The Newport Boat Show Wrap Up

We spent some time Friday and over the weekend checking out the new products, boats and industry friends at the Newport International Boat Show (NIBS). And even though it’s over until September 2018, we have a little report on the coolest things we saw at the show.

So this wrap up includes some items we wish we could have “wrapped up” and taken home from the boat show.  Even though the show is over, it’s not too late to check out many of these goods either online, or at one of the impending boat shows along the east coast, Norwalk and Annapolis.

Here is a quick list of our favorite boats, products and people from the 2017 NIBS:

1. Soundview Millworks  – These guys make beautiful custom maple and mahogany cutting boards that can be personalized with initials, island shapes and then add a cleat handle and you have a great gift to yourself or a perfect wedding or housewarming – even boat warming gift. They also make amazing teak and holly stools and cornhole boards – and you know we love cornhole here at JD. check them out at

Soundview TB corn-hole-2stools_square

2. The Rockport Marine “Islander” – This sweet 26′ dayboat is well suited for cocktail cruises, easy swimming access and lots of head turning. Her raw teak and painted finish compliments the bronze hardware at the wheel, as the rubrail and also surrounding the bench seat. Rockport Marine describes her saying the “Islander blends the design lineage of the Bahamian runabouts made famous by the Albury family and downeast lobster boats of Maine.”  She is a thing of beauty and we can foresee many of her kind in harbors all up and down the eastern seaboard and in the Bahamas where hull #1 was headed        Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 12.14.53 PM

3. The Morris Yachts M42x – Not that the M series from Morris Yachts needed refining, but apparently it needed so more go-fasters and they certainly have it dialed in now. With a taller carbon fiber rig, a carbon sprit to carry the masthead spinnaker, fancier North 3Di sails and a deep high aspect ratio fin keel – this baby put the X in LuXury Performance – which is how they appropriately describe this fabulous yacht. The color scheme at the show was hot, too – with a muted blue hull and orange cushions. Meow.


4. The J/121– This new 40’ offshore speedster can be day raced or distance sailed by just 5 or less crew. They have finally figured out that it’s too difficult to recruit a crew of 8-10 busy people to go sailing and racing – and this boat is the latest answer to that problem. The J/121 offers performance with less crew, all-around sailing versatility, low maintenance, and is fully ocean capable to be delivered on its own bottom anywhere. The J/Boats crowd is even changing how these boats race by creating an “Open Course” format and schedule to encourage offshore racing and near coastal events that bag on the “boring” windward/leeward courses. This will be a fun boat to watch as the class grows. There seems to be lots of interest and already J/Boats has sold more than 10 hulls that will, so far, largely be based on the East Coast making one-design racing in the J/121 that much easier.

incognito OB

5. The Hinckley Dasher Electric Yacht debuted Thursday at the show with a sleek, lightweight design that helps pare down the bulk of the typical teak and mahogany laden sailboats and powerboats that Hinckley is so well known for. The Dasher is a sparse but beautiful thing, with lights and cushions in all the right places. She has a retractable windshield, and her core is full of carbon fiber, both in the carbon-epoxy hull, conceived by noted boat designer Michael Peters, and in the carbon-fiber stringers, which lend it structure and rigidity. She is powered by BMW i3 lithium ion batteries and it must be quite the quiet, comfy ride.

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6. The Zeelander Z55 is another impressive luxury yacht that I can’t afford, but who said this was about buying a new boat? I would like to be invited out to spend a week on the Z55, and it better be in a tropical (yet to be destroyed by hurricanes) location so we can take full advantage of the amazing aft swim platform on this boat. Referred to as “the beach” by the Zeelander crowd, this aft area extends out from the opened transom and offers an amazing entry to the water with a hidden swim ladder that makes it elegant to come back aboard after a swim. (sometimes it’s just not elegant – right?) She even has a hidden door on the port side for invisible storage of your dinghy or water toys. Her full bar and beautiful cockpit seating do nothing to undermine the beautiful interior that hides below decks. She is a polished motor yacht with lots to offer coastal cruisers looking for some luxury.

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7. U-Dek marine decking is soon to be an item that JD sells and as such we were excited to see their booth and to stand on their soft, beautiful decking material. U-Dek’s anti-slip, closed-cell foam deck treads offer a hardwearing, easy to maintain alternative to molded-in anti-slip or paint-on textures for traction in wet areas, improving your comfort and safety. It can withstand fish blood and rinse clean, it’s great in high traffic areas and console/ steering stations where one might stand to drive for extended periods. And it’s easy to apply with a pro fit. We will be selling their kits where you pattern your boat’s deck, send the pattern off and get the decking of your choice back. It’s easy to apply and man – it feels much better than standing on non-skid or fiberglass all day. IMG_3165    IMG_3372 2

8. Seakeeper manufactures gyro stabilizers for boats 30′ and up. The Seakeeper team had a Contender 35 at the show with the leaning post installation of their Seakeeper 3, which retails for about $26,000 before installation. That might sound like a lot to spend on optional equipment – but we were blown away by its instant stabilizing with the click of a button.  If you owned said Contender 35, which we know to be a very seaworthy boat, you could greatly expand the conditions you can operate in, and your comfort level in every condition is greatly improved. We had two beefy guys rocking this Contender side to side vigorously and when Helena switched on the gyro stabilizer – the boat instantly stopped. They claim it works on rocking, yawing and pitching boats – and with installation on many naval and commercial vessels of a much larger scale, we believe this upgrade would truly enhance your yachting if you don’t like rocking the boat!

9. Fathom is a very cool underwater drone that can be used for any and all of your underwater exploration needs. The drone was swimming freely (with it’s cord attached – but it’s long) by the docks at the boat show and we were impressed with it’s ease of use and of course with checking out all the coolness under the docks. But in the real world, we can see this being used for inspecting possible damage under the waterline, for checking growth and through hulls, for finding that special thing you dropped overboard, or for spying on your favorite fishies. You get the gist. It’s super cool and hey – who doesn’t love playing with drones these days? For under $800 why not get 2 of the world’s smallest underwater drones?

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10. The East Passage Boatwrights have boarded a few beautiful classic yachts and so it is with experience as well as wooden boat expertise that they designed the ingenious boarding ladder. The ladder is a work of art and it folds flat into it’s own storage bag. It’s so beautiful you might want it for your living room, or as a step into a tall bed. basically – it’s furniture. It’s expertly made and it’s wicked clever. Check out their video about it.

Teak Folding Dock Step (2) Teak Folding Dock Step with Sunbrella Bag

Lots of these boats and products will be in Annapolis for the power and sailboat shows. The Sailboat show is October 5-9 and the Powerboat show is Oct 12-15. A few might even stop off at the Norwalk Boat Show from September 21-24. Not sure how pesky storm Jose will change that – so check in with Norwalk before you go!


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