The no-wake zone from the harbor in South Norwalk, Connecticut, out to Long Island Sound is long and tedious. The boat parade on a warm Saturday in early September quickly resembles a fashion show. A slow idle is how each yacht struts, the channel is the runway, and every owner and passenger to port or starboard is a spectator.
Heads turned during my trip down the catwalk in Zodiac's Medline II. Loaned to the Yachting staff for three months last summer, she is more than a good-looking boat. She offers stellar performance, even in less-than-ideal conditions.
As one who thrives on a bit of foul weather to mix things up, I really enjoyed the days when the winds were a little strong, the seas a little high. I took to calling the Medline II the "little inflatable that could thanks to the deep-V's excellent response in short, 2- to 4-foot chop, sometimes more. Her 100 hp Yamaha four-stroke responded quickly and her steering was firm, but easy when I moved upwind to avoid a potentially wet-and cold-oncoming wave. The Medline's self-bailing, nonslip cockpit quickly evacuated the remnants of any spray taken.
Her 57 gallons of built-in fuel provided good range and peace of mind. She needs regular washdowns, though. Her tanks and deck seemed to attract grime that was difficult to remove if unattended to.
When the winds were calm, I sat comfortably on the combo seat/bolster. At first glance, the console looked a little high (it extends about 3 feet from the deck), but visibility through her 10-inch wind visor was quite good.
When the late afternoon chop required a more watchful eye, I felt secure within the confines of the bolster. Be mindful of keeping the Medline II properly trimmed in these conditions, though. Improperly trimmed, the boat at speed re-entered the water with a bit of jolt. She tended to ride smoother as her speed increased.
All the controls and instruments are within easy reach. Gauges are to port, the helm is to starboard and a grab rail protects the windscreen.
The Medline II's intended purpose is day trips in open sea. She's officially approved under category B for five people, and certainly all will be comfortable spending the better part of a day aboard. With plenty of available stowage, guests and gear do not compete for space. Four lockers make stowage more than adequate.
The greatest comfort on the Medline II is when you fold down the cockpit seats and spread the cushion. You have a spacious rear sundeck perfect for relaxing. Zodiac of North America, (410) 643-4141; fax (410) 643-4491; www.zodiac.com.