Wilbur 34 Hardtop Express Cruiser

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They Say: The Wilbur 34 Hardtop Express Cruiser is a true semi-custom lobster yacht built to the highest standards of modern hull construction and traditional cabinetwork, combining comfortable accommodations for cruising with a large cockpit for day trips.

We Say: Yup, this 34'4"-by-12' thoroughbred Downeaster runs efficiently at a semi-displacement angle between 8 and 16 mph. Outfitted with a clean, quiet 500-bhp Cat C9, the 34 is capable of 30-mph alacrity. Its "built-down" hull, in which the bottom curves gracefully into a full keel, places the engine low for stability and an efficient shaft angle. Meanwhile, the full bow is plenty buoyant, great for dealing with serious seas. The 34's specially designed entry minimizes bow steering (digging in), common to some boats of this type. The salon and cabin reflect Wilbur Yachts' attention to detail in both accommodations and craftsmanship. The salon is bright and airy, finished traditionally in white with teak cabinetry and seating, including comfortable helm and companion seats. An L-shaped settee to port accommodates six guests for day tripping. The galley is below, opposite the full head. A comfortable V-berth is forward. Cabinetwork in the cabin holds to the same high standard as the salon. Arrange folding chairs in the large cockpit and toast the sunset with friends.

Who'd Want One: Serious cruising couples who want seaworthy, low-speed efficiency and fast cruising speeds, plus fine cabinetwork and spaciousness.

Another Choice: The longer, beamier Ellis 36 Extended Top Cruiser ($600,000) is another semi-custom Downeast lobster yacht.

The Numbers: $525,000.

Contact: 207/244-5000, www.wilburyachts.com.