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Editor's Choice - The 21 Best Boating Stories of 2021

By: Scott Way

Boat going down secluded river
It's time to leave 2021 in our wake

And so ends another year, two thousand and twenty one. It's been interesting, to say the least, but 2021 also brought us some of the most riveting stories and feats of engineering the boating world has ever seen.

Where do we even start? The launch of the Sea-Doo 'Switch' might be the most interesting new product in 20 years. The new Mercury V12 engine is the world's largest outboard and it will change the trajectory of boat design forever. We discovered that houseboats are all the rage, and that a rage-inducing incident on the Welland Canal was the catalyst for a conversation about boating safety. We found a chap living on a refurbished ferry in downtown Toronto harbour and immediately wanted to buy a slip downtown. We discovered the world's biggest yacht has fractional ownership and considered buying a condo on the high seas. A top-secret government boat came up for sale, and we nearly joined the Navy. Our contributors took exciting journeys on the Great Lakes and beyond, then regaled us with their adventures. We went back through boating history in order to go forward into 2022. We shared stories, we shared memories, and we all learned a thing or two.

To commemorate an eventful 2021, here are the 21 best stories of the year, as chosen by the BoatBlurb editorial staff.

1) Mercury Stuns with Industry First 600 HP V12 Verado Engine

No surprise here. There were rumours Mercury was set to drop something big in early 2021. Something big, indeed. The V12 Verado is the industry's first 600 horsepower outboard with enough 'industry first' technology to put them years ahead of their competitors. Read more.

2) Sea-Doo Launches 'Switch' Pontoon Line

Sea-Doo flipped boating on its head in August with the launch of the 'Switch' pontoon series. A unique pontoon that uses handlebar steering like a standard Sea-Doo, the Switch is the template for outside-the-box thinking. Read more.

3) Houseboat Living - The Emerging Alternative to Cottages

The pandemic has triggered major cultural and economic shifts, two of which are occurring in the the real estate market and the boating industry. Cottagers priced out of market are turning to houseboats to live the waterfront lifestyle, while aging boaters sick of tight living quarters and a bumpy ride are doing the same. Read more.

4) Innovators in Boating - N.E. 188th Street & The Famous "Thunderboat Row"

The saga of Don Aronow and 'Thunderboat Row' on 188th St. in Miami is legendary. Money, power, corruption, and high-octane thrills were a hallmark of boating's most ambitious era. Richard Crowder takes you through high-performance history and explores how some of boating's most fast paced brands left their mark. Read more.

5) The Secret US Military 'Ghost' Ship is For Sale

The story of 'Ghost' is one of government's most inept tales, and that's saying something. She was built in private by Juliet Marine Systems, until the US government swooped in decided it would take the helm. The infighting that ensued is a case study in bureaucracy, and sadly it scuttled the 'Ghost.’ Or so we all thought, until it popped up for sale in New Hampshire. Read more.

6) Is the Multi-Outboard Trend Justified?

You've heard the phrase "more money than brains," and some argue that adding outboards to a transom does little except cost you money. And that may very well be true. So, to answer the question, "is the multi-outboard trend justified?” Captain Bill Jennings did the math to determine at what point adding engines stops increasing performance and starts decreasing your bank balance. Read more.

7) Near Miss on Great Lakes Shows Importance of Knowing Right of Way

A harrowing near miss between a freighter and a sailboat on the Great Lakes kickstarted a passionate debate about who has right of way. If anything, we all got a reminder that 'might has right' and that knowing the rules of the road is often overlooked. Read more.

8) The Pros and Cons of Cruisers

Captain Bill Jennings gives you the blunt truth about cruisers - what they can do, what they can't do, and what you need to understand if you intend to get into big boat ownership. No fluff, just truth. Read more.

9) Mercury to Introduce Electric Outboards by 2023

As the industry's most influential company, Brunswick Corporation and its subsidiary Mercury Marine have made multi-billion dollar commitments to electric power. In the race to develop the first viable electric outboards for mass production, Mercury is set to release their first electric outboards in 2023. How will the industry react? Read more.

10) The 'J' is Back! 2022 Previews with J-Craft President Chris Holmes, Jr.

As one of boating's truly unique brands, Canada's J-Craft reigned supreme in the 70's and 80's thanks to an unmistakable look and a high-performance wake-less ride. After disappearing in the early 90's, the iconic company resurfaced in 2018 with the all their original style intact. We got the scoop on their ambitious plans for the future. Read more.