The 2017 New York International Boat Show is different from the New York International Auto Show, in that no actual news or reveals take place during the five days it occupies the Javitz Center during late January. But that didn’t stop us from going to find cool stuff anyway.
At an auto show, the only thing the people working there care about is getting the news out to the media, which means handing journalists dozens of USB sticks filled with stock images, press releases, and videos. At a boat show, the only thing the people working there care about is selling boats, which meant as a media attendee, I was basically invisible. It’s a liberating experience.
The first thing that drew me to this boat was the powerplant—and I mean that literally as a force of nature—mounted to the back of it. Mercury makes a 400 horsepower race version of their Verado outboard motor, complete with a water-cooled supercharger and a cold-air intake. This particular Formula had four of them.
That adds up to a total 1,600 horsepower, a full 200 more than the crazy Cigarette boat Kristen and I rode on back in August.
Normally, you’d see this type of power on a Cigarette boat, something that’s long, skinny, and can cut through the water and air with ease. But this particular Formula had a full bathroom and slept four adults.
It’s on sale now at a show-only price of $950,000.
The Sea-Doo Spark is a lightened, entry-level personal watercraft for the masses—both in terms of price and level of difficulty to ride—but with the addition of just three little parts, Sea-Doo created an entirely new segment of freestyle personal watercraft with the Spark Trixx.
Since Sea-Doo is in the same family as Ski-Doo, the Trixx gains a set of adjustable handlebars from a snowmobile that gives the rider more leverage to maneuver the watercraft.
“Step wedges” as Sea-Doo calls them, are just angled footrests that give the rider better footing when riding at near-vertical angles.
Last but not least, an extended range variable trim system lets the rider direct the thrust from the watercraft’s jet at the push of a button, meaning it could either push you forwards, or push you up—literally—out of the water like the first photograph with the mannequin implies.
Despite the fact they float on water, boats are some of the heaviest things in the internal-combustion world, requiring massive and incredibly thirsty powerplants to move them about. But the thing is, you never get to see these powerplants up close—let alone get a sense of scale for how big they are—unless you’re at a boat show like this one.
Pictured here is an 8.7-liter, 585-horsepower big block V8 from Mercury Racing. This sort of displacement is almost all but phased out in the automotive world, yet completely common in the one of boating. You can almost hear the classic blub-blub-blub V8 underwater burble just by looking at it.
If you’ve never watched offshore boat racing before, it can be summed up by noting that two drivers are required to operate one boat. Since they’re so insanely fast, and since the physics of how the boat interacts with the water are constantly changing, you need one driver to operate the steering and a second driver to operate the throttle.
What’s almost cooler than the boat itself is the custom-made trailer that transports it. Since these race boats are catamarans, meaning two hulls in parallel, they’re too wide to just roll onto a trailer and drive down the street like a traditional boat. Instead, they have to be flipped on their side in order to fit within a vehicle lane.
There’s so much more I checked out, including a 42-foot Regal Fly Yacht with two bedrooms, in the Facebook Live at the top of the post.