remained steady over the last few years, but the number of imports available to American consumers has grown. This year 17 imports contribute to the 28 new boats in our roundup. Leading this international need for speed are seven sportboats, ranging in size from 24 to 36 feet-a genre missing from last year’s new models. Builders are launching these adrenaline-pumping sportsters for prices ranging from $26,500 to $207,000. They’re joined by nine fast daysailing designs at entry-level prices and a fleet of big boats across the entire performance and price spectrum.

This article introduces these new boats for 2003, with estimated prices listed for sail-away condition, unless stated otherwise. Most of the boats will participate in SW’s Boat of the Year contest and are identified by BOTY logos in the article (and at boatshows this fall). Our independent judging panel will include Alan Andrews, the noted west coast designer; Chuck Allen, a 1990 college All-American and manager for North Sails Cruising Direct; and Meade Gougeon, boatbuilder, multihull and iceboat racer, and founder of WEST Epoxy. Contest winners will be announced in the December/January issue. For more info on the boats listed, click on the boatnames to link to each boat’s individual preview.

Sportboat

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If you like your racing uncomplicated by the extra weight typically found in dual-purpose boats, you’ll appreciate these new greyhounds. Lightweight and designed by some of the best speed merchants on the planet, the rebirth of production sportboats is an exciting development for racers.

Farr 36 One Design

Shockwave 36

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Thompson 980

JS 9000

Open 7.50

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BluSail 24

Ultimate 24

Racer/Cruiser
are targeted at racers who want not only performance, but also accommodations for cruising. The trend in this group is toward larger, open cockpits and conversion packages that allow racers to leave weighty cruising options ashore. Almost all the boats in our roundup, including all of these racer/cruisers, are fractionally rigged.

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J/109

IMX 45

Swan 45

Aerodyne 43

Sydney 32

Daysailer
The trend in small boats this year is to mix family fun and performance. Vanguard, Catalina, Hobie, and Hunter are among those companies that have new boats designed to follow the family-oriented theme.

Capri Expo

Hobie Bravo

Fusion 15

Javelin 2

Hunter 146

Hunter Xcite

Precision 185

Vanguard Nomad

Cruiser/Racer
We’ve placed three boats in this category based on their primary purpose-cruising-but all these boats can be set up for racing with performance options. This is a small group, but it covers the greatest price range.

Wally 60

Sun Fast 32I

Sabre 426

Multihull
You’ll find the large cruising cats built for chartering in Cruising World magazine’s new boat preview. We’ve also placed the beach cats and recreational beach toys in SW’s daysailer category. What’s left are five multihulls-three cats, and two trimarans-ranging in size from 30 to 51 feet with varying accommodations; all are built for speed.

Contour 50

Corsair 36

Raider 30

Switch 51

True Wind 32

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