By: Scott Way
It is impossible not to get confused when buying a boat. There are so many brands, models, and options it can be overwhelming to narrow down your hopes and dreams into a specific length, wide, style, and budget. Which is why guys like us exist- we're here to make it easier.
If you're a bowrider buyer, and you're debating just how seriously you want to get into the game, here are 4 models under 30 feet coming out in 2020 that cover the breadth of what's available. As an added bonus, there are virtual tours and video walkthroughs of the features you're going to read about. From value boats with stylish offerings at a great price point, to premium boats from longstanding brands, here are 4 bowriders to consider if you're looking to hit the water this summer in a quality bowrider:
It's a Chris Craft, so you know it's a classic design. The Launch 28 GT is exactly what you'd expect from them, and that's a compliment. Smooth lines, rich upholstery, loads of teak and mahogany- the Launch 28 GT is a Chris Craft through and through. They've done a lot of things right during 146 years of making boats.
One of the best features, aside from the exceptional performance you know you'll get from the hull design, is the ability to customize. There are countless options that allow you to tweak everything from the flooring, upholstery, hull colour, interior finish, and engine, all the way down to the small details that signify quality craftsmanship- the grab rails, seating insert colours, cockpit accent colours, stitching colours, even the caulking colour. You can convert the stern transom sunpad into a full sunlounge, customize the cockpit to include a galley or save the space for seating, and you can choose between sterndrive or outboard power. Want to see what the layout for all those options looks like? You can take a virtual tour, read the full review, or watch the full walkthrough below.
Chris Craft has long been synonymous with quality, and you really can't disagree with that assessment. If you're looking for a premium bowrider you can design exactly as you please, the Launch 28 GT should be high on your list.
The Four Winns Horizon 290 packs a lot into 29 feet 6 inches. It's a shockingly versatile boat, and that means great value considering all it can do for the price tag. Despite it's size, its a nimble vessel that performs like a much smaller hull. You won't have trouble docking, thanks in part to a Volvo Penta joystick on the sterndrive version. It's powered by dual Volvo Penta 6.0L V-8's with 380 hp, so speed won't be an issue either. It tops out at almost 60 mph, which isn't too shabby considering it's size and weight. If you're looking to get dicey it carves tight turns that make it a great watersports boat, but it'll cruise just fine with the help of the automatic Trim Assist.
Feature-wise, there's a driver's side console that covertly houses a change room with a small berth. The port compartment has a spacious head with vanity, shower, sink, and VacuFlush toilet. The sunpad is electronically controlled and allows you to customize for maximum relaxation. The captain's chair is also electronically controlled, so you won't have trouble staying comfortable during long cruises. There's huge room up front too- the amount of freeboard means four people can be high and dry in a roomy lounge in almost any conditions.
In a nutshell, the Horizon 290 packs an impressive array of options into a yacht certified runabout at a mid-range pricepoint. If you want to see just how well it utilizes the space onboard, check out the virtual tour below.
Cobalt calls the A-Series their "ultimate luxury offering" and you'd be hard pressed to find a nicer boat in the lineup. It's instantly recognizable- it boasts Cobalt's signature surface deep-vee design with hand-laid composite construction and Kevlar reinforcement. This classic shape is known for comfort and stability at speed mixed with trustworthy handling, and that's present in droves on the A29. Power comes from your choice of Volvo Penta V8 380 or 430 EVC with Duo-Prop, or MerCruiser 380or 430 hp Magnum DTS with Bravo Three. Needless to say, you'll get where you're going.
There's a lot to like about the A29, and a lot about Cobalt in general, but the standout feature is Splash n Stow, which Cobalt refers to as an "interactive inflatable management system." That's a neat way of saying they've solved the riddle for stowing and transporting water toys without all the hassle. An air compressor electronically unrolls a large inflatable mat from the transom which can be used for lounging, sliding, and family fun. Deflate and retract it back into the hull and you're good to go. Can't beat that.
Other highlights, and there are many, are the available hydraulic swim platform that allows you to make the most of your stern festivities. Coupled with the Splash n Stow you can see why Cobalt attracts customers with their ingenuity. The bow area is convertible into a huge sunlounge, and the day cabin is surprisingly spacious. The layout prioritizes stern side movement from the bow lounge to the transom, with an impressive helm as the centrepiece on the starboard side. The little details shine through here, with a double-wide captain's chair, 10"-12" interactive Garmin dual screens, and a custom leather steering wheel stitched to match your hull colour.
The Yamaha 275 SD is one of the most innovative boats coming out in 2020. And that's not typically Yamaha, their wheelhouse is a standardized appearance within the recognizable Yamaha aesthetic. It would be easy to let the 275 SD slip by the wayside, but take a gander and you'll see that Yamaha is entering new territory with more flash and flair than we were expecting.
The 275 SD is Yamaha's first foray into the 27-foot category, and its their first to carry twin supercharged engines via matching 1.8L SVHO powerhouses. The boat also showcases the advent of DRiVE technology, a low speed maneuverability feature that utlizes dual-paddle control arms on the steering wheel for low speed docking maneuvers. The swim platform is a focal point for innovation too- their patent-pending seat system allows two removable stern seats to be reconnected just below the waterline, so a couple passengers can lounge in the water while docked. The swim ladder drops down between these two seats, allowing for easy re-entry, and the ladder and seats can be quickly removed to get you back underway.
Other firsts for Yamaha include a galley with premium counter, plumbed sink, removable dinette table, and lockable storage. The cockpit has dual 12" Connext touchscreens, joystick control, Fusion marine stereo system, and Wet Sounds REVO speakers. If a good time is what you seek, a good time is what you shall get. There is high-end luxury tip to tail, but it’s done with subtlety, meaning the 275SD will fit in among the Mastercrafts and Nautiques it’ll be docked beside without being flashy. 2020 will have lots of good things in store for Yamaha, the 275 SD among them. For taking a step out of their comfort zone, Yamaha certainly did so confidently.
To see their clever engineering and subtle luxury in a great 27 foot bowrider package, check out the virtual tour for the 275 SD below.