Sweet 16

Yachting's rally after the Miami International Boat Show turned the ICW into a showcase of 16 noteworthy yachts.

For this year's Yachting rally, our staff spent countless hours talking with yacht designers, builders and dealers to learn the details about their latest products. Our goal was to present a representative sampling of what we discovered for those of you who did not have the opportunity to see them personally at this year's Miami International Boat Show. For each of the two days we spent on the water, the Rally caused an impromptu boat parade that seemed to create its own critical mass, drawing a steady stream of recreational and commercial vessels. By sticking to one stretch of the ICW, basically between Government Cut and Biscayne Bay, we were inadvertently conducting a sort of focus group-observing the rhythms of one of the world's most blessed boating communities. As we jockeyed to put editors aboard and then to take photographs, we danced with party boats, tugboats, cruise ships, big sportfishing yachts and tidy center consoles, and of course those peculiar tourist craft Florida seems to specialize in (our favorite: the fake tall ship whose masts were spot-welded onto what looked like an LST). Eventually we took to voting favorites of the boats that caught our eye. One winner was a large Sea Ray whose bow sunpad was packed with women in their thirties, totally relaxed while their boyfriends and/or husbands manned the flying bridge above them. In their unselfconscious way, these friends were validating the Sea Ray's design-and having a great time doing it.

Davis 48 Express - It's always easy to spot a Davis. That signature flare, seamless window line and gorgeous tumblehome aft are all giveaways. So it may come as a surprise that the new Davis 48 Express was designed in conjunction with Don Blount, N.A. Without overlooking what makes a Davis boat unique, Blount has created an underbody that can handle the rough stuff offshore, fish all day and cruise back at 30 knots. This bluewater-capable design has a solid glass bottom, Divinycell-cored sides, Nidacore decks and bulkheads, and a hull-to-deck joint that's glued, screwed and fiberglassed together. The large, well-equipped cockpit is laid out for four anglers and a mate to work together comfortably. Comes with a single cabin forward or a master with guest cabin. Standard power is 800 hp Cats. LOA: 47'10'. Beam: 16'. Base Price: $852,000. www.buddydavis.com

Hampton 680 Pilothouse - The 680 Pilothouse is a comfortable and well-planned yacht that is ready to cruise right out of the boatyard. Construction features include a solid glass modified deep-V bottom and cored sides and decks for a maximum strength to weight ratio. The flybridge offers excellent visibility, plus a wet bar, refrigerator and barbecue space. The pilothouse features a ship-style instrument panel with room for all the latest electronics. A generous beam allows for three staterooms, each with an en suite head (the master's with a whirlpool tub). Optional crew quarters/utility room has a head and shower and room for a washer/dryer. LOA: 68'0'. Beam: 18'4'. Base Price: Approx. $1,680,000 (w/twin 800 hp Caterpillar diesels). www.hamptonyachts.com

Allure 55 - This new Australian import attains a level of luxury not matched in many homegrown sport yachts. Built 'down under' to the American specifications of Global Yachts in Miami, the 55 boasts such quality appointments as rare exotic woods, marble flooring, granite countertops, leather upholstery and Italian hardware and fixtures. The enclosed flybridge is climate controlled and has a dinette forward of the helm. Below, three staterooms can be arranged to suit the owner's taste, accommodating up to 10. The working end of the yacht will impress anglers and entertainers alike; a built-in transom unit can contain a wet bar and grill, or a bait-prep station and live well. Standard power is twin 800 hp Caterpillar diesels. LOA: 55'0'. Beam: 17'2'. Price: $995,000. www.globalyachts.com

Birchwood 510 - Fresh from England, the Birchwood range of boats (34 to 51 feet) should give European imports like Cranchi and Fairline a run for the money. The newly redesigned 510 is the company flagship. It incorporates three staterooms-two guest cabins aft and a master forward with en suite head-a luscious saloon settee, a large galley, an entertainment center with bar and a day head. Topsides are a garage for a dinghy, an oval sun lounge with stainless rails and a passerelle with fiber-optic lighting for safe boarding at night. The open helm deck brings the light in to warm the teak sole. It's a good layout for boaters who really want to enjoy the outdoors. Standard power is twin 960 hp Volvo TAMD 75Ps with electronic engine controls. LOA: 51'6'. Beam: 13'5'. Price: $833,029. www.birchwood.co.uk

**Canados 86- ** A familiar marque in European waters since the early 1970s, Canados Yachts is now focusing its attention on the U.S. The 86 has full walkaround side decks with a standard interior of four cabins, four heads and crew's quarters for three and is powered by a pair of 1,800 hp Caterpillars; fiberglass hull and components are built in Northern Italy and shipped to Canados' facility in Rome where the yachts are finished. The builder reports a maximum speed in the 30-knot range. She carries 2,024 gallons of fuel and a range of 400 nautical miles is possible at cruising speed. Pricing varies with specification. Expanding production to 15 yachts per year, Canados will debut a new 90-foot Luiz de Basto design in summer 2006. LOA: 86'. Beam: 21'. Price: NA. www.canados.com

Formula 48 Yacht - Because the profile is unchanged, most people will probably mistake the Formula 48 Yacht for the Formula 47 that debuted in 2003. But a sharp eye will catch the added length and slightly higher stern. In addition, the hull itself is new, not only a foot longer but also slightly deeper. The changes were made so the boat could house a pair of 660 hp Cummins diesels (the 47 stopped at Volvo 480s). The payoff is an extra 7 mph; the 48 can do 38 mph whereas the 37 topped out at 31. The forward master berth is NBA-length. A portside dinette faces a U-shaped galley. Aft is a comfortable lounge area that converts-electrically-to either twin berths or a queen. Desirable options include a hydraulic lift swim platform and a Gaggenau grill. LOA: 48'0'. Beam: 14'0'. Price: $932,210 (w/test power). www.formulaboats.com

Hunt Harrier 25 - Its baby blue hull and clean lines render the Harrier 25 a wolf in sheep's clothing. From the waterline up, it has the layout of a classic New England runabout, with two swiveling console chairs, an amidships engine cover that doubles as padded seating and a stern bench. But lurking under the surface is evidence of a lineage that's responsible for the existence of nearly every muscle-craft on the water today. The Harrier is the latest from the drawing board of C. Raymond Hunt Associates, the company begun by Ray Hunt, who created the deep-V-hull. With an upgraded 375 hp Volvo 8.1L GI, the Harrier makes 44 knots. LOA: 25'0'. Beam: 9'0'. Price: $89,135 as tested ($84,900 with standard 300 hp MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI Horizon). www.huntyachts.com

Jaguar 60 - America When an Italian company names its boat after your country, there's little question who it's aimed for. The sweeping broad-soled aft deck is designed for alfresco entertainment and can accommodate from 10 to 14 people in style. The barbecue may get a workout, but there's plenty of lounge seating-an L-shaped settee to starboard and a portside settee. The helm station faces a handsome half-moon display with easy-to-read instrumentation. The saloon is a vision of two cylindrical towers of polished wood, with a yellow cream settee and 18 different cabinets in glossy cherry wood. The power options begin with twin 800 hp diesels for 30 knots, 1,100 hp Caterpillars to reach 35 knots-'and for 40, we can put Arnesons on it,' says John Caruso of Total Marine, the sole distributor. LOA: 60'. Beam: 16'. Price: $1,800,000. www.TotalMarine.com

Marlow 57E - Boarding this 57 makes you want to applaud. The exterior is glossy and elegant; the interior feels simply huge. The helm station is wide open with a galley aft that flows into the saloon. The saloon's large settee and chairs (two big sofas, one built-in) face the flat-screen TV, but we bet owners will find the views as compelling. The stately owner's suite has two end tables and lots of cabinet space. The forward island VIP berth levitates amid polished woodwork; a forward office has two berths and an accordion door. The 57 is meant to go far, with choices such as strut keels, the shaft running between them for protection, and non-electronic Lugger Diesels so you cruise outside the grid and a mechanic can fix them without using a computer. Running at 85 percent they give you 19.5 knots. LOA: 58'3'. Beam: 18'2'. Price: On request. www.marlowmarine.com

Morgan 44 Brave Duck - Morgan motoryachts are renowned for vintage styling combined with advanced technology. In a line that has ranged from 63 to 130 feet, this 44-foot Brave Duck is another take on the classic lobsterboat-but instead of stark New England minimalism, she would look right at home Med-moored in Monaco. Accommodations include ample headroom, a galley, berthing for five, and two heads. The forward-V can be chosen with either a double or two singles. Built solid, its lay-up schedule includes advanced composites and vacuum lamination. A highly efficient semi-displacement hull brings a respectable turn of speed-cruising at 33 knots, topped-out at 38-with enviably good fuel economy. LOA: 43'8'. Beam: 12'8'. Power: Twin Yanmar 440 diesels. Price: NA. www.morganyachts.com

Jeanneau 46 Prestige - The exciting new 46 kicks off the venerable and highly successful French sailboat manufacturer's entry into the U.S. motoryacht market. Jeanneau has actually been in the powerboat business for years in Europe, and they've obviously studied what Americans like-because there's a lot to like here, from the uncluttered and spacious interior to the powerful lines of her hull and upper deck. The curvy saloon feels huge, with panoramic views and good headroom, and can easily handle a crowd. The master suite has the clubby feel of good wood and creamy bolstered hull panels. The two guest cabins are far more spacious than the norm, with 6'1' and 6'3' headroom. The quality of the woodwork reflects for generations of experience with sailing yachts. LOA: 47'8'. Beam: 14'3'. Price: $620,000 before options. www.jeanneau.fr/eng

Outer Reef 73 - This brawny three-stateroom adventure-hunting motoryacht is going to find an eager market. In the saloon, you can sit in comfort and watch the large plasma-screen TV to starboard, which faces a sofa and a generously sized overstuffed chair. The galley's built-in SubZero fridge and icemaker is complemented by a wine cooler with separate settings for reds and whites. The flow of space through the saloon to the lower helm station is notably elegant, and the Stidd chairs ensure a comfortable watch. The king bed and double sink vanity with Kohler fixtures and shoji screens lend a lighter air to the décor, but make no mistake: She's a rugged cruiser, meant to cruise the Bahamas and New England in and out of season. LOA: 72'7'. Beam: 20'8'. Price: $3,400,000. www.outerreefyachts.com

Rivolta Coupe 4.0L - The Coupe's graceful lines and detailed interior fit and finish are evidence of Rivolta's three-generation pedigree. Teak-soled bridge and cockpit have covered and open seating areas; the helm's dressed with a varnished teak instrument console. A master stateroom has a queen-size island berth; a queen guest berth is tucked under the bridgedeck. The bottom's of solid fiberglass; topsides, deck and bulkheads are stuffed with foam core. Built on a semi-custom basis, the Coupe's interior layouts and finishes are tailored to an owner's specifications. Details: LOA: 41'6'. Beam: 12'5'. Standard Power: a pair of 440 hp Yanmars; both V-drive and water-jet propulsion are offered. Cruise-ready for about $710,000. www.rivolta.com

Uniesse 54 Sport - Outer beauty and inner strength describe this motor-yacht handcrafted in Lombardy. The Uniesse 54 SL Coupe is as gorgeous as the world has come to expect from talented Italian designers. An open boat, there's ample room for entertaining on deck and its hardtop incorporates a hydraulic sunroof. Below we find plush accommodations accented by marble floors and Tanganyikan hardwood. Production is limited to about 10 per year, the layout tailored to reflect individual tastes. While the boat we ran was rigged with Caterpillar C12s, actor Tim Allen's sistership is fitted with the more powerful C18s. The difference between 1,420 and 2,020 horsepower bumps up top speed from 38 to 45 knots. More power. More class. LOA: 54'0'. Beam: 16'6'. Power: (2) Cat C12s 1,420 hp. Price: $1,195,000. www.globalyachts.com

Viking 70 - This performance cruiser rides on her lines with the familiar Viking pride, bringing a crowd along for the fun. The sky box set will enjoy sunning on the flybridge, with its outdoor grill and wet bar, while the elegance of the saloon below could even charm an opera buff with its creamy brown-and-yellow leather, natural finish cherry wood and wide-open feeling. (They can also turn up the BOSE entertainment center's speakers.) An eight-seat dining table is served by a granite-topped galley area. The helm sports two black leather chairs and more black leather covers all of the dash to the edge of the windscreen-besides looking cooler than the early Elvis, it keeps the glare down. Twin 1,015 Caterpillar C18 diesels are standard, but they also offer twin 1,300 hp MAN 2842-404s. LOA: 70'6'. Beam: 18'4'. Price: NA. www.vikingsportcruisers.com

Windy 58 Zephyros - This Norwegian combines power and seakeeping abilities with princely interiors. Her 21-degree deadrise deep-V-hull and her twin D12 715 hp Volvos are there for business. The three-seated helm station has the feel of a leather-clad amphitheatre; the saloon has an oval table, a 180-degree curved settee on the starboard side, and a barbecue with a Bosch induction grill to port. Sturdy glass doors are in keeping with the oceangoing mindset, with mosquito-screened portholes. The lower saloon is a mirror image, with the settee on the port side and a fuller galley with curved cabinets for dish stowage. The master's bed is offset at a 45-degree angle with two windows over the plumped pillows and a nook with a built-in side table. At 39 knots she's calm and fast and gorgeous. LOA: 58'2'. Beam: 14'6'. Price: $1,800,000. www.windy.no/start.asp

Hacker Runabout - And then there was one-a gleaming Hacker complete with happy family, buzzing past us at least three times during one long day, bow pennant flapping, children waving, a shirtless Dad at the wheel. Not quite a member of the Rally, more like our mascot, the Hacker won our hearts and so here she is. Built in homage to the classics of the 'Teens and Twenties, the new Hackers have improved bow trim and mahogany construction: Philippine for the side and bottom frames and keel, Honduran for the hull bottom, sides and decks. Fittings are of chrome-plated bronze and stainless steel. With each pass she made, the Hacker and our editors got a little more acquainted. By the end of the day, we felt like old friends. That's yachting for you. www.hackerboat.com.