FLIBS Recap - The 15 Best Boats Coming in 2023
It was quite a week in Fort Lauderdale. With both the industry and consumers dizzy with excitement after a two year hiatus, To put it mildly, it was a veritable rush to experience everything on the docks. The BoatBlurb crew went tip to tail to uncover the Top 15 coming to the market in 2023, and there is no shortage of stunners on this year's list. Let's dive in.
1) Wellcraft 355
Wellcraft has entered a new era. The Cadillac, MI boat builder was a major name in the 80's under Bob Long and Irwin Jacobs, while Don Johnson, who played the imitable Sonny Crocket in the TV megahit Miami Vice, catapulted the brand into the mainstream with his Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV.
Now under the ownership of Groupe Beneteau since 2014, Wellcraft has been a constant presence, and is now poised to enter new territory that is a stark departure from their current catalog of center console fishing boats.
With a noticeable European flair from bow to stern, stylistically the all-new 355 brings to mind the aesthetics of some Scandinavian builders currently plotting the course for the next generation of midsize cruisers. The 355 isn't a slouch, either, with either triple Mercury or Yamaha outboards with a top speed over 50 knots (60 mph).
The Michael Peters designed yacht is designed "to go anywhere, to do anything" and it certainly appears the 355 will deliver on its promise. On top of her already obvious capabilities, the 355 will also boasts several smart utilitarian features, like a sliding helm door and dual side gates for access throughout the deck.
2) Sea Ray 260 SLX OB and 260 Surf
Sea Ray will be launching a wakesurfing boat in 2023. The all-new SLX 260 Surf will expand upon their already popular SLX lineup to provide a built-in platform for wakesurfing and other watersports.
The release coincides with their modus operandi of late as the luxury builder surprised boaters with the sudden release of the SLX 260 and SLX 260 outboard back in May. These new SLX 260 variations also mark an important turn for the highly regarded brand as they announced back in 2021 they would be following a new design philosophy for new models.
To create the perfect wake, the SLX 260 Surf will be powered by a Mercury MerCruiser 6.2L MPI ECT engine with a forward-facing Bravo Four S drive, integrated SmartCraft technology, and Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) controls. Working in tandem, electric surf tabs and ballast tanks control the height of the wave and produce a long or short pocket. Using a custom user interface, developed in partnership between Sea Ray, Mercury Marine and Simrad, surf settings can be adjusted with a touch of a button to accommodate specific watersports and riders’ preferences. Read More
3) Scout 400 LXF
Scout Boats will be launching three new models in the coming year - the 281 XSS, the 377 LXF, and the 400 LXF.
The 400 LXF is the real showstopper -- bringing a double-stepped hull crafted with Scout’s epoxy-infusion with carbon fiber/e-glass construction and an interior layout and cabin that's first rate among her competitors.
The 400 LXF boasts perks like a standard hydraulic port side beach platform with synthetic teak (ideal for boarding/de-boarding away from the transom and engines), and two standard Garmin 8616 touch screens at the helm. From the helm or with the key fob, owners can control features throughout the boat with the help of C-Zone digital switching technology. There’s also a standard Seakeeper 3 gyro stabilizer (with optional upgrades to a Seakeeper 5 or 6), electronically-actuated SureShade integrated retractable aft awning, and Scout’s electronically-actuated articulating rocket launchers.
(take a virtual tour of the new 400 LXF by clicking below)
4) Cruisers 50 GLS
Wisconsin's Cruisers Yachts has made a big splash at FLIBS with the launch of a new flagship- the 50 GLS. The new platform will serve as the largest offering in Cruisers' GLS lineup. The highly regarded brand has made several notable moves in the last two years -- most notably their acquisition by Florida-based MarineMax for $63 million in May 2021.
As for the new 50 GLS, she will carry a 52'4" LOA (16 m) with a 14'6" beam (4.4 m) and a draught of 34" (up) and 47" (down).
Power will come via triple Mercury 600 Verados paired with Simrad electronics and joystick docking. In classic Cruisers style, the 50 GLS’ will have an open-concept cockpit that balances functionality with entertainment. There are multiple seating options between the bow lounge, a midship L-shaped seating area, two aft-facing L-shaped seating areas, and additional bench seating. Read More
5) Tiara 43 LE
We tested the new Tiara 43 LE earlier this summer, and suffice to say, it was a pleasurable experience. With 1200 horsepower courtesy of twin Mercury 600 Verados, it was staggering how quickly and how smoothly she got on plane. In the words of our tester Rick Layzell, "The 43 LE or ‘Luxury Express’ is the first in the series, and after this experience we can’t wait to see what Tiara has up their sleeve next. The LE is a multi-purpose craft, akin to a Swiss Army knife, as it answers so many needs and wants. She’s a stunning day boat, a dream entertainer, a beautiful overnighter and an all-round playful performer. She is exceptionally well appointed with craftsmanship exuding from every curve inside and out. And boy is she fun to drive!"
See our full boat review.
6) Regal LX 36
The motivation behind Regal's new LX 36 is clearly to bring the luxury of a yacht into a midsize bowrider package. According to the company itself, the new ride is "thirty-six feet of dynamic comfort technology advancements and new ways of thinking merge for the ultimate day yachting experience." Yes please.
The LX 36 boasts an expansive retractable hardtop, windshield walk-thru, and side windows for an open-air day experience. But, if things turn dicey, the all-electronic hardtop can be closed with ease, allowing you to enclose the helm for private time.
One of her neatest features is a complete co-captain experience including a 16" 'Companion Screen' that allows the second in command to also control navigation, systems data, media, and more. Another handy must-have is the quarterberth and mattress hidden beneath the flip-up starboard bow. The area is both washable and air conditioned, so it adds a handy hideaway for extra passengers staying overnight or soggy gear that can't sit below deck.
(take a virtual tour of the new LX 36 by clicking below)