The mantra Boating’s editorial staff lives by with respect to choosing the Boat of the Year is “category killer.” We don’t always get one. But we did this year.
As time goes by, boats keep getting better and better. One need not look too far back to a time when some real junk boats coexisted with some mighty fine craft. Today, the spread between good and bad—between innovative and run-of-the-mill—is narrower. Market forces, technological advances, government regulation and more-informed boaters can all take credit for this sea change. Recreational powerboating, now about a century old, is a maturing sport.
This year, though, after testing some 150 different types of boats built by dozens of manufacturers, the Solace 345 stood out as a killer design. Its arrangement, which extends the cockpit aft between widely spaced outboards, is as much a stand-alone innovation as it is an integration of the latest in propulsion, with courageous design and flawless execution. This feature may influence boats on the whole in the future, but the Solace 345 center-console fishing boat stands out for numerous other attributes. For these reasons, we name the Solace 345 our 2019 Boat of the Year.