What's Yours?

Dream on at Annapolis' U.S. Powerboat Show

by Sandra Martin and Mark Burns

We all have our dreams, and many of them float.

A land-locked fisherman might dream of a secondhand jonboat to slide in the back of his pick-up. The office-bound conjure up vessels swift and jaunty to let them flee their desks. A homebody dreams of a home away from home with a stove and plenty of cupboards. A speed demon hungers for power and muscle.

Some dreamers are doers, even now enjoying Chesapeake Bay's long cruising season.

For retired charter captain and former Skipper's Pier watertaxi driver Patty Bowman, a fishing boat built for two is her dream come true.

For divorce lawyer Calvin Bregel, at left, a 33-foot Egg Harbor will do - until something better comes along. "In this I can go anywhere I want," he says of his provisional dreamboat, Miss Demeanor.

His point carried: We caught up with him at Tilghman Island, the last leg of a 10-day cruising and fishing trip around the Bay. When he left us mid-afternoon, he was motoring briskly at his usual 22-knot cruising speed, planning on arriving at his Baltimore County home port on the Middle River before dark.

Depending on Bregel's mood, Miss Demeanor can be many boats. With her tall flying bridge, shining rod holders and roomy aft deck with helm station, she's a fine fishing boat. With a foredeck as big as a patio, she's a fine sunning boat. With a cabin comfortable for six and a four-burner stove plus microwave in the galley, she's quite the entertainment center. With her big double V-berth and starboard bunks, she keeps captain and visitors dreaming all night long. Bregel gets all that without even starting the engine. But it's in motion that Bregel's boat suits him best. "I like the way it handles on the water," he says, "getting up to a plane."

Bregel is content, if not satiated, with his Miss Demeanor. But some dreamers can't contain their dreams. Boat addicted, they've just got to have more.

So it is with Captain Paul Dix. The 1996 Sea Ray 450 Sundancer "loaded with options" just isn't big enough to hold all the pleasure cruisers his company, the Aegis Group of Harrisburg, wants to take for a ride. So, writes he in New Bay Times' classifieds, they're "moving up." Up to a roomy Sea Ray 63, where they can have three state rooms and a two-berth stern with crew quarters.

The Sea Ray express cruiser they're selling might be your dreamboat - if you've got $299,000.

Other dreamers still voyage on the waters of imagination.


The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Whatever your dreams, they'll speed along this weekend in Annapolis at the 27th United States Powerboat Show, where hundreds of new powerboats are on display in the water and ashore. Among the latest 1999 designs and models - many making their premier appearance - you'll find motor yachts, off-shore performance boats, off-shore tournament sportfishermen, convertible cruisers, cruising trawlers, houseboats, center-console fishing boats, power catamarans, inboard, inboard/outdrive and outboard sport boats, ski boats, runabouts, jet boats, inflatables and dinghies.

From all these dreamboats, we've sampled eight of the best of their classes. Stoke your imagination here; then see your dreams with your own eyes.


Fish and Fun

With Penn Yan's 180 Gamefish, you can fish and your family can have fun.

Good things come in this small package. At 18 feet long and 88 inches wide with room for six and seating for four, the Gamefish gives you all you need for a fine day of pleasure boating on river, lake or open Bay.

"Penn Yan has an excellent reputation for quality, sturdy boats," says Nate Anderson, sales rep for the upstate New York boatbuilder. The one-piece fiberglass hull is hand-laid for tight, solid fitting. Lapstraking - terraced to strengthen the hull and keep riders dry by deflecting water away - gives the boat the look of its wooden predecessors.

Some things you won't see on the Gamefish are teak decking, carpeting, lush seats and other such luxuries. But along with the departure of such tweaks goes much of the maintenance. "You won't spend your weekends cleaning this boat, but enjoying it," promises Anderson.

The Gamefish is a boat made for fishermen, who'll find it nicely equipped with rod holders and racks, raw-water washdown (which uses the water you're sitting on to hose down your boat), an illuminated live well and lots of under-deck bait wales and stowage space.

But if the family insists, you can break out of the rut by tying on a ski rope. A 4.3-liter, 190-horsepower stern drive MerCruiser puts enough muscle behind the Gamefish to pull a top speed of 44.5 miles-per-hour - more than fast enough to skim a skier in its wake. But if you crave more speed, gas and diesel power packages from either MerCruiser or Volvo are options.

Drive away this tidy dream for under $20,000.

If you're dreaming bigger, your boat may be the 269 Legend. Down below it boasts a full cabin with a dinette, galley, a full head and shower with a marine toilet and sleeping for three. On the sunny side atop the flybridge, you can skipper the craft from a heightened perspective. If the 5.7-liter, 250hp MerCruiser Bravo stern drive engine's 38 miles-per-hour doesn't provide enough speed for you, add a second engine for that extra oompf. The Legend's more upscale amenities set its price at $59,900.

Visit Penn Yan's versatile vessels at dock B1 at the U.S. Powerboat Show this weekend or afterward at Fishing Creek Landing in Chesapeake Beach. If you buy from the dealer, Penn Yan pays for your trip to New York's Finger Lakes region so you can see where your boat was born.


Purely Fish

With a Parker 2520 Sport Cabin, you're not dreaming. You're fishing.

"It's first and foremost a fishing boat," says Tri-State Marine's Ron Young, who'd be glad to make your dream come true.

Skipper this classic from a roomy 6'4" tall pilot house or from the second steering station aft. With a length of 25'4" and a 9'5" beam, you and your buddies can cast your lines without crowding or hooking anything but fish. Four rod holders, a set of six cabin-top "rocket launchers" ("they're testosterone boosters, really," explains Young) and cockpit rod racks make for plenty of places to rest your rods and reels. The all-fiberglass construction paired with a raw water washdown makes it easy to clean up the remnants from a productive day of fishing.

To power your Parker, you can start with a single 200hp Yamaha outboard and move up to as much as 325hp or even double up with twins. Trim tabs make Parker a maneuverable boat, and grab rails with wide walkboards let you maneuver about easier.

"It's the perfect boat for this area," says Young. Aside from catering to Chesapeake country's affinity for fishing, it also sports the Down East profile which, says Young, "is extremely popular in the Bay area."

Adding more hours on the water to this fisherman's dream are deluxe extra-padded seats, sleeping space for three and a portable head. Finishing touches include a bow pulpit to help keep anchor dings out of your dreamboat's hull, a full transom with drive bracket, a ventilating windshield and the always handy compass and horn.

The asking price? A tad over $42,000 includes several options, hand-produced craftsmanship and the high-end components Parker is known for.

You can find her at Dock C by the Doct Street entrance at the U.S. Powerboat Show in Annapolis. There's also a second chance to swoon as she does demo rides from Tri State's dealership in Deale October 24 and 25.


Family Cruising

With Wellcraft's 26-foot Martinique, you can snatch hours, days or weeks to live it up on the water. Not too little and not too big, this one is just right for speeding, sunning, cruising or fishing.

"It's a waterfront home that moves at 45 miles-per-hour," says Wellcraft dealer Jeff Martini of Gates Marina. "For the average family, it's an affordable option for comfortable weekending. It's even trailerable," says Martini.

For starters, Wellcrafts are long on looks. These streamlined fiberglass beauties (ranging from 24 to 45 feet) are about as sleek as you can get. Outside, with their seamless elongated V design accentuated by integrated bow pulpits and aft sun platforms - plus their distinctive rising arch amidships - Wellcrafts look like speed.

These looks are not deceiving. Underneath, a deep V hull delivers performance as well as good looks. Out of sight, Volvo Penta stern drives deliver what the good looks promise: exceptional performance coupled with high efficiency.

What's more, Wellcraft combines good looks with great comfort. Big and roomy, the cockpit, says Martini, is "entertainment friendly." As well as a single cushioned swivel helm seat, on deck there is a port lounge and aft settee. If you like sunning, you'll especially like the on-deck convertible sunpad. To cool off, walk out the gated transom and shower on the swim platform. Or drop the retractable ladder and take a dip.

Inside, the large cabin is even better. "The use of available space is exceptional," says Martini. No kidding. With V berth and curtained, convertible mid-cabin berth, four sleep comfortably. The dinette seats four. Standard amenities include hot water, two showers and a microwave oven as well as a single-burner alcohol stove and lots of storage.

In looks and comfort, power and reliability, it's a dandy boat. "The early designs starting in 1994 have been refined, resulting in the wildly popular cruiser it is today. Because they're so popular, they were in short supply last year," says Martini.

See - or better yet, leave with - the 260 SE with all the amenities for $40,000 to $45,000 from Dock N at the U.S. Powerboat Show this weekend. Or see it at Gates Marina off Rt. 256 in Deale.


The Big Easy

With Albin's brand new express trawler, you can go far and wide faster.

Trawlers are cut on the model of ocean-going, net-fishing boats, but don't let their pedigree fool you. Pleasure trawlers are big, roomy luxury yachts: a kind of upscale, maneuverable houseboat with the jaunty looks of a storybook tugboat. They've got decks and amenities galore. Captain or passenger, you can imagine you're on a cruise ship cut to your own scale.

But like the tortoise in the fable, trawlers have a reputation for going steady but going slow. Not anymore. Albin, a standard-setter of trawlerdom, has gotten back in the business, after a decade and a half concentrating on fishing boats, with a fast trawler. The new 33+3 Express Trawler you'll see at the U.S. Powerboat show is powered with twin diesels up to 370hp to let you cruise at 16 to 18 knots. For scope, a big 380 gallon diesel tank fuels all that power.

Speed is not the only admirable feature in this fast trawler. The measure of many boats doesn't translate to available space. The 33 feet of this boat's measure is deck space; its full measure, from bow pulpit to stern deck, is 37'5". All that space gets put to good use. With its roomy decks and walkways; large up-top cockpit with helm station, lounge seating and refreshment bar; and big swim platform, this is a boat meant for outdoor living.

Inside, you still find the comforts trawler boaters enjoy: master (forward) and guest (amidships port) quarters, head with a stand-up separate shower, big, roomy galley filled with modern appliances and lots of wood everywhere. At the interior helm station, the captain pilots behind windows angled forward to prevent glare.

As well as speed and space, the $180,000 to $225,000 you'd spend on this trawler buys stability. Albins guarantee a soft, stable ride so you can take them safely offshore, without fear of heavy seas, as confidently as you can enjoy them in gentler waters.

See this dream at the corner of Dock B and F across from the Marriott Hotel at the U.S. Powerboat Show. If you don't buy it on sight, you can come visit at Wingfield Yachts in the yard at Herrington Harbour North on Rt. 256 in Tracey's Landing.


Great Big Dreams

With a Sea Ray 560, you can lead the pack, going where other yachts never dare venture.sea ray boat

Sea Rays combine the sleek, streamlined styling of a speedboat with the luxuries of a yacht. When you consider that even the smallest Sea Ray is a masterpiece of user-friendly industrial design, you know that with the big ones you can dream big. The line is redesigned every three years to set the standard other cruisers aspire to. This year's models are, according to Barry Davenport of Clark's Landing, "designed to move into the 21st century."

First off, on this boat you go 55'6" and you're still on board. Swim platforms add another three or four feet; the longer one has an option that lets you ride your Wave-Runner aboard. Yet for all that size, says former submariner Paul Dix, who captains a company Sea Ray, "we like them for their maneuverability and mobility. You can take an express cruiser like this places a cruising yacht could never go, like under the bridges in the Florida keys."

But not, the manufacturer note, across oceans.

Sea Ray 560 is maneuverable but no midget. It's topped by a massive bridge that comes, you'll be glad to know, in either domestic or international designs. Up there besides the helm are companion lounges, dinette, fridge with icemaker and separate air conditioning. There's also a lower control station.

Of course, with a boat this big you're powered by nearly 800 horses and riding a fuel tank just as big. And you've got more electronics than you can imagine, including an all-electric chart plotter.

Inside, palatial is not too strong a word. In two self-contained state rooms and the cabin, six sleep in full-size or over-sized comfort. The master suite boasts a circular queen-sized bed, while guests must make do with a double. Each has its own mirrored vanity and television-VCR-stereo combo. Linens are custom coordinated, and lockers are cedar lined. There are two heads, master and guest, with what you'd expect plus marble floors and Corian-toped vanities.

You can customize yours to include a third stateroom or a crew cabin.

In common areas, the cabin is big enough to hold a 10-foot wraparound sofa, and the galley - with wooden flooring, three-burner stove, convection and microwave ovens, fridge and freezer - is as big as a kitchen.

For accessories, you can have about anything your heart desires, including forests of teak and herds of leather.

For only $1.15 million, you can make this dream yours. But you can visit for the price of admission to the U.S Powerboat Show .

Clark's Landing - our local distributor and one of only 11 in the nation with this beauty in stock - is bringing it plus Sea Rays down to 27 feet to the show, so you can see the range there right off City Dock or, on other days just over the Bay Bridge.


Big Cats

With the 64-foot Prout Panther, you can run like a jaguar, land like a heron and keep your balance like a cat. You can speed from Annapolis to Manhattan in nine hours. You can run right up on a beach and back out again. And no matter where you run (or what you do wrong), you'll find it practically impossible to over-balance.

Speed, agility and technology are three of the many reasons powerboaters are going cat-crazy.

Scope, we found out on our advance visit to our local cattery, Advanced Yachts in Eastport, is another. Cats there range upward from 22 feet, but the big one, the 64-foot-long, 21-foot-wide Prout Panther, is so big you've got to stand at a distance to take it all in. Even then, you've got a lot to think about.

For example, beam gives this $1.9 million cat a stable ride. Even at high speeds in heavy seas, says Tom Murphy of Advanced Yachts, "you get a flat, stable, comfortable ride" in a maneuverable boat that can turn in its own length.

The millionaire whose dreams include this cat also gets a spacious in-hull living room. Besides its master state room, cabin and fully equipped galley, it features an office, twin heads and cedar closets.

Would you expect less from the flagship of a boat maker manufacturing cats for nearly half a century? Prout has made over 4,500 cats, both power and sail. This, the seventh of its type, is the first to incorporate hydrofoil technology. As well as twin 1150hp diesels, the boat uses jet drivers to rise to 40 knots of speed. When running on the foil, this giant boat draws only 18 inches. With its shallow draft and Kevlar-based construction, this is definitely a beachable boat.

Prowl the Panther at F Dock during the U.S. Powerboat Show. After the show, it continues its East Coast tour, speeding down to Fort Lauderdale. But you'll find other cats to make you purr at Advanced Yachts.


Big Muscle

With Fountain's flagship 47-foot Lightning you can tear through the water at breakneck speeds in a boat gilded with fine extras to show off your machismo.

A boat built for power, this long streak of Lightning offers plenty of potential for an exciting day trip or something a bit more adventuresome. A few owners "go to Ocean City, Atlantic City and Florida with it," says Shane Cannon of All Pro Marine in Upper Marlboro.

If there's anything men the world over look for in a dream boat, it's speed and size. The 47'3" by 8'10" Lightning fulfills those cravings and then some. There's enough macho vibes in this muscle boat to make even a Christopher Robin slick back his hair, sport oversized shades, throw a big gold chain around his neck and take the nickname "Vinny."

Triple 7.4-liter MerCruiser engines bring this North Carolina-built bubba roaring to life, with horsepower options ranging from 415 to 900 per engine. The craft on show at the U.S. Powerboat Show boasts a trio of 500s. Revolutionary high-tech hull designs and laminates make for a strong and fast boat; together with the package of 500s, they push the 13,800-pound vessel to a maximum speed of 83 miles per hour. "The feeling of the adrenaline rush is like nothing else," exclaims Cannon.

Of course with a power package like this one, you've got to pair it with amenities to match.

One of the few luxury items not provided with this boat is a trophy wife. Fountain designed this boat to be as luxurious as it is fast, creating quarters to rival some apartments. "It has everything like the big yachts but not as much headroom," says Cannon. Down below, the cabin is clad in white leather trim, including sofas at port and starboard. A thickly padded V-berth (also in white leather) sleeps two adults comfortably. Color-coordinated pillows are included and a privacy curtain can be drawn between the sofas and berth when company's bedding down in the salon. The boat on show also includes the optional color TV for a more complete living space.

The galley, at port adjacent to the salon, aids the ship's cook with pressurized hot and cold water, a single-burner electric stove, a fridge and a microwave. Occupying one of the galley walls are the controls for the ship's on-board electric generator. And the head, across from the galley, is about the only space down below white leather doesn't touch. Clad in fiberglass, the stand-up head includes an electric toilet with a holding tank and dock-side pump-out, a pressure water sink and a hand-held shower.

Up top, the cockpit features hydraulic bolster seats with drop-down bottom cushions controlled by an armrest switch. To aft, in front of the spoiler, sits a bench seat; behind that is a large padded sun deck and diving platform.

Though its many amenities may make Lightning seem to have pleasure yacht roots, the Lightning's design is modified from Formula One racing boats that reach speeds of up to 140 miles per hour. Reggie Fountain, one of the highest-rated racers in the F-1 boat racing circuits, created the line back in the '70s. His company now uses technology from its award-winning racing boats in the development of its production craft.

You can drop in and pick one up for $400,000 to start. If you want more room in the cabin for eating and family, you can step into the 47-foot Sport Cruiser whose tag nears $750,000, depending on options.

See the boat in spaces 81 and 82 on land at the U. S. Powerboat Show at Annapolis' City Dock. If you miss it, you can meet its smaller counterparts at All Pro Marine behind Murray's Steaks at Route 4 and I-95 in Upper Marlboro.


Inflated Dreams

With an inflatable you can fill in the gaps.

Every dream has its sidebar, and for dreamboaters, that's likely to be a inflatable to zip around in. Take her where you want her, pump her up and paddle - or power - away.

Sorry, it's not that simple anymore. Today there's an inflatable for every dream. You can start with a nice dinghy (inflatable transom; minimal floor support) or roll-up (inflatable keels, supported floor that rolls up inside the deflated boat) for under $900. Once you start up-sizing, not only the boat inflates. At the top of the line, you can pay $24,000 for a really deluxe rib jet inflatable. These boats, says Nick Stark at Inflatable Experts in Annapolis, are "really exciting." They'll as happily take you fishing, cruising or out to dinner as point to point.

Mid-dreamers get quite a bit of fun for about half that price from a 12-foot Rendova, touted as "a step above an inflatable." For your 12 grand, you get an inflatable with a hard hull and deck. If that sounds a little like a waterbed in a box spring, it is.

What's inflatable is a 14-inch flotation collar. It, in turn, fits nicely into the boat's "patented, high performance hull," a wonder that will run - and not sink - even tubeless. The design gives you a rigid gunwale step for easy boarding. It also gives you a place to rig a downrigger and hold your fishing pole. Some seating is molded in, but you can add on cushy seating, a center console, even a radar arch. Power up with a 40hp and get on a plane in 3 seconds. Wow!

See the Rendova 12 and her sisters at Dock L-24 at the U.S. Powerboat Show or any day at Inflatable Experts, Annapolis.


-Kathy Flaherty contributed to this story

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VolumeVI Number 41
October 15-21, 1998
New Bay Times

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