Day boating may be fun, but cruising overflows with potential. If you love it, pretty soon you’ll get what boaters call “two-foot-itis ”; it’s the need for just a little bigger boat. In fact, boat sellers love this little bug and often count on it for their next sale. Here is what three to five more feet get you, so just maybe you can buy the boat of your dreams the first time.
28 Feet: Bayliner 285 SB
Cruising really begins with boats in the 28-foot range. They’re still small enough to be towed or stored on your property, yet big enough to overnight aboard. Bayliner’s 285 pairs a slimmed-down forward berth with a convertible Corian-tabled dinette and makes the midcabin berth an actual stateroom, meaning a real bulkhead and door, not just a curtain. That brings sleeping capacity to six, although in this size range, a couple (and maybe the kids) would truly be most comfortable for a weekend. The same holds true for living amenities, such as freshwater capacity. Cruisers in the 28-foot range offer adequate capacity for short trips, but generally not extended stays. The Bayliner 285 SB will tote 28 gallons of water.
Contact: Bayliner Knoxville, Tennessee; 360- 435-8957; bayliner.com
Class Advantage: Many stay within a beam of 8 feet 6 inches, and a 28-foot cruiser is still small enough to tow with a full-size vehicle.
Specs: LOA: 28'7" Beam: 9'11" Displacement (lb.): 8,056 Fuel Capacity: 89 gal. Max Horsepower: 380 Range at Cruising Speed: 142 nm Berths: 6
Price: $96,305 (with MerCruiser 350 Mag)
Gotta Have: Swim platform extension adds welcomed socializing space.
Another Option...Larson Cabrio 274
Larson opts for a more traditional V-berth, and the cozier midcabin berth is best left to the kids. The adults will likely enjoy a more comfortable night’s sleep forward. larsonboats.com