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2020 Editor's Choice: The Best Boating Stories of the Year

By: Scott Way

Boat hung up on pier
2020 was an eventful year in boating, to say the least...

I was only going to pick 10 stories for this list, but I was quickly reminded that a) we have too many talented writers on staff to deny you such good content, and b) I'm longwinded and 10 was never realistic anyway. As such, you get 15 of the best boating stories of the year.

We just finished compiling our 10 Biggest Boating Stories of 2020, so if you'd like to see what was popular by readership be sure to check that out. We now bring you 15 of the 'best' stories, as selected by the editorial staff, our team of writers, and my whimsy. Best is a loose term, its entirely subjective and is based on neither facts nor data, but I think we made some good choices. We have so many great writers here at BoatBlurb that picking the 'best' of anything is nearly impossible. It's a great problem to have. 2020 saw us dive into some of boating's biggest mysteries, discuss its most problematic issues, offer advice to new and old boaters alike, and interview some pretty fascinating people. Here are the 15 best stories on BoatBlurb this year:

1) The Definitive Answer to Outboard vs. Sterndrive

Which boat drive system is better-- an outboard motor or a motor with a sterndrive?? This debate has been around for too long. It is time to finally put this question to rest. I believe that when it comes to today’s general pleasure boating, we can now examine the pros and cons of each drive system and identify a winner. Read more.

2) Why the V-Bottom Hull is One of Boating's Most Revered Designs

You have probably heard the boating term “deadrise." You will be glad to know its meaning is not as ominous as it sounds. It refers to the amount of angle that forms between the boat bottom and a horizontal plane on either side of the center keel, measured at the transom. This angle usually runs between 16 and 24 degrees and comprises what we refer to as a V-bottom hull design. The trademark of such designs is that the contours of the hull travel in a straight line to the keel. It’s easiest to picture if you imagine looking at the craft from behind. This is the story of how and why the V-bottom became the norm for today’s pleasure boats. Read more.

3) Famous Boats: The Strange Saga of the 'Orca' from JAWS

Jaws was released on June 20th, 1975, and to celebrate its 45th anniversary as one of cinema's best aquatic thrillers we dove into the fascinating backstory behind what became of Quint's disheveled but beloved boat: the Orca. Read more.

4) Before Fibreglass- World War II & The Fairmile (Part 11)

Even though the Fairmile is not exactly a wooden pleasure boat, it was so significant to the financial strength of the boat builders, to the history of wooden boat building in Canada, to its success during the war, and to Canada’s world renown, that we thought it appropriate that its history not be forgotten in today’s world of sleek, modern, fibreglass and aluminum designs. Read more.

5) Inside Formula Boats- Past, Present, and 2021 Preview

Even from the pre-Formula days with Thunderbird Boats (which is a story unto itself), to their enduring position as industry stalwarts, suffice to say, Formula knows what they're doing. They reside firmly among the leaders in boating with respect to product quality and reputation. This puts them in a position of being, through some welcome fault of their own, partially responsible for identifying trends to advance the industry. As it stands, 2021 will show their keen eye for consumer needs is still sharp. Read more.

6) The Wild World of Boats: 8 Designs that Changed Boating (for Better or for Worse)

Ever watched a waterbug (aka a 'waterstrider’) scoot along and wonder how it's so efficient with those long legs standing like posts out of the water? The Proteus is the answer. Designed by Silicon Valley bigwigs as a prototype for a Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel-type (WAM-V… or WHAM! every time you excitedly burst through a wave), the Proteus will wake you up before you go-go. Read more.

7) The Great Loop - North America’s Biggest Boating Adventure with Kurt & Leanne Penfold

The Great Loop is everything its name implies- a circular journey through the eastern half of North America that takes boaters on an adventure befitting the ‘Great’ in its name. The route involves navigating the Great Lakes, making passage through the Illinois and Mississippi rivers to the Gulf of Mexico, along the eastern seaboard of the United States, and back to the Great Lakes waterway. You can of course start at any point along the way, or run it in reverse, but no matter you begin crossing your wake upon your return solidifies your success at one of boating’s best adventures. Read more.

8) The Cat is Back! Legendary Pantera Powerboats Relaunches Under New Ownership

The legendary Pantera Boats brand is back. Today, a new ownership group announced that through a series of business transactions and agreements endorsed by the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, they have acquired the molds, intellectual property, trademarks, designs, and copyrights to one of racing's most recognizable names. With the legal hurdles now cleared, the iconic Pantera brand is being relaunched. Read more.

9) #WeirdBoats- Daredevil Evel Knievel's Custom Yacht Now a Floating Shrine in Canada

A recent story from CBC News Atlantic revealed that Evel Knievel's custom 70's yacht has turned up in Canada. It is a saga that gleefully taps into our affinity for #weirdboats, so naturally we dug into the strange story behind a floating shrine to an iconic stuntman. Read more.

10) Iconic Canadian Brand Limestone Boat Company Relaunches

One of Canada's most recognizable brands is back. Once a common sight around the Great Lakes region of Canada and the northeast U.S. coast, the Limestone Boat Company is back with new ownership and a new outlook for 2021. While the company never truly ceased production, under the new arrangement Limestone will expand its production capability in Tennessee while still maintaining their foundation as an iconic Canadian brand. Read more.

11) Tom Brady Adjusting to Florida Life with Custom Wajer 55S Yacht

After signing a bloated $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the off-season, the QB first cozied up at Derek Jeter's shack to get his bearings in the Sunshine State. With the rent clearly paid, Tom has now gotten a little spendy and dropped multiple seven figures on a 53-foot custom Wajer 55S yacht. Or as the folks at TMZ call it, a 'sleek watercraft.' Read more.

12) #QuickTips- 10 Things to Avoid as a Good Boater

Because you are reading this article, you are probably an excellent boater. You may already know that Rule #2 of Inland Regulations states that "The person in charge of the boat must do everything necessary to avoid a collision." To accomplish this, you must be able to spot and steer clear of inexperienced and dangerous boaters. You should also practice good habits yourself. Read more.

13) Boating Common Sense, Common Courtesies, and Common No-No’s

Pleasure boating is meant to be a relaxing, enjoyable past-time and recreation. It can only remain so when annoyances and frustrations are kept to a minimum. The essence of pleasure boating is the mutual enjoyment of the vast and varied waterways of this great country. A few reckless and thoughtless individuals can ruin the enjoyment of many in a very short time. Often these individual’s actions are unintentional and they don’t even realize they are causing frustration, resentment, and anger. Read more.

14) Innovators in Boating- Christopher Columbus Smith & Chris-Craft

It is appropriate we begin this unveiling of the builders of dreams with a name that is synonymous around the world with pleasure boating – Christopher Columbus Smith (1861-1939). What a beautiful and almost too perfect a name to be associated with a boat builder. He is of course the founder of world-famous Chris-Craft boats. As a young boy growing up in Algonac, Michigan, Chris Smith, like many boys his age, and with the opportunity right at his doorstep, became smitten with the outdoors, and specifically with duck hunting. Read more.

15) Interview with 'Supercar Blondie': Test Driving the World's Fastest Police Boat

The blonde car celeb recently test drove what's been declared the 'World's Fastest Police Boat.' We caught up with her to hear how driving a speedboat differs from a sportscar, what boating culture is like in Dubai and the UAE, and what other aquatic adventures might be in store. Read more.

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