Classic Boats

With these three cult classic boats you should drink the Kool-Aid.

Cult Classic Boats
Cult Classic BoatsTim Bower

There have always been boats that tug so hard on our hearts that we’re willing to suspend rational thought for the pure passion of owning them. We covet them while they are available and search for them when they are not. We’ll do anything to own them because these are the ones that got it right. This is what happened with these three. Over the years they’ve become so desirable that a dedicated following — a cult — has been formed around each by the obsessed who’ve heard the call.

Donzi Sweet 16
Donzi Sweet 16
Boats this size are for beginners or kids, right? Not this one. Putting it in the hands of a kid would be like giving him an AK-47 with unlimited ammo. Put a novice in one and he'll be spoiled: disappointed when he "moves up" to something bigger. Designed by Walt Walters and Jim Wynn, it was the first boat offered by Don Aronow’s second company — Donzi Marine. Since going into production in 1964, this boat is one of those little-known jewels quietly shared by the cognoscenti. Being small, its 50-plus mph top speed feels a whole lot faster, and with the type of handling only a small boat can give, it’s more fun than should be legal.
Donzi
SeaCraft 23
SeaCraft 23
In 1966 this cult's guru, Carl Moesly, patented a midship section with a 22-degree deadrise by the keel where the boat rides at high speeds, slicing the seas for a soft ride. It goes a third of the way up the hull, meeting a vertical groove (Moesly called it a "step") to join a second panel with 15-degree deadrise, where the boat rides at moderate speeds for good load-carrying with less power. There's another vertical groove and a flat 10-degree section for stability and lift while getting on plane. His design lets the boat ride on the right section for its speed and eases pounding. Plus, the steps divert water to reduce drag. Since then SeaCraft has gone through multiple owners. But to true believers the golden years were when Bill Potter took over, from 1968 to 1980.
classicseacraft.com
Dyer 29
Dyer 29
The next one built will be hull No. 356, a link in an unbroken chain going back to 1956 when The Anchorage in Warren, Rhode Island, launched the first 29. It's the longest-running fiberglass production powerboat. In the early days of fiberglass Bill Dyer took a chance and built a boat that, as he put it, “would be a traditional hull that could take more than its crew could.” The resulting gem could travel at a steady 15 mph — no matter what. Designed for comfort, not speed, it succeeded as one of the all-time great sea boats. With its sweeping sheer line, rounded chines and long keel, it’s a classic bit of New England. Beautiful to look at and built to last, hull No. 1 is still plying the waters of Long Island Sound. New Dyer 29s start at $180,000 with a single 260 hp diesel. Not cheap, but few other boats will give you an equally good return on your money — if you’re ever foolish enough to sell it. Only three? There are lots more, like the Grady 208 Adventure, 13-foot Whaler, Grand Banks 42, Bertram 31, 26 Scarab Sportster and ... ah, too many boats, not enough Kool-Aid. So when I see you outside the inlet, let’s raise our glasses and toast the ones we love a little too much.
dyer29.com