In 2019, the Boating staff conducted and published more than 100 boat tests, and yet only nine of those models ascended to grace the cover of the world’s largest powerboat magazine. To achieve this coveted position, the boat must be a new or substantially redesigned model, excel in its class, and impact boat buyers in a significant and positive manner.
Among the cover boats last year were cruisers, fishing boats, runabouts and wake-sport boats, as well as some that defy traditional classifications. Sizes range from an 18-foot-9-inch runabout to a 53-foot center-console. In a clear sign of the times, all were powered by outboard engines, save for one. (This speaks as much to where development money for new models is going as to anything else) Here are Boating’s cover models from last year, which we deem the top new boats of 2019.
Large and In Charge: Scout 530 LXF
It’s hard to ignore one of the world’s largest center-console boats, especially when powered by five (yes, that’s a quintet) of Yamaha 425 XTO V-8 outboards. That’s one of the big reasons it graced the January/February 2019 cover. But there is much more to the Scout 530 LXF, including an innovative epoxy-infused carbon-fiber layup that affords maximum weight savings and a smooth finish, a huge party bow area with plush lounges surrounding twin electrically rising cocktail tables, and a roomy cabin inside the huge center console. The 530 exudes luxury with heated Ultraleather helm seats and a vast entertainment center in the aft cockpit. We achieved speeds in the high 60s—remarkable for a 53-footer loaded with features. For more information, visit scoutboats.com.
Price: $2,454,809 (base); $2,660,107 (as tested)
Sporty and Posh: Monterey 305 SS
The Monterey 305 SS is a sporty and luxurious dayboat that adorned the March 2019 cover. Powered by a pair of Mercury Marine 250 Verado outboards, this boat offers silky-smooth steering and crisp maneuverability, and rewards each nudge of the throttle with aggressive acceleration. This boat caresses passengers with a multifunction aft seating module. Flip the aft cockpit seatback over flat to make a spacious sun pad. Recline it slightly to make an aft-facing lounge. The components and hardware are of durable, highly polished stainless steel for good looks, and they’re easy to operate. That goes for the aft rumble seat too. We also like the transom platform. Outboards usually bisect the platform, making it difficult to get from port to stern. Not here—walk with confidence to access shore power, water or waste ports. For more information, visit montereyboats.com.
Price: $209,058 (starting with twin white Mercury 250 Verados and joystick)
Room and Zoom: Four Winns Vista 355 Coupe OB
Pictured on the April 2019 cover, this outboard-powered Four Winns Vista 355 Coupe OB cruiser offers a single-level topside layout, and combines function and features in a boat that sleeps six and entertains a bunch more in luxury. Plus, we enjoyed crisp, confident handling and speed in the mid-40s. With optional joystick piloting, this cruiser easily slides into tight spots. Windows and overhead hatches contribute to the light and airy feel of the salon and cabin. Belowdecks are two staterooms, a head and an atrium. A forward double berth ingeniously hinges to provide V-shaped seating, and the midcabin offers a king-size berth and sports the full-beam width of the boat. For more information, visit fourwinns.com.
Price: $449,154 (starting with twin white Mercury 350 Verado outboards and joystick)
All on Deck: Crownline E 285 XS
The Crownline E 285 XS, which appeared on the May 2019 cover, is a spacious and sporty dayboat that you can easily trailer to your local lake. It features deck-boat-like bow seating and an even roomier cockpit, thanks to the outboard power, so there’s plenty of space to entertain a group of friends on a long cruise. With a 350 hp outboard, it’s also a boat with plenty of get up and go, reaching a top speed in the low-50s. The port console houses a head that features an electric flush toilet and a freshwater sink with a shower nozzle. The entertainment center behind the helm comes standard with both an electric grill and a small pocket refrigerator. It also features a genuine granite countertop, a freshwater sink, twin cup holders, a storage drawer and cabinet, and a beefy stainless-steel grab handle. For more information, visit crownline.com.
Price: $129,369 (with test power)
Wake-Sport Wonder: Centurion Fi25
Appearing on the June 2019 cover, the Centurion Fi25 turns heads wherever it goes. Not only is the styling sleek and aggressive, but this boat comes loaded with wake-making prowess, thanks in large measure to the Opti-V hull. It displaces sizable and symmetrical wakes and waves, while also ¬offering a comfortable ride in choppier waters. For wakesurfing, fill all the ballast and turn on the onboard QuickSurf Pro System, and you’ll be riding one of the most powerful surf waves on the market. The interior abounds with room for 17, and seating is customizable, thanks to a sliding rear seat that can lock in multiple positions and a removable tabletop. The extra topcoat of the new marine vinyl from Spradling makes it more comfortable and durable than ever. For more information, visit centurionboats.com.
Price: $180,805 (as tested)
Euro Trendsetter: Jeanneau Leader 10.5
Combining classy looks with spirited performance and cruising comfort, the Jeanneau Leader 10.5 appeared on the July/August 2019 cover. With a Michael Peters-designed Stepped-V Ventilated Tunnel hull and twin Yamaha F300 outboards, our boat reached a top speed of 45.4 mph. The skipper pilots from the center of three bolstered chairs, with a dash for twin 12-inch electronic displays. The galley unit includes an optional electric grill and twin sinks over a refrigerator. The cockpit features a transom bench, with a port and starboard pair of folding seats that form an L- or U-shaped lounge. A teak table lowers to form a rear sun pad. A sun pad in the bow is wide enough for two. The cabin features a bow skylight, another skylight just forward of the windscreen, portlights on the sides of the cockpit galley, and windows built into the topsides. The companionway to port opens into a large salon, with a two-burner galley opposite an enclosed head with separate shower. Forward lies a lounge with a pedestal table that converts to a V-berth. The midcabin offers another double berth. For more information, visit jenneauamerica.com.
Price: $191,660 (with twin Yamaha F300s and hard top)
Fun on a Budget: Starcraft 191 SVX
A boat doesn’t have to be huge and cost a fortune to make our list of top models. Appearing on the cover the September 2019 issue, the Starcraft SVX 191 OB targets first-time boaters and budget-conscious buyers. It offers a deck-boat layout, stable hull, and options that make it equally good at tow sports, fishing or day cruising. Comfortably bolstered seating rings the interior, with a wraparound, U-shaped bench forward, L-shaped bench aft, and swiveling captain’s pedestal at the helm. Seating is interrupted only for bow and stern walk-throughs, and a handy portside galley with sink and optional hand-pump faucet. It rides on a dihedral V-hull, with a stern pad designed for strong performance and efficiency. With a Yamaha 115 outboard, our test boat peaked at 38.4 mph. At a comfortable 25 mph cruising speed, fuel consumption registered less than 5 gallons per hour. For more information, visit starcraftmarine.com.
Price: $48,672 (with Yamaha 200 XB)
Wet a Line in Luxury: Blackfin 332 CC
The recently reintroduced line of Blackfin luxury fishing boats has quickly gained a following, and the Blackfin 332 CC that appeared on the October 2019 cover is a prime example of why. The weighty hull inspires confidence, with a high bow to knock aside offshore seas. Twin 400 hp Mercury Racing Verado outboards pushed it to a top speed of 55.7 mph. In the dash panel are twin flush-mounted 16-inch Raymarine multifunction displays. Three independent bucket seats serve at the helm. The black finish under the hardtop and helm area reduces glare. An electrically actuated vent at the top of the windshield ushers in a cooling breeze. Power steering made steering easy. There’s a 35-gallon livewell in the port quarter, and a 20-gallon well in the rigging station behind the leaning post. A pair of slide-out 45-quart Yeti Tundra 45 coolers reside under the rigging station. For more information, visit blackfinboats.com.
Price: $372,985 (starting with twin white Mercury 400XL Verado DTS outboards and joystick)
Innovation Generation: Solace 345
This center-console fishing boat appeared on the November/December 2019 issue and also received Boating’s Boat of the Year award in the January 2020 issue. The reason why? The Solace 345 reflects truly new thinking, starting with a patented FishThru transom platform that extends aft between and beyond twin outboards that are spaced out on the edges of the hull. Riding above the waterline, the 52-inch-long platform lets you fish astern of the outboards and steer a hooked fish around the motors. From below, a hydraulically operated swim platform with a boarding ladder extends farther astern. Twin pressurized 45-gallon livewells flank the entrance to the platform. Twin Yamaha 425 XTO V-8s propelled the 345 to a top speed of 55 mph. Additional inventive touches include retractable washdown hoses, folding stern seats, a deluxe sound system, an inverter, and full-spectrum LED lighting throughout. For more information, visit solaceboats.com.
Price: $650,000 (base with twin Yamaha 425 XTO outboards)