Smartboat 23

The new Smartboat 23 shows off at the Miami Boat Show.

Smartboat 23

At the docks, it looks like a miniature Wally Yacht. And, in fact, it did draw inspiration from the progressive, aggressive looking boats. But it’s more than that. It was designed by VPLP, the same group who built Larry Ellison’s trimaran that won the America’s Cup. It is the Smartboat 23, a European import with sailboat roots that will impress the most jaded of powerboaters.

On the docks at the Miami Boat Show, the boat turned heads even while sitting in its slip. On the water, it surprised me. Based on appearance, and the boat’s light weight—1,800 pounds thanks to its resin-infused composite construction—I expected a pounding wet ride. We had none of that. With a Yamaha F115 outboard we hit 30 mph while burning 8.5 gph of fuel.

Putting it through its paces, I carved impeccable hard-over turns at top speed and could not get a drop of spray on us while jumping confused wakes from cruisers and sportfishermen. Part of that is its sharp entry and relatively narrow beam, 8’4” at its widest and tapering to a fine point at the bow. From the looks of it, the Smartboat 23 will find its place as a tender or a day boat for the right buyer. This may be the first you’ve heard of the Smartboat 23, but it likely won’t be the last.