BIG-BOAT TRENDS & INNOVATIONS
New options, from propulsion to stabilization, are popping up on midsize cruising
and fishing boats. Here are some features you might see at the fall boat shows
PRACTICAL NEW BOATS & GEAR
BOATER JUST LAUNCHED BY MICHAEL VATALARO
Both Pursuit and Sea Ray introduced sport cruisers recently that make
use of outboard power rather than the more traditional inboard or stern-drive configuration. But you can’t tell that from looking at them. The
outboards are concealed beneath a cowling on the Pursuit SC 365i, and
a pair of sun pads on the Sea Ray 370 Venture.
There are a lot of advantages to outboard power for both the boatbuilder and the boater. For the builder, using outboards eliminates the
need to engineer and build an exhaust system — not an insignificant
undertaking. There can also be material expense advantages because
outboards are often installed much later in the build process than
inboards, or sometimes by dealers at the boat’s final destination. For
the boater, outboards free up space inside the boat. Both the Venture
and the SC 365i offer large midships cabins, using space that would
be dedicated to a pair of V8s if these models were running inboards.
Outboards may also offer a slight advantage in fuel economy compared
to inboard gas engines.
Another notable difference is the noise, or lack of it. With outboards
tucked beneath the cowling or sun pads, engine noise is minimized.
Modern four-strokes are already quiet, and hiding them away just
improves things that much more. Finally, outboards can improve long-term satisfaction with a boat, as replacing them doesn’t entail cutting or
disassembling large portions of the cockpit or interior.
Designing a midsize
cruiser around outboard
propulsion rather than
inboards frees up space
for a substantial cabin
midships, such as on this
Sea Ray 370 Venture.